House Votes to Nullify Skees’ Nullification Bills

Posted on February 23, 2011



HELENA —  House Republicans killed two measures that would support nullifying federal law, one in the debate stage and the second during the final vote Thursday after initial approval.

House Joint Resolution 20, sponsored by Rep. Derek Skees, R-Kalispell, was endorsed 53-45 on Wednesday but then failed Thursday with a  final 46-52 vote.

During his opening on the resolution on Wednesday, Skees said it would help Montana’s lone congressman, U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg, fight the federal law in Washington D.C.

But Democrats disagreed.

“This resolution is asking this body to make the conclusion that public laws are unconstitutional,” said Rep. Chuck Hunter, D-Helena.  “This is beyond our jurisdiction. Yet here we are being asked to do it, and you’re going to vote on it.”

Democrats cheered when House Minority Leader  Jon Sesso, D-Butte, passionately registered his complaint against use of the term “Obamacare” on the house floor, but they couldn’t persuade enough Republicans to vote their way.

But Skees’s other nullification bill, which broadly asserts the state’s right to nullify any federal law or action, failed its preliminary test by a vote of 42-57.

House Bill 382 would have prohibited “infringement on the state of Montana’s Constitutional right to nullification of any federal statute, mandate or executive action.”

– Reporter Cody Bloomsburg can be reached at 208-816-0809 or by e-mail at

Posted in: Daily Grind