RESPECT THE SOVEREIGNTY OF THE STATES
27th August, 2014 at 04:55:50
National Conference of State Legislatures again stresses the importance of states' rights.
Moves by the National Conference of State Legislatures this week should give US federal politicians like Sen. Lindsey Graham and Rep. Jason Chaffetz pause for thought in their attempts to push through a resurrection of the Wire Act that would effectively ban most forms of online gambling.
The NCSL has on a number of occasions voiced its disquiet at attempts by federal politicians to impose laws best left to the states themselves, citing the importance of maintaining the legislative autonomy of individual states (see previous reports).
This week the Standing Committee on Budgets and Revenue of the NCSL held its annual business meeting, subsequently releasing a list of policies and resolutions aimed at communicating its positions with the federal government and emphasising the importance of respect for states' rights.
Prominent among these was a resolution on the State Sovereignty in Online Gaming from the Communications, Financial Services and Interstate Commerce Committees, which in summary declared:
* The federal government must respect the sovereignty of states to allow or to prohibit Internet gambling by its residents;
* The 2011 ruling by the United States Justice Department on the Federal Wire Act of 1961, 18 U.S.C. §1084, clarifies that intra-state online gambling is lawful. Any effort by Congress or the administration to reverse this ruling is preemptive and diminishes the flexibility of state legislatures to be innovative and responsive to the unique needs of the residents of each state;
* NCSL requests Congress consider the perspective of the states as it examines this issue and asks that it involve state legislators in any federal efforts that seek to reform the regulation of online gaming.
* NCSL strongly opposes any effort by the federal government to overturn the Justice Department's ruling or consideration of legislation overruling state authority by legalizing or regulating gambling at the federal level.
Lawmakers at state level are becoming increasingly concerned at the attempts by some federal politicians to erode their right to make and enforce relevant laws within the boundaries of their states, in some cases interfering with state expansion plans as has been the case with the online operations of some state lotteries.
Whilst some states actively support online wagering legalisation, some are undecided, and a few have outright banned online gambling, the point is made that the decision should in all cases be one made at state level and not through the interference of the US Congress.
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