South Carolina House Republicans make plans to Oppose Biden’s Vaccine Mandate

“The same day, Rep. Stewart Jones, R-Laurens, who had had introduced the state budget proviso banning state funds from requiring masks in schools, called for an emergency session to block the vaccine mandate.”

“Jones said that it has to be a personal decision for each person and their doctor. Not the government.”

See entire story here: Greenville News

 

Budget Amendments Could Strip Schools Funding if they require masks, covid testing, or vaccines

Updated: Jun. 10, 2021 at 1:44 PM EDT

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) – Three amendments to the House’s version of the South Carolina budget could strip state funding from public schools if they enforce mask mandates or require COVID-19 testing or COVID vaccines after July 1.

“This is a big concern to many parents. It’s caused a lot of confusion, a lot of frustration,” Representative Stewart Jones said. “It’s gotten to a level that’s just unbelievable.”

The provisos were approved Wednesday by the House of Representatives as a part of their version of the state’s budget.

“They withhold funding from those schools in the event they try to force someone to wear a mask or to get a vaccine in order to attend,” Jones explained. “We live in the greatest country in the world. I believe we are free people, and everybody should have the ability to decide if they want to do these things or not.”

With the State of Emergency lifted, Jones said one amendment would make mask-wearing voluntary for students and employees within K-12 public schools in South Carolina.

A second amendment makes masks and COVID-19 vaccines voluntary in state funded colleges in order to attend.

“A public institution of higher learning, including a technical college, may not use any funds appropriated or authorized pursuant to this act to require that its students have received the COVID-19 vaccination in order to be present at the institution’s facilities without being required to wear a facemask,” the proviso stated.

The third amendment makes COVID-19 testing voluntary in state funded colleges.

“Such public institutions may not use any funds to require or administer mandatory COVID-19 testing of its students,” the proviso stated. “Further, no agency or entity may use any funds appropriated or authorized in this act to assist a public institution of higher learning with such mandatory COVID-19 testing.”

“This became a really important step right now because the Governor has lifted the state of emergency,” Jones said. “After July 1, going into the next school year, it would allow people to have the flexibility to know that they have the freedom to do these things or not. And it doesn’t stop anyone from doing them. If someone wants to take the vaccine or wear a mask or take as many COVID tests as they want, then they have the freedom to do that. But what it does do is, it would stop state funding from going to K-12 schools or higher ed or colleges that try to force someone to wear a mask or take a vaccine.”

The amendments would cut off all state appropriations to an institution that violates the terms, however, there’s still some work to be done.

“We do need long-term solutions. This is just temporary,” Jones said. “This is kind of the next step in the process I think.”

Next week, some assigned lawmakers will review the House and Senate versions of the state budget. Then the entire general assembly will reconvene the following week to vote on the final version, which will need to be passed by June 30.

“As a parent of two young children who are in our public schools, I have seen and experienced first-hand a lot of the concerns over the whole pandemic. So, I stand with all these parents 100 percent and I understand their frustration,” Jones said. “This has been building. As we were going back to school, we started encountering a lot of these problems, and it was amazing how quickly a lot of it escalated. I think a lot of has to do with the fear…I think this will be a problem for a long time. Some people have this fear of COVID that has just paralyzed them, but we’ve got to come out of this…I believe people have a natural God-given right to freedom, to be free, to make their own decisions.”

In a statement, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control says they are waiting on guidance from the CDC before developing the state’s guidance for the 2022 academic year.

“DHEC recently made several updates to current guidance for schools and childcare for the remainder of the 2021 academic year,” DHEC said. “We anticipate CDC will publish updated school operations guidance for the 2022 academic year within the next few weeks. DHEC will review CDC’s updated school operations guidance once it is released in order to develop guidance for South Carolina schools. We plan to provide this as quickly as possible to allow districts and schools the time they need to plan for the upcoming year.”

Originally appeared on Live 5 News

South Carolina Bills Would Take on Federal Gun Control

By: TJ Martinell|Published on: Jan 26, 2021|Categories: Right to Keep and Bear ArmsState Bills|

COLUMBIA, S.C. (Jan. 26, 2021) – Two bills filed in the South Carolina House would set the foundation to end enforcement of federal gun control. Passage into law would represent a major step toward ending federal acts that infringe on the right to keep and bear arms within the state.

Rep Stewart Jones (R- Laurens) filed House Bill 3042 (H3042) on Dec. 9. The bill would prohibit enforcement of future federal gun control by banning any “personnel or property of this State, or any political subdivision of this State” from enforcing any “federal, state, or local act, law, order, rule, ordinance or regulation which restricts an individual’s constitutional right to keep and bear arms” enacted after January 2021.

State public funds would also be prohibited from use in enforcing such federal gun regulations.

Rep. Doug Gilliam (R- Buffalo) also filed House Bill 3119 (H3119) on Dec 9. It would prohibit the enforcement of “illegal gun laws” by state officials, which it defines to be “any federal, state, or local act, law, order, rule, ordinance or regulation” which restricts an individual’s right to keep and bear arms. The bill includes a list of specific actions that would count as a restriction, including the following:

  1. a tax, levy, fee, or stamp imposed on firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition not common to all other goods and services on the purchase or ownership of those items by citizens;
  2. a registration or tracking of firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition;
  3. a registration or tracking of the owners of firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition;
  4. an act forbidding the possession, ownership, use, or transfer of any type of firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition by citizens of the legal age of eighteen and over, other than pursuant to federal law background check requirements for transfers or purchases through federal firearms license dealers;
  5. an act ordering the confiscation of firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition from citizens;
  6.  a prohibition, regulation, or use restriction related to the ownership or the constitutionality guaranteed lawful use or carry of nonfully automatic firearms; and
  7. a prohibition, regulation, or use restriction limiting hand grips, stocks, flash suppressors, bayonet mounts, magazine capacity, bump stocks, suppressors, or types of ammunition available for sale, possession, or use by citizens.

Under H3119, infringement on the right to keep and bear arms should include the National Firearms Act of 1934, the Gun Control Act of 1968. Pres. Trump’s bump-stock ban, proposed federal “red-flag laws,” and any future gun control schemes implemented by the federal government.

The legislation includes a provision that would allow anybody who violates the law and knowingly deprives somebody of their right to keep and bear arms as defined by the law to be sued for damages in civil court for up to two thousand dollars:

“Sovereign, official, and qualified immunity are not affirmative defenses in cases pursuant to this section.”

EFFECTIVE

The federal government relies heavily on state cooperation to implement and enforce almost all of its laws, regulations and acts – including gun control. By simply withdrawing this necessary cooperation, states and localities can nullify many federal actions in effect. As noted by the National Governors’ Association during the partial government shutdown of 2013, “states are partners with the federal government on most federal programs.”

Based on James Madison’s advice for states and individuals in Federalist #46, a “refusal to cooperate with officers of the Union” represents an extremely effective method to bring down federal gun control measures because most enforcement actions rely on help, support and leadership from state and local governments.

Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano agreed. In a televised discussion on the issue, he noted that a single state taking this step would make federal gun laws “nearly impossible” to enforce.

“Partnerships don’t work too well when half the team quits,” said Michael Boldin of the Tenth Amendment Center. “By withdrawing all resources and participation in federal gun control, states and even local governments can help bring these unconstitutional acts to their much-needed end.”

LEGAL BASIS

The state of South Carolina can legally bar state agents from enforcing federal gun control. Refusal to cooperate with federal enforcement rests on a well-established legal principle known as the anti-commandeering doctrine.

Simply put, the federal government cannot force states to help implement or enforce any federal act or program. The anti-commandeering doctrine is based primarily on five Supreme Court cases dating back to 1842. Printz v. U.S. serves as the cornerstone.

“We held in New York that Congress cannot compel the States to enact or enforce a federal regulatory program. Today we hold that Congress cannot circumvent that prohibition by conscripting the States’ officers directly. The Federal Government may neither issue directives requiring the States to address particular problems, nor command the States’ officers, or those of their political subdivisions, to administer or enforce a federal regulatory program. It matters not whether policy making is involved, and no case by case weighing of the burdens or benefits is necessary; such commands are fundamentally incompatible with our constitutional system of dual sovereignty”

WHAT’S NEXT

Both bills were referred to the House Committee on Judiciary where they must pass by a majority vote before moving forward in the legislative process.

Originally appeared in Tenth Amendment Center.

Lakelands Lawmakers Pre-file Legislation for 2021

One Lakelands lawmaker has pre-filed nearly 20 pieces of proposed legislation ahead of next year’s session in the Statehouse.

State Rep. Stewart Jones, who represents parts of Greenwood and Laurens counties, filed 19 bills during the December pre-filing period.

“There is a lot of ideas,” Jones said. “Trying to get the ball rolling.”

While many bills have been filed to adjust the income tax, Jones pre-filed a bill that would fix the state income tax once and for all.

“It eliminates the income tax,” Jones said of the bill.

Jones also pre-filed a bill that would prevent the state from accepting any funds related to enforcing a federal mask mandate or a federal vaccine mandate.

“I’m not telling people to not wear a mask or get the vaccine,” Jones said.

Jones explained that the legislation would prevent the government from mandating the wearing of masks or forcing people to be vaccinated. He said he believes such decisions are ones people should make for themselves.

Another bill he sponsored would prevent the state from using any resource to enforce any federal regulation or executive order that would infringe on the protections of the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Jones said he filed a similar bill last year in response to red flag laws.

“Our state is not going to take that funding,” Jones said.

He also filed three bills related to the removal of monuments or names of historical figures from public buildings.

“Does it really help anything to remove that?” he asked.

Jones said he is an eighth generation South Carolinian who wants to defend the heritage of the state.

“I think we need to stand up right now,” Jones said.

One of the bills would remove all general fund appropriations for any institution of higher learning that removes the name of a historical figure from a college or building. Another bill would require the state treasurer to withhold any disbursement from the local government fund to any county or municipality that removes a monument or memorial of a historical figure.

One bill even would make voting for the removal of a monument by a local government official guilty of a misdemeanor, accompanied by a $25 million fine.

“I want to make it extremely clear, we need to be protecting history,” Jones said.

Jones also pre-filed several bills related to blockchain technology.

“I’m a technology guy,” Jones said.

One of his bills would create a committee to study using blockchain technology for state voters to verify their votes.

“I’ve been looking at ways to make voting more reliable,” he said.

The way the technology works is a voter would have a blockchain key the voter could use to securely login and see their selections on their ballot, Jones said. It would also allow the state to count the number of votes.

“The idea is to see the total amount of votes,” Jones said.

Jones filed two other bills related to this technology. He said blockchain technology could bring more business to the state.

As for the upcoming session, Jones said two things will most likely dominate legislators’ time.

“The way it looks right now, we will have some tax reforms,” Jones said.

He also said reapportionment will take up a lot of time as legislators look at redrawing political lines after the 2020 census data comes in.

While Jones filed many bills, some legislators filed none. Rep. Craig Gagnon, an Abbeville Republican, and Rep. Anne Parks, a Democrat who represents parts of Greenwood and McCormick counties, had no pre-filed legislation. However, Parks said she was most interested in hate crimes legislation introduced by Rep. Wendell Gilliard, a Charleston Democrat. Parks signed on as a co-sponsor of the legislation.

As previously reported, Greenwood Rep. John McCravy pre-filed the “SC Stands for Life Act,” an omnibus bill that incorporates the S.C. Fetal Heartbeat bill, the dismemberment bill and other elements into one comprehensive legislative bill. He also pre-filed a bill that would make state income tax levels the same for a married couple filing jointly as it does two single individuals.

Sen. Billy Garrett, a newly elected Republican who represents parts of Greenwood, Abbeville, McCormick and Saluda counties, also pre-filed both bills in the state Senate.

McCravy pre-filed legislation to create a “Fallen First Responder Survivor Advocate” to help the families of fallen first responders after their relative dies.

Sen. Mike Gambrell, a Republican representing parts of Anderson, Abbeville and Greenwood counties, pre-filed two bills. One bill would create a civil penalty for the owner of a motor vehicle who is caught by photograph or video unlawfully passing a school bus.

Gambrell’s second bill would amend the code of laws regulating the licensure of physical therapists to require a criminal background check be completed prior to the department issuing a license.

The General Assembly will convene Jan. 12.

Originally appeared in the Index Journal

South Carolina Bill Would Set Foundation to Block Unconstitutional National Guard Deployments

COLUMBIA, S.C. (Dec. 22, 2020) – A bill prefiled in the South Carolina House would prohibit unconstitutional foreign deployments of the state’s National Guard troops. Passage into law would take a step toward restoring the founders’ constitutional framework for a state-federal balance regarding the state militia.

Rep. Stewart Jones (R-Laurens) filed House Bill 3528 (H3528) on Dec. 16. The legislation would prohibit placing South Carolina National Guard troops under federal control unless the governor determines they are being deployed in a manner consistent with the U.S. Constitution. The proposed law would require the governor to “examine, consider, and review” every federal order, including all existing orders, that call, transfer, or place the South Carolina National Guard on federal active duty.

Notwithstanding another provision of law, upon completion of the legal review required pursuant to this article, the Governor immediately shall withhold, withdraw, or revoke, or cause to be withheld, withdrawn, or revoked all state approvals, authorizations, or orders relating to the call, transfer, or placement of the South Carolina National Guard, or any of its subordinate commands, units, or personnel on federal active duty or under federal control in the absence of:

(1)    a military invasion of the United States;

(2)    an insurrection; or

(3)    a calling forth of the South Carolina National Guard by the federal government in a manner provided for by the U.S. Congress to execute the laws of the United States, provided that these laws were made pursuant to powers delegated to the United States by the U.S. Constitution.

IN PRACTICE

National Guard troops have played significant roles in all modern overseas conflicts, with over 650,000 deployed since 2001. Military.com reports that “Guard and Reserve units made up about 45 percent of the total force sent to Iraq and Afghanistan, and received about 18.4 percent of the casualties.” More specifically, South Carolina National Guard troops have participated in missions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Kuwait, Kosovo and elsewhere.

Since none of these missions fall under the three criteria constitutionally necessary to call up the militia, the South Carolina Defend the Guard Act would have prohibited those deployments.

BACKGROUND

Article I, Section 8, Clauses 15 and 16 make up the “militia clauses” of the Constitution. Clause 16 authorizes Congress to “provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia.” Through the Dick Act of 1903, Congress organized the militia into today’s National Guard, limiting the part of the militia that could be called into federal service rather than the “entire body of people,” which makes up the totality of the “militia.” Thus, today’s National Guard is governed by the “militia clauses” of the Constitution, and this view is confirmed by the National Guard itself.

Clause 15 delegates to the Congress the power to provide for “calling forth the militia” in three situations only: 1) to execute the laws of the union, 2) to suppress insurrections, and 3) to repel invasions.

During state ratifying conventions, proponents of the Constitution, including James Madison and Edmund Randolph, repeatedly assured the people that this power to call forth the militia into federal service would be limited to those very specific situations, and not for general purposes, like helping victims of a disease outbreak or engaging in “kinetic military actions.”

RETURNING TO THE CONSTITUTION

The founding generation was careful to ensure the president wouldn’t have the power to drag the United States into endless wars. James Madison made this clear in a letter to Thomas Jefferson.

The constitution supposes, what the History of all Governments demonstrates, that the Executive is the branch of power most interested in war, & most prone to it. It has accordingly with studied care, vested the question of war in the Legislature.

Congress has abrogated its responsibility and allowed the president to exercise almost complete discretion when it comes to war. Passage of Defend the Guard legislation would pressure Congress to do its constitutional duty.

West Virginia Rep. Pat McGeehan served as an Air Force intelligence officer in Afghanistan and has sponsored similar legislation in his state.

“For decades, the power of war has long been abused by this supreme executive, and unfortunately our men and women in uniform have been sent off into harm’s way over and over,” he said. “If the U.S. Congress is unwilling to reclaim its constitutional obligation, then the states themselves must act to correct the erosion of constitutional law.”

Passage of Defend the Guard would also force the federal government to only use the Guard for the three expressly-delegated purposes in the Constitution, and at other times to remain where the Guard belongs, at home, supporting and protecting their home state.

While getting this bill passed won’t be easy and will face fierce opposition from the establishment, it certainly is, as Daniel Webster once noted, “one of the reasons state governments even exist.”

Webster made this observation in an 1814 speech on the floor of Congress where he urged actions similar to the Oklahoma Defend the Guard Act. He said, “The operation of measures thus unconstitutional and illegal ought to be prevented by a resort to other measures which are both constitutional and legal. It will be the solemn duty of the State governments to protect their own authority over their own militia, and to interpose between their citizens and arbitrary power. These are among the objects for which the State governments exist.”

WHAT’S NEXT

H3528 will be officially introduced and referred to the House Judiciary Committee when the regular session convenes on Jan. 12, 2021.

South Carolina Bills Would Set the Foundation to Nullify Federal Mask or Vaccine Mandates

COLUMBIA, S.C. (Dec. 16, 2020) – Two bills introduced in the South Carolina House would ban the enforcement of any federal mask mandate and prohibit the state from taking any federal funding connected to a federal mask or vaccine mandate. Passage of these bills would set the stage to nullify any federal maks or vaccine mandates in practice and effect.

Rep. Stewart Jones (R-Laurens) filed House Bill 3126 (H3126) on Dec. 9. The legislation would ban the state or any of its political subdivisions from accepting federal funds “to enforce an unlawful federal mask mandate or unlawful federal vaccine mandate.” The bill includes a detailed definition of “unlawful” mandates that covers virtually any law, rule, regulation, or executive order from any agency or branch of the federal government.

Jones, along with Rep. Bill Chumley (R-Spartanburg) and Rep. Mike Burns (R-Greenville) introduced House Bill 3218 (H3218) the same day. The legislation would prohibit state and local officials in South Carolina from participating in the enforcement of “any unlawful federal mask mandate that violates the Tenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.” “Unlawful federal mask mandate” is defined as “any federal law, order, rule, regulation, plan of action, or otherwise which requires a resident of the State of South Carolina to wear a face mask or other face-covering to minimize the spread of COVID-19 or any other infectious disease.” Any state or local official violating the law would be subject to a $2,000 fine.

EFFECTIVE

The federal government relies heavily on state cooperation to implement and enforce almost all of its laws, regulations and acts. A mask or vaccine mandate would be no different. By simply withdrawing this necessary cooperation, states and localities can nullify many federal actions in effect. As noted by the National Governors’ Association during the partial government shutdown of 2013, “states are partners with the federal government on most federal programs.”

Based on James Madison’s advice for states and individuals in Federalist #46, a “refusal to cooperate with officers of the Union” is an extremely effective method to effectively nullify any future federal mask or vaccine mandate because most enforcement actions rely on help, support and leadership from state and local governments. Without state and local enforcement action, the ban would quickly fall apart in South Carolina.

Prohibiting the state from accepting funding related to masks or vaccine mandates is important because that is the most likely pathway the Biden administration would take to try to implement a federal mask or vaccine program. Even the mainstream concedes that a national mask mandate would be unconstitutional and impossible to enforce. Lawrence Gostin, director of Georgetown University’s O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law admitted as much to USA Today.

“A national mandate is not possible because public health powers belong to the states, not the federal government. The federal government couldn’t implement its own mask mandates, nor could it force the states to do it.”

Instead, Biden has floated the idea of “appealing to governors and local officials.” Funding would almost certainly be used as a carrot or a stick. USA Today reported, “Biden also could require states to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance to qualify for certain federal funds.”

A legislative prohibition on accepting such funding would tie the hands of the South Carolina governor and all local officials. With state agencies unable to accept funding and prohibited from enforcing the policies, these two bills together would effectively nullify any federal mask mandate in practice and effect.

LEGAL BASIS

The state of South Carolina can legally bar state agents from enforcing federal mask or vaccine mandates. Refusal to cooperate with federal enforcement rests on a well-established legal principle known as the anti-commandeering doctrine.

Simply put, the federal government cannot force states to help implement or enforce any federal act or program. The anti-commandeering doctrine is based primarily on five Supreme Court cases dating back to 1842. Printz v. U.S. serves as the cornerstone.

“We held in New York that Congress cannot compel the States to enact or enforce a federal regulatory program. Today we hold that Congress cannot circumvent that prohibition by conscripting the States’ officers directly. The Federal Government may neither issue directives requiring the States to address particular problems, nor command the States’ officers, or those of their political subdivisions, to administer or enforce a federal regulatory program. It matters not whether policy making is involved, and no case by case weighing of the burdens or benefits is necessary; such commands are fundamentally incompatible with our constitutional system of dual sovereignty”

WHAT’S NEXT

Both bills will be officially introduced when the South Carolina legislature convenes on Jan. 12. H3126 will be referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means and H3218 will be referred to the House Committee on Judiciary. Both will have to pass their respective committees by a majority vote before moving forward in the legislative session.

Originally appeared in Tenth Amendment Center.

States Must Take the Lead to Keep America First

Why state legislators should follow the example set by South Carolina’s Defend the Guard Act

While President Trump was negotiating yet another peace agreement this week — this time between Israel and Morocco — his enemies beat the drums of war in their ongoing effort to overthrow the America First foreign policy.

It’s sad that throughout the entirety of Mr. Trump’s presidency, the swamp has worked around the clock to dismantle his efforts toward peace. Even worse, with the passage of the disastrous, $740.5 billion 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), it appears the neocons and pro-war left will soon regain the levers of federal power, plunging America into another four years of stupid, pointless, endless wars abroad.

With America’s armed forces soon to fall under the control of a Congress that will, in all likelihood, do everything they can to keep our troops overseas, it’s time for the states to step up. This is why I will soon be filing the Defend the Guard Act in South Carolina, a bill that would allow the governor to withhold national guard troops from being brought under federal control.

Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, was one of the precious few voices of reason in the congressional vote on the NDAA. In his speech before the Senate, he said, “They believe that a president has the power to go to war anywhere anytime, but when a president tries to remove troops, they say ‘Oh no no. What we really want are 535 generals in Congress to tell him he can’t leave a war.’” Rep. Thomas Massie, Kentucky Republican, also took to Twitter to criticize the bill, writing, “This NDAA bill contains specific language to make it harder for the president to bring our troops home from Afghanistan.”

But heroes of liberty like Mr. Paul and Mr. Massie cannot fight this issue alone. Without reinforcements from elected officials across the board and a powerful grassroots movement to end America’s military expeditionalism, our efforts will never amount to anything beyond empty rhetoric.

In 1950, my grandfather was drafted into the Korean conflict. I grew up hearing stories of courage and sacrifice. The problem with American involvement in Korea was that it didn’t follow a declaration of war, but a U.N. decision to get the U.S. to intervene.

Undeclared war — something with which our country has become painfully familiar over the last half-century — plunges our country into foreign quagmires based on the whims of politicians, rather than American interests.

In Article I of the United States Constitution, Congress is given the authority to declare war; history shows that this check on war is critical to the survival of our republic. The Founders repeatedly warned of the dangers of excessive foreign intervention, having studied the fall of countless republics into entangled empires. 

In Thomas Jefferson’s 1801 address to Congress, he said that the key to preserving our republic was “peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations — entangling alliances with none.” In 1795, James Madison said that “of all enemies to public liberty war, is perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other.” Mr. Trump has tried to follow this advice and our country has seen the benefits of peace and commerce in recent years.

The pressure needed to apply to Washington if we are to see this objective through will not generate itself; it will have to emanate from leaders from across the country who are sick of seeing brave American service men and women shipped overseas with no objective, no plan, and no exit strategy. As I file the Defend the Guard Act in South Carolina, I call on state legislators elsewhere to do the same in their legislatures.

• Stewart Jones is a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives.

Originally appeared in the Washington Times.

South Carolina Bills Would Take Steps Toward Treating Gold and Silver as Money

COLUMBIA, S.C. (Dec 10, 2020) – Three bills prefiled in the South Carolina House would take important steps toward treating gold and silver as money instead of commodities, and would set the stage to undermine the Federal Reserve’s monopoly on money.

Rep. Stewart Jones (R-Laurens) filed all three bills.

House Bill 3377 (H3377) would make gold and silver coins legal tender in the state. Under the proposed law, “gold and silver coins minted foreign or domestic shall be legal tender in the State of South Carolina under the laws of this State. No person or other entity may compel another person or other entity to tender or accept gold or silver coin unless agreed upon by the parties.”

Practically speaking, this would allow South Carolina residents to use gold or silver coins to pay taxes and other debts owed to the state. In effect, it would put gold and silver on the same footing as Federal Reserve notes.

The phrase, “unless agreed upon by the parties” has important legal ramifications. This wording reaffirms the court’s ability, and constitutional responsibility according to Article I, Section 10, to require specific performance when enforcing such contracts. If voluntary parties agree to be paid, or to pay, in gold and silver coin, South Carolina courts could not substitute any other thing, e.g. Federal Reserve Notes, as payment.

South Carolina could become the fourth state to recognize gold and silver as legal tender. Utah led the way, reestablishing constitutional money in 2011. Wyoming and Oklahoma have since joined.

The effect has been most dramatic in Utah where United Precious Metals Association (UMPA) was established after the passage of the Utah Specie Legal Tender Act and the elimination of all taxes on gold and silver. UPMA offers accounts denominated in U.S.-minted gold and silver dollars. The company also recently released the “Utah Goldback.” UPMA describes it as “the first local, voluntary currency to be made of a spendable, beautiful, physical gold.”

KNOCKING DOWN BARRIERS

Taxes on gold and silver erect barriers to using gold and silver as money by raising transaction costs. House Bill 3378 (H3378) would effectively exempt gold, silver and platinum bullion from state capital gains taxes. Passage of this legislation would eliminate a significant barrier to using gold and silver in everyday transactions, a foundational step for people to undermine the Federal Reserve’s monopoly on money.

South Carolina has already repealed the sales tax on gold and silver. That removed one barrier to using gold and silver in everyday transactions. Passage of H3378 would remove another barrier.

With the passage of H3378, South Carolina would take a step toward treating gold, silver and platinum as money instead of a commodity. As Sound Money Defense League policy director Jp Cortez testified during a committee hearing on a similar bill in Wyoming in 2018, charging taxes on money itself is beyond the pale.

“In effect, states that collect taxes on purchases of precious metals are inherently saying gold and silver are not money at all.”

Imagine if you asked a grocery clerk to break a $5 bill and he charged you a 35 cent tax. Silly, right? After all, you were only exchanging one form of money for another. But that’s essentially what South Carolina’s capital gains tax on gold and silver bullion does. By eliminating this tax on the exchange of gold and silver, South Carolina would treat specie as money instead of a commodity. This represents a small step toward reestablishing gold and silver as legal tender and breaking down the Fed’s monopoly on money.

“We ought not to tax money – and that’s a good idea. It makes no sense to tax money,” former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul said during testimony in support an Arizona bill that repealed capital gains taxes on gold and silver in that state. “Paper is not money, it’s fraud,” he continued.

GOLD BULLION DEPOSITORY

Stewart also prefiled House Bill 3379 (H3379). This joint resolution would create a study committee to determine the feasibility and efficacy of the establishment of a bullion repository in this state to store gold, silver, and other metals for the state’s reserves and for investments. The committee would be required to issue a report of its findings to the General Assembly by January 15, 2022.

South Carolina has a model it could follow. In the summer of 2015, Texas Gov. Doug Abbot signed a law creating a state gold bullion and precious metal depository in his state. The depository received its first deposits in the summer of 2018. The facility will not only provide a secure place for individuals, businesses, cities, counties, government agencies and even other countries to store gold and other precious metals, the law also creates a mechanism to facilitate the everyday use of gold and silver in transactions. In short, a person will eventually be able to deposit gold or silver – and pay other people through electronic means or checks – in sound money.

A state gold repository also creates an avenue toward financial independence. Countries around the world, including China, Russia and Turkey, have been buying gold to limit their dependence on the U.S. dollar. University of Houston political science professor Brandon Rottinghaus said a state depository can serve a similar function for Texas.

“This is another in a long line of ways to make Texas more self-reliant and less tethered to the federal government. The financial impact is small but the political impact is telling, Many conservatives are interested in returning to the gold standard and circumvent the Federal reserve in whatever small way they can.”

The Tennessee legislature passed a resolution declaring support for the creation of a gold bullion depository in the Volunteer State back in 2016, but never followed up with any legislation. If South Carolina does create a study committee, it will be imperative to follow up with further legislation to actually establish a repository once the report is issued.

BACKGROUND

The United States Constitution states in Article I, Section 10, “No State shall…make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts.” Currently, all debts and taxes in South Carolina are either paid with Federal Reserve Notes (dollars) which were authorized as legal tender by Congress or with coins issued by the U.S. Treasury — very few of which have gold or silver in them.

The Federal Reserve destroys this constitutional monetary system by creating a monopoly based on its fiat currency. Without the backing of gold or silver, the central bank can easily create money out of thin air. This not only devalues your purchasing power over time; it also allows the federal government to borrow and spend far beyond what would be possible in a sound money system. Without the Fed, it the U.S. government wouldn’t be able to maintain all of its unconstitutional wars and programs. The Federal Reserve is the engine that drives the most powerful government in the history of the world.

Passage of H3377 would reestablish gold and silver as legal tender in the state and take a step toward that constitutional requirement, ignored for decades in every state. Passing H3378 would remove one of the tax barriers that hinder the use of gold and silver as money.

Passage of both bills would also begin the process of abolishing the Federal Reserve system by attacking it from the bottom up – pulling the rug out from under it by working to make its functions irrelevant at the state and local levels, and setting the stage to undermine the Federal Reserve monopoly by introducing competition into the monetary system.

Constitutional tender expert Professor William Greene said when people in multiple states actually start using gold and silver instead of Federal Reserve Notes, it would effectively nullify the Federal Reserve and end the federal government’s monopoly on money.

“Over time, as residents of the state use both Federal Reserve notes and silver and gold coins, the fact that the coins hold their value more than Federal Reserve notes do will lead to a “reverse Gresham’s Law” effect, where good money (gold and silver coins) will drive out bad money (Federal Reserve notes). As this happens, a cascade of events can begin to occur, including the flow of real wealth toward the state’s treasury, an influx of banking business from outside of the state – as people in other states carry out their desire to bank with sound money – and an eventual outcry against the use of Federal Reserve notes for any transactions.”

Once things get to that point, Federal Reserve notes would become largely unwanted and irrelevant for ordinary people. Nullifying the Fed on a state by state level is what will get us there.

WHAT’S NEXT

All three bills will be officially introduced when the South Carolina legislature convenes on Jan. 12. H3377 will be referred to the House Judiciary Committee. H3378 and H3379 will be referred to the House Ways Means Committee. Each bill will have to pass committee by a majority vote before moving forward in the legislative process.

Originally appeared in Tenth Amendment Center.

The Calhoun Monument Deserved Legal and Historical Protection

As some business owners and residents on King Street described it, “Charleston was raped” on the night of May 30, 2020, as mobs looted and burned the Holy City, turning so-called “peaceful protests” violent. Following numerous calls to remove the John C. Calhoun Monument and repeal the South Carolina Heritage Act, Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg took a resolution to the city council to defy state law and remove the monument. Meanwhile, Democrat state lawmakers encouraged Charleston’s local leaders to tear it down regardless of the state law.

On June 23, the council held an emergency meeting via Zoom and voted unanimously to remove the statue of Calhoun on Marion Square. In the dead of night (at approximately 1:00 a.m. on June 24) crews began working to remove the statue of Calhoun.

While Marion Square (the site upon which the monument was set) has a unique agreement as a privately owned public space, the monument itself was erected with funds collected by the Ladies’ Calhoun Monument Association (LCMA) and entrusted to the City of Charleston. Therefore, it had all the protections of a “public war related monument” as specified under the SC Heritage Act.

Aside from that, the history of the monument tells an incredible story, one certainly worthy of  sharing with generations to come. Shortly after Calhoun’s death in 1850, a multitude of civic organizations (led by the LCMA) began raising funds to erect a monument to “South Carolina’s Greatest Son”. Their task would take over 46 years to complete.

The cornerstone for the base of the monument was laid in 1858. During the ceremony, a chest was placed in the ground by dignitaries, each of whom placed an important item in the box. Some of those items included a cannonball from the Battle of Fort Moultrie (then known as Fort Sullivan) in 1776, one hundred dollars of continental money, locks of Calhoun’s hair, material that had been used at his funeral, and a multitude of original documents — including some of his speeches.

The LCMA would soon divert their energy toward the worst war in American history by turning “their attention from rendering honors to the dead to administering to the living; to staying the blood that gushed from many a wound…” At their final meeting before the War Between the States, they resolved “that it is the wish of this Association, that the Calhoun Monument shall be the first public work carried on after the restoration of Peace, as a just tribute to the memory of our Political Father, John C. Calhoun.”

Some of the funds for his statue were used to relocate Calhoun’s body from his grave as the Yankees ransacked, burned, and looted the South. His body was returned to its proper resting place at St. Phillips Church in Charleston after the war was over.

The original statue was finally erected in 1887, and — as a symbol of remembrance for the “cast iron man” — was one of the earlier statues in South Carolina. It was also a symbol of reconciliation for southerners who had just lost everything in the war and during Reconstruction. There was an effort by the LCMA toward an educational fund; however, those efforts were met with challenges.

The original statue was said to be an inadequate representation of Calhoun; therefore, a second bronze figure was commissioned. In 1896, the statue was erected and placed atop a 115-foot pedestal made of Carolina granite. One hundred and twenty-four years later, that statue of Calhoun was removed from its pedestal and brought down. Shortly after this demolition crews toppled the pedestal, breaking the base in the process, which the City of Charleston is planning to bust up next week.

Politicians and radicals are always seeking ways to make themselves relevant. Unfortunately, many today believe that they must destroy the figures of the past in order to stake their claim on the present. As an eighth-generation South Carolinian, I believe that this “cancel culture” mentality is doing a grave injustice to everyone.

There is a serious physiological problem in society. Some believe specific issues around the country are happening because of the history of the South and the United States. Some believe we all must appease the Left and condemn America’s Founders as racists whose memories should be wiped from the public eye.

The fact of the matter is that the death of George Floyd had nothing to do with John C. Calhoun. The deaths of the nine innocent people who were murdered at Mother Emanuel AME Church in June 2015 by a psychotic individual who was on mind altering drugs had nothing to do with John C. Calhoun. Even if an action is committed for truly racist reasons, those actions cannot simply be blamed on the people of the past.

All of this poses a serious question on individual responsibility. Today, many have adopted the belief that government, or even society, is responsible, rather than the individual. I fear that the sacred stones of liberty and history will continue to be destroyed until this personal responsibility is restored. People must stop pandering to calls from cancel culture mobs.

The problems of today do not stem from statues. The destruction of the John C. Calhoun Monument is a story of capitulation, one in which the cornerstones of liberty are being chipped away. Further, many of the statues being destroyed were statues of reconciliation — in the case of Calhoun’s monument, erected to bring people together after nearly one million Americans died in the War Between the States.

While this erasure of Southern heritage began many years ago, the current protection of monuments in South Carolina started in the year 2000, with the passage of the SC Heritage Act. The bill was enacted as a compromise to bring the Confederate Battle Flag off the dome of the South Carolina State House. The flag was to be moved to the Confederate Soldier Monument on the front lawn, in exchange for the protection of all public war-related, African-American, and Native American monuments and memorials. The law also protects the many streets, bridges, parks, and public areas of the state and its subdivisions that are named after historical figures from being renamed or rededicated.

If you’re wondering why the SC Heritage Act did not protect the John C. Calhoun Monument, both Mayor Tecklenburg and South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson have said that the monument does not have protection under the Heritage Act. While the Calhoun monument has its own unique legal situation, I believe that it does fall under the protection of SC Heritage Act.

Here’s why: Born on March 18, 1782 in the Abbeville District of South Carolina, John C. Calhoun completed his studies at Yale University in 1804. He studied law before taking apprenticeships in Charleston and Abbeville.

Calhoun helped organize a town meeting in August 1807 in Abbeville to denounce the attack by a British warship on an American ship, the Chesapeake, off the coast of Virginia. In what would become his mission to stop the blockade and attacks on the American ships and economy, he was one of the first to call for a Second War for Independence against Britain and their continued tyranny over America.

He was then elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives in 1808 before being elected to Congress in 1810 serving the old Abbeville District of Abbeville, Laurens, and Newberry Counties. Along with Speaker Henry Clay, Calhoun was known as a “war hawk.” His work as Chairman for the House Foreign Relations Committee and majority leader was critical to American efforts against Britain.

Calhoun himself would introduce the Declaration of War with Britain in June of 1812, saying, “This is the second struggle for our liberty; and if we but do justice to ourselves, it will be no less glorious and successful than the first. Let us but exert ourselves, and we must meet with the prospering smile of heaven. Sir, I assert it with confidence, a war just and necessary in its origin, wisely and vigorously carried on, and honorably terminated, would establish the integrity and prosperity of our country for centuries.”

Along with a crippling blockade of American ships, the British burned down many buildings in Washington, including the White House; however America beat back British naval forces. The War of 1812 ended two years later with the Treaty of Ghent, signed on Christmas Day 1814.

Calhoun was known by his Congressional colleagues as “young Hercules who carried the war on his shoulders.” Without a doubt, his entry onto the public stage was centered around this – his service in the War of 1812.

He not only played a critical role in the War of 1812, but accepted the position as Secretary of War under President James Monroe in 1817. One federal officer wrote that “if ever there was perfection carried into any branch of the public service, it was that which Mr. Calhoun carried into the War Department.” Secretary Calhoun would lead the effort to restructure the armed services, helping launch the concept of the “expansible army”, which allowed for less U.S. troops to be active during times of peace and to quickly expand with a threat of war.

As he worked toward better military, he advanced military education through his proposal for a “school of practice” for enlisted men. As Secretary of War, Calhoun modernized and professionalized the defense of the United States. His work to ensure American naval forces had victory was even recognized in 1961 with the naming of the USS John C. Calhoun Nuclear Submarine. The ship played a role in ending the Cold War, as it was strategically positioned around the world.

Bvt. Maj. Sylvanus Thayer was appointed Superintendent of the United States Military Academy at West Point and, with Calhoun’s help, organized the cadets into tactical units, created the Commandant of Cadets, and dramatically improved the curriculum. Thayer would later become known as the “Father of the U.S. Military Academy”.

While Secretary of War, Calhoun helped acquire and direct resources for General Andrew Jackson and the military; however in 1818 he recognized Jackson’s overreach in invading Florida (which was then owned by Spain). What was supposed to have been a mission to stop Seminole raids on American settlements led to Spain forfeiting Florida to the U.S. After the First Seminole War, Calhoun would go on to serve as Vice President under two separate administrations: those of John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson.

As Professor and Historian, Clyde N. Wilson said “it is reasonable to say that Calhoun in his seven years in the War Department did more to create the peacetime U.S. than any other single individual.

Some have said that Calhoun’s positions as an advocate for the War of 1812 is inconsistent with his stances in later years; however, Great Britain was a real threat to the United States on both its coast and its northern border.

As time moved on and government grew, Calhoun’s constitutionally restricted view of government was tested even more. On the question of going to war with Mexico in 1846, in his Jeffersonian manner Calhoun said, “war may make us great; but let it never be forgotten that peace only can make us both great and free.” As a United States Senator, he delivered a speech before the Senate the following year stating “…we begin now to find the misfortune of entering into war without a declaration of war – without a declaration setting forth to the people the causes of the war, and upon which they may hold the Government responsible. We have got into a war by recognition of war, and not a declaration…”

He went on to say, “Every Senator knows that I was opposed to the war; but none knows but myself the depth of that opposition. With my conceptions of its character and consequences, it was impossible for me to vote for it.”

Just think if those in Washington had listened to Calhoun’s warnings against many of the undeclared and unnecessary wars. Calhoun was a true statesman, a man of reason and peace who would not allow the US to be bullied. In the true tradition of the Founders, he was a man that would only use war for defense and never for conquest or empire.

Between restructuring the Armed Forces and defending the principle of Constitutional war, it is impossible to deny that Calhoun played a key role in nineteenth-century American history as a Congressman, Secretary of War, Secretary of State, and Vice President. These facts without any doubt demonstrate that public monuments dedicated to Calhoun do have standing under the protections of the SC Heritage Act.

One cannot understand the history of South Carolina without the story of John C. Calhoun. It is a great tragedy that the State of South Carolina and the people of Charleston have allowed his monument to come down. I pray for and continue to work toward a “restoration of Peace,” a day when we as Southerners, as Americans, can reconcile our differences and appreciate the uniqueness that has made us who we are.

Originally appeared in the Abbeville Institute.