Friday, January 22, 2010

Sheriffs First Act

The Sheriffs First Act (HB-2713) is scheduled to be out of committee February 2. It is part of a package of small government themed house bills, Matt Shea explains in full in Resist DC, an article he wrote for a small government think tank.

The Sheriffs First Act affirms the County Sheriffs role as the senior law enforcement officer both in terms of rank and legal authority in a county by regulating the jurisdiction of federal employees to perform arrests, searches and seizures in Washington State. It asserts that the federal government was created to serve the states and not the other way around.

It is not unconstitutional, said Shea. People who say this do not understand the history behind Anglo Saxon Common Law.

The social logic behind these small government house bills is to empower the people of Washington State and affirm the value of local knowledge. For example, nobody understands the interests of Clallam County than the people of Clallam County.

The Squim Gazette documents a story here about Clallam County Sheriff Bill Benedict, who wants to delegate the disposal of unused prescription medications to the man who initially dispensed them, Cy Frick of Frick's Drugs in Squim. Trivial conflict with federal DEA ensues.

Fox television show Bones alludes to sovereignty rights of local sheriffs in January 14 episode titled "X in the File" in which local sheriff character refuses to release evidence of a crime to federal agents.

Both mainstream news sources and progressive bloggers describe this recent push for small government legislation as coming from a wacky fringe element GOP, an effort to undermine the union. But it is important, says Shea, to make a distinction between national politics and state politics. At a state and county level, Shea says, GOP politics have traditionally been in favor of small government practices.

Update: Ron Periguin, undersheriff at Clallam County gave me a call. He said he would not be surprised if the Sheriffs First Act is soon found to be unconstitutional.

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