Jason Spencer, Georgia State Representative

Federalism and Preservation of Liberty

“We are a sovereign state, and we need to start acting like it.”

Maintaining the Constitutionally prescribed limits on Federal and State authority is crucial to preserving our liberty. Actions by the Federal Government (such as the passage of the Affordable Care Act) have undermined state authority. We must oppose and when necessary, go to court to preserve our freedoms.

I also support measures that are necessary in bolstering state sovereignty, up holding the Ninth and Tenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, and strengthening the state’s position at the national table to protect the interests of the state of Georgia. As a strong Tenth Amendment advocate, I believe states can strengthen their position at the national table so each state’s voice is heard when federal legislation undermines the liberties of Georgia’s citizens. Furthermore, I support measures and initiatives that oppose federal overreach into state matters. We are a sovereign state, and we need to start acting like it.

Rep. Spencer’s Record on Protecting Federalism

(Fighting Obamacare: I have been one of the lead legislators in the General Assembly introducing Tenth Amendment initiatives that push back against the endless encroachments of the federal government into state affairs. I am the primary author of HB 707, The Georgia Healthcare Freedom Act and the HB 707 amendment to HB 943.)

HB943 (as amended, 2014) formerly HB707, firmly establishes that neither the State of Georgia nor any of its departments will use money or human resources to advance the voluntary expansion of the state’s eligibility for medical assistance in furtherance of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). The measure also prohibits the State of Georgia from creating an insurance exchange in compliance with the ACA, and it shuts down the University of Georgia Obamacare Navigator Program at the end of 2014.

HB990 (2014) prohibits any department, board, or representative of the State from expanding the eligibility requirements for Medicaid without legislative approval. Without this important protection in place any future Governor could unilaterally commit the state to billions of dollars in Medicaid expansion costs without going through the legislature. This is simply unacceptable given our commitment to responsible and balanced budgets. I was also a top co-signer on this bill.

SB98 (2014) addresses the Affordable Care Act as it relates to exchanges and excludes from coverage an elective termination of pregnancy. It also codifies a funding decision made by the Department of Community Health Board last Fall that provided that the SHBP will not cover elective abortions. The language in this bill reflects the current plan as it is being administered.

SB236 (2013) requires health insurance companies to indentify which portion of premium increases are attributable to the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare.

HB461 (2011-2012) allows Georgia to for compacts with other States for the purpose of health care insurance. This could broaden health insurance options for Georgia’s citizens and reduce cost.

HB248 (2011-2012) confirmed in Georgia law that Healthcare Sharing Ministries, where members help each other cover their medical costs, are not insurance programs and thus not subject to regulation by the PPACA (otherwise known as Obamacare).

Rep. Spencer’s Pro-Liberty Initiatives

HB 885 (2014), “Medical marijuana” or Haleigh’s Hope Act: Although this tightly regulated proposal died in the Senate, it never actually called for legalizing the use of marijuana. Instead, it sought to permit possession of prescribed medication made from the oil derived from the plant as a way control intractable and refractory brain seizures, especially in children. This bill actually passed the House twice despite the Senate blocking the measure this year. As one of the 90 co-sponsors of this bill, I assisted the author on the medical aspects of this bill. I voted “Yes” for medical freedom.

“As a medical professional, Rep. Jason Spencer’s insight into the medical aspects of assisting me in developing the “medical cannabis” bill (HB 885) was of great value in advancing this legislation to help the hundreds of children with seizure disorders in our state. Rep. Spencer’s consistent fight for liberty and medical freedom makes him an invaluable asset to a conservative legislature.”Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon, Author of HB 885, Haleigh’s Hope Act

HB 737 (2014). As a top co-author of this bill, we advanced freedom and liberty a little bit further this year within the home-brewing community. This bill built on the freedom extended from the Home-Brewer’s Rights bill (HB 99, 2013) by allowing up to 1 gallon of home-brew to be given as a gift to family and friends without being taxed. Here’s to you my friends!

HB 99 (2013). As the primary author of the “Home-Brewer’s Rights” bill, this bill legalized home-brew competitions across Georgia. For the first time, this legislation legitimized and recognized home-brewering as a craft and an art. By allowing home-brew competitions to be legal and also to allow for transport of non-taxable alcohol for the purposes of competition, this law has fostered economic development at festivals across the state of Georgia. As a result of the signing of  HB 99 into law, local home-brewers can have competitions and tastings without the government breathing down their necks. Also, the City of Macon was able to hold its first legal home-brew competition last year after the law was signed.

Rep. Spencer’s Record on Preserving the Constitution

On December 7, 2013, I attended the Mount Vernon Assembly in Mount Vernon, Virginia to discuss the prospects of calling a state led Article V Convention for the purposes of amending the U.S. Constitution with a federal balance budget amendment. I was one of 98 state legislators from across the country where 32 states were represented. This gathering of this many state legislators was the first of its kind since the Philadelphia Convention in 1787. As a result of this historic gathering, many initiatives were passed this legislative session to begin the process of balancing the federal budget though a state led initiative. Congress will not do it’s job, so the states must lead on this issue and preserve our children’s future.

SR736/HR1215 (2014) issues a call for an Article V convention of states for the purpose of proposing amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Georgia was the first state to issue this call.

SR371 (2014) re-issued Georgia’s call for a an Article V convention for proposing a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. constitution.

SR245 (2013) urges Congress to pass a Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment.

HB930 (2014) requires the Legislature to give instruction to delegates to a convention of states and provides a method for Georgia to recall delegates who refuse to follow those instructions. This bill will help prevent Georgia’s delegates from advancing proposals for amendments outside the scope of the convention call.

HR1130 (2011-2012)/HR273 (2013)  urges Congress to repeal the 17th Amendment and return to election of US Senators to the States as originally spelled out in the Constitution.

HR1137 (2011-2012) calls for an Article V convention for the purpose of enacting a Federal Balanced Budget Amendment.