Office of the Governor Rick Perry

Gov. Perry: 10th Amendment Gives States the Flexibility to Meet Challenges

Speaks at NCPA Hatton W. Sumners Distinguished Lecture Series
Tuesday, April 12, 2011  •  Dallas  •  Press Release

Gov. Rick Perry today emphasized the importance of competition between the states and the need to return to the principles of the 10th Amendment to ensure our nation's future prosperity. The governor spoke at the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) Hatton W. Sumners Distinguished Lecture Series.

"The system our founding fathers devised through the 10th Amendment ensures states have the flexibility to meet challenges in whichever fashion works best for them," Gov. Perry said. "Over the years, the American system has worked exceptionally well, with each state working as its own laboratory and individual engine of innovation and discovery to find innovative solutions to its challenges, motivating other states to remain competitive by coming up with their own versions."

Rather than imposing burdensome mandates and one-size-fits-all policies, the governor noted that Washington should take a page from Texas' playbook, as several other states have done, by limiting the burdensome red tape that strangles innovation in the private sector.

This session, Gov. Perry has called for a renewed emphasis on the 10th Amendment through House Concurrent Resolution 50 and Senate Concurrent Resolution 14, sponsored by Rep. Brandon Creighton and Sen. Dan Patrick. The resolutions claim sovereignty for Texas under the 10th Amendment, and assert that the 10th Amendment limits the scope of federal power to the powers specifically granted by the U.S. Constitution. The resolutions also call for an end to federal mandates on the states that are beyond the scope of the powers delegated to the federal government by the U.S. Constitution. Additionally, these measures call on the U.S. Congress to prohibit or repeal any legislation that directs states to comply with federal edicts under threat of criminal penalties, or that requires states to pass legislation to avoid losing federal funding.

The U.S. Constitution was specifically designed to limit the powers of the federal government, and leave all other powers to the states and to the people. A number of recent federal proposals are outside of the scope of the federal government's constitutionally designated powers and impede the states' right to govern themselves, such as Obamacare, the EPA's takeover of Texas' successful air permitting program, and a misguided amendment to the education jobs bill filed by Rep. Lloyd Doggett in his attempt to require the governor to make assurances in violation of the Texas Constitution.

Established in 1983, NCPA is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy research organization that develops and promotes free-market alternatives to government regulation and control, solving problems in health care, taxes, retirement, small business and the environment through the private sector. The Hatton W. Sumners Distinguished Lecture Series provides nationally and internationally renowned speakers and free market economists a forum to present important ideas to address our nation's challenges.

For more information about NCPA, please visit


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