Goods; those produced or manufactured within State are not subject to federal law, regulation, etc. (HB1438)

Introduced By

Del. Mark Cole (R-Fredericksburg)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Goods produced or manufactured in the Commonwealth; not subject to federal regulation.  Provides that all goods produced or manufactured within the Commonwealth, when such goods are held, retained, or maintained in the Commonwealth, shall not be subject to federal law, federal regulation, or the constitutional power of the United States Congress to regulate interstate commerce. The bill does not apply to goods ordered, procured, or purchased by the federal government or by a federal contractor. The bill only applies to goods produced or manufactured on or after July 1, 2011. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Failed


  • 11/09/2010 Committee
  • 11/09/2010 Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/12/11 11100306D
  • 11/09/2010 Referred to Committee on Commerce and Labor
  • 01/18/2011 Reported from Commerce and Labor (15-Y 6-N) (see vote tally)
  • 01/20/2011 Read first time
  • 01/21/2011 Passed by for the day
  • 01/24/2011 Passed by for the day
  • 01/25/2011 Read second time and engrossed
  • 01/26/2011 Read third time and passed House (65-Y 33-N 1-A)
  • 01/26/2011 VOTE: PASSAGE (65-Y 33-N 1-A) (see vote tally)
  • 01/27/2011 Constitutional reading dispensed
  • 01/27/2011 Referred to Committee on Commerce and Labor
  • 02/11/2011 Assigned C&L sub: Miscellaneous #1
  • 02/22/2011 Left in Commerce and Labor


This bill was discussed on the floor of the General Assembly. Below is all of the video that we have of that discussion, 2 clips in all, totaling 15 minutes.


Waldo Jaquith writes:

Perhaps Del. Cole is not familiar with the United States Supreme Court? Passing a state bill making such a declaration is meaningless.

robert legge writes:

Why would he do this?

Bubberella writes:


Mike Watson writes:

I'd say he is making clear the distinction between Interstate commerce, which may be regulated by the Fed, and Intrastate, which should not. Big government supporters might as well get prepared for a barrage of bills over the next few years intended to reign the fed back to its Constitutional boundaries. Yes, it may end up at the Supreme Court, but it must be done. While guns are part of it, don't leave out agriculture and other natural resources...think energy.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

But the state doesn't get to declare "we're immune from this portion of the constitution," any more than you or I get to declare "this part of the law doesn't apply to me." (Well, we do get to say that, but act on it and we'd find ourselves in prison. And rightly so.)

The Supreme Court has repeatedly and unabashedly held that all commerce is interstate commerce. In Gonzales v. Raich, in 2005 the court held that even home-grown marijuana is subject to federal regulation under the commerce clause. This was a 6-3 decision—a clear win. As The Washington Post reported at the time:

Writing for the court majority, Justice John Paul Stevens said the case was "troubling" because of users' claims that they needed marijuana to alleviate physical pain and suffering. But he concluded that the court had no choice but to uphold Congress's "firmly established" power to regulate "purely local activities . . . that have a substantial effect on interstate commerce."

Even Justice Scalia voted with the majority on this one.

The decision was based substantially on the precedent set in 1942 by Wickard v. Filburn. That was was brought against a farmer who grew twice as much wheat as his wartime production quota permitted. He said he was growing it for use on his own farm, to feed his livestock, and thus the federal government had no power to regulate it under the commerce clause. The court ruled unanimously that his actions did affect interstate commerce, and thus were subject to regulation. Famously, the court ruled that even if an activity is local and non-commerce-like,

it may still, whatever its nature, be reached by Congress if it exerts a substantial economic effect on interstate commerce, and this irrespective of whether such effect is what might at some earlier time have been defined as 'direct' or 'indirect.'"

So it's not like Del. Cole has had some brilliant idea that never crossed anybody's mind before. Not only does the state have no power whatsoever to enforce this law—it would be an illegal law—but it would run afoul of a very clearly established constitutional standard. If Del. Cole doesn't like that, he should work to get the constitution amended.

Mike Watson writes:

Thanks for the response Mr. Jaquith, and while I agree that the trend has been for federal powers to expand, i.e. "all commerce" as opposed to "interstate commerce", this was clearly not the intent of our founders, nor the states upon ratification of the Constitution; otherwise, the document would have simply stated ‘regulate all commerce” rather than specifying “with foreign nations”, “among the states”, and “Indian tribes”. Every word, every letter in the document was scrutinized by the states and these specific clarifications were placed there for reason. Those 16 words, the so-called commerce clause, have been used to cut away at the sovereignty of the states and to grant broad and expansive powers to the Federal government. Unchecked, we have migrated from Federalism to the verge of an extreme centralized government, thus recent bills put forth by members of our General Assembly as well as legislators in most states, are intended to challenge that shift. I have no argument with you that Progressive Justices have supported, even facilitated the expansion of power to the Fed. This does not preclude however, future Justices from correcting that action. HB1438 is but one of many bills proposed throughout the nation intended to bring that opportunity.

robert legge writes:

Apparently drinking too much imported tea causes Republicans to lose awareness. Heck, while they're at it, why not just say counties can ignore state regulation too.

Mike Watson writes:

You just can help yourself, can you? When logic is absent, introduce insults. I stand by my previous logical statement. But the fun; it's just getting started.

Bernadette Barber writes:

I totally agree with Mr. Watson. I focus on the Agricultural side. When the Fed's control the milk process and prices, this country is totally out of contol. The amount of govt waste and industrial influence on agricultural and food policies is phenominal. 4 companies control 83% the Meat industry in the US. For security and prosperity we need to break that apart. If my neighbor raises a steer and butchers it, I should have the right to purchase whatever steaks and burger I need for my family. Without the Federal govt involved. Did you see the "Grass Fed on the Hill " case where the FDA ran a year (and a half) long sting operation on an AMISH farmer from selling farm fresh milk to families who believed it is better for their health than processed. They are trying to throw the key away on that guy. A town in Maine passed a food sovereignty law that basically says if it is grown here, raised here purchased and eaten here..government has no right to interfere. Two other towns followed same suit and the state Ag dept is in a knot!! We need a Food Freedom Act to counter D.C's the Food Safety and Moderization Act.