As Bob Carr of Muskegon made his 150-mile trip across the state Monday to Howell, he said he was curious as to how many people would show for the kickoff of a state-wide petition drive to repeal the national health care law.

He was surprised to see about 220 people show up at the Howell High School Freshman Campus cafeteria.

"We thought it was a basketball game going on," Carr said.

Wendy Day of Common Sense in Government is spearheading the drive to have an amendment to the state's Constitution that would repeal many aspects of the nationalized health care bill that recently passed.

The first step was Monday.

Day said they need to get 380,000 valid signatures by July 5 to put it on the ballot in November.

"There is nothing more important going on," Day told the crowd. "...Everybody is fired up about this issue."

Just what impact a state amendment would have is unclear. No experts dispute that federal courts usually find that federal law trumps state law. But the movement behind the petition has some case law that it is pinning its hopes upon.

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  • The U.S. Supreme Court scaled back two federal laws after much public opposition. In 1997, the Court ruled unconstitutional parts of the Brady Act gun law. In 2000, the Court overturned part of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994.
  • The REAL ID Act of 2005 is a U.S. federal law that was to impose new security standards for a state's driver's licenses. Many states opposed it with their own state laws and the act has not been implemented, according to The 10th Amendment Center, a public policy think tank in Los Angeles.
  • In California and Michigan, the state law allowing medicinal marijuana is in conflict with the national law. In both states, the federal government can prosecute for medicinal marijuana use even though the state allows it, but has been reluctant to do so.

State Senator Wayne Kuipers, R-Holland, told the crowd tongue-in-cheek that one option was off the table:  "We are not seceding from the Union."

"Not yet," shot back a woman as the crowd laughed.

Diane Bruce of Oceola Township walked out of the cafeteria carrying a packet containing petitions.

She said she wants to get the health care bill repealed, "but I don't think it will happen."

"Wishful. ... Hoping... Trying."

Bruce said she's never been involved in a petition drive before, but was moved to action due to frustration over the way it was passed and the bias in the media.

Rita Hoffman of Marion Township said she was "on the fence" over the health care bill.

She said she knew a person who lived in another state who died from pneumonia and didn't have health insurance.

"But I didn't appreciate how they got it through," Hoffman said. "They weren't listening to the people. I can see both sides. It should be left up to the people. I don't think that really happened."

~~~~~

Another petition kickoff event will take place this evening at 5:00 pm in the Oakland County Commissioner's Auditorium. It is located in Pontiac at 1200 North Telegraph Road.

Details and more information available at www.michiganhcf.com