While I was away last week, the House passed HR1837, the California Water’s Fer Fightin’ Over Act of 2012 (pdf).
The vote was largely along party lines, with only one Republican voting against the bill. Who was that lone R dissenter? Justin Amash, a 31-year-old Michigan legislator ranked by the Club for Growth as the most conservative member of the US House. Why did he oppose HR1837? From his Facebook page (where this guy seems to explain every one of his votes):
The bill accomplishes many policy goals I support: It reduces the impact of a federal regulation that requires the diversion of California’s water to wildlife protection; it requires a federal fund to be more transparent in the way it spends water users’ money; and it allows water users to purchase longer-term contracts, which could enable California farmland to be more productive.
Unfortunately, the bill preempts (overturns) state water laws. Those laws were enacted by Californians to govern water that originates in California, that is for the use of Californians, and most of which flows through a water system California built and operates. The Constitution does not give the federal government the power to overturn those laws, regardless of whether I as a federal Representative think those laws have or don’t have merit. I voted “no.”