By Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio
Jefferson City, Mo. – Missouri Lt. Governor Peter Kinder has announced his intent to join attorneys general in several other states in their suit challenging the federal health care law signed today by President Obama.
The lawsuit contends that the federal government cannot require people to have health insurance.
Kinder told reporters that as a constitutional officer of the state he has the authority to join in the suit.
"This law represent an unprecedented encroachment, an erosion of sovereignty in the form of millions of dollars in unfunded mandates...at no other time in the history of our country has a mandate forced citizens to purchase a product in the private marketplace," Kinder said.
The Republican Lt. Governor also said he decided not to wait on Missouri's Democratic Attorney General, Chris Koster, to file suit.
"I wrote a letter to Attorney General Koster asking him to conduct a thorough legal review of this legislation to determine what provisions might violate the constitution of the United States or (of) the state of Missouri," Kinder said.
Kinder also said that Koster never responded, and he accuses him, along with Governor Jay Nixon and U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, of ignoring both him and the people of Missouri. A spokesperson for the Attorney General's office says Koster is monitoring the situation.
Constitutional experts say it's unlikely that any state can be exempted from following a federal law.