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LEAVITT HEADS TO FLORIDA FOR STATES’ RIGHTS PITCH

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Gov. Mike Leavitt flew to Florida Thursday to pitch his plan for restoring the balance of power between state and federal governments.

He was invited to be the featured speaker Friday on a states' rights panel at the American Legislative Exchange Council's annual meeting in Tampa."He will talk about the same issues he addressed in New Orleans," governor's spokesman Tim Shehan said, referring to his speech before the National Conference of State Legislators in July when he asked those members to support the cause of reversing a constitutional power grab by Congress and federal agencies, said spokesman Tim Shehan.

The ALEC is bipartisan association of pro-business lawmakers from 50 states. Promotional material said the organization works with the private sector to provide lawmakers with research information and ideas to help formulate public policy and set terms of debate on various issues.

More than 2,000 state lawmakers and corporate executives were expected to attend the group's 21st annual gathering. How the organization will respond to Leavitt's speech was not known Thursday. The NCSL and the National Governors Association are working with Leavitt to devise an "action plan" of legal, legislative and constitutional measures to fight for states' rights.

Over the past 20 to 50 years, Leavitt says, the federal government has seriously overstepped its constitutional authority with laws and federal agency interpretation and enforcement of those laws.