Federalism

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments (CSG) requests the federal government to pursue opportunities to alleviate the impact of cuts in state and local grants in aid by providing greater flexibility in maintenance of effort requirements and reducing federal mandates which impact state budgets.

The balance between state and federal power has not, in recent memory, been under more scrutiny from leaders on both sides of the equation. Stimulus dollars, health care reform, education funding, unemployment insurance, Medicaid and transportation strategy are but a few critical issues that continue to drive the state/federal dialogue. In normal times, these conversations are challenging. In our current period of economic hardship with state budgets continuing to experience significant gaps, the relationship can be adversarial with decisions having real and immediate impacts on citizens, jobs and services. Talk with national experts and federal representatives about key policy programs and learn about the likely future of state/federal relations.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that Congress take action to initiate the amendment process provided by Article 5 of the Constitution of the United States to amend the Tenth Amendment and Article 1, §8 (the Interstate Commerce Clause), of the Constitution of the United States.

The Texas Tribune and the NY Times have reported that Representative Warren Chisum, a candidate for Texas House Speaker, said of Medicaid this week, “This system is bankrupting our state. We need to get out of it. And with the budget shortfall we’re anticipating, we may have to act this year.” And in Arizona, the newly elected president of the state senate, Russell Pearce, is pushing to reject federal funding for that state’s Medicaid program.

E-Newsletter #57, October 14, 2010

Kentucky Senate President David L. Williams, the 2010 chair of The Council of State Governments, will be a panelist during a discussion about redefining the state and federal relationship during a symposium on federalism, pre-emption and state law Oct. 29.

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State-local relations in 2010 are complex and continually changing. Major trends since 2007 include creation of state commissions to study the local government system and to make recommendations for its reorganization; state laws granting local governments more or less discretionary authority; state assumption of control of failing public schools and fiscally distressed cities; and numerous court decisions determining the respective powers of the state and its political subdivisions.

In the 1970s and 1980s a number of states created entities commonly known as Advisory Commissions on Intergovernmental Relations (ACIRs).  Although as many as half the states at one time or another supported ACIRs, today only about 10 continue to do so.  Relying on face-to-face interviews, phone interviews, e-mail correspondence, Web site analysis, and mailed surveys of directors and other staff members of both currently active as well as terminated ACIRs, this study reports on organization and structure, on staffing and finances, and on activities and performance characteristics of those state ACIRs that remain viable today.  The study attempts to identify those factors that seem most related to successful performance of these existing agencies as well as factors related to those terminated agencies, and, in conclusion, speculates on the continued role of ACIRs in the U.S. federal system.

Chapter 2 of the 2010 Book of the States contains the following articles and tables:

Coercive federalism continues, although “cooperative coercion” seems to characterize the current situation with President Barack Obama and Congress because of a significant increase in federal aid to state and local governments, improvements in intergovernmental communication, and movement away from total pre-emption of certain state powers. Nevertheless, federal officials continue to insist that state and local governments adhere to federal policy priorities.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments affirms, on behalf of the states, their sovereignty under the 10th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over all powers not otherwise enumerated and granted to the federal government by the Constitution of the United States.

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