Trends in Congressional Preemption

Congressional preemption of state governments’ regulatory powers dates to 1790, but it generally did not have a major impact until 1965, when the number of preemptive statutes increased sharply. Most congressional preemptions involve commerce, the environment, finance and health. Technological developments and interest group lobbying will result in the enactment of new preemption statutes — particularly in the areas of banking, communications, finance services, insurance and taxation — unless states initiate actions producing harmonious interstate regulatory policies.

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About the Author
Joseph F. Zimmerman is a professor of political science in Rockefeller College of the State University of New York at Albany. He is the author of several books on aspects of federalism, including Federal Preemption: The Silent Revolution (1991), Contemporary American Federalism (1992), State-Local Relations (1995), Interstate Relations: The Neglected Dimension of Federalism (1996), and Interstate Cooperation: Compacts and Administrative Agreements (2002).

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