Key Points
  • Article V of the U.S. Constitution provides for the states to call an Amendments Convention when the federal government exceeds its constitutional authority. Amendments to limit the government’s power, including a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, would help to check federal overreach.
  • More than 50 percent of territory from Colorado westward is managed by the federal government despite evidence that the states would serve as superior environmental and economic stewards of the land. Western states that petition for control of select federal lands within their borders should receive it as control over the land inside its boundaries is state sovereignty at its most basic. National parks and monuments, military installations, Congressionally-designated wilderness areas and tribal lands would be excluded from transfers.
  • Unfunded federal mandates are inconsistent with federalism, which was based on cooperation, not compulsion and the regulations that often accompany unfunded mandates impose obligations on state governments resulting in unsustainable costs and inefficiencies.

Genuine accountability to hardworking taxpayers results when state and local legislators work with members of the community to determine a plan of action that is right for each individual state, city or town. Real solutions to America’s challenges can be found in the states – America’s fifty laboratories of democracy – not in one-size fits all federal government policies that disregard regional differences and local community needs. The Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution encapsulates these ideas and serves as the Constitutional linchpin for federalism, one of ALEC’s three guiding principles.

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”

America has drifted away from our Founding Fathers’ vision and has concentrated more power with national government structures. The amassing of power with the federal government has led to overregulation and redundant bureaucracy hindering economic growth and free markets; a ballooning national debt that threatens U.S. security and federal mismanagement of this nation’s most precious resource – the lands within America’s borders. The solution to restoring the balance between the federal and state and local governments is to return control over matters that more appropriately and constitutionally rest with the states and municipalities back to them. There are some obvious examples of federal overreach where reform is needed.

Publications

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Model Policies

  • Checks and Balances in Government Amendment Sunset Review

    Checks and Balances in Government Amendment Article 1 Title. This article is known as the “Checks and Balances in Government Amendment.” Article 2 Denial of State Personnel and Resources to Unconstitutional Acts. A.  The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the land to which …

  • Federalism Education Requirements for Public Attorneys Sunset Review

    Federalism Education Requirements for Public Attorneys Whereas, the High Court has reiterated time and again that the sovereignty, jurisdiction, and even the supremacy of the States in their constitutional spheres is essential to the balance between State and Federal governing partners; and Whereas, Coleman v. Thompson observes that …

  • Draft Resolution Regarding the Impact of Federal Lands on the State Education System Draft

    WHEREAS, the power to tax is the fuel of self-governance; WHEREAS, the right and authority of state and local governments to promote the highest value and use of land is fundamental to funding education and other essential government services; WHEREAS, the federal government still controls more than [INSERT RELEVANT PERCENTAGE] …

  • Draft “Let Us Vote for a Balanced Budget Amendment” Resolution Draft

    WHEREAS, since 1957 this nation has become more deeply in debt as its expenditures grossly and repeatedly exceed available revenues so that the national debt now exceeds $21 trillion and is rising exponentially; and WHEREAS, interest on the federal debt is projected to top $1 trillion for the first time in history …

  • Draft Evaluating Tax Revenue Foregone from Federally Controlled Lands Draft

    Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of [INSERT STATE]: Duties of Commission on Federalism. In accordance with the relevant legislation, the commission may evaluate a federal law: As agreed by a majority of the commission; or Submitted to the commission by a council member. The commission may …

  • Resolution to Oppose the Multistate Tax Commission’s Effort to Rewrite the Uniform Division of Income for Tax Purposes Act Sunset Review

    Resolution to Oppose the Multistate Tax Commission’s Effort to Rewrite the Uniform Division of Income for Tax Purposes Act Summary This resolution opposes the effort being undertaken by the Multistate Tax Commission (MTC) to rewrite the Uniform Division of Income for Tax Purposes Act (UDITPA). This resolution recognizes that state …

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Task Forces

Federalism and International Relations

State legislators and their constituents are stakeholders in many of the most important national and international issues of the day.

Press Releases

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