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.


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Model Policies

  • Act to Clarify State Jurisdiction over Public Lands Final

    Model Policy BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF [INSERT STATE]: A. In order to acquire all or any measure of legislative jurisdiction of the kind involved in Article I, Section 8, Clause 17 of the constitution of the United States over any land or …

  • Model Application under Article V of the U.S. Constitution to Propose a Congressional Term Limits Amendment Final

    Section 1. The legislature of [INSERT STATE NAME] hereby makes an application to Congress, as provided by Article V of the Constitution of the United States of America, to call a convention limited to proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America to set a limit …

  • Draft Act to Identify Coercive Federal Funds in the Budget of [INSERT STATE] Final

    An Act to create [section ______] of the statutes; relating to: [state legislative budget bureau] reports on federal funds in the state budget, and the conditions attached by federal law and federal regulation thereto, including related guidance. The people of the state of [state_____], represented in senate and assembly, do enact as follows: Section [_____] …

  • Draft Memorial in Support of the Article V Records Transparency Act of 2016 Final

    WHEREAS, Article V of the U.S. Constitution establishes a procedure for states to propose constitutional amendments; and, WHEREAS, our Founding Fathers included this mechanism to maintain the originally-intended balance of power between the federal and state governments; and, WHEREAS, for decades many states have adopted resolutions applying to Congress for …


    WHEREAS, [Insert Jurisdiction] is a political subdivision, created by the [Insert State] WHEREAS, [Insert Jurisdiction] is tasked by the [Insert State] to carry out certain core responsibilities as approved by [Insert State]. WHEREAS, those core responsibilities are outlined in the [Insert State Code or Charter] WHEREAS, a local minimum wage …

  • Resolution In Support of Ending Unauthorized Federal Spending Final

    WHEREAS, the national debt has increased to alarming levels, and, WHEREAS, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) there is more than $310 billion of unauthorized appropriations for fiscal year 2016, spanning 256 laws and 15 House authorizing committees, and WHEREAS, over half – or $160 billion – of the …

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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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