Federalism, Dillon Rule and Home Rule

by Hon. Jon Russell

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Every local government is governed by their respective states by two legal definitions, The Dillon Rule or Home Rule. Regardless of which legal definition a local government falls under, both are tasked with carrying out the mission of the state to allocate services to their constituents on the local level.

Both the Dillon Rule and Home Rule can also further the philosophy of federalism when local governments focus on what they do best, which is administering conservative budgets to dispense core services. The state has its responsibility as outlined in the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and local governments are partners to assist them.

This whitepaper analyzes the origins of the Dillon Rule and Home Rule and how they are connected to the philosophy of federalism when carried out properly. This paper serves as a resource to help local government officials better understand their role in local governing.