States and Federal Law
State and local government policymaking is affected by federal preemptions and federal mandates.
The federal government prevents state and local governments from making policy in some policy areas. •
The proponents of preemption believe that uniform national regulatory standards are preferable to state-by-state regulation. •
In contrast, critics of preemption contend that congressional efforts to override state authority violate states’ rights principles, which hold that state legislators know best what policies are most appropriate for their states.
A federal mandate is a legal requirement placed on a state or local government by the national government requiring certain policy actions. •
State and local governments must conform to dozens of mandates. •
Mandates can be costly.
In 1995, Congress and the president responded to complaints from state officials about unfunded federal mandates by enacting legislation to limit the authority of Congress to impose expensive requirements on state and local governments.
Federal Grant Programs
Federal grant-in-aid programs, which are programs through which the national government gives money to state and local governments for expenditure in accordance with set standards and conditions, play a significant role in state policymaking. •
Congress and the president create federal programs through the legislative process. •
Federal programs must be authorized and funds appropriated for their operation.
Types of Federal Programs
Federal programs come in a variety of forms.
A categorical grant program is a federal grant-in-aid program that provides funds to state and local governments for a fairly narrow, specific purpose, such as removing asbestos from school buildings or acquiring land for outdoor recreation. •
A block grant program is a federal grant-in-aid program that provides money for a...
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