cooperation; state competition for industry and tax revenues; and lingering transboundary problems.
It is apparent that certain interstate problems can be solved only by the Congress. In 1993, for example, it was discovered that many debtors, including felons, who filed for bankruptcy protection were able to shelter millions of dollars in assets from seizure by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court by establishing residence in Florida where a state statute forbids the seizure of a person's legal residence and certain other assets -- including annuities and pensions -- in a bankruptcy proceeding. 33 The Florida State Legislature has not placed a limit on the Homestead Exemption, and residences worth several million dollars are protected. Although Congress preempted state court adjudication of bankruptcy proceedings in 1898, Congress has allowed individual state legislatures to determine whether a homestead and certain other exemptions should be exempt from seizure. 34 This interstate problem involving debtors in states, such as New York, sheltering assets in other states can be solved only by the Congress.
The process of congressional enactment of formulas for the distribution of funds to states commonly generates lobbying by regional groupings of states with one region opposed to a specific proposed formula and another region in favor of the proposal. In 1995, the northern states opposed a Republican proposal to replace seven categorical welfare grant programs by a block grant with no state-matching requirements because funds would be shifted from the northern states to southern and western states. 35
The concluding chapter assesses current interstate relations and presents a model for improving such relations to enhance the full economic and social development of the fifty states. In particular, the model outlines the roles that the Congress, states, and associations of state government officials can play in harmonizing the policies of the states, while promoting the advantages of policy diversity associated with a federal system, and encouraging cooperative and conjoint actions.
The model is a political document, but does not outline a role for the two major political parties because they are decentralized organizations that have become progressively weaker in recent decades. The parties are incapable of acting as centralizing forces to promote interstate cooperation or congressional preemption to solve multistate problems.
Chapter 2 is the first substantive chapter and examines the role of the U.S. Supreme Court in resolving interstate disputes. Subsequent chapters highlight three other important court functions: use of the dormant Interstate Commerce clause to invalidate mercantilistic state statutes and regulations, interpretation of the scope of congressional preemption statutes, and deciding whether a congressional preemption statute is ultra vires.
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Publication information: Book title: Interstate Relations:The Neglected Dimension of Federalism. Contributors: Joseph F. Zimmerman - Author. Publisher: Praeger. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 1996. Page number: 13.
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