NLC President Backs House Measure to Support Federalism; Bill Shields Local, State Authority from Preemptioms

Article excerpt

NLC President Clarence Anthony called on Congress to support a bill aimed at "preserving the cherished principle of federalism and promoting a new federal-state-local partnership" for implementing a variety of federal programs which could otherwise preempt local and state authority.

Voicing cities' strong support for The Federalism Act of 1999, Anthony, mayor or South Bay, Fla., told House subcommittee members the measure is critical for local government to remain an effective partner in the federal system. His testimony took place last week, before a subcommittee of the House Committee on Government Reform.

The measure, H.R. 2245, is a bipartisan bill, which NLC and the other members of the "Big 7" state and local government groups helped to draft. It contains five major provisions that will help keep cities and the federal government informed about potential legislation or agency rules which have a preemptive effect on state or local laws. Specifically, H.R. 2245 provides that:

* A "public official" by definition includes the national associations of the "Big 7 "state and local government associations.

* Agency heads must provide notice to and consult with state and local elected officials and their representative national organizations prior to the date an agency publishes an advance notice of proposed rulemaking.

* Agencies complete a federalism impact assessment (FIA) on every proposed, interim or final rule.

* The FIA must include an identification of any provision of the rule that preempts state or local government law, the constitutional basis for each preemption; any language in the rule which constitutes an express preemption and the congressional intent behind it; any provision that establishes a condition for receipt of grant funds that is not related to the purpose of the grant program; any provision that constitutes a federal mandate, any regulatory alternatives considered by the agency; costs incurred by state and local governments as a result of the rule's issuance; and the extent of the agency's consultations with state and local government officials. …