NCSL president urges Congress not to preempt state legislatures
Federal regulations that preempt state authorities are weakening state legislatures’ ability to represent their constituents, says Delaware state Rep. Donna Stone, president of the Washington-based National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Stone went before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary Wednesday to ask for an executive order on federalism “which would protect state law from being preempted by unelected bureaucrats.”
The committee was hearing testimony on federal agencies usurping Congressional and state laws through the regulatory process, according to NCSL. “State legislators are troubled by the growing trend in Washington to pass or promulgate preemptive measures that have a detrimental impact on states,” Stone said in her testimony. “As a result, a large part of the policy jurisdiction of state legislatures has been lost. States cannot legislate in response to their citizens’ needs when the federal government has preempted the policy field.”
Stone suggested some provisions that the executive order should include, such as increased consultation with states and local elected officials before the passage of federal law or regulations that would affect them. She also suggested a rule of construction that would allow ambiguities between state and federal laws to be construed in favor of state laws when there is no explicit intention of preempting state law. Read more about Stone’s testimony.