Due to the immense power of our federal government, people often argue that it is too powerful and should be lessened. Since the 1990 s there has been an effort to shift power from the federal government to the states. States rights has been an issue since our country was first founded, and even now we cant seem to please everyones requests at equal power. This country was founded with the attempt to separate the federal government and the state government, known as federalism. The goal of federalism is to divide the power of state and federal governments, protect the rights of the state (through the 10 th amendment), prevent tyranny of the majority, and have a government that is close to its people. Throughout the years, federalism turned into dual federalism where the state and federal government were completely independent of each other and only shared a dependency on the Constitution.
What we have now is known as cooperative federalism. In cooperative federalism, the national government has assumed even more power, it now supersedes the states with its Supreme Court decisions / actions , Acts of Congress, Executive Orders. Some Americans fear that the federal government will become too strong and soon the states will have no power. With the emergence of unfunded mandates, states were required to follow the rules or they would be punished by the federal government. Some unfunded mandates included the Clean Air Act, where each state must have a plan to significantly lower the amount of pollution emitted, and the Americans with Disabilities Act which required both public and private institutions to make their facilities accessible for those with disabilities.
The federal government did not provide any financial help when an unfunded mandate was passed, the state government has t cut into its budget to avoid its punishment. The federal government felt mandates were important because without them people would abuse the rights of others and also because state budgets would not allow for their undoing. A stop to the passing of mandates occurred in 1995 with the Unfunded Mandates Act. The act could limit the mandates passed, but had no authority to change previous mandates. With the passing of the Unfunded Mandates Act, the federal government hopes to give more power to the states and restore some of the values of early federalism. Their effort to shift power back to the states is a slow process, but it is necessary..