Instructions: Identify a current public policy issue related to federalism and intergovernmental relations (national-state-local-tribal)that has resulted in conflicts and/or challenges among levels of government. The memo should discuss the following items:

Describe and explain the issue

What makes it a federalism or intergovernmental issue? (Is there a conflict between federal action and state/local/tribal action? Is the federal government overstepping its authority to act? Are the states/localities failing to comply with federal law? Are states/localities overstepping their authority to act? Is there debate over which level of government should have control and responsibility? Are there issues with implementation, such as lack of federal funding, state or local resistance to implementation, etc.?)

Identify the current status of the issue (proposed federal/state/local legislation, law, court decision, regulation, public debate, etc.)

Identify and discuss the political dimensions of the issue. In other words, how do Republicans and Democrats view the issue? Are there liberal/conservative dimensions as well? What arguments does each side use in the debate? Identify organizations, special interest groups, advocacy groups, etc. that are lined up for or against the issue.

Identify any judicial actions regarding the issue. Are there court rulings? What is the legal rationale for the ruling?

Format: Students will prepare a Memorandum. See Moodle (Assignments) for Memo Template. The memo should range from 8-10 pages. A MINIMUM of 8 outside references from REPUTABLE sources is required. The memo should be typed, double-spaced, 12 point font, with each page numbered. The memo should be in narrative form using headings and subheadings to organize the paper. All direct quotes and close paraphrases should be appropriately cited both within the text and in a reference page at the end of the memo. SEE Legitimate Sources for the Memo on US Federalism at the end of these directions.

If you need assistance in selecting a topic, I can help. The following topics are particularly hot right now in federalism and intergovernmental relations:

Health care policy: Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 and the role of states in implementation such as the creation of health insurance exchanges and the expansion of Medicaid.

Immigration policy: State immigration laws (Arizona, Alabama, etc.) and how they may conflict with federal policy; local regulations regarding immigration such as sanctuary laws.

Environmental policy: Climate change, fracking laws and regulations and the role of the EPA and state and local governments.

Civil Rights policy: Obergefell v. Hodges (2015) and the authority to define marriage and state/local resistance to the U.S. Supreme Court decision.

Education policy: Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 and Obama’s Race to the Top and the challenges of implementation for state and local governments.

Drug policy: State medical marijuana and recreational marijuana laws, how they conflict with federal drug laws, and the Obama Administration’s enforcement of such laws.

Legitimate Sources for the Memo on US Federalism:

NO Wikipedia!

Peer-reviewed scholarly journals: A peer-reviewed scholarly journal refers only to those journals where the author submits her manuscript to several other scholars, experts, or academics (peers) in the field for review and comment. These reviewers must agree that the article represents properly conducted original research or writing before it can be published. What to look for:

Scholarly journal articles often have an abstract, a descriptive summary of the article contents, before the main text of the article.

Scholarly journals always cite their sources in the form of parenthetical references, footnotes, and bibliographies. These bibliographies are generally lengthy and cite other scholarly writings.

Articles are written by a scholar in the field or by someone who has done research in the field. The affiliations of the authors are listed, usually at the bottom of the first page or at the end of the article—universities and research institutions.

The language of scholarly journals is that of the discipline covered. It assumes some technical background on the part of the reader.

The main purpose of a scholarly journal is to report on original research or experimentation in order to make such information available to the rest of the scholarly world.

Here are some examples of peer-reviewed scholarly journals in public administration and public policy:

Public Administration Review

State and Local Government Review

American Review of Public Administration

Policy Studies Journal

Public Budgeting and Finance

Publius: The Journal of Federalism

Research Organizations-Policy Think Tanks

There are many organizations that engage in research on a wide variety of topics. These organizations can be a valuable source of information. However, do your research. SOME of these organizations may have a particular ideological perspective. There is nothing wrong with this, but be aware of this perspective when using the information. Examples of research organizations or think tanks:

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Brookings Institute

Heritage Foundation

Urban Institute

Progressive Policy Institute

CATO Institute

Professional Associations

There are many organizations that represent specific professions or elected officials. These organizations also provide good information on a variety of policy topics. Examples of professional organizations:

National Conference of State Legislatures

National Governors Association

Council of State Governments

Newspapers

New York Times

Wall Street Journal

Washington Post

News Magazines

Time

Newsweek

Journals of Professional Organizations

Governing

State Legislatures

EXAMPLE:

MEMORANDUM

TO:Professor

FROM: Your Name (initial your name)

DATE:November 7, 2019

RE:Public Policy Issue

Please find the information you requested regarding “name of policy” below.

Summary of Policy

This is where you will explain the policy. You will need to explain why this is a federalism issue: what is the conflict? Is it Federal – state? State-local? Federal –local? Overreach by one level of government? Encroachment by the federal, state, or local governments?

Key Actors

This is where you will explain the key actors involved (executive, legislative, judicial, interest groups, government agencies, etc) and the level(s) of government involved.

Legal Issues

If appropriate, you will explain legal challenges and court rulings pertaining to the issue.

Challenges to policy implementation

Discuss the challenges to implementation – legal, administrative, fiscal, and/or political

Conclusion

Briefly summarize the current status of the policy.

List references on the last page of the memo.

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