Western Governors’ Association:  Strengthening the State-Federal Relationship

Realigning and strengthening the state-federal relationship is a unifying theme in the policy of the Western Governors’ Association. The association works to educate the federal government and others about the legal requirements for and the benefits of meaningful engagement with states. Improved communication and coordination between states and the federal government reduces duplication and increases efficiency and responsiveness to the public. To be successful, this communication and coordination must be premised on mutual respect and an understanding of states’ co-sovereign and co-equal status with the federal government. 

Learn more about the Governors’ work by viewing and downloading the following documents:

  • Governors’ Resolution on Building a Stronger State-Federal Relationship: Learn the Western Governors’ specific policies on how to improve the state-federal relationship, including the importance of federal agencies having a clear and accountable process for early, meaningful, substantive, and ongoing consultation on federal actions that may affect states.
  • Shared Principles on Federalism: WGA, Conference of Western Attorneys General, Council of State Governments West, Western Interstate Region of the National Association of Counties, and the Pacific NorthWest Economic Region collaborated on these principles, which advocate for a true partnership among state, local and federal government officials. 
  • States are Not Stakeholders:  Understand the legal basis for why states should be treated as sovereigns, deserving of government-to-government consultation, and not as mere stakeholders or members of the general public.
  • ‘Flavors’ of the State-Federal Relationship: State-federal interactions typically occur on issues that substantially affect states; often these are areas of primary state authority, delegated authority, or shared authority. Learn more about the “flavors” of the state-federal relationship.
  • Analysis of Legal Issues: Federal agencies sometimes argue that they cannot engage in meaningful, substantive consultation with states for legal or other reasons. This document explains some of the common arguments provided by agencies – most of which do not have a basis in law.
  • Coalition Letter to Speaker’s Task Force on Recommended Statutory Reforms: Congress and federal agencies can take concrete steps to strengthen the state-federal relationship. This document contains recommendations for statutory changes developed by WGA, the Western Interstate Region of NACo, Pacific NorthWest Economic Region, Western Interstate Energy Board, and the Western States Water Council to the Speaker’s Task Force on Intergovernmental Affairs.

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