Despite having made a commitment to return power to the states, the Bush administration and the GOP- controlled Congress are using legislation and the legal system to quash state efforts to regulate industry, a trend state officials say is weakening hard-fought efforts to protect the health and safety of their constituents.
New and proposed federal rules or laws would overturn California’s ban on a vaccine preservative some think contributes to autism, and would block any state’s efforts to control small-engine emissions. New England would be thwarted in its efforts to control pollution wafting over from other states, while Massachusetts and California would not be able to keep unwanted liquefied natural gas terminals from their shores. A recent banking rule change severely limits the impact of state laws intended to protect consumers from shady banking practices.
Policy makers in the administration and Congress say they are merely making rules uniform and easier to follow. With so many companies doing business across the country, they say, it is unfair and impractical to expect industries to keep track of 50 different sets of regulations. ”The president, as a former governor, strongly believes in states’ rights,” Bush spokesman Trent Duffy said. But ”there are certain powers reserved for the federal government” that it must keep, he said, especially in areas involving interstate commerce, energy, regulating medicine, and homeland security.
Don’t forget education, drug policy and so on and so forth. Limited government and states rights are dead.