“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
As citizens interested in advocacy and government affairs, you are in a position to educate elected government officials with regard to your industry, your cause and your special interest. To do this effectively, it is important to have an understanding of the legislative branches of government. With this knowledge, you may begin the process of advising legislators on “how things should be handled”.
When the “founding fathers” created the U.S. Constitution, they provided for a division of power between the federal and state governments. The powers granted to the federal government are described in the Constitution (Article 1, Section 8). These functions include, among many others, the regulation of foreign and interstate commerce, providing for a national defense and regulating a monetary system. In cases of conflict between the federal and state governments, the federal government powers are supreme.
Section 8. The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;
To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;
To establish Post Offices and post Roads;
To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;
To constitute Tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court;
To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;
To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
To provide and maintain a Navy;
To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;--And
To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.
State governments are also given significant power under the U.S. Constitution. This grant of power, however, is different than that of the federal government. All power that is not granted to the federal government and not denied to the states by the Constitution is reserved for the states. Education and social services are two traditional services of state government.
Most industries are uniquely affected by policies of local governments. Local governments consist of cities or towns, counties, etc. A major portion of taxes are imposed by these jurisdictions. Local governments are created under the authority of state governments. The organizational structure and the services provided by local government may vary from state to state from city to city. Every local government is different: from the manner in which officials conduct local operations to the types of services they provide to citizens. In fact, a primary purpose of local government is to provide services to citizens.
We recognize the significant impact that federal, state and local legislators have on your cause and industry, and how the policies created by these individuals may have a direct effect on you.