Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 2.2. Administration of Government
Chapter 6. General Provisions

§ 2.2-616. Legislative declaration.

A. In enacting this chapter, the General Assembly employs its legislative authority to establish that the people of Virginia, acting through their elected officials in Virginia government, have the responsibility and authority to establish policy in and for Virginia pertaining to federal programs mandated in federal statutes.

B. The intent of the General Assembly is to assure the primacy of the Commonwealth's legal and political authority to implement in and for Virginia the policy mandated by federal statutes and to vigorously challenge and scrutinize the extent and scope of authority asserted by federal executive branch agencies when federal agency actions and interpretations are inconsistent with Virginia policy and exceed the lawful authority of the federal government or are not required by federal law.

C. In this connection the General Assembly finds and declares that:

1. The power to implement federal policies in and for Virginia is central to the ability of the people of Virginia to govern themselves under a federal system of government; and

2. Any implementation of federal policies in and for Virginia by federal executive branch agencies that is contrary to fundamental notions of federalism and self-determination must be identified and countered.

D. The General Assembly further finds and declares that:

1. There is an urgent need to modify federal mandates because the implementation of these mandates by the Commonwealth wastes the financial resources of local governments, the citizens of Virginia and the Commonwealth and does not properly respect the rights of the Commonwealth, local governments, and citizens.

2. The state government has an obligation to the public to do what is necessary to protect the rights of Virginia citizens under federal law while minimizing or eliminating any additional cost or regulatory burden on any citizen of the Commonwealth.

3. The Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution directs that powers that are not delegated to the United States are reserved to the states or to the people. Virginia, as one of the sovereign states within the Union, has constitutional authority to enact laws protecting the environment of the Commonwealth and safeguarding the public health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of Virginia. However, this authority has too often been ignored by the federal government, as the federal government has intruded more and more into areas that must be left to the states. It is essential that the dilution of the authority of state and local governments be halted and that the provisions of the Tenth Amendment be accorded proper respect.

4. Current federal regulatory mandates, as reflected in federal administrative regulations, guidelines, and policies, often do not reflect the realities of Virginia and federal regulators frequently do not understand the needs and priorities of the citizens of Virginia.

5. The citizens of the Commonwealth can create and wish to create innovative solutions to Virginia's problems, but the current manner in which legal challenges to state policies and federal programmatic substitutions of state programs are handled does not allow the Commonwealth the flexibility it needs. It is not possible for the Commonwealth of Virginia to effectively and efficiently implement the provisions of federal statutes unless the burden to prove the insufficiency of the Commonwealth's efforts to implement federal requirements is shifted to the person or agency who asserts such insufficiency.

6. The provisions of this chapter will better balance the exercise of the powers of the federal government and the powers reserved to the states. In addition, the application of this chapter ultimately will bring about greater protection for the Commonwealth and the nation because it will direct the Commonwealth to implement federal statutes at the least possible cost, thereby freeing more moneys for other needs.

7. The purpose of this chapter is to ensure that federal mandates implemented in Virginia comply with state policy as established by the General Assembly.

1995, c. 604, § 2.1-796; 2001, c. 844.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.