State Constitutional Reform

Archive Report

Efforts to Revise State Constitutions

Urban and Business Pressures for Revision

Politicians and scholars alike say that one of the heaviest burdens on the states is their cumbersome, lengthy and antiquated constitution. Endless restrictions written into these basic laws have helped to make state government the least responsive of any in the federal system to the needs of the day. This condition has driven big-city mayors to Washington, rather than to their own state capitols, for help. It is often said, only half in jest, that three-level federalism leaves “the federal government with the money, local governments with the problems, and the states with the legal powers.”

Pressures of urban problems, together with court-ordered legislative apportionment, have spurred new interest in constitutional reform. Traditional “good government” groups ...

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