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March 30, 2011

Senator Cutler to Testify Against Unfunded Mandates

Senator Joni Cutler of South Dakota will testify before a House Subcommittee on unfunded mandates and the burden on states.

Photo courtesy of : House Oversight and Government Reform Committee

Photo courtesy of: House Oversight and Government Reform CommitteeSouth Dakota Senator Joni Cutler will represent the nation's 7,382 state legislators to remind a U.S. House panel of the financial burden that under-funded and unfunded federal mandates place upon states.

Senator Cutler will represent the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL)--a bipartisan organization representing the 50 state legislatures and the legislatures of our nation's commonwealths, territories and the District of Columbia--today in front of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations and Procurement Reform in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Senator Cutler's testimony will highlight the effectiveness and limitations of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (UMRA) on states and the need for changes to the 16-year-old law. The goal of UMRA was “to curb the practice of imposing unfunded federal mandates on state and local governments.” While some of the provisions with UMRA have been effective, NCSL has identified at least $130 billion in cost shifts from the federal government to states from federal fiscal years 2004 to 2008.

Senator Cutler will voice concerns state lawmakers have regarding existing loopholes in UMRA, the need to expand the definition of mandates, and call on Congress to strengthen UMRA, especially when looking at the effect it has on state and local fiscal conditions. UMRA has not achieved its full intended purpose. State legislatures, on behalf of NCSL, looks forward to working with members of the 112th Congress to achieve UMRA's original legislative intent.

Senator Cutler is a member of NCSL's executive committee. Video of Senator Cutler testimony is expected to be available on the House Committee's website.

For more information, please contact NCSL public affairs division.

NCSL is a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of the states, commonwealths and territories. It provides research, technical assistance and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues and is an effective and respected advocate for the interests of the states in the American federal system.