Federalism Unit



The federal government finds new ways to interfere with Missourians’ lives on a daily basis. Attorney General Hawley promised to put an end to this federal government interference as Missouri Attorney General. The new Federalism Unit will do just that. Since the creation of the Federalism Unit the following initiatives have been completed:

1. Fully Repealed the Stream Protection Rule

This regulation, enacted during the final days of the Obama Administration, would have raised energy costs for all Missourians. That's why the Attorney General’s Office went to court to block it. Congress and President Trump responded by repealing it.

2. Took on the Unconstitutional Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

The CFPB’s out-of-control regulations have been hurting Missourians for years. Government bureaucracies shouldn’t be able to impose burdensome regulations on small business and local banks without political accountability. Reforming this blatant violation of the separation of powers is essential to preserving the Constitution’s model of accountable, democratic government.

3. Took Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Fight to the Supreme Court

This rule was unauthorized, unconstitutional, and critically burdening for Missouri farmers. Attorney General Hawley promised to fight this kind of egregious overreach, and that's exactly what has been done. The Missouri Attorney General’s Office fought this rule vigorously in court, and now it is gone. The office applauds the EPA for finally putting this unconstitutional, Obama-era regulation to rest. It is time for farmers and ranchers who feed our families - and the world - to be protected. 

4. Challenged Obama Administration Overtime Rules

President Obama’s overtime regulations, unauthorized under the law, would have forced unduly burdensome costs and burdens on small businesses across Missouri. These regulations would have hurt workers and businesses alike, and hindered the progress of the Missouri economy. Attorney General Hawley promised to fight this kind of federal overreach, and that’s why the Attorney General’s Office took these rules to court.

5. Took on California’s job-killing regulations

Make no mistake, California’s egg farming regulations are simply another attempt by big-government liberals to impose job-killing regulation on Missouri. These regulations are unconstitutional. They will cost Missouri farmers tens of millions of dollars. They will cost Missouri families. And they will cost Missouri jobs. This is why the Attorney General’s Office took this fight all the way to the United States Supreme Court.

6. Filed suit against President Obama’s unlawful land regulations

Obama’s attempt to expand the definition of “critical habitat” for endangered and threatened species is a startling power grab that could negatively affect every farmer in Missouri. Missourians are well equipped to manage our natural resources and protect our endangered species. The State will not allow the federal government to unlawfully seize control of Missourians’ farms, ranches, and private property.

7. Challenged the Clean Power Plan in federal court

The Clean Power Plan is a massive network of regulations issued by President Obama that would have driven energy prices up in Missouri by double digits. The Attorney General’s Office fought these job-killing regulations in court and soon they will be gone. Relief is on the way for Missouri families.

8. Joined 24 other States Attorneys General to urge EPA to fully abolish WOTUS Rule

Missouri fought the WOTUS rule in court—and won. Now, Attorney General Josh Hawley is calling on the EPA to permanently abolish the 2015 Waters of the United States rule. Attorney General Hawley and 24 other attorneys general sent the EPA a letter calling on the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers to fully eliminate the Obama-era rule and enforce pre-existing rules until more concise language can be adopted.

9. Challenged Unconstitutional Affordable Care Act

The Missouri Attorney General’s Office, as part of a 20-state coalition, is urging a federal district court in Texas to hold the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate unconstitutional and to enjoin the entire law. The ACA, as recently amended, forces an unconstitutional regime onto the states and their citizens.

10. Fought California Regulation Undermining Missouri Consumer Protection Laws

Missouri led a coalition of eleven states supporting a motion to block an application of California’s Prop 65 that would have frustrated Missouri’s consumer protection laws. At hand in the request was the classification of glyphosate, the active ingredient in popular herbicides such as Roundup. California tried to require companies who sell products with glyphosate to state that their products are “known” to cause cancer, but scientific studies have repeatedly undermined that claim. Because Missouri consumer protection laws prohibit making false statements, the regulation imposed a dilemma on Missouri businesses: many businesses would conclude that they had to stop using herbicides to comply with both laws. But use of herbicides is widespread, dramatically increases crop yield, and lowers costs for Missouri families. The California requirement threatened to inflate food prices. The court has blocked California’s requirement, so Missourians no longer have to worry about California’s regulation increasing food prices.

11. Urged Support for National Conceal-Carry Legislation

Missouri respects the rights of law-abiding residents and non-residents to carry arms for self-defense. Attorney General Hawley urged Congress to enact national conceal-carry reciprocity legislation that would protect those rights for Missourians traveling out of state. The proposed legislation, if enacted, will allow law-abiding citizens to travel to other states without giving up their right to self-defense.

12. Critical Habitat

The federal government will review rules that restrict property owners’ use of land, because of a settlement with 20 states, including Missouri. In 2016, federal agencies adopted two rules that allowed the federal government to designate land as “critical habitat” for an endangered species, even if that species did not presently live on the land and even if they land failed to possess the biological features necessary for the survival of the species. Because of this lawsuit, the federal government must submit revised rules for public review within 60 days. This is a clear victory for Missouri landowners.

13. Fighting to End Burdensome Regulations on Missouri Farmers

The Attorney General’s Office, joined by 14 other state attorneys general, wrote and filed an amicus brief supporting the repeal of the Obama Administration’s 2017 Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices Rule. The brief argues that this Rule, adopted on the very last day of the Obama Administration, was both illegal and economically unjustifiable. The 1990 Organic Foods Production Act was intended to impose specific feed and medicinal production standards for “USDA certified organic” products. In contrast, the 2017 Rule focused almost entirely on animal care and living conditions, imposing stringent requirements that poultry have access to outdoor soil. Legally, the states argue, the Obama USDA did not have statutory authority to enact animal-welfare regulations about outdoor access under the guise of regulating organic foods. Economic analysis also demonstrates that this regulation would have been extremely harmful for small organic farmers and consumers across the country. The high cost of complying with this rule would have likely driven many producers out of the organic farming business, leading to an estimated loss of $80-86 billion. This, in turn, would have driven up the cost of the organic products, harming consumers and reducing consumer choices.

14. Fighting to Protect Veterans Memorial

Missouri encouraged the U.S. Supreme Court to consider and protect veterans memorials that include religious symbolism by joining a bipartisan group of 28 states seeking to overturn a lower court’s ruling that one such memorial violates the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The case at hand involves a nearly century-old memorial cross in Bladensburg, Maryland, started by community members and mothers whose sons died in World War I, and finished by the American Legion. The initial lawsuit seeks to force the state of Maryland to tear down the historic cross. This case is a chance to provide support for the nation’s many memorials that honor fallen service members. These memorials tie history to the present and provide a place to thank and honor the dead.