State Policy Network

Center for Practical Federalism

SPN launches the Center for Practical Federalism.

SPN’s Center for Practical Federalism aims to educate the American public and policymakers on the benefits of federalism—a system of government where some authority belongs to the national government, and much more resides with states, communities, and the American people. Federalism pushes power where it belongs, to citizens acting through their elected representatives, and it ensures that no one branch of government exerts too much power.

Federalism also enables experimentation with policy solutions tailored to states and communities. When policy is local, it takes into account unique community conditions, is more easily influenced by everyday citizens, and thereby leads to better outcomes for more of the people it governs. What’s more, the diverse array of policies that inevitably result under federalism allow us to learn what works better than a single, top-down approach.

The Center for Practical Federalism is launching a number of initiatives to educate state and local officials, as well as interested citizens, about the need for preserving state and local governing authority against overreach by the federal government. It will also offer training and resources for public officials interested in more effectively overseeing governmental agencies, thereby making them accountable to we the people.

Our online publication, American Habits, shows readers—citizens and lawmakers alike—what is possible and what can be accomplished through local governance.


Madison Ray, Senior Director, Center for Practical Federalism

Steve Johnson, Center for Practical Federalism Fellow

Ray Nothstine, Senior Editor and Writer, American Habits and Future of Freedom Fellow

Tony Woodlief, Senior Executive Vice President and Senior Fellow

Related Media: SPN Promotes Federalism in Major News Outlets

Republican GOP Debate Should Focus More on the States, Less on Washington
Steve Johnson in The Hill | December 6, 2023

The DeSantis-Newsom Debate Missed the Point
Erin Norman in The Hill | December 4, 2023

DeSantis vs. Newsom and the Beauty of Federalism
Steve Johnson on the Matt Buff Show | November 30, 2023

Manchin Is Not a Messiah — Because No Politician Can Be
Ray Nothstine in The Messenger | November 29, 2023

Don’t Avoid Political Conversations This Thanksgiving
Erin Norman in The Hill | November 23, 2023

What Americans Really Want From Government
Erin Norman in The Well News | November 14, 2023

Iowa’s Government Restructuring: A Model for Other States
Steve Johnson at RealClearPolicy | November 7, 2023

For America’s Political Adults, Look Outside Washington 
Ray Nothstine at Governing | October 30, 2023

Washington Politicians Playing Political Games Alienate Voters
Erin Norman in Newsweek | October 27, 2023

The States Can Do it Better
Steve Johnson on KSL Radio | October 6, 2023

Budget Lessons We Can Learn from the States
Steve Johnson in The Hill | October 5, 2023

Government Shutdowns Should Be a Wake-Up Call for States
Ray Nothstine in National Review | September 26, 2023

Say No to Federal Money
Ray Nothstine on the Lars Larson Show | September 26, 2023

The States are Too Dependent on Federal Dollars
Ray Nothstine on the Moon Griffon Show | September 26, 2023

Don’t Call It a Comeback. Federalism Has Been Here for Years
Ray Nothstine in National Review | August 13, 2023

How Courts, Lawmakers, And The Next POTUS Could Rein In The Administrative State
Steven Johnson in The Federalist | July 31, 2023

Debt Ceiling Clash Should Push States to Rely Less on Federal Money
Steven Johnson in The Hill | May 19, 2023

Giving States More Autonomy is a Return to Our Country’s Foundation
Erin Norman in The Washington Post

Strong Revenue and Fiscal Federalism Are Driving a State-Based Tax Revolution
Michael Lucci in National Review

Let Our Communities Lead
Tony Woodlief at National Review

Legislatures’ Too-Often-Abdicated Role: Oversight
Steve Johnson in Governing

State of the Union? Look to the States of the Union.
Ray Nothstine in Governing

As Biden Dithers, States Are Enacting Meaningful Inflation Policy
Erin Norman in The Hill

Rebuilding Trust in Government: A Model Emerges at Local Level
Erin Norman at RealClearPolitics

We Must Embrace our National Identity, Allow Communities to Govern Themselves
Erin Norman in The Washington Times

The 50 Governments That Hold the Answer to American Division
Erin Norman at Governing

Georgia Senate Race Distracts from More Relevant State Elections
Erin Norman in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

States Are Showing Washington How to Relieve Inflation
Michael Lucci in The American Spectator

Fixing Things at the Local Level Without Government
Erin Norman in the Washington Examiner 

Related Media: Videos

Additional Reading: SPN’s Tony Woodlief Makes the Case for Federalism in I, Citizen Book

In I, Citizen: A Blueprint for Reclaiming American Self-Governance (2021), Tony Woodlief highlights how our nation’s political class is taking away the most American of freedoms: our right to self-governance. I, Citizen is the story of how that happened and what we can do about it. Learn more about the book here.

Recognition for the Center for Practical Federalism

SPN’s Center for Practical Federalism is a 2023 nominee for the Gregor G. Peterson Prize in Venture Philanthropy.