Magazine News Volume 69, Issue 8

Federal vs. State Government in a Time of Crisis

by Josh Morgan

Graphic by Yiying Zhang

During this pandemic, most responses to  the coronavirus are being made at the state rather than federal government level. President Trump has said publicly that states should not rely on the federal government at this time, a view supporting state autonomy during the crisis.

However, others believe that the federal government should be taking a larger role in the decision-making process. This belief usually comes from the fact that some states are taking more dramatic measures, such as California, and these states’ officials seeing states with looser restrictions, such as Florida. Many officials of California worry states like Florida will cause national setbacks that will prolong the pandemic, and more specifically the lockdown, to last longer than is necessary. These states want for federal governments to enact national policy that ensures that we are all on the same page.

One way states combatted the federal government’s refusal to take definitive action has been by forming interstate pacts. For example, the Western State Pact, including California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, and Colorado, outlines a plan for state governors to collaborate on much of the decision-making process so that included states can work on a shared vision for combatting coronavirus.

Furthermore, local policies sometimes differ from state policies. For example, the local governments in the Bay Area, working together, and were the first place in the United States to initiate a stay-at-home order. Compared to  the curves of the United States as a whole, of each individual state, and of each individual county, the Bay Area’s is much flatter.

This helps Walnut Creek residents. Consequently,  local governments will likely continue to take this aggressive approach so as to avoid other states’ and countries’ mistakes of opening up too fast after seeing initial success , as with the recent Bay Area extension of the shelter-in-place order through June.