1st Edition

Intergovernmental Relations State and Local Challenges in the Twenty-First Century

By Jonathan M. Fisk Copyright 2022
    260 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    260 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Who governs? On the surface, such a question should be easy to answer by simply reading the law. Taking a deeper examination, it is one of the most hotly contested questions, often without a clear-cut answer. With recent controversies in the United States related to confederate monuments, transgender rights, and unconventional oil and gas development, for example, the answer is: it depends and is subject to change. Intergovernmental Relations: State and Local Challenges in the Twenty-First Century examines the sources behind state-local conflict to better understand where this critical intergovernmental relationship may be breaking down, and to ultimately identify solutions and policy tools that build upon the strengths of state and local governments, mitigate conflicts, and improve the quality of life for citizens.

    Author Jonathan M. Fisk begins by defining the basic institutional structures and offices and addressing the intergovernmental legal environment. He then offers a framework for understanding possible sources behind state-local conflict, with a recognition that intergovernmental relationships have historical roots, are place-based, and dependent on context, before examining concrete issues that have become ensnared in intergovernmental conflict via case studies including environmental (plastic bags, climate change), social and constitutional (confederate statues, transgender bathrooms), and economic (living wage, affordable housing) to name a few. Each case study possesses its own history, intergovernmental actors, costs, benefits, opportunities, and challenges. Readers are asked to confront difficult questions about property and constitutional rights, intergenerational equity, economic growth, wage fairness, and local democracy. This book offers an ideal supplement for students enrolled in courses on public policy, federalism, state and local government, and public administration.


    1. Introducing State and Local Governments

    2. Unpacking State and Local Conflict 

    3. The City of Longmont and the Politics of Unconventional Oil and Gas in Colorado 

    4. The City of Brownsville and Plastic Bag Politics in Texas 

    5. The City of Houston and Air Pollution Politics in Texas 

    6. The City of St. Petersburg and Climate Change Politics in Florida 

    7. The City of Birmingham, AL and the Politics of Monuments and Confederate Statues in Alabama 

    8. The City of Charlotte and the Politics of 'Bathroom Bills' in North Carolina 

    9. The City of Kansas City and Uber Politics in Missouri 

    10. The City of Santa Monica and Form of Government Politics in California 

    11. The City of Minneapolis and Wage Politics in Minnesota 

    12. The City of Pittsburgh and Paid Sick Leave Politics in Pennsylvania 

    13. The City of Cleveland and Local Hiring Politics in Ohio 

    14. The City of Columbia and Property Tax Politics in South Carolina 

    15. The City of Coronado and Regional Housing Politics in California 

    16. Summary and Lessons Learned


    Jonathan M. Fisk is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at Auburn University, USA, where he teaches courses on public personnel management, environmental politics, ethics and leadership, local government, and federalism as well as being the Faculty Advisor to the Auburn student chapter of the International City and County Management Association. He is also the Chairperson for the American Society for Public Administration’s Section on Environment and Natural Resource Administration. He is the author of The Fracking Debate: Intergovernmental Politics of the Oil and Gas Renaissance (Routledge, 2017) and his research has appeared in: American Review of Public Administration, State and Local Government Review, Society and Natural Resources, Politics and Policy, Energy Policy, Public Integrity, and Review of Policy Research.

    "While much has been written about federalism and intergovernmental relations, few works exist that examine the real-world, day-to-day issues faced by local governments in terms of policy making and policy implementation in an intergovernmental context. Fisk highlights these issues in a structured, accessible, and engaging manner, through the lens of very relatable and important policy issues. This book is a must-read for students and scholars of federalism, intergovernmental relations, local government, and public policy" - John C. Morris, Auburn University, USA

    "In this book, Jonathan Fisk carefully analyzes a wide-ranging number of local governmental acts of defiance against  state law—from ride sharing to local hiring; from climate change to confederate statutes. The result is a highly informed assessment of this important intergovernmental trend where mostly states win, but not always". - Carol S. Weissert,
    Florida State University, USA

    "Fisk shows us that understanding the strengths and weaknesses of both levels of government is crucial in evaluating their dynamics, and he impresses upon the reader the urgency of intergovernmental relations in addressing present-day policy challenges." - Brittany Blizzard, American University, USA