The U.S. Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations'
The Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (ACIR) is a permanent,
independent, bipartisan intergovernmental agency established by Public Law 86-380 in 1959.
As it was established, ACIR's mission is:
To strengthen the American federal system and improve the ability of federal,
state, and local governments to work together cooperatively, efficiently, and effectively.
To learn more about ACIR, please click on one of the following subjects,
scroll down this page, or
contact us directly at:
800 K St., NW
Suite 450 South Building
Washington, DC 20575
The Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (ACIR) is a permanent,
independent, bipartisan agency that was established under Public Law 86-380 in 1959 to
study and consider the federal government's intergovernmental
relationships and the nation's intergovernmental machination.
The Commission is composed of 26 individuals who
represent the interests of the federal system's intergovernmental partners in matters of
intergovernmental concern, and is the only established, freestanding part of the federal
system in which the views of the federal government's intergovernmenal partners are openly
aired, and in which difficulties and inefficiencies in the federal system's
Intergovernmental Relationship's are examined.
The studies of Intergovernmental Management and Intergovernmental Relations are fields
in which researchers study how different levels of government interact with one another,
and attempt to define how they should interact with one another in the context of The
Constitution. Intergovernmental Relationships have profound effects on self-government in
America, and determining the appropriate role for federal government within the
governmental system is as high on the national agenda today as it was when The
Constitution was written in 1787.
As the nation's foremost repository of experience and information on intergovernmental
structure, finance, process, and practice, the challenge of studying the federal
government's relationships with State, Local, and Tribal governments falls to ACIR.
ACIR works with State, Local, and Tribal governments, as well as other interested
- Identify emerging intergovernmental issues, trends, and turning points;
- Stimulate thought about American federalism and intergovernmental relationships;
- Educate leaders and the public about the impacts of intergovernmental reforms; and
- Promote stronger intergovernmental communication, cooperation, and coordination as the
critical basis for an effective federal system.
Currently, ACIR is the hub of the intergovernmental community and maintains
relationships with many Intergovernmental organizations.Several related documents and
other sources of information are:
ACIR's Commissioners represent most of the federal
government's partners in the intergovernmental arena. There are 26 members on ACIR's Commission. They include:
- Six Members of Congress appointed by the House and Senate leadership;
- Four Governors; three State Legislators; four Mayors, and three county officials
appointed by the President from nominations by the respective national associations of
state and local governments; and
- Three private citizens and three representatives of the federal executive branch
appointed directly by the President.
Commission Members serve two-year terms and may be reappointed.
ACIR's Commission is on the cutting edge of efforts to understand and balance the
interests of the federal system's partners, and ACIR's Commission
Members bring front-line experience to intergovernmental issues.
Under its authorizing legislation, ACIR's core functions are to:
- Convene federal, state, and local officials and private citizens to consider common
- Monitor events and conditions in the federal system;
- Investigate the consequences of changes in the federal system;
- Provide technical assistance to the executive and legislative branches of the federal
- Recommend changes in law, regulation, and practice to achieve a more desirable
allocation of functions, responsibilities and revenues, and to improve relations among the
levels of government.
- Over its distinguished 37-year history, ACIR has worked to build a true
intergovernmental partnership within the Constitutional framework for the federal system. ACIR, The Year In Review: The 37th Annual Report covers ACIR's
history in greater detail. Other related documents that are available via this page
UNFUNDED MANDATES REFORM ACT OF 1995
In the first comprehensive review ever undertaken of existing federal mandates on
state, local, and tribal governments , ACIR will make recommendations to the President and
the Congress to retain, suspend, revise, or terminate specific mandates.
- The Commission issued its criteria for review in July, 1995, and selected 14 specific
mandates for intensive review in September. The preliminary recommendations were made
available for public review and comment in January, 1996 in the ACIR DRAFT REPORT, The Role of FEDERAL MANDATES in Intergovernmental Relations.
The final version of the report is scheduled to be released later in 1996, and will be
made available through ACIR.
- PUBLIC COMMENT:
- The Public Comment Period on the DRAFT REPORT ended on March 29, 1996 and there waw a
Public Hearing on March 26, beginning at 9:00 AM and concluding at 4:00 PM in the Rayburn
House Office Building, Room #2154 (Independence Ave. and South Capitol St.), Washington,
DC. Throughout the day, nearly 200 people provided written and oral testimony. Logs of the
comments that ACIR has received concerning the Draft Report, The
Role of FEDERAL MANDATES in Intergovernmental Relations should be available at this
- Concurrent to the release of the release of the Draft Report on Federal Mandates, ACIR
hosted the most comprehensive conference on Federal Mandates to date: Lightening the
Load, The ACIR Conference on Unfunded Federal Mandates,
which was held on March 6 and 7, 1996 at the Washington Hilton Hotel. The conference
included seminars and workshops that focused on all aspects of unfunded federal mandates,
and featured speakers and panelists who represent all sides of the issues on which the
seminars and workshops focused. Conference Summaries are available free of cost at this
- STAFF REPORT:
- Benchmarking Intergovernmental Service Delivery- Responding to a recommendation
of the National Performance Review, the Commission began a study to assess the potential
of outcome-oriented performance management processes to improve the delivery of
intergovernmental programs. The study evaluates the strategic planning, performance
goal-setting, and performance measurement practices of selected federal, state, and local
public works agencies. A draft policy report was considered by the Commission in December
1995, and is expected to be completed, adopted, and published in 1996.
- ISSUE BRIEF:
- With its Block Grant Issue Brief, FY 1995 updates of Characteristics of
Federal Grants to State and Local Governments and its Grant Fragmentation Index,
and testimony before the House Government Operations Committee, ACIR continues to monitor
and analyze changes in the system. These and many other publications can be purchased
directly from ACIR. Please see our Publications List.
- SIGNIFICANT FEATURES
- ACIR keeps track of the intergovernmental fiscal scene annually with Significant
Features of Fiscal Federalism, and with periodic research reports on such topics as
tax systems, tax and expenditure limitations, and local government health care
responsibilities. Significant Features of Fiscal Federalism and many other
publications can be purchased directly from ACIR. Please see our Publications
SERVICES AND PROGRAMS
In addition to its traditional research program, ACIR also offers its services to other
members of the federal system as well as other parties in the intergovernmental arena
(e.g. states, local, and tribal governments). If you represent an intergovernmental
organization and are wondering what ACIR can do for you, please inquire by calling (202)
653-5540 or see these related documents:
ACIR's work is supported by a Congressional appropriation, contributions from state
governments, the sale of Commission reports, and intergovernmental contracts.
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Page #ACIR-Index May 15, 1996