Scope & Content

The over-arching theme of the materials in the Martin Papers is federalism, a concept that focuses on the relationship of the federal government to the states. Central to the establishment of the American political system was the belief that both a strong, unified, and national federal government could exist simultaneously with individual states. While some issues, such as providing for the country’s defense, currency production, and the submission of a national budget, are clearly national in scope and well within the purview of the federal government, other issues, such as infrastructure development, the financing of education, and ensuring for public safety are better served by state and local governments. How our elected leaders negotiate this often contentious relationship into a delicate balance of fair and equitable responsibilities and duties goes directly to the heart of the federalism debate. Each presidential administration has placed its own imprint on federalism, and the materials in the Martin Papers clearly show the how the federal-state relationship has evolved and shifted over the past thirty years.

The earliest item in the collection dates from 1957, and the most recent are from 1999. While the collection spans over thirty-two years, the bulk of the materials are from the early 1980s and the 1990s. There is a significant gap in the collection, with only a small amount of documentation available from the 1970s. Consequently, this collection is most reflective of Martin’s work as lead legislative counsel, a position he assumed in 1979.

Many of the key issues in federalism are well represented in the Martin Papers, particularly in Series One: Legislative Issues. This series and its twenty sub-series contains a wealth of material on such important topics as budget, education, environment, federalism government financing, health care and health care reform, infrastructure, mandates, Medicaid, regulatory reform, taxation, and welfare reform. Researchers can expect to find background materials, working papers, memorandum, policy position statements, correspondence, and meeting notes in these materials. Government publications from the General Accounting Office (GAO), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (ACIR) are part of many of these files. In addition, key pieces of legislation, Congressional testimony, and presidential executive orders have been highlighted in the major topical areas, making it easier for researchers to focus on specific policy development materials.

Within each sub-series certain topics of importance should be mentioned. Files of note in the budget sub-series are those related to the balanced budget amendment. The general files in the budget run contain a vast amount of information on the debate over the budget from fiscal year 1978 to 2000, with the greatest number being from 1983-1985 when the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act was being negotiated.

In the education sub-series there are several files that deal with the President’s Education Summit with Governors that was held in Charlottesville, Virginia, on September 28, 1989. Briefing materials, conference notes, reports, and the concluding statements are included.

Materials of note in the federalism sub-series deal with four presidential executive orders signed in the 1980s and 1990s. Of particular interest are those signed by Ronald Reagan (Executive Order 12372 and 12612) and William Clinton (Executive Order 13083 and 13132). In addition, there are several legislative acts passed by Congress that relate to federalism. There are files on the Federalism Accountability Act of 1999 (S.1214), the Federalism Act of 1999 (H.R.2245), and the Federalism Enforcement Act of 1998 (S.2445). Materials related to organizations, committees, and groups that study federalism are contained in this sub-series. This includes the Federalism Advisory Group, the Presidential Advisory Committee on Federalism, and the States’ Federalism Steering Committee. Finally, there are materials in this sub-series dealing with judicial federalism, especially as it relates to key court decisions, the Tenth Amendment, and Article V of the Constitution.

The challenge of how to equitably distribute federal government money to the states is addressed in the government financing sub-series. In this broad topical area issues such as revenue distribution options, block grants, and grants management are covered. Numerous charts and tables that delineate distribution formulas, grants-in-aid, revenue sharing figures, and other financial formulaic information are included. Materials related to block grants, including those specifically directed to community development, maternal and child health, small cities, and substance abuse are part of this sub-series. In addition, the larger issue of grants, including cross-cutting rules and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circulars A-85 and A-87 are covered. Finally, there are files related to legislation aimed at improving the management of grants, specifically the Federal Financial Assistance Management Act of 1998 (S.1642/H.R.3921) and the Federal Financial Assistance Management Act of 1999 (S.468/H.R.409).

The debate over reform of the nation’s health care delivery system, a critical agenda item of President Clinton’s first term, was a major issue for the nation’s governors as well, and this is reflected in the files of the sub-series on health and health care reform. Within these files, there is information on health insurance reform, long-term care, managed competition, and health care financing. The governor’s involvement in discussions on reform strategies is reflected in the 1992 NGA report “Flexibility and Waiver Authority for Health Care Reform: A Primer for States,” in a National Meeting on Health Care held by NGA in 1992, and in the work of the NGA Subcommittee on Health. In this sub-series researchers will be able to examine important legislation as well as testimony from various hearings on health care reform.

Infrastructure issues are covered in the Martin Papers. This sub-series contains materials on financing and investment, public works, and job creation. Of particular note are the files on the National Council on Public Works Improvement and the Private Sector Advisory Panel on Infrastructure Financing.

A critical element of effective federalism is the fostering of strong intergovernmental relationships. This theme weaves itself throughout the papers and is also evidenced a separate sub-series. The bulk of the materials here relate to the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (ACIR) and the Intergovernmental Affairs Committee.

Lobbying is also a central theme in these papers, and within this sub-series researchers can expect to find materials related to the control and regulation of the efforts of lobbyists and their associated organizations. Key pieces of legislation include the Lobbying Disclosure Act (S.349/H.R.823) and the Lobbying Reform Act of 1995.

The most important issue in the mandates sub-series relates to the Unfunded Mandate Reform Act of 1995. Also addressed in this sub-series is how mandates, both funded and unfunded, effect state and local governments. This is a particularly rich sub-series, with information on specific mandates such as the Safe Drinking Water Act and the impact of mandates in particular states.

Topics related to Medicaid, such as reform issues, state waiver projects, and specific waivers are covered in the sub-series on Medicaid. Several files also relate to placing an entitlement cap on Medicaid, the debate over and impact of Medicaid expansions, and the issue of provider taxes. In addition, testimony from several hearings is included.

The question of how to best control and reform the nation’s regulatory rules and directives is addressed in the regulatory sub-series. This is a rather large sub-series, and its focus is primarily on executive orders and legislation passed during the late 1990s. The executive orders to note are number 12044 and number 12866. Among the significant pieces of legislation are the Regulatory Improvement Acts of 1997, 1998, and 1999, and the Regulatory Right to Know Acts of 1997, 1998, and 1999. Several General Accounting Office reports are included in this sub-series.

Files on such issues as the earned income tax credit, excises taxes, sales taxes, and value added taxes are addressed in the sub-series on taxation. The largest files in this series are on the Internet Tax Freedom Act (S.442), the taxation of mail order sales, and tax exempt bonds. Specific to the tax exempt bond issue are two important court cases: South Carolina v. Reagan and South Carolina v. Baker.

Telecommunications, transportation, and water are three of the smaller topics in this series. However, each has been assigned its own sub-series. One of the issues covered in the telecommunications files focuses on the public safety spectrum. The decision to designate a larger segment of the telecommunications spectrum to those individuals involved in public safety came in direct response to the growing reliance on broadband and wireless technology. In the transportation files there are materials related to highways, the Highway Trust Fund, and the Intermodal Surface Transportation and Efficiency Act (ISTEA). Researchers interested in issues related to water pollution, wastewater and sewage treatment, and the National Water Symposium will find such topics addressed in the water sub-series.

Another hallmark of the Clinton administration was its work on reform of the nation’s welfare system. Again, as with health care reform, the governor’s were actively involved in lobbying efforts, including the crafting policy, the formulation of strategies, and the presentation of options for changing how the welfare system functioned. Within the welfare reform sub-series there is a great deal of material related to state welfare demonstration projects, with examples from specific states available. In addition, there are files related to the Personal Responsibility Act (H.R.4), the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act of 1996 (S.1795/H.R.3507), and other welfare reform bills.

While Series I: Legislative Issues focuses on major Congressional and presidential action on issues related to federalism, the materials located in Series II: Subject Files are devoted to less significant issues and topics. The number of documents in each of the subject files is often small, and the date ranges are very limited. These files contain many of the same record types as found in Series I.

The subject file run contains material on specific subjects, individuals, and organizations. Of note are the files related to the Big 7, a coalition of organizations devoted to state and local government. Members of the Big 7 are the National League of Cities, the Council of State Governments, the National Council of State Legislatures, the International City/County Management Association, the National Association of Counties, and United States Conference of Mayors, and the National Governors’ Association.

Subject files of particular interest relate to constitutional conventions, the Common Sense Legal Reform Act, the bicentennial of the Constitution, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), industrial policy, jobs, the new economy and information technology, trade, urban policy, and workforce development.

The final series, Series III: National Governors’ Association, contains materials related to the daily operations, staff functioning, and committee work of the NGA. This series is much more administrative in nature than the previous two, and it is possible to construct a clear outline of the issues, leadership, and strategies pursued by the NGA while Martin was with the organization. Files in this series provide information on annual meetings, committees and task forces, gubernatorial elections, NGA publications, special work sessions for governors, and on meetings of the Washington Representatives. A small group of files relates to chairmen of the NGA. The materials in these files are limited and include speeches, correspondence, and invitations. Most of the work of the chairman is evidenced in other parts of the collection, specifically on those key legislative issues documented in Series I.

The largest section of this series is devoted to NGA Legislative Priorities and Issues, a listing of the key legislative issues and topics that the NGA sought to addressed from 1973-1999. This is an extremely useful resource for tracking issues of importance to the NGA, and for summarizing the successes and failures of the governors on the major issues of federalism. Also included is a list of correspondence sent on behalf of the NGA and testimony of NGA staff members from 1983-1998. Finally, for an overview of NGA policy, news events related to NGA, and announcements researchers should consult three NGA publications: the Governors’ Executive Report (1992-1998), the Governors’ Bulletin (1979-1985) the Governors’ Weekly Bulletin (1985-1999). Although none of these publications are in complete runs, a comprehensive picture of the NGA can be established.