What Are Some Differences Between Federal, State and Local Laws?


Quick Answer

The difference between federal, state and local law is that federal laws are made to apply throughout the United States, state laws are enforceable at the state level, and local laws only pertain to the local municipality that enacted them, LawHelp.org explains. Federal laws include immigration and bankruptcy, state laws include divorce and family matters, and local laws include rent and zoning.

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Full Answer

The U.S. Constitution sets the laws of the entire country, and no state or federal law may violate them, Animal Protection of New Mexico explains. Congress enacts the federal laws, and these laws are enforceable in every state. If a state law and a federal law contradict, then federal law applies. Federal laws do not cover all areas of the law, and this is where state and local laws apply.

State laws are enacted through a specific rule-making process that requires the public's input, the Animal Protection of New Mexico notes. State agencies hold public meetings and allow input by state citizens. Most regulations in effect are usually updated or re-enacted, as they are only good for certain periods of time.

Local ordinances are enacted because the state grants municipal governments certain powers, the Animal Protection of New Mexico explains. County and municipal laws apply to everyone within the jurisdiction's limits, and those laws cannot violate federal or state laws.

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