The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 is an example of a federal mandate. Federal mandates are laws passed by Congress and signed by the president requiring compliance by the states under threat of legal action, sanctions or other punitive measures, and these laws override any state laws to the contrary. The Americans with Disabilities Act outlaws discrimination of any kind against anyone with a disability.
The act protects these individuals from discrimination in the job market or schools by any state or governmental agency and in the arenas of commercial, transportation and public accommodations. The federal government passed this sweeping legislation, which affects the individual states and their budgets in dramatic ways, and demands that each state follow it to the letter of the law. Some federal mandates are funded, at least in part, by the federal government, which provides money to offset state expenses. Other federal mandates are not similarly funded. The Americans with Disabilities Act is an unfunded federal mandate and, therefore, quite costly to individual state governments. Other examples of federal mandates include the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Civil Rights Act of 1957, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Fair Labor Standards Act.