Blanket super-preemption close to passage in Arizona
Local control is not just a talking point to be invoked when convenient. Cities and towns should not be punished for making thoughtful choices that represent the values and ideals of the residents that elected us. – Tempe Councilmember Lauren Kuby
As we reported on March 3, Arizona SB 1487, a form of blanket “super-preemption,” passed the Arizona Senate and moved to the state House of Representatives. SB 1487 has now passed out of both the House Commerce and Rules Committees, and is likely to pass the House and be signed into law soon.
This bill would withhold state revenue-sharing funds from localities that adopt any policy that “violate[s] state law or the state constitution.” By notifying the state attorney general, asingle legislator can stop the transfer of local funds by objecting to any local policy regardless of topic. The practical impact is that any local policy to promote health, safety, civil rights, or workers is at risk. Tempe already disbanded a task force considering options to guarantee earned sick days for employees and their families.
No local elected official would risk losing funds for essential services such as the fire service or police when a single state legislator can interfere with local democracy on behalf of a harm-causing industry.
Arizona Has a Plan to Get Revenge on Its Pro-Worker Cities
Bloomberg Business, 3/15/16
Senate Democrats Introduce Bill Requiring GE Food Labeling, Includes Preemption of States
The Cornucopia Institute, 3/14/15
Last week, Senators Jeff Merkley (OR), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Jon Tester (D-MT), and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced legislation to require that consumer food packaging displays genetically engineered (GE) ingredient labeling. The Senators’ legislation, theBiotechnology Food Labeling and Uniformity Act (S.2621), presents an alternative to the primarily Republican-backed Biotechnology Labeling Solutions Bill that recently passed the Senate Agriculture Committee on a 14-6 vote. The Biotechnology Labeling Solutions Bill, which embodies several provisions of the much opposed DARK Act, will hide ingredient information from consumers by overturning state GE labeling laws like that ofVermont’s.
LEAHY STATEMENT IN AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE MARKUP ON BILL TO PREEMPT VT’S GE LABELING LAW
VT Digger, 3/2/16
It comes as no surprise, I am sure, that I will not support this bill. This legislation undermines the public’s right to know and preempts mandatory labels in states, replacing them with a paltry voluntary standard that already exists today under guidance from the FDA. Not only would this legislation preempt Vermont’s Act 120 GE disclosure requirement, but it would block other state laws like Alaska’s requirement to label all products containing genetically engineered fish and shell fish, and Vermont and Virginia’s laws requiring the labeling of genetically engineered seed.
Arizona Has a Plan to Get Revenge on Its Pro-Worker Cities
Bloomberg Business, 3/15/16
Arizona is one of several states where legislators have moved to stop local officials from trying to pass minimum wage increases or paid leave policies that have no chance in the statehouse. In Alabama, state lawmakers invalidated a Birmingham minimum wage increase to $10.10, from $7.25, in February by passing a law denying cities such authority. Idaho’s legislature passed a similar law in March…
Following a strategy previously used to block local regulations on smoking or guns, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker invalidated it in 2011. “Most of us hadn’t paid attention to what had happened in the tobacco world and in the gun world,” says Ellen Bravo, executive director of the nonprofit advocacy group Family Values @ Work. “We should have paid attention in Milwaukee.”
Plastic bag preemption enacted
AZ Daily Sun, 3/15/16
For the second time in two years, state lawmakers approved — and Gov. Doug Ducey signed — legislation on Monday designed to trim the ability of cities, towns and counties to regulate plastic bags…
But the measure is broader than that, preempting local codes on everything from cloth to glass and aluminum which is used to transport merchandise or food to or from a business.Ducey signed the measure hours later, siding with the businesses who want the ban — and against the communities who want to exercise local control.
Snuff out state smoking law
Daytona Beach News-Journal, 3/14/16
The law forbidding cities and counties from regulating smoking goes all the way back to 1985, when it was enacted as part of the Florida Clean Indoor Air Act. Thirty years ago… tobacco companies poured millions into lobbying and campaign efforts intended to influence lawmakers. Despite the legislation’s name, lobbyists worked hard to make the Clean Indoor Air Act as weak as possible.
And they scored a significant win: As part of the law, Florida became the first state in the nation to strip local governments of the ability to regulate public tobacco use. Public opinion shifted, of course, and in 2003 voters approved a wide-ranging constitutional amendment that regulated smoking in most indoor working spaces, including restaurants…
But the preemption language remained in state law. Each year, lawmakers file bills to allow local control, and each year, they essentially go nowhere — this year’s version didn’t get a single hearing in the House or Senate.
Florida Senator Pulls Plug On Fracking Bill
Pro-fracking bill gone – but only for now
Tallahassee Democrat, 3/13/16
The House version by Rep. Rodrigues had passed, but in a narrow loss, the Senate Appropriations Committee refused to approve Sen. Richter’s version of the fracking bill. But make no mistake – supported by the fossil fuel industry, such pro-fracking bills will be back…
In spite of furious attempts by Sen. Richter to depict SB 318 as a needed advance in regulation where none presently exists, opponents had a different view.
Legislature Takes The Air Out Of ‘Ban The Foam’
Earlier this session, the so-called “preemption” language was quietly tucked into a food safety bill for the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
When it reached the Senate floor Wednesday, Democrat Bill Montford of Tallahassee was so eager to pass the bill, he failed to mention the most controversial part.
GEORGIA SENATE HEARS “CAMPUS CARRY” GUN BILL
Atlanta Progressive News, 3/4/16
Senate backs prohibition on local plastic bag bans, 20-15, after much debate
The Spokesman-Review, 3/16/16
WL officials worry about losing local control after plastic bag bill passes
WLFI, 3/9/16, West Lafayette, IN
Are state lawmakers trying to strip local authority? West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis thinks so. A bill heading to the governor’s desk bans local government from regulating plastic bags…
…plastic bags end up in landfills where they become damaging to the environment. That’s why many local governments were having a conversation about banning or taxing plastic bags…
State to locals: You can’t do that. Or that.
Indy Star, 3/6/16
HB 2595 (currently pending in House Commerce Committee) is a broad nutrition and agriculture preemption bill that preempts “consumer incentive items and nutrition labeling for food and nonalcoholic beverages that are menu items in restaurants, retail food establishments or vending machines” and prevents the state and all lower levels of government from:
“(4) condition[ing] any license, permit or regulatory approval for a food service operation upon the existence or nonexistence of food-based health disparities;
(5) [regulating] where food service operations are permitted to operate, ban, prohibit or otherwise restrict a food service operation based upon the existence or nonexistence of food-based health disparities as recognized by the department of health, the institute of health or the centers for disease control, [and]
(7) restrict[ing] the growing or raising of livestock or grain, vegetables, fruits or other crops grown or raised for food and approved for sale by the United States department of agriculture or other federal or state”
Right to Farm constitutional amendment reaches Unicameral floor
York News-Times, 3/9/16
Nebraska ‘Right to Farm’ Proposal Stalls in Committee
The proposed constitutional amendment (also known as measure LR378CA) failed to muster enough support to advance out of the Agriculture Committee, with some senators raising concerns that the measure was too broad.
Gov. McCrory prefers short session to fight Charlotte’s LGBT ordinance
Charlotte Business Journal, 3/4/16
N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory acknowledges the N.C. General Assembly will take up the issue of Charlotte’s new non-discrimination ordinance that in effect allows people to use public restrooms based on the gender with which they identify.
McCrory prefers that legislators wait until the short session instead of holding a special session but says a scheduling a special session is up to the General Assembly.
Legislators decry budget shortfall
Tahlequah Daily Press, 3/6/16
The gathering was first addressed by Bill John Baker, principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, who urged opposition to State Question 777, otherwise known as the “Right to Farm” amendment.
“It takes power away from the Legislature and prevents them from legislating anything concerning agriculture ever again,” Baker said. “I can put a nice place next to a pig farm and they can’t do anything about it, but under Right to Farm, they can put a pig farm next to a nice place, and nothing can be done about it. If someone is poisoning the Illinois River or Tenkiller Lake, the Legislature couldn’t even come back and make a rule about it.”
Okla. Farm Rights Bill Called a Deception
Courthouse News Service, 3/3/16
Right-to-Farm Opposition Hopes Lawsuit Can Stop State Question Before the Ballot
Rep. Jason Dunnington, D-Oklahoma City, two private citizens, and the water advocacy group Save the Illinois River filed a lawsuit March 1 challenging the constitutionality of the state question before it even gets to a vote of the people in November.
In a press release, the coalition bringing the suit says State Question 777 would equate farming and ranching practices to fundamental rights like freedom of speech and religion, and allow “Big Ag” to run rampant.
“State Question 777 amounts to a massive giveaway to corporate agriculture in a truly unprecedented way,” Save the Illinois River President Denise Deason-Toyne says in the release. “Oklahomans have a right to clean water, clean air, and food safety. This ‘Right to Harm‘ amendment strips them of those rights in favor of an industry that cares on about its bottom line.”
The Pittsburgh Suburb Where Gunmen Attacked a Family Cookout Was One of Dozens Forced to Scrap Its Firearms Rules
The Trace, 3/15/16
Dramatic incidents of gun violence are often followed by public commitments to try to stop the next shooting. John Thompson, the mayor of Wilkinsburg and a member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, said in the aftermath, “I can say for certain there is more we can do to reduce the senseless violence that claims 91 American lives every day.” But just how much Pennsylvania’s local officials can do in pursuit of that goal is sharply constrained: Thanks to a unique, year-and-a-half-old Pennsylvania law, any city or town that attempts to take gun safety into its own hands risks a costly lawsuit from the National Rifle Association…
Act 192 opened the floodgates to individual gun owners and national gun lobbies who didn’t agree with municipal restrictions on firearms. In effect, the act says that as long as a group like the NRA has members in Pennsylvania, the organization has the green light to dip into its litigation war chest to go head-to-head with local governments over their gun ordinances.
Pa. justices question roots of NRA-backed law
Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court on Wednesday signaled it was unlikely to reinstate a controversial law that gave the National Rifle Association the right to challenge municipal gun ordinances across the state…
The law, known as Act 192, gave groups such as the NRA the right to challenge local gun-control ordinances, instead of limiting those rights to individuals. It was passed not as stand-alone legislation, but tacked on as an amendment to a bill that increased criminal penalties for stealing secondary metals, such as copper wire.
Wary of protracted and costly legal battles with the gun-rights lobby, some towns and boroughs began repealing ordinances, such as ones that banned unlicensed weapons or required gun owners to report lost firearms. Other municipalities, including Philadelphia, faced lawsuits
As policymakers in South Dakota, we often recite that the best government is the government closest to the people. Local school districts can, and have, made necessary restroom and locker room accommodations that serve the best interests of all students, regardless of biological sex or gender identity. – South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard (R), Veto Message, HB 1008, “An Act to restrict access to certain restrooms and locker rooms in public schools.”
Gov. Daugaard Vetoes HB 1008
South Dakota State News, 3/1/16
House Bill 1008 does not address any pressing issue concerning the school districts of South Dakota…
If and when these rare situations arise, I believe local school officials are best positioned to address them. Instead of encouraging local solutions, this bill broadly regulates in a manner that invites conflict and litigation, diverting energy and resources from the education of the children of this state…
For these reasons, I oppose this bill and ask that you sustain my veto.
Wisconsin bill would create ban on plastic bag bans
Journal Sentinel, 3/14/16
A bill likely to be taken up this week by the state Senate would prohibit communities from banning plastic bags…
The Senate will meet for what is expected to be its final time of the year on Tuesday. Leaders have not yet said what measures they plan to take up, but final session days tend to be long as legislators seek to put their favored bills — some controversial, some mundane — into law.
Madison Metro Transit’s ban on concealed weapons under review by Wisconsin Supreme Court
The Badger Herald, 3/8/16
The Wisconsin Supreme Court is now further reviewing a longstanding legal case regarding a Madison Metro Transit gun-control policy.
Wisconsin Carry, a non-profit organization that promotes the protection of Second Amendment rights, filed an appeal in January 2015. The appeal challenges a Metro policy that prohibits carrying concealed weapons on Metro buses, Nik Clark, Chairman of Wisconsin Carry-Milwaukee, said…
Wisconsin Carry argues that Metro Transit’s restriction on concealed weapons violates a Wisconsin preemption statute, which prevents local municipalities from regulating firearm policies, Clark said.