Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KY), chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, introduced EDW 16221, which would “set up a federal voluntary GMO labeling system, which would also pre-empt state laws that would require GMO labeling.” The new bill is similar to HR 1599, the “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015” which passed the US House of Representatives last July.
Food Policy Action (co-founded by chef Tom Colicchio) began a petition ultimately signed by “2,000 chefs from 37 states” opposing the new GMO labeling preemption legislation. The Center for Food Safety has written a Summary Legal Analysis of Senate Bill on Genetically Engineered Food Labeling. The New York Times also published an editorialopposing the legislation.
Supporters include national feed industry groups, “including the National Grain and Feed Association and the American Feed Industry Association.” Campbell’s Vice President of Government Affairs, Kelly Johnston, wrote this opinion piece supporting federal preemption. The commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture also penned an opinion piece titled “State officials call for Roberts GMO labeling bill.”
Paid Sick Days, Minimum Wage and BenefitsMeanwhile, a number of editorials, opinion pieces and articles have been published exposing the national campaign to preempt local authority to mandate higher minimum wages and benefits such as paid sick days:
Preemption of Democracy by ALEC, its Corporate Funders, and Republican & Democratic Corporatists
The Huffington Post, 2/17/16
No, raising the local minimum wage doesn’t hurt local businesses
The Washington Post, 2/26/16
When States Fight to Overturn Good Local Labor Laws
The New York Times, 2/19/16
Chemical Safety Bill Could Help Protect Monsanto Against Legal Claims
The New York Times, 2/29/16
HB 174 – Preempts cities from setting minimum wage and benefits mandates.
SB 1487 has passed the Arizona state Senate and moved to the state House of Representatives. This bill would withhold state revenue-sharing funds from localities that pass laws that “violate state law or the state constitution.” By notifying the state attorney general, a single legislator can stop the transfer of local funds by objecting to any local policy regardless of topic.
AZ Legislature would limit city efforts on sick pay
Arizona Daily Star, 2/28/16
State lawmakers are moving to undermine the ability of cities to require employers to provide things like sick leave to local workers…
Legislation set for a House vote Monday would leave undisturbed what businesses have finally conceded they cannot do: preclude cities and counties from setting minimum wages higher than what the state requires.
That’s because a 2006 voter-approved minimum-wage law specifically permits such local options.
Instead, HB 2579 seeks to narrow the definition of exactly what “wages” are, to include only the cash compensation paid.
The legislation specifically says that certain things are not wages. That includes everything from fringe benefits like health insurance, sick pay, maternity leave and vacation pay.
Bill requiring compensation for fracking bans dies in Colorado Legislature
The Durango Herald, 2/24/16
Democrats in the state Legislature on Wednesday killed legislation that would have required local governments to compensate mineral-rights owners in the event of a ban on hydraulic fracturing.
Editorial: Legislature stomping on local control
The Tampa Tribune, 2/21/16
Senate committee kills fracking bill, but measure could return
Miami Herald, 2/25/16
Amid growing public opposition to the controversial practice of fracking for oil and gas, a divided Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday rejected a bill to regulate and authorize the technique in Florida beginning in 2017.
The Senate Appropriations Committee voted 10-9 to reject SB 318 by Sen. Garrett Richter, R-Naples, which imposes a temporary moratorium on fracking permits until a study of Florida’s hydrology is completed to determine what potential impact the operations will have on the state’s geology and fragile water supply…
The Department of Environmental Protection must submit the proposed rules for legislative approval. The House passed a similar bill, HB 191, by a 73-45 vote with seven Republicans joining Democrats to oppose the measure.
Legislature kills Orlando’s No Foam Zone initiative
Polystyrene (or Styrofoam) is commonly used for disposable food containers, ice chests, and for packing materials. It is not biodegradable and because of this it is becoming a growing concern for environmentalists and anti-litter advocates.
Several municipalities have started to address the issue by adopting ordinances to prohibit the use of polystyrene on a local level. There are more than 100 municipalities across the country that currently have polystyrene ordinances; including Washington, D.C. and San Francisco. Florida cities with a ban include; Bal Harbor, Miami Beach, Surfside, and Key Biscayne.
The preemption passed as part of CS/CS/HB 7007, (an agricultural bill dealing mostly with fertilizer regulations) is meant to prohibit local governments from regulating the use of polystyrene despite Florida’s status as a “Home Rule” state. The preemption does not apply to ordinances adopted prior to this year.
$15 MINIMUM WAGE, ENDING LOCAL PREEMPTION GET HEARING IN STATE SENATE
Atlanta Progressive News, 2/19/16
Three minimum wage bills have been introduced in Georgia. Two would raise the state minimum wage, and a third bill, SB 292, would repeal existing preemption of minimum wage, paid sick leave and benefit ordinances.
Bill limiting county oversight advances
Hawaii Tribune Herald, 2/19/16
Three Senate committees voted late Wednesday afternoon in favor of an amended version of SB 2535, which gives the state exclusive authority to regulate “geothermal resources development and geothermal resources exploration,” unless it delegates that power to the counties.
It will next be sent to the Senate Ways and Means Committee.
Sen. Lorraine Inouye, the bill’s main sponsor, said she thinks the state is the proper authority to regulate drilling and other geothermal activities, though she acknowledged Puna Geothermal Venture — the state’s only geothermal power plant operator — requested that she introduce the legislation.
Bill curbing county oversight of geothermal advances
West Hawaii Today, 2/19/16
Lawmakers have advanced a bill curbing the ability of counties to pass their own laws regulating geothermal power plants.
Three Senate committees voted in favor of an amended version of SB 2535, which gives the state exclusive authority to regulate “geothermal resources development and geothermal resources exploration,” unless it delegates that power to the counties, late Wednesday afternoon.
Reader Comment: Kauffman: Bag Ban Bill is About Business, Not Local Control
Magic Valley Times News, 2/18/16
A pro-preemption opinion piece.
Letter: Our ‘plastic bag’ habit is killing us
Chicago Tribune, 2/25/16
SB 743 – Preempts local bag bans
Letter: Local control
Lawrence Journal-World, 2/27/16
One of the key tenets of conservative Kansas legislators is that the government that governs best is the government that governs least…
Yet the Kansas Senate has introduced and passed a bill that, if enacted, would stop Lawrence, and presumably other cities, from creating affordable housing requirements within the city…
If the legislators actually believe that governmental overreach and meddling in state governments is abhorrent, then they should immediately withdraw SB 366 and tell the realtors to take up their concerns with local governments. It is out of bounds at the state level and is the very kind of overreach state senators claim to abhor from the federal level.
SB 366 – Preempts local control of residential and commercial rental prices
Kansas House panel considers barring cities from passing nutrition labeling laws
The Topeka Capital Journal, 2/17/16
Legislation to bar local governments from requiring and regulating food nutrition labels received a hearing Wednesday in the Kansas House Commerce Committee.
Under House Bill 2595, municipalities would be unable to require retail food establishments to post nutritional information, including caloric content and allergen warnings.
This bill also preempts local oversight of Factory Farms.
A vaguely worded “right to farm” constitutional amendment may preempt local authority to address the health and environmental impacts of Factory Farms. A number of so-called right to farm measures have included preemption of local authority.
NE Farm Bureau Studying Right to Farm Bill
“Right to farm” in Nebraska debated at committee hearing
Nebraska Radio Network, 2/24/16
‘Right to farm’ amendment backers face tough questions in legislative hearing
Lincoln Journal Star, 2/24/16
Nebraska Farm Bureau wants to change ‘right to farm’ measure
Tri-Valley Dispatch, 2/24/16
Nebraska could be latest state to OK ‘right-to-farm’ law
The Washington Times, 2/21/16
LR 378CA, a resolution to establish a constitutional “Right to Farm and Ranch” in Nebraska.
‘Right-to-farm’ bill tramples rights of residents
Albuquerque Journal, 2/20/16
Thanks to Floyd for SQ 777 kill
Tahlequah Daily Press, 2/24/16
Farm Bureau supports SQ777
The Edmond Sun, 2/19/16
Bill requiring GMO fish labels flops in Senate
Portland Tribune, 2/24/16
SB 1559 – creates a statewide tobacco (and e-cigarette) retailer licensing system but preempts local authority to require an “additional license to sell tobacco products or inhalant delivery systems” or “adopt certain other types of ordinance related to premises that sell tobacco products or inhalant delivery systems.”
Dean at University of Texas Resigns in Part Over Handgun Law
The New York Times, 2/27/16
A new state law in Texas preempts the authority of public colleges and universities to ban firearms on campus. Individuals with a state CCW (carrying concealed weapons) permit can carry concealed handguns regardless of the concerns of the campus community. At the behest of the gun lobby, Texas has a “Shall Issue” CCW law making it very easy to obtain a permit.
Bill to cripple local health department powers defeated in committee
The Register-Herald, 2/23/16
Bills would allow WV counties to repeal smoking bans
Charleston Gazette-Mail, 2/21/16
West Virginia lawmakers have county smoking bans in their crosshairs.
For the second consecutive year, Republican legislators are moving bills that would allow county commissions across the state to revoke clean indoor air regulations and other public health board rules.
“This legislation would effectively turn health issues into political issues,” said Jack Woodrum, a Summers County commissioner.
State lawmakers say they just want to hold county commissioners and health departments accountable — not necessarily wipe out smoking bans…
At a public hearing in the House of Delegates chamber last week, more than a dozen people spoke against legislation (HB 4472) that would allow county commissions to nix health board rules, including clean indoor air ordinances.
Thirty-one of West Virginia’s 55 counties have comprehensive smoking bans that cover restaurants, bars and gambling facilities.
West Virginia has the highest smoking rate among adults and pregnant women in the United States, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
SB 284 – Would require “approval by county commission of all health policies enacted by local boards of health.” Currently suspended in action in the Health and Human Services committee.
SB 666: Exempts “certain veterans’ organizations and video lottery licenses from local indoor smoking prohibition,” requires these venues to have smokefree areas, and preempts local authority to pass stronger protections for nonsmokers.
Adelante! El Dia Sin Latinos en Wisconsin
PR Watch, 2/18/16
Wisconsin’s AB 450/SB 369, contains elements of ALEC’s “No Sanctuary Cities for Illegal Immigrants Act,” which was later introduced in Arizona as SB 1070. The ALEC task force that approved the “No Sanctuary Cities for Illegal Immigrants Act” in December 2009 included a lobbyist for Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), which had identified immigrant detention as a profit center important for its future growth (CCA claims it did not vote on the legislation as ALEC corporate members typically do).
Wyoming House passes bill expanding concealed carry
The Washington Times, 2/23/16