The War Between The Drones States
UAS [unmanned aerial systems] Magazine, 4/14/16
That the federal government prefers a “one size fits all” approach comes as no surprise. A national poll shows that 68 percent of Americans are against the FAA deciding what UAS regulations are best for their communities. That’s really not surprising, either, given the public perception of drones—often based on misconceptions.
Organizations such as the National League of Cities and Conference of Mayors are against giving the FAA the authority to trump the laws and regulations they deem necessary to assure the safety and privacy of their citizens. A letter the two organizations sent to a U.S. Senate committee said, “Much like automobiles and land use development regulations, local leaders know best how to regulate issues that affect their residents in their own backyards.”
A statement from a group called Smart Government said, “Including federal preemption language of state and local drone laws in the FAA Reauthorization bill is a perfect example of the federal government overstepping its bounds to the detriment of its citizens.”
Sen. Boxer Opposes Resurrecting Trucker Rest-Break Reform
Trucking Info, 4/14/16
An effort appears under way to insert a pro-trucking reform twice shot down by this Congress in the Fiscal Year 2017 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) bill that the Senate Appropriations Committee is expected to mark up soon.
However, if Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA)…has her way, the proposal will die yet a third death on Capitol Hill.
If the proposal is identical to the one that never made it into last year’s highway bill or this year’s aviation bill, it would aim to prevent states from enacting their own meal and rest break rules for CDL drivers. It would also prohibit states from requiring that those drivers be paid certain types of added compensation, such as detention pay.
In an April 14 letter to leaders on the Senate Appropriations Committee, Boxer expressed her strong opposition to “any efforts” to attach “a terrible anti-safety provision” to the THUD bill that would “dock the pay of truck drivers by attacking state laws that protect their pay during bathroom or lunch breaks, or when performing necessary activities like loading or unloading a truck.”
Guns on campus, alcohol bills among those still in legislative limbo
Alaska Dispatch News, 4/18/16
Two bills of interest are SB 174, a firearms preemption bill that would allow guns on college campuses, and SB 1, a smokefree preemption bill.
Benicia: Valero crude oil by rail decision delayed to September
East Bay Times, 4/21/16
The public will have to wait until at least late summer for a possible resolution on Valero Benicia Refinery’s controversial crude-by-rail project, after the City Council voted 3-2 to postpone a decision to Sept. 20.
Vice Mayor Mark Hughes, Councilwoman Christina Strawbridge and Councilman Alan Schwartzman said they need more information to make any decision on the project, while Mayor Elizabeth Patterson and Councilman Tom Campbell said they are ready to move forward…
Meanwhile, state Attorney General Kamala Harris’ office sent a strongly worded letter to the city earlier this month saying it disagrees with the city staff and Valero’s conclusion that the Interstate Commerce Commission Termination ACT, or ICCTA, prohibits the city from taking rail-related impacts into account while deciding on the project.
Attorney General Harris: Benicia Has Power to Reject Oil Facility
East Bay Express, 4/15/16
RAY RODRIGUES HASN’T DECIDED WHETHER HE’LL BRING BACK FRACKING LEGISLATION IN 2017
Florida Politics, 4/20/16
Rep. Ray Rodrigues said he wasn’t sure he will sponsor legislation during the 2017 legislative session to regulate fracking. If he decides against filing a bill next year, it will mark the first time since 2013 the Estero Republican has not carried the fracking issue forward…
It also increased penalties from $10,000 a day per violation to $25,000 a day per violation; required drillers to get permits and prohibited local governments from banning fracking.
Court airs pipeline Article 97 case
The Recorder, 4/15/16
Dozens of Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. project opponents — many from Franklin County — descended Friday on Berkshire Superior Court for a lawsuit hearing that could help determine one of the key issues in construction of the Northeast Energy Direct project through eight Franklin County towns.
The suit by TGP against the state argues in part that the state Constitution’s Article 97, protecting state-owned conservation parcels like the two acres of affected Otis State Forest — are federally pre-empted by the National Gas Act. The case is seen as potentially setting a precedent for more than 100 state-protected properties along the path of the NED project, now undergoing a federal environmental impact review.
Matthews leaders stand against legislative ‘overreach’
Charlotte Observer, 4/25/16
Matthews commissioners say they’re tired of legislators in Raleigh overstepping their bounds and they have passed a resolution telling them so.
Monday night the seven member town board unanimously passed a “Resolution Opposing Legislation That Diminishes Local Governmental Control.”
The resolution specifically mentions N.C. House Bill 2 that was passed on March 23 in special session to nullify the Charlotte City’s Council vote a month earlier that approved a local ordinance prohibiting discrimination against the LGBT community.
Lawyers square off over Josephine County GMO ban
The Capital Press, 4/14/16
Farmers seeking to overturn the ban against genetically engineered crops in Oregon’s Josephine County have come under fire in court from proponents of the ordinance…
The fundamental dispute in the lawsuit is whether state law overrules the county’s prohibition against genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.
Oregon lawmakers pre-empted most local GMO regulations in 2013 but Josephine County voters nonetheless approved a ballot initiative banning such crops the following year
Appeals Court Favors Transgender Student in Virginia Restroom Case
The New York Times, 4/19/16
Weeks after a new North Carolina law put transgender bathroom access at the heart of the nation’s culture wars, a federal appeals court in Richmond, Va., ruled on Tuesday in favor of a transgender student who was born female and wishes to use the boys’ restroom at his rural Virginia high school.
Advocates for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people note that the ruling from the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit applies to North Carolina, where the controversial law approved last month limits transgender people to bathrooms in government buildings, including public schools, that correspond with the gender listed on their birth certificates.
As a result of the ruling, those advocates say, that portion of the North Carolina law that applies to public schools now clearly violates Title IX — the federal law that prohibits gender discrimination in schools.
Inslee signs statewide vaping regulations for Washington
KIRO 7, 4/19/16
Sharon Bogan, a spokeswoman for King County Public Health, said in an email the agency is in favor of stronger vaping regulation in the state but doesn’t support pre-empting local efforts.
For the cancer action network, McHale said the organization believes state-level regulations should be viewed “as a floor on which local health jurisdictions can build.”
But the statewide pre-emption creates a “more stable regulatory environment,” Dammeier said, adding that he believes vaping is a healthier habit than smoking cigarettes, and the legislation stops local governments from making it too difficult for adults to vape.