Grassroots activists in North Carolina and Alabama are fighting to protect civil rights and local democracy. Thousands of activists protested North Carolina’s newanti-LGBT law last week. The law prevents transgender people from using the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity, and also preempts local LGBT protections in workplaces and public accommodations. It also takes away the right to sue the state over workplace discrimination. Read the Washington Post story.
The NAACP filed a lawsuit against the state of Alabama for adopting a law preempting local minimum wage increases. Civil rights advocates believe that the new law infringes upon local authority and targets the economic wellbeing of African Americans and other communities of color in cities such as Birmingham. Read the MSNBC story on the NAACP’s lawsuit.
The Grassroots Soda Tax Movement
Related: See Three Compelling Ways to Visualize How Much Sugar is in Soda by the Berkeley Media Studies Group.
Read how tobacco taxes have reduced smoking and improved public health.
‘Preemption’ laws either irony or hypocrisy, Canton Daily Ledger, 4/28/16
“Agriculture, guns and knives, minimum wage increases and employee benefits … and a wide range of environmental protections were the most common targets of preemption,” said Mark Pertschuk of the Preemption Watch advocacy group. “But perhaps the newest trend was exemplified by bills that sought blanket preemption of ALL local authority over ANY topic already addressed at the state level, limiting local control and democratic processes across public health, safety and social justice.”
States Are Barring Cities From Raising The Minimum Wage, BuzzFeed, 3/24/16
The state-level laws are part of a playbook long used by industry. Preemption strategy first took off in the 1990s with the help of tobacco and gun lobbyists, according to Mark Pertschuk, director of Grassroots Change, an anti-preemption group that focuses on public health measures.
Industry advocates worked with state lawmakers to curb citywide smoking bans and firearm regulation, and today preemption law has been applied to bans on everything from plastic bags to fracking to pesticides. But many of the laws related to smoking were rolled back by anti-tobacco groups in the 2000s, and Pertschuk is optimistic that lawmakers could be similarly brought around on the minimum wage.