House Dem leaders back chemical safety bill
The Hill, 5/23/16
House Democratic leaders and the chairman of a committee are supporting a bipartisan deal on overhauling the nation’s chemical safety standards…
“Democrats remain concerned by Republicans’ provisions limiting states’ ability to act aggressively on toxic substances. However, the bill grants EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] with significant new authority to protect the public from unsafe toxic chemicals,” the three said in a joint statement.
“House Democrats succeeded in empowering the EPA to unilaterally demand testing on chemicals it suspects are unsafe for people or harmful to the environment,” they said. “Recent changes Democrats made will reduce the harm of the state preemption provisions in the bill.”
‘Pre-emption of states’ authority to regulate chemicals independently of the federal government has long been a sticking point for Democrats throughout the years of negotiations on reforming the 1976 Toxic Chemicals Safety Act.
Read the text of the current negotiated version here.
The Near-Final TSCA Reform Legislation – A Rundown
Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, 5/21/16
HB2 part of attack on local government in North Carolina and beyond, activist group chief says
Charlotte Business Journal, 5/11/16
North Carolina Not the First State to Limit Local Discrimination Laws
The Wall Street Journal, 5/11/16
Arizona Politician to Gun Groups: Bring on Your Lawsuits
The Trace, 5/16/17
Tuscon city council member Steve Kozachik won’t back down from the city’s local firearms ordinances in light of a new “super-preemption” law passed by the Arizona legislature which adds heavy penalties to existing state preemption laws for both local governments and individual officials who try to pass or enforce local firearms ordinances stronger than state laws.
Arizona Passes Bill Preempting Municipal Non-Wage Mandates
Bloomberg BNA, 5/13/16
The Arizona Legislature has passed a bill (H.B. 2579) that would bar cities, towns and other municipalities from imposing non-wage compensation requirements for private employers.
Ducey signs 2 gun bills, vetoes another
Yuma Sun, 5/10/16
One of those decisions took the form of SB 1266 which Ducey did sign.
Existing law says local governments cannot enact any rules or regulations dealing with the transportation, possession, sale, transfer, purchase, storage, registration, discharge or use of firearms or ammunition…
This new law which takes effect Aug. 6 declares such ordinances invalid and allows a court to assess civil fines up to $50,000 for any knowing and willful violation of the state preemption law. Potentially more significant, it says a judge can have a person who enacts or enforces such a local law removed from office.
And it separately permits any individual or group whose members are “adversely affected” by any local ordinance to bring their own legal action and collect damages up to $100,000.
Anti-fracking activists: Give us back local control
Colorado Independent, 5/18/16
Phil Doe: Colorado court’s fracking decision trampled on citizens’ rights
Times Call, 5/15/16
Three Strikes and the Commonwealth Is Out: The Natural Gas Act Preempts Article 97
JD Supra, 5/17/16
Last week, Judge John Agostini ruled that the Natural Gas Act preempts Article 97 of the Massachusetts Constitution, which otherwise would have required a 2/3 vote of the Legislature before Article 97 land could be conveyed to Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company for construction of a gas pipeline to be built in part through Otis State Forest.
Not only did Judge Agostini conclude that Article 97 is preempted, he found preemption every which way.
- Explicit preemption – “Congress has explicitly preempted state laws and regulations with respect to construction, maintenance and expansion of interstate natural gas lines.”
- Field preemption – “Congress creat[ed] a comprehensive regulatory framework through which, among other things, the movement of natural gas through the interstate pipelines could be coordinated. Simply stated, Congress intended to ‘occupy the field’ through pervasive and comprehensive federal laws and regulations.”
- Conflict preemption – “It is beyond cavil that Article 97, by giving the Commonwealth an unfettered right to stop this and similar projects, would directly and substantially conflict with federal law. In fact, permitting the states to exercise the unilateral ability to interfere with federal policy in this area would eviscerate the NGA.”
Mich. Senate votes to halt local bans on plastic bags
Detroit Free Press, 5/10/16
On a 25-12 vote, the Michigan Senate passed a bill that would prohibit communities from enacting bans or fees on plastic bags or containers that retailers use to pack up their goods after sale.
The bill — SB 853 — comes as Washtenaw County is expected to vote on an ordinance next week that would impose a 10-cent fee on some of the plastic and paper bags used by retailers.
How have Ohio’s gun laws changed over the years?
Dayton Daily News, 5/13/16
Beginning with a concealed carry bill in 2004, Ohio’s Republican-controlled legislature has enacted a steady stream of pro-gun laws, and there are more in the pipeline.
Twice as many firearms-related bills introduced this session would expand gun rights or privileges as opposed to those toughening regulation. And even the sponsor of most of the bills calling for more controls says support is cool, even among his fellow Democrats.
Rotary Club speaker says foreign-owned ag interests could benefit from SQ 777
Red Dirt Report, 5/17/16
Cherokee Nation opposes Oklahoma’s ‘Right to Farm’ question
Tahlequah Daily News, 5/11/16
Oklahoma Farm Bureau official touts ‘Right to Farm’ proposal
Tulsa World, 5/10/16
If approved, State Question 777, also called the “Right to Farm,” would amend the state constitution to prevent the Oklahoma Legislature from passing any new laws to regulate the agricultural activities of farmers and ranchers, with an exception in cases of “compelling state interest.”
The Farmers Bureau is joined by American Farmers and Ranchers (formerly Farmers Union), the Oklahoma Pork Council and the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association in support of the measure.
According to proponents of SQ 777, it would specifically
protect farmers and ranchers from the regulatory efforts of animal welfare, environmental and water-quality organizations that would inhibit growth and production of Oklahoma farms to serve their own interests.
Arguments against SQ 777 assert that the lack of regulation would allow corporate agriculture to harm the environment and place corporate self-interest over public safety.
‘Right to farm’ law questioned in Oregon pesticide dispute
Capital Press, 5/18/16
Questions about the constitutionality of Oregon’s “right to farm” law, which shields growers from some lawsuits, have been resurrected in a pesticide dispute in Curry County…
A group of residents in Cedar Valley, Ore., claim they were harmed by off-target herbicide sprays in 2013 conducted by Pacific Air Research, an aerial applicator, on forestland owned by Joseph Kaufman…
However, the defendants recently asked a judge to dismiss the case because they’re immune from liability under the “right to farm” statute.
In response to that motion, the plaintiffs argue that Oregon’s constitution should preclude “right to farm” protections because people must be allowed to seek a legal remedy for a harm they’ve suffered…
Ralph Bloemers, an environmental attorney with the Crag Law Center, said the “right to farm” law hinders access to justice because people fear being defeated in court and having to pay the prevailing party’s attorney fees, as the statute requires.
Judge strikes down Josephine County’s GMO ban
Portland Tribune, 5/16/16
A prohibition against genetically engineered crops in Oregon’s Josephine County has been struck down by a judge who ruled the ordinance is pre-empted by state law.
Gas compressor air quality bill opposed by business groups
The Tennessean, 5/17/16
Legislation that would let Metro block new gas compressor stations in Nashville because of air quality concerns is getting resistance from an army of pro-business lobbying groups, which have warned the proposal could strain economic development and prompt intervention from the state legislature…
A legal analysis from council attorney Mike Jameson says that the proposal raises possible federal pre-emption concerns, noting that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission holds the power to regulate natural gas facilities that cross state lines.