Congress passed the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) update, HR 2576, and President Obama has signed the legislation, which includes preemption of some stronger state and local laws while potentially allowing some ongoing state level regulation. Our blog on the topic is linked below.
Federal Preemption Under the Revised Toxic Substances Control Act
Grassroots Change, 6/14/16
Federal GMO Labeling Preemption
The U.S. Senate is currently working on a GMO labelling preemption bill, HR 1599, titled the Safe and Accurate Food Labelling Act (but named the Denying Americans Right to Know, or DARK Act, by some opponents). The bill is supported by the American Farm Bureau and the National Milk Producers Federation, among other industry groups. Vermont legislators, including Bernie Sanders, are particularly concerned and openly opposed the federal legislation, as their own state law on GMO disclosure, which goes into effect July 1st, may be preempted by the legislation.
SANDERS, STATE OFFICIALS OPPOSE SENATE GMO LABELING BILL
Meanwhile, there are two pending court cases regarding GMO preemption. The Federal9th Circuit Court is reviewing a local ban on growing GMO crops in Maui County, HI, and a state court ruling against a local ban in Josephine County, OR has been appealed.
Paid Sick Days and Minimum Wage
The Conservative Backlash Against Minimum Wage and Paid Sick Leave Victories Sweeping The Nation
Think Progress, 6/16/16
Nineteen states have passed laws blocking local governments from raising the minimum wage above the state level. Some laws, such as Colorado’s, enacted in 1999, have been in place for a long time. However, 11 out of the 19 laws have been enacted since 2013… These laws range geographically from coast to coast, but 13 out of the 19 preemption laws were signed into law by a Republican governor.
On top of this, 15 states have banned localities from establishing paid sick leave requirements, including 14 of the states that have also blocked higher minimum wage laws at the local level. Preemption laws against paid sick leave have sharply increased in recent years, as 12 of the 15 states passed their laws in the last three years. At least 12 were signed by a Republican governor, while in Missouri, one of the states to pass a preemption law against cities raising the minimum wage and enacting increased benefits, the law only passed after the legislature overrode the veto of Democratic Governor Jay Nixon.
Arizona Blocked Cities’ Right To Give Workers Paid Sick Leave. Now Cities Are Fighting Back.
Think Progress, 6/27/16
Regina Romero: Why I’m suing Arizona to help low-wage workers
Arizona Daily Star, 6/24/16
Last month, the Arizona Legislature passed, and Gov. Doug Ducey signed, HB2579, prohibiting cities and towns from enacting an earned sick day policy for workers in their communities.
This pre-emptive law was a shot at both Tempe and Tucson, cities exploring citywide sick-day initiatives and seeking to craft a compromise ordinance that would have guaranteed baseline protections for local workers.
This week, five councilmembers from Tempe, Flagstaff and Tucson, 22 state representatives, and 10 state senators — representing cities and towns across Arizona — have launched a lawsuit, challenging the constitutionality of HB2579 in Maricopa Superior Court…
Our Arizona Constitution grants our 19 chartered cities the right to legislate free of state interference and prohibits the Legislature from dictating matters of local concern. Regulating benefits, such as earned sick days, falls squarely within our duties as elected officials closest to the people we serve.
HB2579 represents blatant legislative overreach into local decision making. Proposition 202, passed by voters in 2006, clearly establishes that regulating nonwage benefits is a local issue. Ironically, many of the GOP politicians who are trying to subvert local control are the same complaining about top-down governance from Washington.
Colorado Preemptions of Local Government: The Need for the Colorado Community Rights Amendment
Huffington Post, 6/28/16
In Colorado as in other states, it has been observed that very often “Corporations write laws, legislators enact them, and the courts enforce them.”
Since the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) began writing state preemption laws to override local bans on tobacco in the 1970’s, the group has worked with every kind of industry to draft model state preemption laws to override local governments in the service of the corporate bottom line.
The trend has escalated, said Mark Pertschuk, director of the watchdog group Preemption Watch: “2015 saw more efforts to undermine local control on more issues than any year in history,” He noted “…. just a few weeks into 2016 state legislative sessions [it became] clear that ending local authority will continue to be the go-to strategy for state legislators and their special interest allies, as a means of blocking earned sick days, minimum wage hikes, tobacco and fracking bans, pro-worker policies, or anti-discrimination laws.”
The proposed Colorado Community Rights Amendment is a response to decades-long efforts to suppress local government. The initiative would secure the right of cities and counties to protect their health, safety and welfare without corporate preemption, so long as “local laws do not restrict fundamental rights or weaken existing legal protections for natural persons, their communities, or nature.”
My take: Sarasota city manager learns a hard lesson about regulating firearms in Florida
The Gun Writer, 6/20/16
At the Sarasota City Commission hearing Monday night, before Barwin’s “assault weapon” ban resolution was even debated — before one member of the public had a chance to comment — Sarasota City Attorney Robert Fournier told the commission that Barwins’ proposal would likely violate Florida’s powerful preemption statute, which states that only the Florida legislature can regulate firearms.
City gets support in pro-gun lawsuit
Tallahassee Democrat, 6/16/16
More than a dozen Florida cities, advocacy organizations and elected officials are backing the city of Tallahassee in its defense of a lawsuit brought by two gun-rights groups.
The 16 individuals and organizations — which include the cities of Miramar and Weston, the Florida League of Cities, state Sen. Dwight Bullard and various South Florida city officials — were recruited by Mayor Andrew Gillum. All have combined to file three briefs in the 1st District Court of Appeal supporting a cross-claim by city officials that says the statute they’re being sued under is unconstitutional because it holds local officials personally liable for their legislative actions…
Amid housing crunch, local zoning under scrutiny
Salem News, 6/8/16
More than 45 years after the state passed a law meant to remove barriers to affordable housing, low-cost rentals and houses remain relatively scarce, and many cities and towns have resisted efforts to build new stock…
Geoff Beckwith, executive director of the Massachusetts Municipal Association, said the proposal would “override local zoning laws” and “take away the ability of cities and towns to control what gets built.”
Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester, said he agrees that more needs to be done to encourage affordable housing, but the state shouldn’t bypass local zoning in the process.
Business groups and GOP push for state law to override cities’ sick, wage rules
Star Tribune, 6/23/16
Oregon Court Finds FDA Food Labeling Regulations Preempt State Consumer Protection Suit
A district court in Oregon recently concluded that the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) food labeling requirements preempted a lawsuit brought under state consumer protection law, claiming misleading labeling of a food product…The Puffs labels prominently feature pictures of fruits or vegetables, but the Puffs do not actually contain those ingredients. The plaintiff alleged that the depiction of fruits and vegetables leads consumers to believe that the Puffs contain those ingredients, not that the Puffs are merely flavored as those fruits and vegetables.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld the Commonwealth Court ruling from last March which overturned the states firearms “super-preemption” bill, due to procedural problems surrounding the single-issue legislation clause in the state constitution; the super preemption provision was a rider added to a scrap metal theft bill.
However, there is currently a bill in the state Senate, SB 1330, that mirrors the content of the previous super-preemption legislation by preempting local gun laws and extending standing to the NRA and other “membership organizations as a plaintiff in place of an area resident who would have to show how they were harmed.”
Head of R.I. State Police fights loss of local control over gun permits
Providence Journal, 6/18/16
Rhode Island State Police superintendent Col. Steven G. O’Donnell was at the State House just before midnight Friday fighting a bill that would strip municipalities of discretion when issuing concealed-carry gun permits.
Currently municipalities decide what information they want supplied in those applications. But a bill that breezed through the House Friday evening would create a new state-mandated application for all cities and towns and bans them from asking for any additional information…
The bill was passed by the House Friday in what appeared to be a trade-off for passage of a bill that spells out a process by which felony domestic-violence offenders have to turn over their guns. Gun-control advocates, however, say they don’t consider that bill a victory because such offenders are already required to turn over their firearms under state and federal law.
Laredo’s Bag Ban Becomes Flashpoint in Debate Over Local Control
Texas Tribune, 6/28/16
Washington residents react to federal court’s concealed carry ruling
Q13 Fox, 6/9/16
While a federal appellate court ruling on concealed weapons may not directly affect our state, the greater implications still have people in Washington state sounding off on the issue.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled on Thursday that there is no Second Amendment protection for concealed weapons — allowing states to prohibit or restrict people from carrying concealed firearms in public.
Federal Judge Strikes Down West Virginia Fracking Ban
The Daily Caller, 6/12/16
A federal judge ruled Friday a West Virginia local government ordinance effectively banning hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, violates state and federal law.
Federal Judge John T. Copenhaver struck down an ordinance of Fayette County, W.V., saying aspects of it weren’t enforceable and were pre-empted by state and federal law.