The Shackling of the American City
Local governments want to set their own minimum wages, gun laws, and smoking bans. And statehouses have methodically stripped away their powers to do so…
“2014 was the worst year in history in terms of pre-emption across issues. 2015 was much worse,” said Mark Pertschuk, the director of the Oakland, California–based nonprofit Grassroots Change and the founder of Preemption Watch, a group that agitates against the usurping of local control. “What’s made these past three years so radically different is the strategy of pre-empting everything that cities and counties could do.”
Toxic Shock: The Monsanto Doctrine and GMO-free Farming
SF Weekly, 9/7/16
Cobb of Move to Amends believes the Monsanto Doctrine’s preemption argument boils down to “the question of whether we, the people, have the right to protect public health, welfare, and the general public.”
These 5 Challenges Stand Between LGBT Advocates and Gun Control
Out Magazine, 9/1/16
More than two months after the attack on Pulse, the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history, gun control efforts have still faltered—despite the attention of LGBT advocates. Most queer people—even the Pulse survivors themselves—understand that the journey to common-sense gun control reform will take patience. And the LGBT community is just getting started.
However, before LGBTs wade fully into the treacherous waters of the gun control debate, advocates need to understand what dangers wait along the path to responsible gun safety. These five challenges are just the beginning of what LGBTs will face as they join the side of longtime gun-control advocates…
3. Strong conservative supporters of “state preemption” keep more liberal cities from controlling guns on their own.
The real battle over guns is happening at the local level, where cities like Seattle and Illinois’s Cook County—home to Chicago—have passed and sustained local gun sale taxes up to $25 per sale…
State preemption keeps several urban areas—where both the number of LGBTs and incidents of gun violence are extremely high—from doing more to manage the gun trade. State preemption means that certain areas of commerce or social regulation belong exclusively to the state—not local governments.
LGBTs should already be familiar with state preemption when North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory used it to toss down Charlotte’s ordinance allowing transgender people to use bathrooms matching their gender identity. That’s what gave rise to the notorious HB2—and all the court cases that have ensued since then.
TN and NC sued the FCC for preempting state laws that restrict municipal broadband operations from expanding outside city limits, and won. In the wake of the court ruling, this article cites bipartisan support mounting for improving access to broadband:
In Tennessee, for example, municipal broadband remains legal—but expanding it beyond the provider’s existing coverage area is not allowed. Chattanoogans are allowed to keep their lightning-fast internet; it’s residents outside the EPB’s coverage area that suffer. “For several years we’ve been fielding requests from neighboring communities who have hardly had access, asking: ‘Would you guys bring services to us?’ ” explains Danna Bailey, vice president of communications at EPB. “And we’ve said: ‘We’d love to, but Tennessee state law prohibits it.’”
That turns the traditional political calculus of state-vs.-city pre-emption bills on its head. In Tennessee, a state law to loosen the regulation of public broadband is being sponsored by a pair of Republicans: Sen. Janice Bowling and Rep. Kevin Brooks. And it was a Republican state senator, Todd Gardenhire of Chattanooga, who said earlier this year, “AT&T is the villain here.”
DOT Seeks Comment: Do Fed HazMat Regs Preempt California Break Rules?
Trucking Info, 8/31/16
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is inviting public comment on an application from the National Tank Truck Carriers Inc. to determine whether federal hazardous-material regulations preempt or override the state of California’s meal and rest break requirements. PHMSA noted that California law generally prohibits employers from requiring a truck driver to work during any meal or rest period.
In its application, NTTC lists three reasons why it contends federal law should preempt California law: it creates unnecessary delays for the transportation of hazardous materials; it conflicts with the attendance requirements of the Hazardous Materials Regulations; and it creates an obstacle to accomplishing the security objectives of the HMR.
Plastics industry pushing to halt bag-ban momentum
San Francisco Chronicle, 9/10/16
Most cities around the bay, and nearly 150 cities and counties statewide, bar groceries and drug stores from giving single-use plastic bags to customers…
While shoppers seem to have taken to the new rules without much fuss…plastic-bag makers are far from accepting the change.
With California out in front of a nationwide trend that could cut deep into the industry’s profits, plastic manufacturers are pushing a state ballot initiative that would allow them to keep at least some of California’s bag market, while putting the rest of the country on notice that they’re willing to fight for their product.
Proposition 67 is a referendum on a California-wide ban on plastic bags….
The industry spent close to $3 million to qualify the referendum for the Nov. 8 ballot through a signature drive, according to state elections data, and has since poured a few million more into trying to win over voters — far outspending its opponents. South Carolina bag giant Hilex Poly is the biggest funder.
SQ 777 contentious among ag, environmental advocates
Tahlequah Daily Press, 9/7/16
Save the Illinois River Inc. has registered vehement dissent, calling it “Right to Harm” and “SQ 666.” Denise Deason-Toyne, STIR president, has said, “The inability for legislatures to regulate harmful practices would certainly interfere with our mission to preserve and protect the Illinois River, Tenkiller Lake and tributaries. Oklahomans already enjoy a right to farm and no one is attempting to take that right away. STIR believes SQ 777 can lead to serious harmful consequences which would prohibit future local and state legislative bodies from legislating protective measures for the Illinois River as well as other environmental concerns.”
SQ 777 poses potentially ‘extreme’ price to pay
The latest OKC Pets Magazine… features former Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson, the co-chair of the Oklahoma Stewardship Council, which is a coalition of family farmers and citizens who oppose State Question 777.
Edmondson begins his expose of the so-called “Right to Farm” amendment with an explanation of why animal lovers — like farmers, consumers, business leaders, food consumers and, yes, teachers and parents of school children — should vote against 777 this November.
SQ 777’s title, “Freedom to Farm,” merely represents the typical spin corporations choreograph when seeking radical deregulation, Edmondson writes. He believes passage of 777 will give “a free rein to multi-national factory farming,” and goes on to mention Oklahoma’s 777 was, “… copied and pasted from a measure that was written by ALEC (the American Legislative Exchange Council) and its corporate members.”
SAF Sues City of Seattle for Violating Public Records Act in Gun Tax Probe
PR Newswire, 9/8/16
The Second Amendment Foundation filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against the City of Seattle, alleging violation of the state Public Records Act for refusing to disclose revenue data related to the controversial “gun violence tax” that was rushed into law last year.
Joining in the lawsuit is Dave Workman, senior editor of TheGunMag.com, a national firearms publication owned and operated by SAF. Plaintiffs are represented by Seattle attorneys Steven Fogg and David Edwards with Corr, Cronin, Michelson, Baumgardner, Fogg & Moore. Fogg and Edwards also represent SAF, the National Rifle Association and National Shooting Sports Foundation in their challenge of the Seattle gun tax on the grounds that it violates the state’s 33-year-old preemption statute.