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Red State, Blue City
The Atlantic, March 2017 Issue
Close observers of these clashes expect them to proliferate in the years to come, with similar results. “We are about to see a s**t storm of state and federal preemption… of a magnitude greater than anything in history,” says Mark Pertschuk of Grassroots Change, which tracks such laws through an initiative called Preemption Watch. By the group’s count, at least 36 states introduced laws preempting cities in 2016.
Deluge of new state bills would curtail LGBT rights
The Hill, 2/10/2017
More than 70 bills that would roll back LGBT rights, block transgender people from using the restrooms of their choice or allow denial of service on religious grounds have been introduced in nearly two dozen states across the country this year…
A handful of states are considering measures similar to North Carolina’s controversial H.B. 2 legislation, which prohibited cities from enacting anti-discrimination laws stricter than state standards.
GOP states move to block sanctuary cities after Trump order
The Hill, 2/9/2017
Amid protests over President Trump’s executive order aiming to block federal funding to so-called sanctuary cities, Republican legislators across the country are moving to deny their own funding to cities that refuse to comply with federal immigration authorities.
The Texas state Senate on Wednesday passed a measure to block state funding to cities in which law enforcement officials disregard federal immigration laws…
Similar legislation has been introduced in Ohio, Tennessee, Florida, North Carolina, Iowa, Idaho and Pennsylvania. Other laws are likely to be introduced in the coming weeks. Many are inspired by Trump’s executive orders barring refugees and blocking all immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries.
NRA Moving from Defense to Offense
The New American, 1/31/2017
Perhaps the biggest push will be for national reciprocity — a federal law that would require every state to recognize every other state’s concealed weapons licenses, much like automobile driver’s licenses. Such a law would allow those carrying concealed to do so in every state without worrying about violating local laws.
Senate Bill 2, introduced by state Senator Phil Williams (R-10), would amend and expand Alabama’s existing state firearms preemption statutes to clarify that the state Legislature has the sole responsibility and authority to create regulations related to taxation and use of firearms, ammunition, and firearm accessories. Further, this bill prohibits counties and municipalities from imposing user fees or other special fees related solely to the ownership or use of a firearm, ammunition, or firearm accessory or from imposing additional restrictions on the issuance of pistol permits.
Birmingham City Council passes sanctuary city resolution
WBRC (Birmingham), 1/31/2017
Tuesday morning, Birmingham William Mayor Bell held a press conference with community leaders to name Birmingham a “welcoming city.”…
Though the resolution passed, it does not create policy and is not law in the city, only a statement of support.
The Beason Hammon Act, also known as HB56, prohibits cities from setting policies that conflict with federal immigration law or state law. During the council meeting, city lawyers informed the council that violating the law could bring criminal and civil penalties and the loss of federal and state funding.
Arkansas panel OKs bill ending opt-out option for guns on campuses
Times Record (Fort Smith), 1/31/2017
A bill to allow faculty and staff of public colleges and universities to carry concealed handguns, with no opt-out option for the schools, cleared a House committee Tuesday.
In a 12-5 vote, the House Judiciary Committee gave a “do pass” recommendation to House Bill 1249 by Rep. Charlie Collins, R-Fayetteville. The bill goes to the House…
HB 1249 would eliminate the opt-out option. Collins told the committee the colleges have argued for maintaining local control, but he said his bill is consistent with the principle of local control.
A Republican state lawmaker on Monday announced a bill that would allow victims of certain crimes committed by immigrants in the country illegally to sue politicians who refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.
The proposal, which has not yet been introduced, targets so-called “sanctuary cities” like Denver, Boulder and Aurora, where police and other officials have said they won’t enforce federal immigration laws.
HB17 – Would preempt all local authority to adopt or enforce any “new regulation on a business, profession, and occupation [and] supersedes any local government regulation of businesses, professions, and occupations.”
Back in January, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum appeared before a federal court to defend his city against a lawsuit brought forward by Florida Carry and the Second Amendment Foundation, two guns rights organizations. The groups sued the city in 2014, arguing that a pair of decades-old city laws banning the use of firearms in public parks violated state law—retroactively.
On Friday, Florida’s First District Court of Appeal ruled in favor of Tallahassee. The appellate court confirmed that it couldn’t compel the city’s government to repeal local ordinances that the city wasn’t enforcing anyway. It was a narrow ruling, however. The court also decided against Tallahassee’s counter-claim that parts of the state’s preemption law were unconstitutional.
Mayor Andrew Gillum condemns preemption bill
Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum is fighting to keep local governing bodies in charge of their own communities.
Friday morning, Mayor Gillum, Equality Florida and the Sierra Club announced they’re joining the Campaign to Defend Local Solutions. They’re condemning Florida HB 17.
This bill would take away local control from cities, counties, towns, and school districts, otherwise known as “preemption”.
Republicans push ahead with local preemption
Sioux City Journal, 2/9/2017
Members of the House Local Government Committee voted 12-9 along party lines to approve legislation to bar cities and counties from establishing minimum wage levels or employment regulations, invoking marketing or consumer merchandise sales restrictions or adopting civil rights ordinances that go above and beyond what the Legislature and governor have set as a statewide standard.
Hoover declares transgender bathroom bills ‘dead’
Lexington Herald Leader, 2/9/2017
Two bills that attempt to regulate where transgender people can use the bathroom will not get a vote in the Kentucky House of Representatives, House Speaker Jeff Hoover said Thursday.
“It’s dead, wherever it is,” Hoover said of House Bill 106…
But conservative groups in Kentucky have continued pushing the General Assembly to pass a similar law.
“We know there is a lot of support among rank and file Republicans for the legislation,” said Martin Cothran, a spokesman for The Family Foundation.
Cothran said his organization supports House Bill 141, a bill that focuses on restrooms in public schools, rather than HB 106, which was nearly identical to the North Carolina legislation.
But when asked if HB 141 has a better chance, Hoover shot it down.
“It’s just as dead,” said Hoover, R-Jamestown.
Montgomery County Leaders Oppose State Minimum Wage Preemption Bill
Bethesda Magazine, 2/7/2017
Montgomery County Council President Roger Berliner asked state lawmakers in Annapolis on Tuesday to reject proposed legislation that would prohibit local jurisdictions from enacting their own minimum wage laws.
The state bill proposed by Del. Dereck Davis (D-Prince George’s County) would allow local governments to set base pay for their own employees, but not set a minimum wage for all workers. Davis, the chair of the House Economic Matters Committee, said the billwould help improve the business climate in Maryland by making wages more predictable throughout the state.
Schuette says cities can’t pre-empt the “age of majority” when selling tobacco
Michigan Radio (NPR), 2/3/2017
Cities cannot refuse to sell tobacco products to people between the ages of 18 and 20. That’s coming from state Attorney General Bill Schuette who issued an opinion today…
Last July, the city of Ann Arbor passed an ordinance forbidding the sale of tobacco to anyone under the age of 21.
Minnesota Legislature Moves Forward to Preempt Municipal Safe and Sick Leave and Wage Ordinances
The National Law Review, 2/7/2017
The battle over paid sick leave and minimum wage ordinances at the municipal level moved to the Minnesota Legislature as its 2017–2018 session kicked off at the end of January. Several bills introduced in the 2017-2018 session would either establish a statewide standard for paid leaves or preempt and prevent municipalities from passing their own ordinances on these subjects.
LETTER: Reasons to be concerned about ‘pre-emption’
Hutchinson Leader, 2/11/2017
Ag Bill Pushes For State Regulation Over Local Control
Montana Public Radio, 2/8/2017
Lawmakers in Helena will consider a bill that would strip local governments’ authority to regulate the agricultural industry with the aim of providing consistency for farming techniques across the state. Senate Bill 155 would mean any regulations dealing with agricultural processes or seed usage would have to come from the state.
Santa Fe preparing for lawsuit over sanctuary city rights
KOAT (Albuquerque), 2/9/2017
[Albuquerque Mayor] Javier Gonzales says the city is preparing for a potential battle with President Trump over sanctuary cities.
State lawmakers move to postpone NYC plastic bag fee
McClatchy DC Bureau, 2/7/2017
State lawmakers are poised to overrule New York City’s impending fee on non-reusable shopping bags after legislators from both parties voted Tuesday to delay any fee until at least next year.
The fee of at least a nickel was set to begin later this month. Mayor Bill de Blasio has defended the idea as a commonsense way of reducing litter and protecting the environment.
Lawmakers disagreed, calling the fee a burden on already strapped consumers. Following similar action in the Senate on Monday, the Democrat-led Assembly voted Tuesday to rebuke the elected leaders of the nation’s largest city by prohibiting any bag fee from taking effect until at least 2018.
Six Democratic sponsors filed legislation in the North Carolina House of Representatives on Thursday that would repeal the state’s “bathroom bill” and expand LGBT protections…
HB2, signed into law last March, bans people from using public bathrooms that don’t correspond to their biological sex as listed on their birth certificates.
The law also stops local governments from passing their own non-discrimination laws that would expand rights for LGBT people or allow them to use bathrooms and other public facilities that correspond to their gender preference.
Ohio bill banning sanctuary cities is ‘extreme’ and unconstitutional, ACLU of Ohio says
WCPO (Cincinnati), 2/7/2017
One of the largest provisions in the Mandel-backed proposal could have city officials who designate their cities as a sanctuary city charged with a fourth-degree felony were a crime to be committed by an undocumented immigrant. The charge carries up to 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Move to regulate GMOs resprouts in Legislature
The Eugene Register-Guard, 2/09/2017
Some farmers are renewing an effort to get Oregon lawmakers to allow local governments to regulate, and potentially ban, genetically modified crops.
Cities and counties have been barred from doing so since 2013, when the Legislature passed a pre-emption bill as part of a bipartisan package of unrelated tax increases and public pension reforms. That year, activists in several counties, including Lane, had been working on going to voters with anti-GMO ballot measures.
Blue Mountain [OR] Eagle, 2/7/2017
Lawmakers backing pesticide restrictions poised to shape farm policy
Lawmakers with strong track records of supporting pesticide restrictions are chairing two Senate committees that are positioned to affect Oregon agricultural policies in 2017. Senate Bill 499 — a proposal to strip pesticide protections from Oregon’s “right to farm” law — was introduced at the behest of the Senate Judiciary Committee, whose chair is Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene.
Oregon’s “Right to Farm and Forest” law prohibits local ordinances restricting common farm practices as well as nuisance and trespass lawsuits against such farm practices. People who lose such lawsuits are required to pay the opposing party’s attorney fees, which has discouraged such cases against farm practices from being filed in Oregon. Under SB 499, however, complaints alleging nuisance or trespass from pesticides are exempted from the “right to farm” law.
Lawmakers line up to overturn the Philadelphia soda tax
Consumer Affairs, 2/7/2017
Senate bill aims to preempt Philadelphia’s new wage equity law
The Inquirer (Philadelphia), 2/8/2017
Philadelphia’s newly minted wage equity law survived protests by Comcast Corp. and the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, and a legal review by the city solicitor, before being signed by Mayor Kenney last month…
The law, which will ban employers from asking job applicants for their salary history, would be preempted under a bill passed by the state Senate Wednesday. The preemption language was added at the eleventh hour to a related piece of legislation that aims to expand wage equity protections for women.
South Dakota’s transgender locker room bill withdrawn
The San Diego Union-Tribune, 1/31/2017
A bill that would have restricted which locker rooms South Dakota transgender students could use was scuttled Tuesday, for now averting another bitter fight in the Capitol over the regulation of school facilities.
Tennessee GOP Gubernatorial Hopeful Introduces Sanctuary City Ban
Nashville Patch, 2/10/2017
State Sen. Mark Green, Republican of Clarksville, has introduced a bill which bars law enforcement agencies, including campus police from engaging in so-called sanctuary policies, even if those policies are informal. Green’s bill provides a relatively exhaustive list of what would be considered such a policy under his proposal and directs that cities engaging in them would be denied state funding.
GOP lawmaker files bill to repeal new Nashville, Memphis marijuana laws
The Commercial Appeal, 1/31/2017
House Criminal Justice Committee Chairman William Lamberth, R-Cottontown, on Monday filed a bill that would repeal any local law that is inconsistent with penalties outlined in the state’s statute for drug control and narcotic drugs. It would also prevent local governments from creating their own sanctions for drug possession moving forward.
A bill that withholds state dollars for sanctuary cities in which police fail to enforce immigration laws at the request of federal officials cleared the Texas Senate on Wednesday.
Virginia Senate Passes Bill to Crack Down on ‘Sanctuary Cities’
WVIR (Local NBC Affiliate), 2/6/2017
The Virginia Senate narrowly passed a bill Monday that targets sanctuary cities…
If the measure is approved, Virginia communities could be sued for crimes committed by illegal immigrants…
Spokane Residents Want to Bar Fossil Fuel Railcars
Courthouse News, 2/13/2017
Residents of Spokane have sued the federal government for the right to ban railroads from carrying fossil fuels through the city, an initiative the city placed on the ballot last year, then removed as legally indefensible because of federal pre-emption.