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Welcome to the Preemption Watch News. We hope you find these news links and summaries useful. Please let us know if you have any news about proposed or pending preemption that you would like us to include in future updates. You can contact us at michael@grassrootschange.net or (510) 452-9419. More information can be found at Preemption Watch. Thank you for your support!
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Arkansas   Colorado   Florida   Idaho   Illinois   Kentucky   Minnesota   Mississippi   New York   Oklahoma   Pennsylvania   Tennessee   Texas   Virginia   Wyoming

National

Thank you to our wonderful colleagues and partners who contributed to the updated and expanded Grassroots Change State Preemption Map: Leslie Zellers, Kim Haddow, Liz Williams, Equality FederationFamily Values @ WorkAmericans for Nonsmokers’ RightsNational Partnership for Women & FamiliesLaw Center to Prevent Gun ViolenceNational Fire Protection Association, and Rockefeller Family Fund.

The Other Right-Wing Tidal Wave Sweeping America: Federal and State Preemption of Local Progressive Laws
AlterNet, 2/25/2017

AlterNet’s Don Hazen and Steven Rosenfeld recently spoke to Mark Pertschuk, director of Grassroots Change and Preemption Watch about this insidious trend. Pertschuk discusses its growth in recent years, its explosion in 2016 and 2017 as Donald Trump has diverted media attention, and how grassroots protests have been effective in exposing, slowing and stopping some brazen corporate power grabs.

Trump Executive Order May Strike Down Maryland’s Ruling to Ban Semiautomatic Rifles
OutdoorHub, 2/24/2017

Section 5.  Pre-emption.  This Executive Order is intended to pre-empt the laws of States or political subdivisions that infringe upon the rights of citizens to keep and bear the arms designated in Section 4.

Proposed Executive Order Designating Certain Rifles for ‘Militia Purposes’
The Truth About Guns, 2/24/2017

According to this report from the firearms industry, Maryland’s assault weapons ban, as well as other state firearm laws, could be preempted by a proposed federal executive order.

Bills targeting transgender bathroom access are floundering
Savannah Morning News, 2/24/2017

Bills to curtail transgender people’s access to public restrooms are pending in about a dozen states, but even in conservative bastions such as Texas and Arkansas they may be doomed by high-powered opposition

Arkansas

HRC Blasts Arkansas Supreme Court for Undermining LGBTQ Protections
Human Rights Campaign, 2/23/2017

Today, HRC blasted the Arkansas Supreme Court for striking down a local ordinance banning discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The ordinance, approved by Fayetteville voters in September of 2015, includes protections for LGBTQ people in housing, employment and public accommodations. This ruling removes these protections for LGBTQ people in Fayetteville, further opening up Arkansans to discrimination.

“Let’s be clear, the state’s preemption law is unconstitutional. This ruling from the Arkansas Supreme Court is an attack on LGBTQ Arkansans and takes away hard-won protections approved by voters in Fayetteville,” said Kendra R. Johnson, HRC Arkansas state director. “Fayetteville’s leaders and citizens chose to protect their friends and neighbors when their representatives in Little Rock would not. Removing these protections leaves LGBTQ people without local, municipal or state protections, putting them at heightened risk of discrimination as they simply go about their daily lives. We oppose this harmful ruling.”

Arkansas GOP lawmakers work on transgender ‘bathroom bill’
ABC, 2/14/2017

Arkansas lawmakers said Tuesday they’re working on a “bathroom bill” targeting transgender people, despite warnings from the Republican governor that such a measure isn’t needed and could harm the state.

A one-sentence bill was filed by two GOP state senators stating only that it addresses “gender identity and bathroom privileges” without any specifics. But co-sponsor Republican Sen. Gary Stubblefield said it’ll require people to use public bathrooms that correspond to the sex on their birth certificate.

ASG Opposes Bill to Allow Guns on Campus
The Arkansas Traveler, 2/14/2017

The concealed carry bill, House Bill 1249, will change UA gun regulations, and the Associated Student Government passed a resolution on Feb. 1 echoing the chancellor’s disagreement with the bill.

“The state of Arkansas has previously allowed institutions to determine for themselves if they will allow Campus Carry,” according to the resolution passed at the ASG Senate meeting.

This upcoming bill would change that self determination, often called local control, and make faculty and staff able to carry guns at all universities in Arkansas, provided that they have a concealed carry permit.

HB 1249

Colorado

Bill that would have allowed lawsuits against ‘sanctuary city’ officials dies in House committee
Denver ABC, 2/23/2017

A bill that would have prohibited the establishment of “sanctuary cities” in Colorado and would have allowed individuals affected by such policies to sue the lawmakers who put the laws in place died in a House committee Wednesday night.

The House State, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee killed House Bill 1134 with a 6-3 party-line vote.

Florida

House takes aim at local regulations
News4 JAX, 2/22/2017

Blanket preemption is moving in Florida…

The House Careers & Competition Subcommittee approved the bill (HB 17) on a nearly party-line vote, 9-6. Rep. Shawn Harrison, R-Tampa, joined the panel’s five Democrats in opposing the legislation.

Sponsored by Rep. Randy Fine, R-Palm Bay, the bill would repeal any local regulations not authorized by state law in 2020, in addition to banning new rules.

HB17Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, this section expressly preempts the regulation of businesses, professions, and occupations to the state and supersedes any local government regulation of businesses, professions, or occupations

What home rule? How Florida lawmakers try to take power away from cities
Creative Loafing, Tampa Bay, 2/21/2017

The broadly written House Bill 17 would bar cities and counties from passing literally any laws pertaining to businesses. It would make it illegal for cities to pass everything from plastic straw bans to zoning laws that keep strip clubs from opening in residential areas. It would also sunset similar laws that are already on the books.

It could also reverse decades of progress on LGBT equality.

“The reason it caught my eye is that it put LGBT human rights ordinances in serious jeopardy,” said Hannah Willard, public policy director of Equality Florida. “It would set a sunset date for all human rights ordinances for the year 2020 and it would prohibit the passage of any new policies from here forward, and in fact, would prohibit the implementation of the recently passed Jacksonville ordinance.”

Idaho

Sanctuary city ban bill reintroduced in House committee
KIVI (Local ABC Affiliate), 2/20/2017

Rep. Greg Chaney, R-Caldwell, reintroduced his bill to prevent sanctuary cities from forming in Idaho to the House State Affairs Committee on Monday. 

Chaney’s original legislation, introduced on Jan. 30, would cut off state sales tax funding for “sanctuary cities”. The new version of the bill would cut 50 percent of a city or county’s designated portion of sales tax. The new bill also no longer requires police officers to check the immigration status of anyone they arrest for a misdemeanor or felony charge.

H 0076

Illinois

City officials push for local control over pesticide use
The Daily Northwestern, 2/19/2017

[The Evanston] City Council passed a resolution last week calling on state legislators to repeal or amend a state law that prevents municipalities from regulating the use of pesticides themselves.

The state statute, called the Illinois Pesticide Act, puts all control of pesticide regulation in the hand of the General Assembly. Leslie Shad, board member of Citizens’ Greener Evanston, said Evanston’s resolution was put forward after the village of Oak Park passed a similar measure. Shad — who worked with Oak Park officials on the issue and pushed for the resolution in Evanston — said the use of pesticides should be under local control.

Iowa

Iowa bill may give landlord rights edge over disabled veterans
The Des Moines Register, 2/26/2017

This article explores how House File 295, which preempts local authority to prohibit questions about “source of income” on rental applications in order to protect those who use housing vouchers, could adversely impact the housing security of veterans.

Bill 92 seeks to limit local government
Iowa City Press-Citizen, 2/24/2017

House Study Bill 92… pre-empts cities and counties from enacting policies in a variety of areas. These include having a higher minimum wage than the state, from enacting laws about plastics and other containers, and from having broader human rights protections than the State.

HSB92

Pre-emption bill softens aim on civil rights ordinances
The Gazette, 2/23/2017

A bill in the Iowa Statehouse targeting local control on such topics as the minimum wage now takes a more focused stance on city and county civil rights ordinances.

An earlier draft of the bill would have taken away local governments’ ability to adopt civil rights ordinances that go above and beyond the statewide standard. But an amendment filed this week narrows that section of the bill’s scope to cover lease agreements between residential rental property owners and their tenants.

The amended bill essentially would eliminate any local measure that requires a landlord to consider a tenant’s or potential tenant’s source of income when leasing a property.

Housing voucher ordinances such as those in Iowa City and Marion — which ban landlords from discriminating against voucher holders — would be abolished under the bill.

The bill also still would eliminate local minimum wage higher than the state’s $7.25 rate as well as plastic bag ordinances.

HF 295

Iowa: Important Pro-Gun Bill Officially Introduced in Des Moines
NRA-ILA, 2/22/2017

Enhancing Firearms Preemption – HSB 133 proposes an amended preemption law to restrict regulation of firearms, firearm accessories and ammunition by political subdivisions of the state to ensure that firearm regulations and policy are uniform throughout Iowa.

HSB 133

Extends statutory standing to sue local governments to pro-gun membership organizations, among other provisions.

Kentucky

Local GOPers go after plastic bag ban – again
Courier Journal, 2/15/2017

The ban was imposed by the local solid waste board with the mayor’s backing. That came after two failed attempts to get Metro Council to pass an ordinance.

But Republican council members, including those in especially leafy districts, objected to what they called a power grab by an “unelected” board packed with mayoral appointees. The 

Louisville GOPers on Metro Council failed to persuade their colleagues to get rid of the ban — then some of them got new jobs in the General Assembly…

HB 246 passed a House committee unanimously on Wednesday. It would abolish the city-county solid waste board and remake with new requirements where those board members should live, with term limits.

Minnesota

Resistance builds to legislation restricting local control
Workday Minnesota, 2/24/2017

Legislative Update for Minnesota Employers: Paid Leave Bills Advance, Cell Phone Hands-Free Bill Introduced
The National Law Review, 2/21/2017

H.F. No. 600 and S.F. No. 580

Bills have been introduced in the Minnesota House (H.F. No. 600) and Senate (S.F. No. 580) to preempt the safe and sick leave ordinances enacted last year by the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, which are scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2017. Both bills have cleared initial review in one or more committees and appear to be on track for passage in their respective chambers. However, it is likely that a free-standing preemption bill passed by the Republican-controlled legislature would be vetoed by Democratic Governor Mark Dayton.

H.F. No. 239, H.F. No. 1013, and S.F. No. 830

Also in the legislature are several bills (H.F. No. 239, H.F. No. 1013, and S.F. No. 830) that would provide for various types of paid leaves of absence, including paid family leave and paid safe and sick leave…

None of these bills address preemption of municipal ordinances. Thus, at some point in the session, it is possible that the preemption bills (H.F. No. 600 and S.F. No. 580) and the paid leave bills could be presented to the governor as a single bill that would extend paid safe and sick leave and paid family leave to all Minnesota employees on a uniform basis and preempt municipal ordinances on the same subjects.

HF 600 and SF 580

HF 239 and HF 1013 and SF 830

Mississippi

Anti-sanctuary city bill moves forward in Legislature
The Clarion-Ledger, 2/23/2017

A bill that would prohibit local governments and public universities from passing policies to allow sanctuary cities or deviate from federal immigration laws was passed by a House committee Thursday.

The House Judiciary B Committee passed Senate Bill 2710 on Thursday and added an amendment by Rep. John Moore, R-Brandon, requiring compliance with federal and state laws…

Senate Bill 2710 says no state agency, local government or public college can adopt or implement a policy to limit any agent, employee or officer from communicating or cooperating with federal agencies or officials to verify or report the immigration status of any person.

Also, it would prohibit granting any person the right to lawful presence or status within the state, a county or municipality, or the campus of a university, college, community college or junior college in violation of federal law.

New York

State Wrecks NYC’s Plastic Bag Fee Law & Bashes Home Rule
Natural Resources Defense Council, 2/17/2017

New York City’s 2016 break-through law that established a five cent fee on single use plastic (and paper) grocery bags so as to encourage shoppers to switch to reusables has been toppled in Albany.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed an ill-advised state bill preempting NYC’s plastic bag fee law just one day before the local statute was set to take effect.

The State’s action is a setback for litter reduction and clean water, and a reprieve for the plastic bag industry, which conducted an under-the-radar campaign against the City’s bag fee statute.

Oklahoma

Anti-LGBT bill advances from committee
Tulsa World, 2/21/2017

Advocates for the LGBT community on Monday expressed frustration with the passage of a measure they say would allow for discrimination and the rolling back of protections that some cities have already established.

The Senate Committee on General Government passed Senate Bill 694 by Sen. Josh Brecheen, R-Coalgate, on Monday.

The measure would prohibit local cities and counties from passing ordinances that are stricter than state law in the areas of employment and public accommodation.

SB 694

Pennsylvania

SB 10 – Preempts sanctuary cities, allows for withholding of state funds from sanctuary cities and for civil damages for individuals harmed by sanctuary city status; currently in the Pennsylvania House Judiciary Committee.

SB 128 – Preempts local paid or unpaid leave mandates; passed the Senate Local Government Committee.

SB 241 – Preemption of local policies addressing pay equity for women; currently in the House Labor and Industry Committee.

Tennessee

Tennessee: Busy Year Ahead as Important Pro-Gun and Anti-Gun Bills Get Filed
NRA-ILA, 2/14/2017

House Bill 508 and Senate Bill 445, sponsored by Representative William Lamberth (R-44), Representative Andy Holt (R-3) and Senator John Stevens (R-24), would create a private cause of action for a party that is adversely affected by a local ordinance, resolution, policy, rule, or other enactment on firearms preempted by state law.  This bill would prohibit local or state government entities from prohibiting or restricting firearms on state or local property unless certain conditions are met.  

House Bill 1006 and Senate Bill 861, sponsored by Representative Andy Holt (R-3) and Senator Kerry Roberts (R-25), would apply criminal and civil immunity upon a person who lawfully uses a firearm in self-defense, defense of another, or defense from a person committing criminal offense.

Texas

Bathroom bill gets its first hearing in two weeks
WFAA (Local ABC affiliate), 2/26/2017

The state’s controversial bathroom legislation, Senate Bill 6, which pits Republicans against more than 1,200 of the largest Texas businesses will get its first public hearing in less than two weeks in Texas Senate committee…

Separately, the Senate recently passed a strong bill against sanctuary cities, which would hold sheriffs criminally responsible for not holding county jail inmates when Immigration and Customs Enforcement requests it.

Virginia

Virginia Senate passes anti-sanctuary cities bill
WHSV, 2/22/2017

The Virginia General Assembly has approved legislation that would ban local governments from restricting the enforcement of federal immigration laws.

The bill, which Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe has promised to veto, is quickly becoming one of the most contentious issues in Virginia politics as President Donald Trump makes moves to deport many of the estimated 11 million immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.

SB 1262

Wyoming

Wyoming Senate Rejects Local Control on Gun Bill
KGAB, 2/24/2017

The Wyoming Senate has narrowly rejected an amendment to a gun bill that would have allowed local governments to decide whether concealed weapons should be allowed at government meetings.

House Bill 137 would allow the carrying of concealed guns into government meetings ranging from local city council proceedings to the state legislature.