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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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National

Pain of state preemption felt by the South’s vulnerable communities
Facing South, 4/14/2017

This regional piece by the Institute for Southern Studies examines the disproportionate impact of state preemption on “women, people of color, LGBT people, low-income communities, immigrants and those at the intersection of these identities.”

Local Government in the Crosshairs
Gerard Lavery LedererJD Supra, 4/14/2017

[I]ndustry lobbies appear to believe that they can achieve not only deregulation at the federal level, but also at the state and local level through preemption. For example, we have the preemption of certain state rules on pipelines hailed as a job creators. Increasingly, industry is asking for similar “one-size-fits-all” federal rules for: drone oversight, siting cell towers and wireless devices, driverless cars, environmental review standards, and national caps on minimum wage and benefits. The threat for complying with these preemptions is the loss of federal funding, but that threat may be disappearing as the share of federal taxes returned to local governments through federal programs disappears.

Federal judge in California deals blow to Trump policy on sanctuary cities
Chicago Tribune, 4/14/2017

A key part of the Trump administration’s push to arrest and deport undocumented immigrants was met with skepticism from a federal judge.

San Francisco and its Silicon Valley neighbor, Santa Clara County, are seeking a nationwide ban on enforcement of President Donald Trump’s Jan. 25 executive order declaring that so-called sanctuary cities have caused “immeasurable harm to the American people and to the very fabric of our republic.” The city and county say they’re threatened with the loss of perhaps billions of dollars in federal funding unless they abide by unconstitutional demands.

U.S. District Judge William Orrick dealt a first blow to the administration in court Friday, agreeing with the city and county that they’re harmed by Trump’s policy and have the right to sue to block it. The judge went on to pick apart the administration’s argument that the order merely restates existing law, saying in making his decision he would take into account past statements by the president and Attorney General Jeff Sessions and not just the text of the order itself.

Trumping State Regulators and Juries
The American Prospect, 4/14/2017

A detailed and nuanced piece on the function and implications of federal preemption.

More Than 130 Anti-LGBTQ Bills Introduced in 30 States
Human Rights Campaign, 4/6/2017

Colorado

Colorado GOP-led committee OKs anti-sanctuary city bill, blocks immigration ‘overreach’ bill
The Gazette (Colorado), 4/11/2017

The Judiciary Committee voted along party lines to pass Senate Bill 281 to allow crime victims to sue taxpayers in so-called sanctuary cities, where law enforcement doesn’t “turn over” undocumented residents to federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents for deportation.

Florida

Florida cities closer to banning the bag
Florida Watchdog, 4/17/2017

This article outlines local governments attempts to ban plastic bags, as well as prior attempts at state preemption of such bans.

PolitiFact: Is Florida considering the most stringent “sanctuary cities” bill of any state in the country?
News 13 (Orlando), 4/11/2017

During the 2016 election cycle, the topic of so-called “sanctuary cities” was a hot-button issue in several races, and now the Florida Legislature is considering a bill that would remove shields put in place by cities that have protections for illegal immigrants.

HB 697

Panama City officials oppose another House bill
Panama City News Herald, 4/11/2017

The most recent bill Panama City has opposed is House Bill 7063, which limits cities’ ability to raise their millage rate if they have a certain amount of money in their savings account…

Before House Bill 7063, city officials had expressed opposition to House Bill 487 and Senate Bill 330, which would have hampered local governments’ ability to levy sales taxes. Those bills have been amended heavily since.

Home rule advocacy group adds two national organizations to its roster
Saint Peters blog, 4/10/2017

Home-rule advocates Campaign to Defend Local Solutions announced Monday that it is adding Mayors Against Illegal Guns and the National Black Justice Coalition as official partners…

CDLS was formed to fight against local government pre-emption laws passed by state legislatures, which it claims are often pushed through by “shadowy special interests and unaccountable lobbyists.”

“They don’t like when we as a community pass laws to ban smoking, protect our environment, raise wages, ensure local hiring, and prevent gun violence. But we stand with you, the people — not corporate bottom lines,” the group says on its website.

Iowa

Branstad signs expanded gun rights into law
The Gazette (Iowa City), 4/12/2017

The Governor of Iowa signed House File 517 into law. The firearms preemption bill would enhance current “stand your ground” laws, and allow Iowans to sue local governments that implement gun-free zones.

Iowa the latest state to outlaw plastic bag bans
The Des Moines Register, 4/10/2017

In Iowa City, Dubuque and Marshall County, residents were exploring bans on disposable plastic bags, which are filling landfills across the United States and around the world…

The American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, creates model bills that broadly advance a pro-business, socially conservative agenda. For years, Iowa Republicans have sponsored and backed legislation that mirrors others that are part of the group’s national agenda (Senate Files 376 and 413 are two examples this year.)

Iowa’s “ban the bans” measure didn’t get much attention because it was tucked in the same legislation that struck down local efforts to raise the minimum wage. House File 295 rolled back minimum wage increases already approved in Polk, Johnson, Linn and Wapello counties, and thwarted efforts by supervisors in Lee County to do the same.

Mississippi

Mississippi Defends Its Anti-LGBT Law In Federal Appeals Court
On Top Magazine, 4/4/2017

Montana

Saving Seed: Seed Bill reaches Montana Governor’s desk
The Prairie Star, 4/10/2017

A bill that would prohibit Montana cities and counties from regulating seeds passed the House, and in early April, was sitting on Montana Gov. Steve Bullock’s desk.

Senate Bill 155, commonly known as the “Seed Bill,” would disallow local governments from regulating the “cultivation, harvesting, production, processing, registration, labeling, marketing, sale, storage, transportation, distribution, possession, notification of use, use and planting of agricultural seeds or vegetable seeds.”..

Support for the bill is widespread among high-profile agricultural groups in the state…

Opponents of SB 155 like Adam Haight, a political organizer with the Northern Plains Resource Council, say the legislation is “overreaching” and an “abuse of power.”

Wheat growing members of his organization worry about GMO crops and fear ceding local control would take away methods to combat them.

“Let’s not take tools away from local governments to pass rules that make sense for them and their local economies,” he said.

Nebraska

Nebraska: Firearms Preemption Bill Passes First Floor Vote
NRA-ILA, 4/13/2017

The NRA reports that Legislative Bill 68 passed a first floor vote on 4/12/2017, with a second vote expected as early as next week.

NRA-backed gun law filibustered
Lincoln Journal Star, 4/4/2017

A proposal to eliminate the authority of cities in Nebraska to enact their own gun regulation laws bumped into a three-hour filibuster Tuesday that placed the bill in jeopardy of disappearing from this year’s legislative agenda.

With an amendment still pending that would specifically exempt Omaha from key provisions of the bill (LB68), first-round floor debate could consume another three hours before a cloture motion would be in order to attempt to end the filibuster and proceed to a vote to advance the measure.

Opponents filibuster bill to restrict local gun rules; ‘This is not the Wild West’
Omaha World Herald, 4/5/2017

North Carolina

Tobacco resolution passes
Times-News, 4/16/2017

The Henderson County Board of Health passed a resolution Tuesday requesting the North Carolina General Assembly rescind preemption of tobacco regulation to restore local control over its policies…

“Research shows that the strongest, most innovative and most effective tobacco control policies have most often originated at the local level,” according to background information included with the resolution. “However, preemptive legislation at the state level prevents local communities in North Carolina from passing most tobacco control policies related to the retail environment.”

If preemption were lifted, localities would have the ability to increase the minimum legal sales age, as well as to institute tax strategies to increase the cost of tobacco, the resolution continues.

NC Senate committee clears bill punishing sanctuary city policies
The Daily Tarheel, 4/13/2017

The N.C. Senate Judiciary Committee cleared a bill that would punish municipalities with sanctuary city policies and compel universities in the UNC system to disclose students’ immigration status to law enforcement.

The bill, proposed by Sen. Norman Sanderson, R-Carteret, would withhold tax dollars from cities and universities that don’t comply with federal immigration laws and would prohibit UNC institutions from becoming sanctuary universities. A similar bill was sent to the House’s Finance Committee in March.

DON’T LOOK NOW, BUT A NEW ‘BATHROOM BILL’ IS IN THE WORKS
WTVD (Raleigh), 4/5/2017

A brand new “bathroom bill” is being proposed by Republicans in the North Carolina State House and Senate.

Just four days after the contentiously crafted compromise that replaced HB2, enter Tabor City Republican State Rep. Brenden Jones’ HB562. The bill could make it tougher for transgender people to use public bathrooms by imposing harsher penalties for “trespassing” in restrooms — making it a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable up to 120 days in jail.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma: Pro-Gun Preemption Bill Passed out of Committee
NRA-ILA, 4/12/2017

The NRA reports that House Bill 2322 has passed the Senate Judiciary Committee and is headed to the Senate floor. HB 2322 adds “firearm and ammunition components” to the current state firearms preemption statute, as well as language preempting all local “policies,” not just ordinances.

Oregon

Bills reversing GMO pre-emption die in Oregon
Capitol Press, 4/14/2017

Two bills that would have allowed local governments in Oregon to regulate genetically engineered crops have died in the Legislature.

Lawmakers prohibited most local governments from restricting seed in 2013, but Senate Bill 1037 and House Bill 2469 would have exempted genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, from that statewide pre-emption law.

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania: Firearms Preemption Legislation to be Heard in Committee This Week
NRA-ILA, 4/17/2017

The NRA reports that HB 671, a firearms super-preemption bill, is scheduled to be heard by the House Judiciary Committee, with the possibility a vote could take place.

Tennessee

Trump’s Expected Pick To Lead The Army Sponsored Anti-LGBTQ Bill In Tennessee
The Huffington Post, 4/4/2017

Green is the sponsor of SB 127, a bill that would bar government entities from taking “discriminatory action against a business entity on the basis of the internal policies of the business entity.”

Tennessee does not currently have nondiscrimination protections on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, although some municipalities do have stronger rules protecting LGBTQ government employees. Green’s bill, however, would bar local governments and public universities from looking at companies’ internal policies when doing business or giving out contracts ― because it would be considered discrimination against the business.

Texas

Texas committee set to hear ‘bathroom bill’ Wednesday
Newschannel 6 (Texoma), 4/16/2017

Texas House offers replacement for Senate ‘bathroom bill’
Texas Chronicle, 4/14/2017

Entering the fray over where transgender Texans can use public bathrooms, a far-reaching bill that a powerful House committee is scheduled to hear next week would rescind several local ordinances aimed at protecting LGBT people from discrimination.

The one-page proposal, House Bill 2899, would prohibit cities and counties from passing non-discrimination ordinances and would not allow them to add or subtract to the classes of people already protected under state law. Authored by Republican Rep. Ron Simmons of Carrollton, the bill also would nullify all local non-discrimination measures across Texas that do not conform to the state’s standards.

HB 2899

West Virginia

Letter: ‘Right to farm’ resolution is really ‘right to harm’
Charleston Gazette-Mail, 4/8/2017

Senate Joint Resolution 3 would amend the Mountain State’s Constitution to guarantee a “right to farm,” but this vague language would really create a “right to harm.” It’s meant to prevent lawmakers from enacting new rules protecting consumers, animals, workers and the environment from widespread abuse by multi-billion dollar factory farming industries. Basically, it’s a Trojan horse for out-of-state agribusiness corporations who think they should be above West Virginia law.

SJR 3