Pain of state preemption felt by the South’s vulnerable communities

Facing South,

Allie Yee,

April 14, 2017-

As rifts between liberal-leaning blue cities and largely conservative red states widen across the South, much of the focus has been on the political jockeying between local, state and federal officials over who has power to set local agendas on issues ranging from environmental protections and minimum wage to immigrant integration. But while preemption undermines local officials’ authority to govern, they are not the only ones to feel its impact. The brunt of those consequences are borne disproportionately by women, people of color, LGBT people, low-income communities, immigrants and those at the intersection of these identities.

With some preemption efforts, the impacts on vulnerable communities are fairly clear. Recent efforts by state lawmakers to limit local leaders’ ability to set bathroom policies affecting transgender people or to extend nondiscrimination policies to protect LGBT communities are one example.

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