Now, lobbyists for numerous industries, including soda makers and fast-food chains, are pushing state laws that block municipal governments from adopting local controls. Aiding the effort is the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a group backed by corporations and conservative foundations, which brings together state lawmakers and industry lobbyists to draft and disseminate model legislation.
At least nine states have passed nutrition-related preemption laws, according to Grassroots Change, a nonprofit group that monitors state preemption efforts. Others have adopted measures that keep cities from requiring employers to provide paid sick leave or nullifying laws that protect gay or transgender people from discrimination.
LOCAL ENERGY CODES HINDERED BY PREEMPTION RULES
New Buildings Institute, 6/22/2017
A white paper released today by New Buildings Institute (NBI) finds that federal preemption rules present a major barrier to using energy codes as a means to achieve high levels of energy efficiency in buildings. Decades-old federal laws that set national standards for appliance efficiency, including heating and cooling systems and water heating equipment, also preempt states and cities from setting their own more stringent standards. The original purpose was to avoid a 50-state patchwork of varying rules. Today however, federal preemption is preventing cities and states from setting efficiency stringency through local energy codes and even driving up the incremental cost of efficiency, according to the NBI paper, “Federal Preemption as a Barrier to Cost Savings and High Performance Buildings in Local Energy Codes.”
W.Va. Attorney General joins coalition fighting to stop sanctuary cities
The State Journal (WV), 6/25/2017
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced he was joining Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry and attorneys general in eight other states to intervene in three court cases challenging President Donald Trump’s executive order banning the creation of sanctuary cities.
The 10 attorneys general filed a friend-of-the-court brief in three California cases questioning the constitutionality of the executive order.
Department of Justice sides with Texas on ‘sanctuary cities’ lawsuit
The Dallas Morning News, 6/23/2017
US Lawmakers Want Feds to Steer Driverless Car Rules
The Recorder, 6/27/2017
Congressional Republicans and Democrats in Washington drew battle lines Tuesday over a package of self-driving vehicle bills that would pre-empt state-level regulations, including those in the final stages of development in California.
U.S. House Republicans have unveiled 14 draft bills that seek to expand the federal government’s role in setting rules for testing, developing and making road-ready highly autonomous vehicles. The legislation responds to industry concerns that individual states are creating a patchwork of potentially conflicting laws to oversee the emerging industry.
Consumer Watchdog Urges Congress to Let States Set Safety Standards for Autonomous Vehicles
Body Shop Business, 6/27/2017
As a House subcommittee considered more than a dozen bills proposing various federal standards for self-driving vehicles, the group Consumer Watchdog expressed concern that a federal proposal to pre-empt state safety regulations “would leave a regulatory void without meaningful safety protections.
Arkansas Panel Votes to Study Bathroom Bill From Session
U.S. News & World Report, 6/21/2017
An Arkansas Senate panel has voted to study a bill limiting which restrooms transgender people can use that had stalled in this year’s legislative session after facing opposition from the state’s Republican governor, tourism groups and LGBT rights supporters.
The Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday adopted the interim study proposal on the measure, which would have required every restroom or changing facility accessible by multiple people at the same time in a government building be designated for use by members of only one sex.
Mississippi LGBT law faces more court scrutiny
The Clarion-Ledger, 6/25/2017
Appeals Court Allows Worst Anti-LGBTQ Law Ever To Go Into Effect In Mississippi
The Huffington Post, 6/23/2017
A three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals this week lifted a lower court injunction that had stopped the implementation of what many legal observers and LGBTQ activists view as the worst, most dangerous legislative attack on LGBTQ people yet.
Mississippi’s HB 1523, the “Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act,” signed into law by Gov. Phil Bryant in April of 2016 but put on hold by a federal judge, allows for the most far-reaching religious exemptions of any bill we’ve seen in the states…
The law allows for businesses and government employees to decline service to LGBT people, and that includes bakers, florists, county clerks and even someone working at the department of motor vehicles, based on religious beliefs. It allows for discrimination in housing and employment against same-sex couples or any individual within a same-sex couple. Businesses and government, under the law, can regulate where transgender people go to the bathroom. The law allows mental health professionals and doctors, nurses and clinics to turn away LGBT individuals. It also allows state-funded adoption agencies to turn away LGBT couples.”
Missouri House Debating Abortion Law Revisions – Bill Already Passed Senate
Senate Bill 5 would modify several provisions relating to abortion, including: tissue reports; attorney general jurisdiction; the pre-emption of political subdivision authority regarding abortion; whistle blower protections; the definition of abortion facilities; and inspections of abortion facilities. [Emphasis added]
Pennsylvania governor says he will veto bag ban preemption bill
Hundreds of immigrant advocates gathered outside a federal courthouse here Monday as local officials from across Texas squared off for a legal showdown with the state and federal governments over the state’s new anti-“sanctuary city” law.
Mayors, council members and county judges from tiny border towns and big Texas cities were packed inside. One by one, their attorneys called for U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia to temporarily halt implementation of Senate Bill 4, which aims to force local municipalities to help detain immigrants in the country illegally.
Houston to Join Lawsuit Against Texas ‘Sanctuary City’ Law
U.S. News & World Report, 6/21/2017
Bathroom bill doesn’t reflect Republican values
Victoria Advocate, 6/24/2017
Key conservative principles of the Republican Party include less government, more local control and pro-business policies.
By these standards, the so-called bathroom bill fails miserably. It is legislation in search of a nonexistent problem, attempting to supercede local regulations and creating unnecessary problems for businesses.
North Texas lawmakers will introduce two bathroom bills in special session
Houston Chronicle, 6/21/2017
Rep. Ron Simmons, R-Carrollton, is expected to introduce two bills in the upcoming special session of the Texas Legislature that would regulate which public bathrooms transgender Texans, including schoolchildren, can use.
The first bill, which will closely resemble his bill that failed during the regular session, will be a broad attempt to prohibit cities, counties and public school districts from enforcing non-discrimination ordinances involving multi-occupancy restrooms or locker rooms…
Simmons’ bill would effectively invalidate local nondiscrimination ordinances that allow transgender people to use public restrooms that match their gender identity, as well as school district policies that make accommodations for transgender students…
A second proposal Simmons plans to introduce would apply only to public school districts.
Texas Passes Ban on Texting While Driving
Governor Abbot is calling a special session of the Texas legislature starting July 18 to consider amendments to the new law. Abbott wants to block local governments from any regulation of mobile devices. This would nullify tougher cellphone regulations that are currently in place in about 40 Texas cities including Austin, San Antonio and El Paso. In these cities, drivers are required to use hands-free devices for phone calls.
State Rep. Tom Craddick, (R-Midland) who authored HR 62, opposes such pre-emption because he believes it would weaken mobile usage laws throughout the state. Craddick believes that such issues should be left to local governments. He says it will be difficult to predict how the pre-emption proposal will fare since during the recent legislative session, many legislators seemed adamant about letting cities regulate the issue.