Sustainability and Climate Change
Perry disputes grid models, denies renewable regs pre-emption
E&E News, 9/18/2017
Energy Secretary Rick Perry told Senate lawmakers that his agency would not pre-empt state renewable portfolio standards and questioned models of high levels of wind and solar energy for the electric grid, according to documents…submitted to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
Judge rules in city’s favor on sanctuary cities, grants nationwide injunction
Chicago Tribune, 9/15/2017
In a ruling with national impact, a federal judge in Chicago on Friday blocked the Trump administration’s rules requiring so-called sanctuary cities to cooperate with immigration agents in order to get a public safety grant.
Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 (HR 38)
(a) Notwithstanding any provision of the law of any State or political subdivision thereof… [a person] who is carrying a valid license or permit which is issued pursuant to the law of a State and which permits the person to carry a concealed firearm or is entitled to carry a concealed firearm in the State in which the person resides, may possess or carry a concealed handgun… in any State…
(2) A person possessing or carrying a concealed handgun in a State under subsection (a) may do so in any of the following areas in the State that are open to the public:
(A) A unit of the National Park System.
(B) A unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System.
(C) Public land under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management.
(D) Land administered and managed by the Army Corps of Engineers.
(E) Land administered and managed by the Bureau of Reclamation.
National Reciprocity Bill Nears Goal Line in the House but Needs Your Support to Reach the End Zone
Gun owners received good news this week with the passage of the SHARE Act by the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources (see related story). Meanwhile, progress continued to be made on another NRA legislative priority, as Congressman Rob Goodlatte (R-VA) – chairman of the House Judiciary Committee – signed on to co-sponsor H.R. 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017. The latter bill now has 212 co-sponsors, and its prospects in the House are looking better with each passing week.
The NRA’s idea of recreation: Assault rifles, armor-piercing bullets and silencers
The Washington Post, 9/11/2017
On Tuesday, a House panel takes up the “Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act of 2017,” which promises “to protect and enhance opportunities for recreational hunting, fishing and shooting.”
Among these recreational enhancements:
- Allowing people to bring assault guns and other weapons through jurisdictions where they are banned.
Reed adding name to Collins’ SAFE act repeal bill
Observer Today, 9/13/2017
U.S. Rep. Tom Reed is…cosponsoring U.S. Rep. Chris Collins’ Second Amendment Guarantee Act bill that would keep states and local governments from further regulating or prohibiting a rifle or shotgun.
Specifically, the bill would prevent states from implementing any regulations on weapons that are more restrictive than what’s required by federal law. That means states wouldn’t be able to require registration or licensing for the sale, manufacture, transfer or possession of a rifle or a shotgun.
Gun News of the Week: Congressional Fall Agenda Includes De-listing Suppressors, National Reciprocity, and Federal Preemption
Outdoor Life, 9/11/2017
A relatively recently proposed bill is the Second Amendment Guarantee Act HR 3576, submitted by Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) on July 28. This bill would essentially mandate federal preemption of state capacity to impose gun laws more restrictive than those encoded in federal statutes.
The 35 States Where Local Officials Can’t Ban Guns at Protests
The Trace, 9/11/2017
Thirty-five states either explicitly allow concealed and/or open carry at rallies, or don’t forbid guns in that setting — and also preempt localities from making their own rules keeping firearms away from demonstrations. Eight more states allow guns at protests, but give cities some leeway to make their own regulations. Only eight states, along with the District of Columbia, bar firearms at rallies.
Self-Driving Car Bill Passed by House – Will Federal Law Pre-empt State Law for Self-Driving Cars?
The National Law Review, 9/19/2017
Houses Automated Vehicle Bill Lacks Privacy Standards, Would Preempt State Safeguards
Electronic Privacy Information Center, 9/7/2017
House Passes Bill To Speed Self-Driving Vehicle Technology
Investors Business Daily, 9/6/2017
The bill puts the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in charge of regulating self-driving car safety and pre-empt[s] competing rules at the state level…
Arizona Labor Activists Preserve Local Control
The American Prospect, 9/20/2017
State lawmakers lose gambit to scrap decade-old law allowing municipal governments to offer better employment benefits than the ones mandated by the state.
Arizona: Tucson Repeals Ordinance Requiring Destruction of Firearms
This week, the city of Tucson, Arizona agreed to repeal their firearm destruction ordinance. This decision came in response to the recent state Supreme Court ruling that struck down the city’s firearm destruction policy as a violation of state law that prohibits local governments from regulating the ownership, licensing, or use of firearms.
Flowers highlights new laws governing farmers
Pine Bluff Commercial, 9/12/2017
Act 156 prohibits cities and counties from enacting local laws that regulate seeds. Arkansas is the 29th state to pass a seed pre-emption law, Flowers said during the event, held last Friday.
“They are being pushed by large food conglomerates, industrial agricultural corporations and chemical companies,” (State Senator) Flowers said.
In related news, Flowers discussed the American Legislative Exchange Council, which drafted model legislation in 2013 that pre-empts local governments from regulating seed production. Corporations Monsanto, Bayer and DuPont contribute to ALEC, she said. Act 156 is a “textbook example of a trend in American economics that the big guys use legislation to build monopolies to push out the smaller business,” Flowers said.
Cotterell: Cities and counties are playing defense in 2018 session
Tallahassee Democrat, 9/16/2017
City and county officials are bracing for another power struggle between state and local governments, and it figures to be one of the most important issues of the 2018 legislative session.
State Rep. Randy Fine, R-Palm Bay, says he just wants city and county officials to stick to essential local functions like zoning, land use and noise regulation. He argues that too many are getting into what he believes should be state-level matters, like raising the minimum wage or forbidding use of plastic bags at grocery stores…
Fine had a bill in the past session to pre-empt business regulation to the state and give local governments until 2020 to repeal conflicting rules. It got through one House committee but had no Senate companion and died at the end of the session.
Revenge of the Cities
Convenience Store News, 9/6/2017
More than 500 city officials from around Florida recently gathered in Orlando for a standing-room-only meeting with the goal of punching back at their own state legislature…
Florida is one of more than two dozen states where conservative “red” legislatures have used what are known as preemption laws to effectively block the policies being adopted by more liberal “blue” cities…
The cities’ anti-preemption playbook includes a number of different strategies, both short and long term:
- Educating city stakeholders about the importance of “local control” and making more of them aware of the preemption issue…
- Tying political support for candidates who run for seats in a state legislature to a written pledge that those candidates (should they become office holders) will not support local preemption legislation.
- Enacting strategies to elect more former local officials to state legislatures (Read: People who, at least theoretically, won’t back preemption bills).
- Requiring lobbyists who work on behalf of cities to disclose if they have clients who have utilized preemption — and then, in essence, forcing those lobbyists to choose between representing those cities or their corporate clients.
- Deploying strategies to hold corporate interests accountable by encouraging elected officials to call out “offending companies” (those seen as “serial users” of preemption tactics).
The anti-preemption ire is not coming exclusively from Democratic officials, either. “We can’t give these companies a free pass anymore” was a refrain heard from a group of city commissioners from Florida’s more conservative panhandle.
Court gives mixed opinion on Minneapolis paid sick leave law
Duluth News Tribune, 9/18/2017
A paid sick leave mandate instituted by the city of Minneapolis has survived a legal challenge, with some bruises.
The Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled Monday, Sept. 18, that the city cannot require employers located outside the city limits to provide employees with paid sick days.
The court also ruled, however, that the city may continue to impose paid sick leave on Minneapolis-based businesses.
HB2-repeal law faces amended legal complaint
Winston-Salem Journal, 9/8/2017
The plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit over House Bill 2 on Thursday filed a fifth amended complaint targeting the new law that repealed much of the state’s divisive transgender restroom law…
HB142 did away with the restroom, locker room and shower use requirement. It also implemented a moratorium through Dec. 1, 2020, on local anti-discrimination ordinances, such as the one Charlotte passed in 2016 allowing transgender people to use the restroom of their choice.
‘Friends of the Court’ are friends of oil and gas industry
The Athens Messenger, 9/11/2017
… several state-level organizations have submitted amicus curiae (“friends of the court”) briefs to the Ohio Supreme Court supporting the Athens County Board of Elections’ decision to refuse to certify the proposed County Charter initiative to the ballot for the November 7 election.
The list of organizations contains notorious “friends of the oil and gas industry” whose legal arguments all boil down to the claim that state laws pre-empt local laws, and most importantly in this case, state laws can pre-empt even the attempt to charter a county when its provisions conflict with state law…
Texas AG Seeks Swift Reversal Of Blocked ‘Sanctuary Cities’ Law
CBS Dallas-Fort Worth, 9/5/2017
Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is asking a federal appeals court for an emergency order blocking a lower ruling that kept Texas’ new anti-“sanctuary cities” law from taking effect.
The Anti-Sanctuary-Cities Bill That Outlawed Dissent
The Atlantic, 9/6/2017
Last week, in City of El Cenizo v. Texas, a federal district court enjoined much of Texas’s new anti-“sanctuary city” law, SB 4, from taking effect. That bill stirred eerie echoes of the American past; I heard faint tones of Abraham Lincoln’s pro-slavery rival Stephen A. Douglas in the stated intent of its sponsor.
Start with SB 4. In its main features, it told Texas localities, universities, or officials—on pain of fines and even jail time—that they could not stop local peace officers from investigating the immigration status of those they detain and notifying federal authorities; forbade the same localities and officials to limit “the enforcement of immigration laws;” and instructed local peace officers to provide “enforcement assistance” to federal immigration authorities. In addition, localities would be required to obey “immigration detainer requests,” which are administrative requests from immigration authorities to keep individuals in jail even after charges have been dropped so they can decide whether to deport them.
Gun club’s cases heard by appeals court
Kitsap Sun, 9/6/2017
Kitsap Rifle and Revolver Club has placed its future in the hands of the Washington State Court of Appeals, which heard the club’s arguments Wednesday in two separate lawsuits filed against Kitsap County…
In the Kitsap County case, Bruce Danielson, one of the club’s attorneys, argued that the county’s shooting-range ordinance, which establishes operating conditions, violates a state law that prohibits local governments from restricting firearm use.
County Ordinance Preempted by State’s Comprehensive and Complex Permit Program
JD Supra, 9/6/2017
In the case of EQT Production Company v. Wender, et al., on August 30, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed, in a 2-1 ruling, the lower court’s decision that a West Virginia county’s ordinance effectively barring the operation of a state-licensed injection well was preempted by a “web of state and federal laws comprehensively regulating oil and gas production and wastewater disposal in West Virginia.”
Wisconsin budget bill strips local government control of quarries
LaCrosse Tribune, 9/12/2017
Last-minute changes to the state budget would strip local governments in Wisconsin of the right to regulate quarries, and some fear the proposals could be expanded to take away town and county control over the frac sand mines that dot the western part of the state…
Among other things, it prohibits counties and municipalities from regulating blasting, hours of operation, and noise, air and water quality. It would also limit the reach of local zoning laws.
The amendment threatens “100 years of tradition of local control — letting local people make land use decisions,” said Timothy Zeglin, vice chairman of the Trempealeau County Board…