PR Newswire, 8/29/2017“Preemption of public health policies, and specifically SSB taxes, undermines local control, challenges the financial stability of local governments, and extinguishes grassroots movements. SSB taxes do not interfere with federally-funded national programs or put efficient interstate activity at risk; thus, there is a dearth of legal or historic precedent to justify Congress preempting them,” said Jennifer L. Pomeranz, assistant professor and interim chair, Public Health Policy and Management at NYU CGPH. “Advocates and state and local policymakers should be vigilant to preserve their powers to tax and safeguard the population’s health,” she said.
Can the Federal Government Preempt State Taxes on Sugary Beverages?
The Food Institute Blog, 8/30/2017
REPORT: Predominantly White State Legislatures Are Blocking Laws That Benefit Black Workers
Color Lines, 8/30/2017
State interference in city minimum wage laws stems from a larger Jim Crow legacy of blocking economic policies that primarily benefit communities of color…
“Preemption is portrayed as a struggle between political parties, but state interference in city minimum wage laws stems from a larger Jim Crow legacy of blocking economic policies that primarily benefit communities of color,” Nikki Fortunato Bas, Partnership for Working Families executive director, said in an emailed statement. “Both Democratic and Republican governors have approved preemption laws, but in most cases, it’s predominantly White legislatures overturning municipal laws passed by majority Black cities.”
Big Ag Gets Ag-Gag Envy, Helps Bring In ‘Seed-Preemption’ Laws Across The US
With little notice, more than two dozen state legislatures have passed “seed-preemption laws” designed to block counties and cities from adopting their own rules on the use of seeds, including bans on GMOs. Opponents say that there’s nothing more fundamental than a seed, and that now, in many parts of the country, decisions about what can be grown have been taken out of local control and put solely in the hands of the state.
SF asks judge to permanently block effort to cut sanctuary cities’ funds
San Francisco Gate, 8/30/2017
San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera filed a motion on Wednesday urging a federal judge to declare the Trump administration’s efforts to cut off funding for sanctuary jurisdictions unconstitutional…
The motion filed Wednesday asks the judge to issue a final ruling in the case declaring the order an unconstitutional overstepping of the executive branch’s authority. In his decision to temporarily block the order from taking effect, U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick III ruled that only Congress had the power to place such conditions for receiving federal funds on local governments.
WE NEED STRONGER LABOR UNIONS TO PROTECT THE MIDDLE CLASS
As it stands now, the NLRA bars – or in legal jargon “pre-empts” – any state or local law that even arguably affects the rights covered by federal law.
For example, the Supreme Court in 2008 invalidated a California law that prevented employers from using state money, such as proceeds from government contracts, to pay for anti-union campaigns. The Court found that the state statute reflected a different judgment about the right of employers to speak out against unions than that embodied in the NLRA…
Thus, it is time to do the hard work of figuring out what the next generation of labor law reform should be, including asking the hard question “to preempt or not to preempt.”
2017 a mixed bag for state legislatures on LGBT issues
The Washington Blade, 8/23/2017
This article about anti-LGBT legislation in the current state legislative sessions covers so-called “bathroom bills” and preemption of local nondiscrimination ordinances:
“The threat about pre-emption is that it will target LGBT communities specifically because they target non-discrimination ordinances, but they really hit out at a host of reforms or progressive ideas that municipalities or localities or trying to introduce, and it will greatly reduce their power whether it’s about wage or family or what have you,” (Eunice) Rho (ACLU) said.
A conservative-leaning opinion piece on local control which supports preserving the authority of cities to make their own decisions and treats state preemption as contrary to conservative ideology:
And that’s a key problem with conservative opposition to sanctuary cities, and similar local liberal redoubts: As long as conservatives support state preemption of localities whenever localities embrace liberal causes, they will have no credibility in advocating for devolution of powers on other matters. Sure, states are constitutionally protected entities while cities are not, but that’s fairly thin ice to stand on given that the 10th Amendment reserves powers to “the States respectively, or to the people.” The intention was not to specially empower states at the expense of localities, but to specifically empower everybody at the expense of Washington.
House prepares to take a big step on self-driving cars
Today the House is expected to pass the first major legislation to speed up the rollout of self-driving cars — an early step to outline standards for artificial intelligence-driven technologies…
Why it matters: The bill’s main provision would let the federal government preempt some state laws when it comes to self-driving cars — eliminating the potential for a patchwork of state regulations that would make it hard for the autonomous vehicle market to take off.
Transportation group advocates for federal self-driving legislation
New Hampshire Business Review, 8/24/2017
The Coalition for Future Mobility — a group of twelve transportation, passenger safety and consumer interest stakeholders — released a series of press releases yesterday indicating senators that could encourage the passage of federal self-driving vehicle legislation…
But the legislation has raised safety concerns and questions regarding federal and state jurisdiction…
One concern is that the bill “seeks to significantly expand federal preemption of states by moving beyond the traditional definition of motor vehicle safety to encroach [on] vehicle operation and traffic safety regulations that continue to remain under the states’ purview”
Regulatory Wrap-Up: Obama overtime rule struck down
Chain Store Age, 9/5/2017
Arizona: A Maricopa County Superior Court judge ruled against the state, nullifying the Arizona wage and benefits preemption law on constitutional grounds. The 2016 preemption law prevented localities from passing minimum wage and employee benefit laws that differ from the statewide rules. The judge found that the new preemption law stood in conflict with an existing law that requires 3/4 majority vote in the legislature to overturn a voter-approved initiative, and the recently passed preemption law failed to meet that standard.
State gun laws upheld in face of city challenge
Arizona Daily Sun, 8/18/2017
Declaring lawmakers have the final say, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled Thursday that cities, towns and counties have no right to enact their own gun regulations.
In a unanimous conclusion, the justices voided a 2005 Tucson ordinance that says when the police department obtains a gun through seizure or surrender, the agency “shall dispose of such firearm by destroying the firearm.” The justices said it is clear in their minds that it is trumped by multiple existing state laws to the contrary.
A Los Angeles area Democrat wants to limit what he sees as a federal overreach of California’s strong gun control laws.
In a measure introduced last week by Assembly member Miguel Santiago, D-Los Angeles, the California Legislature would call on Congress to reject federal laws seeking expanded recognition of concealed carry permits and licenses nationwide.
Los Angeles sued the Justice Department on Tuesday over the Trump administration’s threat to cut millions in federal funding for so-called sanctuary cities, which limit their cooperation with federal authorities on immigration enforcement.
The lawsuit seeks to join similar legal challenges that the state of California and the city of San Francisco lodged earlier this month against the department over new conditions it has imposed on federal grants for local law enforcement. The city of Chicago is also suing the department over the matter in a separate suit.
Colorado residents fed up with what they see as the state’s failure to protect people and the environment are fighting fossil-fuel development inside their towns by making new rules requiring odor control, bigger setbacks and company disclosure of underground oil and gas flowlines.
But the industry and state government are ready to fight back.
Thornton passes strict oil, gas rules as tensions over drilling in neighborhoods rise
Denver Post, 8/22/2017
City leaders on Tuesday approved a set of oil and gas regulations that exceed what the state requires of energy-extraction firms, setting the stage for potential legal challenges as tensions between Front Range communities and drilling companies mount…
The new rules immediately prompted negative reaction from the industry. Colorado Oil and Gas Association president Dan Haley called some of Thornton’s regulations illegal and said the city disregarded a warning from the COGCC not to contravene state rules.
Local control over oil and gas development has been a fiery topic lately, with cities and counties across the metro area trying to put tighter controls on operations…
But efforts by several Colorado cities to outright ban drilling near homes repeatedly have failed when challenged in court, including a ruling from the Colorado Supreme Court last year that said oil and gas bans are not the purview of local government.
FL smoking ban not so smoke free
WPTV (West Palm Beach NBC Affiliate), 8/25/2017
Just when you thought Florida’s tobacco fight was old news, we’ve discovered a-little-known clause in smoking laws here causing both sides to light up.
It’s called preemption, a fancy political term that boils to this: cities and counties across the state are completely powerless to ban smoking!
That’s right, 14 years after Florida banned smoking in restaurants and workplaces, lighting up remains perfectly legal on every local beach, ball field, park even playground!..
“Just because we’re out in an open area doesn’t mean that second hand smoke isn’t blowing directly in one of my children’s faces,” said Julie Featherston. Featherston is a life-long beach lover who helped inspire a volunteer effort to rid Treasure Island beaches of plastic straws two years ago. She also tried to fight Florida’s tobacco preemption clause when she started an online petition a few years ago.
State Legislators to Block Cook County Sweetened Beverage Tax through Preemption
Voices for Healthy Kids, 8/24/2017
Members of the Illinois House of Representatives introduced bills that would kill a recently implemented Cook County tax on sugary drinks. The tax includes beverages, sweetened with sugar or a sugar substitute, such as sports drinks energy drinks, sweetened teas, and sodas. Fruit drinks are also taxed, but 100-percent fruit juice are exempt.
House Republicans to introduce bill to block Cook County pop tax
Chicago Sun-Times, 8/15/2017
Five Republican members of the Illinois House of Representatives introduced a bill that would kill Cook County’s tax on sweetened beverages.
County Council to Appeal Judge’s Ruling Striking Down Pesticide Ban
Bethesda Magazine, 8/16/2017
The Montgomery County Council is not backing down after a judge struck down the general pesticide ban that was set to go into effect next year.
The council announced Wednesday that it will appeal a ruling by Judge Terrence McGann, who ruled this month that the ban on using certain pesticides on private lawns passed was preempted by state law. The council passed the ban in 2015.
Petition for mandatory sick days is back, aiming for 2018 ballot
The group MI Time to Care is renewing its efforts to create the Earned Sick Time Act, which would require Michigan businesses to provide employees with a minimum of one hour of earned sick time for every 30 hours worked. Under the proposal, the employee would not be entitled to use more than 40 hours of paid earned sick time a year unless the employer allowed a higher limit…
In Michigan a city-by-city approach would be impossible, since the Legislature recently passed a bill preempting these types of local ordinance.
Past efforts to initiate a statewide paid sick leave have been opposed by the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and other business groups.
Bag it Duluth’s view: Time to mend that part of the world within our reach
Duluth News Tribune, 9/2/2017
In June, under pressure from the Minnesota Grocers Association and the Plastic Bag Alliance, Minnesota lawmakers enacted preemption legislation, which took away local control, preventing any community in Minnesota from passing laws to phase out single-use plastic bags.
The presumption that Duluth and other cities are not wise enough to make the right choice for themselves or future generations was shocking.
Research shows that more than 20 million pounds of plastics enter the Great Lakes annually… Where is the wisdom in preemption?
Equally confusing is that this same Legislature approved $25 million (triggering an additional $47 million in federal funding) to accelerate the cleanup of legacy pollution in the St. Louis River.
St. Louis Minimum Wage Out, Statewide Preemption In (Eff. 8/28/17)
JD Supra, 8/15/2017
Local minimum wage ordinances in Missouri will become invalid on August 28, 2017, when House Bill 1194, which bans local minimum wage ordinances, becomes law. Importantly, this change in law affects both the St. Louis ordinance which took effect earlier this year, as well as a minimum wage ordinance scheduled to take effect in Kansas City later this year.
FDA promises menu labeling guidance as NYC agrees to delay enforcement
Food Navigator UDS, 8/28/2017
Two weeks after FDA filed a court document siding with industry’s effort to block New York’s controversial menu labeling law, the agency’s new head said the administration will soon issue compliance guidance for a similar federal law set to go into effect next year.
Secretary of State blocks anti-fracking charter… again
The Athens News, 8/20/2017
In a blow against local efforts to ban fracking-waste injection wells in Athens County, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted declined last week to consider the argument of a group protesting the local election board’s decision to keep a proposed county charter off of the ballot.
Statewide texting and driving ban now in effect
The Eagle, 9/2/2017
After signing the state texting ban into law, Gov. Greg Abbott called on legislators to push for a pre-emption measure to over rule any local ordinances that did not fit with the regulations, something he described as a necessary move to address the “patchwork quilt of regulations that dictate driving practices in Texas.”
While McCollum said efforts to completely overwrite the local rules failed, there are still changes that may have to be made.
“The state law does have a pre-emption clause for texting and driving so that a portion of the ordinance would have to be modified, should the ordinance remain intact,” he said.
Texas Anti-Sanctuary Law Blocked
The National Law Review, 9/5/2017
Federal judge temporarily halts Texas sanctuary city ban
The Hill, 8/30/2017
A federal district judge on Wednesday ruled to temporarily block a new Texas law that would have banned sanctuary cities in the state, just two days before the law was set to take effect.
Federal District Court Judge Orlando Garcia granted a preliminary injunction of the sanctuary cities ban, Senate Bill 4, saying in his ruling that the law would have eroded the relationship between local law enforcement and immigrant communities.
Gov. Abbott slams House, doesn’t rule out second special session
The Texas Tribune, 8/16/2017
Planned hops farm leaves bitter taste for Charlotte neighbors
Vermont Digger, 8/30/2017
CHARLOTTE — Neighbors of a proposed hops-growing operation in Charlotte have raised fears the farm will drain the neighborhood aquifer and send clouds of pesticides onto nearby properties…
Opponents hoped to use the event to sway local leaders against the farm, in part by showing how they say it doesn’t conform to the town plan. The owners hope to start operating in the spring.
That’s a tack that won’t get very far, said Cary Giguere, the agricultural resource management section chief at the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, who attended the meeting.
That’s because Vermont has written into state law a “right to farm.” As a result, local land use law can’t abridge a farm owner’s right to grow crops, Giguere said.
That right to farm also allows farmers to use appropriate tools — such as pesticides — as they practice husbandry, he said.