Michael Bare, Program Manager with Grassroots Change’s Preemption Watch project, will be attending the American Public Health Association’s Annual Meeting and Exposition (APHA) in Atlanta from November 4 – 8. On Tuesday, November 7, Michael will present during the Health Law poster session: “Countering Preemption: A Significant Threat to Public Health” from 2:30-3:30. Michael will also be attending caucus meetings and sessions relevant to current trends in federal and state preemption, and meeting with partners and other colleagues.Email Michael if you want to connect at APHA!
How conservative states and liberal cities vie for control
The Economist, 10/9/2017
AT FIRST glance, they seem unrelated: a fracking ban in Denton, Texas; a minimum-wage increase in St Louis, Missouri; and an anti-discrimination ordinance in Charlotte, North Carolina. Yet each was passed in a city then later overturned by a… state legislature. Legal observers see a trend in the rollbacks. Grassroots Change, a nonprofit organisation, counts 140 state bills introduced this year specifically to block municipal laws.
Senate Committee Approves Automated Vehicle Bill
Route Fifty, 10/4/2017
A U.S. Senate committee approved self-driving vehicle legislation Wednesday, moving Congress a step closer to coming up with a national framework for the emerging technology.
The bill still contains preemption provisions that at least one advocacy group says could leave states and localities in ambiguous legal terrain when enforcing traffic laws and other regulations. (Emphasis added)
Stay out of plastic-bag law, Bisbee tells state attorney general
Arizona Daily Star, 10/11/2017
Bisbee’s city attorney told Attorney General Mark Brnovich on Tuesday that his community’s regulations on plastic bags are none of the state’s business…
Hanson said there was no reason for the Legislature to approve a 2016 law preempting local governments from regulating the bags. Some lawmakers voted for the law to overturn the Bisbee ordinance without ever having been to the community, he said.
Judge orders state to provide information, legislative testimony in Fayetteville civil rights suit
Arkansas Times, 10/16/2017
Circuit Judge Doug Martin of Fayetteville has issued a formal order that quashes a state effort to block requests for information and sworn testimony from legislators and other state officials about the motivation behind the state law that prohibits cities from enacting local ordinances that extend civil rights protection to gay people…
The law was passed specifically to prevent protection against discrimination not mentioned in the state civil rights law — discrimination against LGBT people. It has always been clear that the law was passed to prevent anyone from doing anything to discourage discrimination against gay people in employment, housing or public accommodation. When Fayetteville passed such an ordinance, and it survived a vote repeal effort, those who favor gay discrimination sued to enforce the state law. The Arkansas Supreme Court has upheld the pre-emption law, but didn’t rule on whether it amounted to unconstitutional discrimination against a specific class of people. [Emphasis added]
Lobbyist Says State Will Repeal Beverage Tax If County Board Doesn’t
Des Plaines Valley News, 10/5/2017
Tom Walsh, a former state senator who works as a lobbyist for Lyons and others, expects the Illinois Legislature will vote to repeal Cook County’s unpopular beverage tax unless the county board repeals it first.
Chicago Repeals New Soda Tax
CPA Practice Advisor, 10/15/2017
The Cook County (Chicago) Board of Commissioners voted Wednesday to repeal the controversial penny-an-ounce tax on sweetened beverages, following a pitched advertising battle between advocates who cited public health concerns and opponents who said the tax was too burdensome on business.
No local soda taxes in Michigan under bill headed to Gov. Rick Snyder
House Bill 4999, sponsored by Rep. Rob Verheulen, R-Walker, creates a new law to preempt local governments from implementing local taxes on soda, food or chewing gum. A local government could neither impose an excise tax on the manufacture or sale of the products, nor impose a tax or fee on their manufacture, distribution or sale…
Some lawmakers objected to the bill’s passage. When the Senate version of the bill was up last week, Sen. Rebekah Warren, D-Ann Arbor, said it would have “absolutely zero immediate practical impact” because no Michigan community had implemented a soda tax.
The House during its Thursday session ordered the bill enrolled. The next step is for it to be presented to Gov. Rick Snyder for signature.
State bans stir critics to ask: Does Lansing know best?
The Detroit News, 10/16/2017
Michigan’s Republican-led Legislature is working to ban local governments from doing things none has tried: from taxing soda-pop to prohibiting job interview questions…
[C]ritics contend the bills are part of a continued assault on local control out of Lansing, a chisel compared to the hammer of state-appointed emergency managers who took over struggling cities with failing finances in the recent past.
Anti-LGBT law goes into effect in MS
WMC Action News 5 (Local NBC Affiliate), 10/10/2017
Same-sex marriage advocates are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down a controversial religious freedom bill that took effect in Mississippi on Tuesday.
The bill, HB 1523, allows businesses to refuse service to the LGBT community by citing their own religious beliefs.
Bozeman joins lawsuit challenging Montana ‘bathroom bill’
NBC Montana, 10/16/2017
In a unanimous decision late Monday evening, Bozeman city commissioners voted to join a lawsuit with the Montana ACLU challenging Initiative 183.
Also known as the Montana Locker Room Privacy Act, the bill requires facilities like bathrooms and locker rooms in government buildings, including schools, to be separated by gender. The bill says people must use facilities that match the gender on their birth certificate. The ballot language says a person may sue a city if they encounter someone not complying with the law
The city decided to join the lawsuit saying it violates the city’s non-discrimination ordinance. Commissioners agreed, the law would be harmful for their transgender residents.
Oregon county’s aerial spray ban gets day in court
Capital Press, 10/9/2017
Lincoln County Community Rights, which supports the ban, argues that Oregon law that pre-empt local governments from regulating pesticides is unconstitutional.
Pennsylvania and Federal Law Preempt Municipal Home Rule Charter
Western District of Pennsylvania Magistrate Judge Susan P. Baxter reiterated in an opinion issued last Friday that certain municipal laws prohibiting natural gas drilling are preempted by the federal Safe Drinking Water Act and the Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Act. Seneca Res. Corp. v. Highland Twp. et al., No. 16-cv-289 (W.D. Pa. Sept. 29, 2017) (“Seneca III”). The decision is the result of a complex procedural and political history in the township, and it reinforced an earlier settlement and consent decree between the same parties. In its opinion, the federal court’s decision provided guidance regarding the interplay among federal, state, and local authority over energy development in Pennsylvania.
Austin could make employers offer paid sick days
Weatherford Democrat, 10/13/2017
The city council recently voted to begin a public-input process that would ultimately lead to a policy allowing all workers in Austin to earn paid sick days…
Supporters are aware that they may well face efforts by state lawmakers to preempt a local ordinance.
Sanctuary city bill gets hearing on Thursday
Legislation that would ban so-called “sanctuary cities” in Wisconsin has been scheduled for a public hearing at the state Capitol.