FDA Agrees to Enforce Menu Labeling Rule in May 2018
Center for Science in the Public Interest, 9/27/2017
U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan today approved an agreement that paves the way for the Food and Drug Administration to begin enforcing regulations requiring chain restaurants, grocery stores, and convenience stores to include calorie counts on menus in May 2018…
Calorie labeling at restaurants isn’t entirely out of the woods, proponents caution. A bill pending in Congress, the so-called Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act, would undermine the Administration’s implementation of menu labeling by exempting take-out chains, including pizza restaurants, and others from some of the requirements, and by letting retailers use arbitrary serving sizes to mask total calorie content. The bill would also let supermarkets that sell restaurant-type food hide calorie information in less-visible locations.
Note: The federal restaurant menu labeling law included in the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) preempts most stronger state and local standards, thus relying exclusively on the Administration for menu labelling rules, implementation and enforcement.
Why Las Vegas Has Such Lax Gun Laws
As Newsweek explains, the state of Nevada allows the purchase of rifles, shotguns, or handguns in any amount, without a license. These firearms do not need to be registered… Clark County, which contains Las Vegas, has some additional licensing requirements. But there’s only so far it can go, given that the Nevada state legislature has strong preemption powers pertaining to guns, meaning, it does not allow its cities and local governments to impose more stringent restrictions on guns. [Emphasis added]
Cities Have a Good Idea? Not Unless the State Says So.
NBC News, 10/1/2017
When Arizona passed a sweeping measure last year prohibiting all cities within the state from taking any action contrary to state laws… lawmakers said it was about getting everyone on the same page…
The measure, which critics have called “the mother of all ‘preemption’ laws,” was a first-of-its-kind law that allowed the state government to withhold funds from cities, counties and municipalities that pass any laws, regulations or ordinances that violate any state law. [Emphasis added]
Steller: Mesa lawmaker bullies Bisbee over plastic bag ban
State Sen. Warren Petersen, a Mesa Republican, filed a complaint with the Arizona attorney general Sept. 28 under a new state law that lets any individual legislator try to overturn local ordinances they say violate state law. He says that Bisbee’s ban on plastic bags for the purchases people make at stores goes against a law that he helped pass last year.
Silly as it sounds, that state law bans cities from banning plastic bags.
Two House bills that would preempt local authority to adopt sugar sweetened beverage (soda) taxes were referred to the Illinois General Assembly’s Rules Committee on September 28, 2017.
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.
Michigan lawmakers vote to preemptively ban soda, food taxes
LANSING, Mich. (AP)
Michigan lawmakers voted Wednesday to prohibit local taxes on food, drinks and gum in a pre-emptive strike against any municipality that might consider levying a tax on soda and other sugary and artificially sweetened items.
No local government in Michigan is now considering such a tax. But majority Republicans said it is possible, pointing to Philadelphia and the Chicago area as places with soda taxes. Similar taxes have been approved in San Francisco and Oakland, California.
Business Group Backing Ban On MI Soda Taxes
Legislation has been introduced in Lansing to ban local soda taxes. One fan of the idea is the National Federation of Independent Business, which represents small businesses around the country. Michigan Director Charlie Owens tells WSJM News several cities around the country have soda taxes. The NFIB doesn’t think it should happen in Michigan.
“We believe that a precedent has already been set that it’s the purview of the state to levy a sales tax, not local units of government,” Owens said. “What local governments have been doing is trying to go around that constitutional prohibition by calling it a food tax, an excise tax, or a healthy tax.”
Although no Michigan cities have a soda tax, the NFIB says it’s only a matter of time. A plan in the legislature would prohibit local governments from enacting any tax on a food or beverage. Owens feels good about its chances of passing.
Councilwoman asks Detroit legal team to explore options restricting guns in hotels
Detroit Free Press, 10/3/2017
A Detroit councilwoman formally asked the city’s legal department Tuesday to examine the feasibility of restricting or monitoring rifles and semi-automatic firearms at Detroit hotels that face public spaces like Hart Plaza…
But if (Councilwoman) Ayers were to actually bring forth an ordinance, she would face opposition.
Just last week, the Michigan House approved a measure that would require municipalities to align their gun ordinances to state law. According to the Associated Press, it would make Michigan only the fourth state to penalize local governments for not complying. If approved by the Senate, it would effectively kill any measure a local government tried to enact that is harsher than state law.
House OKs gun law pre-emption, fine for CPL violation
The Detroit News, 9/27/2017
The… state House passed two new gun measures Wednesday that would stop local governments from adopting ordinances stricter than state gun laws and impose a civil fine instead of the current felony charge for those carrying expired concealed pistol licenses.
Local government needs to butt out of wage and sick leave mandates
Star Tribune, 9/21/2017
An opinion piece in favor of state preemption of minimum wage and sick leave laws.
Mississippi’s ‘Turn Away the Gays’ Law May Head to Supreme Court
The Advocate, 10/3/2017
Plaintiffs in a suit against Mississippi’s anti-LGBT “religious freedom” legislation are taking a calculated risk and appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court before the law goes into effect on Friday.
Mississippi’s Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act, House Bill 1523, will allow LGBT people to be turned away if businesses and service providers object to them on religious grounds.
Note: Laws such as this one in Mississippi preempt local LGBTQ nondiscrimination policies.
Protesters rally against ‘bathroom bill’ I-183
ABC FOX Montana, 10/3/2017
Dozens of protesters gathered in Bozeman Tuesday to speak out against a proposed bathroom bill.
Ballot initiative 1-83 would require all state and local entities, including schools and universities to designate bathrooms, locker rooms and changing rooms as ‘protected facilities.’
Note: Laws such as this one in Montana would preempt local nondiscrimination policies protecting Transgender individuals.
NC featured in new national report criticizing legislative overreach vis-à-vis local government
NC Policy Watch, 9/28/2017
The widely respected American Constitution Society released a new report today that pans the efforts of North Carolina legislators to hamstring local government through state statutes that preempt city and county ordinances. The report is entitled “The Troubling Turn in State Preemption: The Assault on Progressive Cities and How Cities Can Respond.”
Josephine GMO ban ruling, Legislative update
Natural Resource Report, 9/25/2017
…the Oregon Court of Appeals confirmed the lower court opinion on the Josephine County GMO ban initiative. The GMO ban, passed in May of 2014, was beginning to be implemented by the County in June of 2015 when Josephine County farmers, Bob and Shelly White, filed a lawsuit claiming that the measure violated the state “seed preemption” law.
Councilman wants Pittsburgh to ban guns in city parks after armed protest
A Pittsburgh Democrat was so shocked by seeing firearms displayed in an area park last month that he has proposed an ordinance to the City Council to prohibit the practice…
His solution, introduced Friday, is a proposed ordinance that would amend Pittsburgh’s city code to bar the “uncasing, possession, and use of firearms capable of discharging or propelling a projectile in City parks and playgrounds.” Those charged with the misdemeanor crime and found guilty would face up to $300 in fines or as much as 30 days in jail or both. Law enforcement officers would be exempt from the requirement.
Gun rights advocates are not impressed. Kim Stolfer, president of the group Firearms Owners Against Crime, said Pennsylvania’s strong preemption laws on firearms leave the city without the ability to establish local gun laws stricter than the state’s.
Municipal league rep presents legislative update
Cleburne Times-Review, 9/21/2017
Of the more than 7,000 bills filed during the Texas Legislature’s 85th session, about 2,000 impacted cities, many of which were hostile to local government.
“There’s a growing narrative at the capitol that cities are increasingly taking away local liberties,” said Monty Wynn, Texas Municipal League Assistant Director of Legislative Services, presenting a legislative update Tuesday to members of the Government Officials Council of Johnson County. GCOJC, open to all elected and government officials, meets four times a year to share ideas that are important across the county.
Texas AG’s Newest Bold Move Against Sanctuary Cities
The three-judge panel of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday that parts of Senate Bill 4 can go into effect. The law allows for civil penalties of up to $25,000 per day on local jurisdictions that don’t comply with federal immigration authorities and mandates that jail employees must also honor detainer requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement…
Perhaps emboldened by the court’s ruling, Paxton took the sanctuary city crackdown a bit further, informing Texans that they can submit sworn complaints to him about any local jurisdictions or officials they believe are harboring illegal immigrants…
Despite Monday’s ruling, Senate Bill 4 has had a difficult route to passage. In August, U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia blocked parts of the bill that allowed authorities to interrogate and detain those they believed to be illegal, arguing it would make Texas less safe because it would “erode public trust.”
West Virginia’s regulatory environment markedly different than neighboring Pennsylvania
The State Journal, 9/29/2017
Babst Calland’s Blaine Lucas told attendees at Shale Insight 2017 in Pittsburgh this week that West Virginia case law governing local pre-emption — the line between local government authority and state controls — is relatively straightforward: First, a Monongalia County circuit judge nixed a ban on fracking within a mile of Morgantown’s city limits in 2011. Then, just a few months ago, the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a federal judge’s finding that Fayette County commissioners had overstepped their authority when they attempted to ban the handling, storage and disposal of wastewaters associated with oil and gas operations within their county — essentially making any oil and gas operations a punishable offense.