Join Grassroots Change at APHA in Atlanta!
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!
Why Has the E.P.A. Shifted on Toxic Chemicals? An Industry Insider Helps Call the Shots
The New York Times, 10/21/2017
The resulting law, passed last year with Democratic and Republican support, gave both sides something they wanted. The chemical industry got pre-emption from most new state regulations, and environmentalists got assurances that new chemicals would be evaluated on health and safety risks alone, not financial considerations.
Autonomous Vehicles: Does federal preemption shut down the laboratories of democracy?
City Observatory, 10/28/2017
It’s a touchstone of federalism that states and localities are the “laboratories of democracy”: pilot testing new concepts before they’re rolled out nationally. But when it comes to autonomous vehicles, there’s a very real risk that federal preemption will close down these laboratories, at just the time their experimentation and innovation is most needed.
Judge Won’t Dismiss Seattle, Portland Sanctuary Cities Case
U.S. News & World Report, 10/19/2017
A federal judge has rejected the Justice Department’s efforts to have a lawsuit filed by Seattle and Portland, Oregon, over sanctuary city policies thrown out.
The cities filed the lawsuit over the Trump administration’s threats to cut funding for jurisdictions that don’t play ball on federal immigration enforcement priorities. Those threats have already been blocked by a federal court in California, in a case brought by San Francisco and Santa Clara County.
The Justice Department asked U.S. District Judge Richard Jones to throw out the lawsuit by Seattle and Portland, but he refused in a decision Thursday. He called the administration’s threats “unconstitutionally coercive.”
Record number of cities advance LGBT rights in 2017, despite federal, state actions
USA Today, 10/19/2017
While a barrage of anti-LGBT bills in state legislatures made headlines in 2017, U.S. cities were quietly notching victories in the battle for equal rights.
Tucson council backs down on gun control, says hands are tied by Legislature
Arizona Daily Star, 10/25/2017
Tucsonans should probably not expect their City Council to pass another restriction on guns or related accessories, such as rifle “bump stocks.”
A new legal analysis by City Attorney Mike Rankin makes it clear that Arizona cities and towns lack the statutory authority to enact such laws. Additionally, he noted, the state has several legal mechanisms in place to tie the hands of local authorities and even punish them for trying in the first place.
Tucson City Council passes resolution urging ban of bump stocks
KGUN TV (Local ABC Affiliate), 10/24/2017
The Tucson City Council unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday urging state and federal lawmakers to take action on bump-fire stocks or allow city leaders to enact gun laws…
The resolution was introduced by Tucson City Council Member Steve Kozachik who says he wants to get the conversation going not just on gun control laws, but on local decision-making…
According to city leaders, they do not have the power to ban bump stocks or enact their own gun laws…
Arizona attorney general gives Bisbee 30 days to rescind plastic-bag law
Arizona Daily Star, 10/26/2017
Saying state law trumps local control, Attorney General Mark Brnovich ruled Tuesday that a Bisbee ordinance banning plastic bags is illegal…
Our View: Bisbee’s bags aren’t the enemy. Overreaching state laws are
AZ Central, 10/26/2017
Colorado towns set new oil and gas policies but industry fights back
Colorado residents concerned about the safety of their hometowns have set new regulations on odor control, and demanded transparency laws on underground oil and gas flow lines. Broomfield, Thornton, Erie, and Lafayette have all mapped out the new rules…
However, oil and gas companies are not taking the new rules lightly. In an article by the Denver Business Journal, some of Colorado’s biggest oil and gas groups sued the city of Thornton, saying that the new rules for their operations are unconstitutional under the federal and state law…
“We submitted multiple letters articulating serious legal concerns with Thornton’s proposed regulations, particularly regarding operational preemption,” said Dan Haley, the CEO of COGA (Colorado Oil & Gas Association). “Those concerns were ignored, making it necessary to challenge Thornton’s regulations in court.” [Emphasis added]
At “Fired Up Pinellas” event, activists say they hope to target lax gun laws
Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, 10/28/2017
Fighting against this acceptance of the inevitability of mass shootings are groups like the Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, an organization that formed in the wake of the Pulse Nightclub shooting in 2016…
Brigham will continue to fight against some of Florida’s egregious gun laws, including felony charges for the creation a gun registry, and forcing secondhand dealers to expunge purchase records every 30 days, with 60 days for law enforcement. The gun show loophole, now becoming a factor on internet sales, that allows 22 percent of gun sales in Florida to occur without a background check will continue to be targeted, as will preemption laws that prevent cities from crafting their own legislation that restricts firearms. [Emphasis added]
Community redevelopment tool for cities threatened again in Florida Legislature
Tampa Bay Business Journal, 10/20/2017
Local governments throughout Florida are once again facing statewide preemption efforts to cede local control to the Florida Legislature after thwarting many efforts earlier this year.
Rep. Jake Raburn (R-Lithia) again filed a bill that would block cities and counties from creating Community Redevelopment Areas used to fund economic development in certain struggling geographic areas.
Bill Would Allow Local Smoking Regulations In Parks
A Senate Republican wants to allow cities and counties to be able to regulate smoking in public parks.
State law currently gives authority to the state to regulate smoking — a concept known as preemption of local authority.
But the bill (SB 562), filed Thursday by Sen. Debbie Mayfield, R-Vero Beach, would allow cities and counties to “further restrict smoking within the boundaries of any public parks they own.”
Editorial: To the soda tax meddlers in Springfield: Thanks but no thanks
Chicago Tribune, 10/27/2017
Cook County’s short-lived penny-an-ounce sweetened beverage tax was a very bad idea. Just ask County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.
Here’s an even worse idea: The Illinois General Assembly’s flirtation with a bill that would prohibit counties throughout the state from enacting such a tax…
It’s no secret that we really, really, really didn’t like the soda tax. But we don’t like Springfield’s remedy, either. Here’s why: The bill would specifically pre-empt Cook County’s home rule authority, a legislative trespass that should be used extremely sparingly.
Snyder signs law banning taxes on food & pop at Michigan grocery stores
WILX News 10 (Local NBC Affiliate), 10/27/2017
No communities across the state were even considering a tax on food, pop, or chewing gum, but the state legislature wanted to ensure it would not become an issue. Both the State Senate and House passed bills prohibiting communities from imposing a tax on all food and beverages. The law extends the Michigan Constitution’s ban on a state food tax to include counties, cities and townships.
Roberson wants Nevada amendment to ban sanctuary cities
Las Vegas Review-Journal, 10/30/2017
A group associated with state Sen. Michael Roberson filed paperwork Monday for an amendment to prevent sanctuary cities in Nevada to be added to the 2018 ballot.
The filing with the Nevada secretary of state was submitted by Prevent Sanctuary Cities political action committee. Nevada has no official sanctuary cities — jurisdictions where local law enforcement limits its cooperation with federal immigration authorities — but state legislation was proposed this year to create sanctuary cities.
North Carolina and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have settled a suit over the state’s discriminatory “bathroom bill,” allowing transgender people to use bathrooms that correspond to their gender identity. Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, announced the consent decree deal on Wednesday…
In conjunction with the settlement, Cooper also announced the introduction of an executive order banning discrimination based on race, gender, or sexual orientation in his administration and for contractors that work with the state government. “Today’s executive order and consent decree are important steps toward fighting discrimination and enacting protections throughout state government and across our state,” he said.
A judge must approve the consent decree before the lawsuit is fully resolved. Specifically, the deal stipulates that “transgender people are not prevented from the use of public facilities in accordance with their gender identity.”
Ban on grocery taxes in the works
Columbia County Spotlight, 10/27/2017
Petitioners supporting two initiatives focused on grocery tax bans have continued collecting signatures in St. Helens in the wake of a recent failed city initiative to implement a tax on sugary drinks.
Tim Mooney, a consultant to the Northwest Grocery Association, said paid independent contractors and volunteers have collected signatures in St. Helens since mid-October to advance two grocery tax ban initiatives, one specific to St. Helens and the other statewide, that would prohibit taxes on consumable groceries…
Anti-Soda Tax Coalition Starts Campaign In Multnomah County
KUOW (Oregon Public Broadcasting), 10/20/2017
Opponents of a soda tax measure that could be up for a vote in Multnomah County next year kicked off their campaign Thursday. That’s a little over a month after a pro-soda tax group launched its canvassing effort to get the 18,000 signatures needed to secure a spot on the May 2018 ballot…
If canvassers succeed, and if the initiative is approved by voters, Multnomah County would be the first in the state to win a soda tax fight that, for years, was an uphill battle against deep-pocketed beverage companies. Pro soda-tax groups say passing a measure would raise millions for health initiatives.
Farmers Challenge Oregon County’s Ban on Aerial Pesticide Spraying Adopted by Ballot Initiative
Beyond Pesticides, 10/25/2017
Law pre-empts counties from banning aerial spraying
Capital Press, 10/19/2017
An Oregon circuit judge is considering a case that argues local voters have a “natural right” to ban aerial spraying in Lincoln County, despite state statutes to the contrary.
Lincoln County voters approved an ordinance earlier this year banning aerial spraying. It is being challenged in a lawsuit filed by landowners Rex Capri and Wakefield Farms, who rely on aerial spraying.
State Senator Announces Plan to Ban Beverage Taxes
The Legal Intelligencer, 10/26/2017
Pennsylvania Sen. Mario Scavello, R-Monroe, issued a memo declaring his plan to introduce legislation in Harrisburg to pre-empt local taxes on sweetened beverages in Pennsylvania and invalidate Philadelphia’s current beverage tax.
Soda tax splashed at Capitol
The Philadelphia Inquirer, 10/17/2017
A state Senate hearing billed as merely a “conversation,” but seen by tax supporters as prelude to a state-forced repeal, was anything but sugary.
The tax was tagged destructive to the city’s economy, devastating to grocery stores, putting people out of work, harmful to poor neighborhoods, and racist…
Meanwhile, there’s a Senate bill in the works to allow the state to preempt Philly and outlaw the tax.
Philly soda, wage taxes draw scrutiny in Harrisburg
City & State Pennsylvania, 10/17/2017
Two Philadelphia-specific taxes got the legislative spotlight Tuesday as the Senate Local Government Committee held a hearing on the city’s beverage tax and the House Finance Committee held a hearing examining legislation to alter the city’s wage tax.
Starting with the beverage tax, the Senate Local Government Committee…held a hearing that featured in-person testimony from several anti-beverage tax proponents, including outgoing Philadelphia City Controller Alan Butkovitz, representatives from Coca-Cola and Pepsi, and convenience store owners, all of whom testified about the negative impact the 1.5 cent-per-ounce levy on sugary beverages is having on the Philadelphia economy…
Philly’s soda tax facing new challenges in Pa. Senate
The Philadelphia Inquirer, 10/16/2017
Sen. Mario Scavello, a Republican from Monroe County, asked his colleagues in a memo Tuesday to cosponsor “preemption legislation” to outlaw the tax and prevent other municipalities from passing similar measures.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has filed a response to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals concerning the state’s Sanctuary City Law.
The court ruled last month that only a portion of the bill could go into effect…
Senate Bill 4 allows police to check the immigration status of people during a traffic stop.
Denton Joins Lawsuit Against Sanctuary City Ban
NBC 5 (Dallas-Fort Worth), 10/17/2017