Food Policy, Nutrition and Agriculture
CropLife America at work to bring order to pesticide regulation
Southwest FarmPress, 12/16/2017
This article describes how industry has promoted state preemption of local pesticide laws, and how CropLife America, a trade association representing the manufacturers of pesticides and other agricultural chemicals, is working towards federal preemption of state and local pesticide laws.
13 States ask SCOTUS to block California egg law
Legal Insurrection, 12/9/2017
California and Massachusetts have been sued by 13 states challenging laws which require that eggs sold in those states come from facilities that allow laying hens “space to lie down, stand up, fully extend their limbs and [turn] around freely.” The lawsuit asserts federal preemption under the US Constitution’s Commerce Clause.
Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin are the plaintiffs in both lawsuits. Iowa and Nevada are additional plaintiffs in the California lawsuit, while South Carolina and West Virginia are plaintiffs in the Massachusetts lawsuit.
Paid Sick Days
Paid sick leave opt-out bill debated during House committee hearing
Safety and Health Magazine, 12/7/2017
The House Education and the Workforce Committee heard testimony Dec. 6 on recently introduced legislation that would allow employers to opt out of state and local paid sick leave laws if they provide a certain level of paid leave and at least one flexible work arrangement.
Paid sick leave notably figured into the discussion of the Workflex in the 21st Century Act (H.R. 4219), introduced Nov. 2 by Reps. Mimi Walters (R-CA), Elise Stefanik (R-NY) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA).
Currently, eight states, the District of Columbia and a number of localities guarantee paid sick leave for workers. Montgomery County (MD) Council President Hans Riemer (D), whose county is among that number, was critical of the bill during his testimony, claiming it would “create an off-ramp for employers to evade state and local laws presently covering millions of people.”
“We strongly oppose H.R. 4219, which would undermine our paid sick days law and turn back the clock for more than 13 million working people who have gained access to paid sick days through laws passed in eight states and 32 local jurisdictions,” Riemer said. “H.R. 4219 does not provide paid sick days – it takes them away. H.R. 4219 takes away important rights to sick leave that local and state governments have granted to their residents – rights that were granted using sovereignty that belongs to us.”
Politics Roundup: Montgomery Council President Speaks Out Against Republican Sick Leave Proposal on Capitol Hill
Bethesda Magazine, 12/8/2017
Montgomery County (Maryland) Council President Hans Riemer testified Wednesday during a U.S. House of Representatives’ subcommittee meeting against a new Republican-sponsored bill that could preempt the county’s new sick and paid leave law.
The National Women’s Law Center has described HR4219, the bill introduced in November and dubbed “Workflex in the 21st Century,” as a way for employers to circumvent local and state paid sick and family leave laws.
Eliminating Net Neutrality, FCC Plans Battle With State and Local Authorities
Route Fifty, 12/17/2017
Language in the net neutrality repeal sets the groundwork for an attempt to aggressively constrain and eliminate state and local regulations.
What Can Cities and States Do About Net Neutrality?
When the FCC voted Thursday to repeal net neutrality regulations, it went one step further: It banned state and local governments from taking their own action to preserve net neutrality within their borders.
It’s a preemption effort that isn’t sitting well with local leaders across the country. A week before the vote, 58 mayors and county officials wrote FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to say they were “deeply disturbed by the Commission’s efforts to preempt our ability to protect consumers and businesses in our communities.”
State attorneys general line up to sue FCC over net neutrality repeal
Ars Technica, 12/14/2017
Most notably for state governments, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is claiming the authority to preempt state and local governments from enacting their own net neutrality rules.
If the preemption is successful, states would not be able to impose bans on blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization. They wouldn’t be able to require ISPs to be more transparent with customers about hidden fees and the consequences of exceeding data caps. While the FCC is maintaining some disclosure rules that require notifying custome0rs about network management practices, states would not be able to impose their own rules that go beyond the FCC’s disclosure requirements…
One California state senator today said he will introduce a bill to impose net neutrality rules in California. That’s the kind of state law Pai is trying to prevent with the preemption clauses in the net neutrality repeal order.
Opportunistic Federalism and a Liberal Resurgence
The American Prospect, 12/14/2017
The best form of federalism is national policy floors, with opportunities for states or localities to go beyond federal minimums. But the brand of federalism we have today is far more opportunistic.
California Attorney General: Oakland’s Coal Ban Is Legal
East Bay Express, 12/8/2017
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra weighed in today on a dispute over a proposed coal export terminal that a local developer and a Kentucky coal mining company want to build in West Oakland…
Becerra, in his filing with the court today, argued that Oakland has every right to exercise its “police powers” to protect residents from coal dust and similar environmental dangers.
“Unfortunately, in Oakland, people of color would have to bear the brunt of the pollution emitted by the handling of coal and petroleum coke at the Bulk Oversized Terminal,” Becerra said in a statement. “The Oakland City Council put a stop to that in 2016, as was their legal right, and the California Department of Justice is today offering them our full-fledged support.”
According to Becerra, the city’s coal ban doesn’t interfere with interstate commerce because it only applies to the handling and storage of coal within the city’s limits, and the law can’t be applied to activities elsewhere in California, or other states, like Utah.
The law also doesn’t penalize out-of-state companies to the favor of in-state ones, which is expressly prohibited by federal commerce laws.
Matt Jones to introduce bill to give Colorado’s local governments control over oil and gas
Longmont Times-Call, 12/6/2017
Jones, D-Louisville, said Wednesday that what he’s calling “the Protect Act” would ensure “that oil and gas drilling are treated like any other industrial activity.”
“Local governments have a right to plan, zone and refuse to allow oil and gas operations as they see fit,” Jones said, “just as they do with every other industry.”
State law strikes down Miami Beach minimum wage hike, says appeals court
Tampa Bay Times, 12/15/2017
In a win for business groups, a South Florida appeals court Wednesday said state law prevents Miami Beach from moving forward with a local minimum wage…
The appeals court said a state “preemption” law bars local governments from establishing minimum wages. The Miami Beach City Commission last year approved an ordinance that set a minimum wage of $10.31 an hour to take effect in 2018, with the wage going up $1 a year to $13.31 on Jan. 1, 2021.
On CAFOs, panel bemoans environmental effects, lack of local control
Ames Tribune, 12/18/2017
Iowa preempts local authority over agricultural practices, including industrial farming (factory farming or CAFOs [concentrated animal feeding operations]). This article addresses how, under preemption, local communities and governments must ask permission of the state to address local concerns.
Sanctuary cities immigration debate likely in 2018 Iowa Legislature
Des Moines Register, 12/15/2017
Iowa’s cities and counties would be banned from enacting “sanctuary” policies that provide safe havens for undocumented immigrants under a bill that appears headed for a contentious debate in the 2018 Iowa Legislature.
The Iowa Senate approved Senate File 481 near the close of the 2017 session, sending the measure to the House, where it remains alive for consideration in the upcoming session.
Washtenaw school boards react to bills that would allow guns in schools
Several Washtenaw County school districts are stating their opposition to bills that would allow people with concealed carry licenses to bring guns into schools.
The state House of Representatives Judiciary Committee is considering bills passed by the state Senate in November that would allow people with extra training to concealed carry in places like schools, day care centers, stadiums and bars.
Democrats unveil Farmer’s Bill of Rights
The Dunklin Democrat, 12/9/2017
The Missouri Democratic Party unveiled its Farmer’s Bill of Rights on Monday.
“We have three values that we’re fighting for,” said Missouri Democrat Party Chair Stephen Webber.
We have the right to a fair and open market, the right to local control of land, and the right to rural opportunity.”
To help restore these three core values for family farmers, the Missouri Democratic Party also highlighted key policy priorities including, stopping foreign ownership of land, improving country-of-origin labeling, increasing transparency for contract growers, protecting local regulations of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), and reversing Clean Water Commission legislation. [Emphasis added]
Soda Tax Update: Philly Tariff To Be Challenged
A few months after Chicago government officials voted to repeal the city’s soda tax, Philadelphia’s version of the controversial tariff may be headed for a similar fate.
This week Pennsylvania State Rep. Mark Mustio announced his intention to file a measure to pre-empt local sweetened beverage taxes, including Philadelphia’s 1.5-cent-per-ounce tax on sugar-sweetened beverages.
Gambrell adds name to bill barring SC sanctuary cities
Index-Journal (Greenwood), 12/14/2017
A Lakelands senator has signed on to a bill penalizing any so-called “sanctuary city” from taking root in South Carolina — a signature issue for Gov. Henry McMaster.
Sen. Mike Gambrell, R-Honea Path, is a co-sponsor of S. 776, which requires local government agencies to comply with state and federal immigration laws. Failure to do so would result in a loss of local government aid for three years.
The bill, pre-filed in the Senate last week and referred to Judiciary Committee, tasks the State Law Enforcement Division with monitoring whether governments are in compliance.
Why Republicans should actually support sanctuary cities
A conservative opinion piece in which the author suggests that, while the wisdom of sanctuary city policies is debatable, conservatives should oppose preemption of local authority of the issue that is being addressed.
Seattle Legislator Will Target State Preemption in January
Liberty Park Press, 12/13/2017
State Rep. Nicole Macri (D-43rd District) announced during a Tuesday preview of gun control legislation at a gathering sponsored by the Alliance for Gun Responsibility, “I’m really excited to be sponsoring a bill called Restoration of Local Authority. We know that change happens at all levels of government.” [Emphasis added]