Graham Decision is an Important Win Against Preemption and Big Tobacco
Public Health Law Center, 1/9/2018
Supreme Court refuses to hear challenge to Miss. LGBT law
The Hill, 1/8/2018
The Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear two cases challenging a Mississippi law that allows businesses and government employees to deny services to LGBT people based on their religious beliefs.
The court’s refusal to hear the case leaves intact the law, known as H.B. 1523
HB 1523 would preempt local nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people.
Six States Have Proposed Net Neutrality Laws With More Coming
DSL Reports, 1/17/2018
Net neutrality advocates look to states after FCC repeal
The Hill, 1/15/2018
Net neutrality gaining steam in state legislatures after FCC repeal
Ars Technica, 1/8/2018
States Push Back After Net Neutrality Repeal
The New York Times, 1/11/2018
Lawmakers in at least six states, including California and New York, have introduced bills in recent weeks that would forbid internet providers to block or slow down sites or online services. Legislators in several other states, including North Carolina and Illinois, are weighing similar action.
They are responding to the Federal Communications Commission’s vote last month to end regulations that barred internet service providers from creating slow and fast lanes for different sites and services. The new policy will go into effect in the coming weeks.
Bag ban battles remain intense
Plastics News, 1/12/2018
The fights over plastic bag bans and fees are expected to continue full force in 2018 as the debates move to some new ground.
The shift will be partly geographic. After years of fights on the West Coast, the focus will move to the Northeast, industry lobbyists say, following Boston’s adoption of a bag ban in late 2017…
The plastics industry is responding by lobbying state legislators to pass laws limiting the power of cities and counties to restrict bags, in effect pursuing statewide “bans of bans” that would override local laws.
State legislatures in Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin in recent years put such laws in place, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
U.S. Backs Student Loan Servicer in Lawsuit by Massachusetts
U.S. News & World Report, 1/10/2018
The U.S. Justice Department has filed papers arguing Massachusetts’ attorney general cannot pursue claims under state law that one of the nation’s largest student loan servicers undermined a federal debt forgiveness program…
The Justice Department, representing the Education Department, argued in a filing on Monday that federal law including the Higher Education Act, pre-empted Healey’s state-law claims. Healey, a Democrat, criticized the filing.
California Lawmaker Preps State Net Neutrality Bill
Courthouse News, 1/3/2018
State Sen. Scott Wiener’s proposal is a direct response to the Federal Communications Commission’s controversial decision in December to stash net-neutrality rules….
Wiener, D-San Francisco, introduced the bill on the first day of the legislative session…
If the states’ measures are eventually passed, they will likely be challenged by the federal government. The abolition order reiterates the FCC’s stance that its laws pre-empt state communications laws.
“We therefore pre-empt any state or local measures that would effectively impose rules or requirements that we have repealed or decided to refrain from imposing in this order or that would impose more stringent requirements for any aspect of broadband service,” the FCC order states.
Colorado State Senator Matt Jones and Representative Mike Foote have introduced Senate Bill 48, which would remove sole regulation of oil and gas siting and permitting from the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, give municipal and county governments authority over oil and gas drilling and siting of operations, and allow those local governments to plan, zone and refuse such operations. The short title of the act is the “Protect Act.”
Chairman Justin York Defends Conservation Board in Fight with State Senate
Orlando Political Observer, 1/12/2018
Justin York is the newly elected Chairman of the Seminole Soil & Water Conservation Board, which finds itself embroiled in a debate with a state Senator over whether the state or local municipalities should control arbor policy.
This week, the Seminole Board issued a statement condemning what it called a pre-emption of local control over environmental issues.
Florida House passes sanctuary city ban
Spectrum News 13, 1/12/2018
For the third year in a row, the Florida House passed a contentious bill cracking down on municipalities that don’t comply with federal immigration authorities.
The House voted Friday 71-35 for the bill following a debate…
Pitted against an overreaching House, few fight for more local power
Florida Politics, 1/11/2018
There are a number of bills this Session that would shift control from local governments to the Legislature, making some elected officials — like Tallahassee Mayor and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum — unhappy.
In the House, one of those bills is being expedited during week one of Session.
House Speaker Richard Corcoran voiced his early ambitions for the House in the first week of Session, promising to pass HB 9, a bill that would heavily reprimand local officials if they enact sanctuary city policies — a phrase coined for local efforts that safeguard undocumented immigrants.
Mayor, labor officials and consumer advocates denounce House attacks on home rule
Tallahassee Democrat, 1/11/2018
Rep. Jones, Gillum Speak Out Against Preemption Law
Florida Gun Store Owner Wins Zoning Lawsuit
America’s 1st Freedom, 1/5/2018
North Miami Beach officials have learned that if they challenge Florida gun statutes, it will be a losing battle. Florida’s pre-emption law withstood the city’s objection after a case involving a sporting goods store that sold guns was decided in the store owner’s favor.
Editorial: ‘Pre-emption’ laws violate home rule
Herald-Tribune (Sarasota), 1/8/2018
Bills pending in the Legislature, which opens its session today, would prevent cities and counties from regulating short-term home rentals, overtake local ordinances on trees and impose significant limits on community redevelopment organizations.
These bills and the pre-emption trend are troubling. They ignore and undermine the principle of home rule, which was established in 1968 when voters approved wide-ranging changes to the Florida Constitution. The establishment of home rule, which enables local governments to enact ordinances and policies without state approval (so long as they don’t conflict with Florida law or its constitution), was prescient.
Religious liberty bill could have lasting impact on Georgia economy
WGCL (Local Atlanta CBS Affiliate), 1/4/2018
This article addresses concerns about the economic impact of so-called “religious liberty” bills in light of the history of businesses boycotting states with preemptive “bathroom bills.”
Woodbury County asks judge to allow weapons in some courthouse floors
Sioux City Journal, 1/16/2018
The supervisors voted 3-1-1 to send the letter, which will change the dynamic of how courthouse security is handled in the courthouse.
In a release to the Journal, the Iowa Firearms Coalition applauded the supervisors’ action. The IFC has announced it would “lead the charge to give private citizens the right to sue local governments that violate Iowa’s firearms preemption law.” [Emphasis added]
Cities fighting for local control 50 years after Home Rule Amendment
Des Moines Register, 1/8/2018
City government leaders are still fighting state laws that inhibit their abilities to adjust and adapt to their residents’ needs 50 years after the Home Rule Amendment constitutionalized local control of city governments in Iowa.
Maryland Senate overrides Hogan’s paid sick leave veto; changes to become law
Baltimore Business Journal, 1/12/2018
State senators voted 30 to 17 on Friday to override Republican Gov. Larry Hogan‘s veto of the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act, which the majority-Democrat General Assembly first passed last year.
HB 1 preempts local authority to set a higher Paid Sick Days requirement than the state.
Massachusetts: Your Action Needed on Critical Preemption Bill
State Representative James Miceli (D-19th Middlesex) will be writing a letter to the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security urging them to vote favorably on House Bill 1296 to improve firearms preemption laws in Massachusetts.
SCOTUS Lets Mississippi’s HB 1523, America’s Most Anti-LGBT Law, Stay in Place
The Daily Beast, 1/11/2018
HB 1523 specifically enumerates three religious beliefs—that marriage is “the union of one man and one woman,” that sex should be “reserved” to heterosexual marriage, and that gender cannot be changed—and gives broad permission to deny service to LGBT people based on those beliefs. The law, first passed in April 2016, has been in effect since October 2017, when an injunction against the bill was lifted.
LGBT activists call SC a ‘high priority,’ oppose bathroom bill
The State, 1/14/2018
LGBT activists have marked South Carolina as a “high priority” for legislative action in 2018, partly because of a bill that would restrict access to public bathrooms…
The group highlights a “bathroom bill” introduced last year by state Reps. Steven Long and Josiah Magnuson.
Trans Tennesseans speak out against the new bathroom bill
Out & About Nashville, 1/17/2018
HB 1488, if passed, would direct the TN Attorney General to defend school districts that engage in anti-transgender bathroom discrimination.
Abbott wants to limit local jurisdictions’ ability to raise Texans’ taxes
The Dallas Morning News, 1/16/2018
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott will ask the Legislature to cap the annual revenue growth of cities, school districts, counties and other local taxing jurisdictions at 2.5 percent.
Texas Supreme Court could preempt local bag bans
Waste DIVE, 1/16/2018
Texas chief being investigated under state’s sanctuary cities ban
Police One, 1/12/2018
Texas has launched its first investigation under the state’s sanctuary cities law, the attorney general’s office said Thursday.
San Antonio Police Chief William McManus is being investigated after several citizens complained to the state about his handling of a human smuggling case in December.
“Our office has received multiple complaints alleging that the San Antonio police chief violated Senate Bill 4, the Texas law prohibiting sanctuary city policies that the attorney general has authority to enforce,” Marc Rylander, communications director for Attorney General Ken Paxton, said in a prepared statement to The Dallas Morning News. “We have begun our investigation and demanded that the San Antonio Police Department preserve all of its records relating to the incident.”
Disappointed with Shelburne News report — Elise Dietrich Seraus
Shelburne News, 1/11/2018
The town’s rightful effort to police the materials stored along the banks of the river adjacent to three residential neighborhoods and two elementary/middle schools and the source of our drinking water is correct and reasonable. Sessions’ ruling eviscerates the town’s police powers in favor of railroad profits in a gross overreach removing the one area of protection afforded populaces under federal preemption: police powers to protect the health and welfare of their residents. Profit over The People.
Gun control advocates in Washington have a fight on their hands
MY Northwest, 1/16/2018
A hearing in the Senate Law and Justice Committee on five gun safety bills, including a ban on bump stocks, limits on high capacity magazines, enhanced background checks for assault weapons, new laws requiring safe storage of guns, and undoing what’s known as the state preemption law, which allows cities and counties to make their own gun regulations. [Emphasis added]
Senate Bill 6146, sponsored by Senator Rebecca Saldaña (D-37), would abolish Washington’s decades old state firearm preemption statute.
Under This Bill, Your Boss Couldn’t Stop You From Talking About Salary
The Stranger (Seattle), 1/8/2018
In the legislative session that began today, Washington state lawmakers will have the chance to do something about bosses who block employees from trading salary info. Representative Tana Senn, a Democrat from Mercer Island, is sponsoring a bill to update Washington’s ban on pay discrimination. The bill, which died in the Republican-controlled state senate last session, would expand federal protections against pay secrecy. Data from a 2010 survey shows that about half of workers report that discussing their pay is either discouraged or prohibited in their workplace…
Business groups raised concerns about whether workers would be able to pursue administrative enforcement through L&I and then later sue their employer for the same offense. Some also called for preemption, meaning cities and counties wouldn’t be able to enact laws that are stronger than the state law.
Wisconsin bill would ban cities from passing worker-friendly laws
The bill, Senate Bill 634, would prevent local municipalities in Wisconsin from increasing the minimum wage, stop enforcement of licensing regulations stricter than state standards, and prohibit labor peace agreements (in which employers agree to not resist a union’s organizing attempts). The bill also specifically says that no city, village, or town can prohibit an employer from soliciting information on a prospective employee’s salary history, because uniformity on employer rights is a “matter of statewide concern.” Since research shows that women are paid less right out of college compared to male counterparts and there are large racial wage gaps, proponents of these ordinances say that prohibiting employers from asking about salary history could help narrow the pay gap.