July 18, 2018-
In the 1932 case New State Ice Co. v. Liebmann, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis wrote that a “state may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country.” Through the years, this principle has been applied with state and local governments serving as “laboratories of democracy.” Local governments are now the ultimate laboratory of democracy, advancing innovative and timely policies, specifically tailored to local circumstances and in response to local taxpayers. Unfortunately, such innovation sometimes causes special interests to go to the State Legislators and push back against such efforts, what we call state preemption.
For instance, the governor recently received a bill from the state Legislature that would impose a statewide fee on single-use carryout bags provided to customers at retail check-out counters. The legislation (A-3267/S-2600) also supersedes and preempts local ordinances that are being readied for adoption, and that are meant to address problems caused by non-reusable carriers.