In August 2018, Grassroots Change and the College of Global Public Health at New York University completed six new and updated tools for understanding, tracking, and countering preemption. All of these tools can be found on Grassroots Change’s Preemption Watch Tools page.
The new tools can be accessed individually here:
Tech Industry Pursues a Federal Privacy Law, on Its Own Terms
The New York Times, 8/26/2018
Technology companies have taken plenty of hits on privacy this year. In May, Europe began enforcing a sweeping new law that lets people request their online data and restricts how businesses obtain and handle the information.
Then in June, California passed its own law that gives people the right to know what information companies are collecting about them, why the companies are collecting that data and with whom they are sharing it — setting a privacy benchmark for the United States.
Now top tech companies are going on the offensive.
In recent months, Facebook, Google, IBM, Microsoft and others have aggressively lobbied officials in the Trump administration and elsewhere to start outlining a federal privacy law, according to administration officials and the companies. The law would have a dual purpose, they said: It would overrule the California law and instead put into place a kinder set of rules that would give the companies wide leeway over how personal digital information was handled.
House GOP Seeks to Scuttle Playground Bans on Glyphosate
Beyond Pesticides, 9/5/2018
Local Limits on Spraying Monsanto’s Toxic Weed Killer in Parks, Playgrounds, and Schoolyards. More than 50 city and county ordinances banning the use of the toxic weed killer glyphosate on local playgrounds, parks and schoolyards could be overturned by a provision championed by House Republicans in their version of the farm bill, a Beyond Pesticides and EWG analysis found.
A four-page provision tucked away in the 748-page farm bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in June would likely preempt local governments from adopting their own pesticide regulations, including ordinances that prohibit the use of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, in parks and playgrounds.
Beyond Pesticides found that 58 local ordinances ban the use of glyphosate. Overall, 155 local ordinances that regulate the use of toxic chemicals in parks and playgrounds could be preempted by Sec. 9101 of the House’s farm bill.
Carper, EPW Democrats call for hearing on fuel economy emissions standards rollback
Dover Post, 8/23/2018
Sen. Tom Carper, D-Delaware, top Democrat of the Environment and Public Works Committee, sent a letter on Aug. 23 to EPW Chairman John Barrasso, R-Wyoming, calling for an immediate hearing on the Donald Trump administration’s effort to freeze the fuel economy and vehicle greenhouse gas emissions standards.
The letter calls for Environmental Protection Agency Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler and representatives from the Department of Transportation, the California Air Resources Board, auto companies and organizations working on consumer, environmental and transportation safety issues to come before the committee and testify on the proposal. In their letter, the senators highlight the fact that, according to the Trump administration’s own analysis, freezing the Obama-era standards would result in increased consumption of 500,000 barrels of oil daily by the early 2030’s, cause the loss of 60,000 jobs by 2030 and preempt states such as California and Massachusetts from enacting stronger emissions standards to protect public health and the environment.
HOW CORPORATIONS FORCE STATES TO STIFLE LOCAL RULE
Peter B. Collins, Who.What.Why., 8/28/2018 (M. Pertschuk interview)
“These are not just concerns that affect one issue like public health, but they affect the whole question of the legitimacy of democracy and the health of American democracy and the engagement of all of us in making decisions for ourselves.
“Each of these, the money, the campaign financing and the initiatives and… taking away local authority or state authority in the form of preemption and destroying voter rights…, these all undermine not just democracy on a day-to-day basis, but our comfort and engagement with our own leadership as, presumably, parts of a democracy.”
– Mark Pertschuk, Director and Founder of Preemption Watch and Grassroots Change, discussing the growing and crucial problem of state preemption of local authority.
California Bid for Net Neutrality Wobbles Over Key Hurdle
Courthouse News Service, 8/22/2018
California legislators managed to keep efforts at establishing net neutrality at the state level alive – despite intense lobbying and the sheer difficulty of drafting such a complex law – as Senate Bill 822 cleared a key hurdle in the Assembly on Wednesday…
“This bill is anticompetitive and anticonsumer, and it will surely going to be challenged under federal pre-emption,” said AT&T spokesman Bill Devine. “The industry did not change without the Obama-era rules. This bill will harm California consumers and weaken state leadership.”
California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control is in the middle of taking public comment for recently proposed regulations.
San Marcos and El Cajon city officials are worried about where marijuana delivery services are allowed to operate. The Bureau of Cannabis Control is considering adding a provision that stipulates, “a delivery employee may deliver to any jurisdiction within the State of California…”
“Proposition 64 was pretty clear that part of the trade off was cities would be able to have some control over how marijuana is dispensed,” Wells said. “We think that this new push to allow delivery inside the city is really outside of the spirit of (Proposition) 64 which in essence takes away our local control.”
As Governor, Could Andrew Gillum Set Florida’s Cities Free?
The Nation, 8/30/2018
Andrew Gillum won the Democratic nomination for governor of Florida on a bold progressive platform. He championed Medicare for All, criminal-justice reform, abolishing ICE, and investing in education and clean energy. But just before he announced his dark-horse candidacy, Gillum launched another campaign—one that reveals his political acumen and suggests how he could reimagine the state’s relationship with its cities.
In January 2017, Gillum, as mayor of Tallahassee, introduced the Campaign to Defend Local Solutions, a movement to fight state preemption, when states rescind specific or broad powers from local governments. The struggle against heavy-handed state legislation quickly gained the support of a diverse set of groups dedicated to immigrant rights, fighting poverty, civil rights, labor, gun control, consumer protection, and the environment. The Republican-controlled state legislature had stifled all of these movements by preventing them from taking action at a local level. By taking on preemption, Gillum could bring them all together.
Miami Beach Minimum Wage Lawsuit Heads to Florida High Court
Bloomberg News, 8/29/2018
A challenge to Florida’s pre-emption of local minimum wage laws is headed to the state’s highest court.
The Florida Supreme Court Aug. 29 agreed to review a case that aims to block the City of Miami Beach’s wage ordinance—the first citywide minimum wage enacted in the state. The court hasn’t set a date for oral arguments.
Illinois Judge Upholds Cook County’s Guns, Ammo Tax
Bloomberg News, 8/27/2018
Second Amendment rights advocates will likely appeal an Illinois state court ruling that upholds Cook County’s “guns and ammo tax,” criticizing the program as an “illegal poll tax” and an undue burden on lawful gun owners…
Maxon Shooter’s Supplies and Indoor Range in Des Plaines, Ill., a gun shop plaintiff in the litigation, said it would participate in the appeal. Maxon blasted the tax program as an illegal poll tax, a burden on retailers and lawful gun owners, and a violation of state preemption standards regarding firearms.
NRA: Mayor Dennis, West Lafayette wrong on gun control
Journal & Courier, 8/20/2018
Mayor John Dennis calls the resolution common sense and suggests National Rifle Association members would support it. Nothing could be further from the truth. Mayor Dennis’ resolution supports measures that would criminalize the everyday activities of law-abiding gun owners in Indiana. Gun control measures would do nothing to make the people of Indiana any safer. Instead, they would only make it harder for law-abiding Hoosiers to protect and defend themselves.
However, what does work to keep Hoosiers safe is ensuring that law-abiding citizen have the ability to exercise their Second Amendment rights. In 2011, the Indiana legislature adopted a so-called pre-emption law. It is a fail safe against local governments passing extremist gun control ordinances. Without the state pre-emption law, anti-gun politicians such as John Dennis and members of the West Lafayette City Council would be passing actual gun control laws instead of only non-binding resolutions. So while this resolution is non-binding and will not impact anyone’s gun rights in Indiana, it is important to note that without the state’s strong preemption law, those rights would be subject to whims of anti-gun politicians.
MURPHY VETOES TAX ON PLASTIC BAGS, SETS STAGE FOR COMPLETE BAN
New Jersey 101.5, 8/27/2018
Gov. Phil Murphy made his veto of a bill that would have imposed a fee for single use plastic bags official on Monday — which could set the stage for a complete ban…
“This pre-emption in the fee bill would have blocked the grassroots movement going on in cities and towns working to ban plastics. This is why it is important that Gov. Murphy vetoed this bill because now towns can keep moving forward passing bans until we get a statewide bill,” New Jersey Sierra Club executive director Jeff Tittel said in a statement.
Both sides appeal split ruling on Columbus attempt to regulate guns
The Columbus Dispatch, 8/14/2018
Both sides of the fight to regulate guns in Columbus have appealed a Franklin County Common Pleas judge’s split ruling on two ordinances the city passed in May.
Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein on Friday appealed Judge David E. Cain’s ruling that the city’s bump-stock ban is unconstitutional. On Monday, Ohioans for Concealed Carry and the Buckeye Firearms Foundation filed a cross appeal of Cain’s decision that the city’s separate ordinance making it a misdemeanor to carry a gun while under disability does not conflict with state law and could be enforced.
Group challenges gun ordinance
Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise, 8/2/2018
Bartlesville’s historic Kiddie Park is a safe place for children to have fun, Ron Adams, president of the nonprofit Bartlesville Playground Association said…
With that in mind, the Bartlesville Playground Association — which owns and operates the Kiddie Park on park land leased from the city of Bartlesville — placed signs on the entry gates that ban firearms within the amusement park’s grounds and updated the park rules on their website.
However, that policy is being challenged by members of an Oklahoma gun rights group.
Don Spencer, president of the Oklahoma 2nd Amendment Association, said the ban on guns is illegal since the Kiddie Park is located on city park property. The Edmond-based group contacted city of Bartlesville administrators to lodge a complaint about the ban…
Oklahoma law prohibits cities from having gun ordinances that are more stringent than what state statutes allow. The law prohibits firearms within government-owned buildings, structures and office spaces. However, the state statute specifically excludes from prohibition any property designated by a city, county or state governmental authority as a “park, recreational area, wildlife refuge, wildlife management area or fairgrounds.”
No on Measure 103
Curry Coastal Pilot, 8/31/2018
You know what bothers me the most is the promotions of it. It says “no taxes on groceries.” That’s it. There is nothing about the tax cut for corporations and individuals that is buried in the legal speak of the bill. That’s not good for counties and it takes away their right to make decisions about local taxes. It’s dishonest. I hate it when bills get on the ballot with really dishonest titles. What I really hate more is when corporations try to slip in a good deal for themselves with trickster language.
TEP to Focus on ‘Pre-emption Laws’ and Non-Discrimination
Out & About Nashville, 9/1/2018
My name is Brandon Thomas and I’m the new State Preemption & LGBTQ Non-discrimination Project Coordinator for the Tennessee Equality Project Foundation…
Specifically, I will be working to educate citizens on how the state interferes with local governments and how that interference prevents local governments from implementing laws they have already passed that help their constituents—laws like increasing the minimum wage or creating an inclusive non-discrimination policy. Every time the state of Tennessee preempts the actions of local governments, it undermines the local democracy and discourages city/town officials from solving problems that are unique to their own communities.
Austin Can’t Ban Plastic Bags, But It Can Ask Politely
Next City, 8/31/2018
In June, the Texas Supreme Court upheld a state preemption against city plastic bag bans. But while Austin officials have agreed to play along, they’re also testing out a simple new strategy to eliminate single-use plastic: Appealing to retailers’ better nature.
Southern Cities Are Passing Paid Sick Leave—But Republicans Won’t Let Them Have It
In These Times, 8/24/2018
On August 16, the San Antonio city council voted 9-2 to pass a paid sick leave ordinance that will allow residents to earn an hour of time off for every 30 hours worked up to six days a year at small employers and eight at larger ones…
San Antonio became the 33rd city in the country to take such a step, and the second in the South after Austin passed a similar law in February.
The San Antonio law is supposed to go into effect in January, and Austin’s was scheduled to go into effect in October. But the fate of both laws is up in the air.
The very day after San Antonio’s ordinance passed, an appeals court temporarily put Austin’s law on hold in the midst of a lawsuit brought by the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation— a member of the Koch-backed State Policy Network—that claims the law violates the Texas Minimum Wage Act.
Lawmakers renew calls for paid sick leave preemption
Weatherford Democrat, 8/25/2018
San Antonio recently approved a paid sick leave ordinance for private employers, but Texas conservatives are working to squelch it, and to shut down similar measures.
Ken Paxton, the state’s attorney general, praised the recent injunction from a Texas court enjoining Austin’s paid sick leave ordinance, set to take effect in October.
The Austin ordinance requires businesses with 15 or fewer employees to provide employees workers with up to six days of annual paid sick leave, and mandates up to 64 hours of paid sick leave for other employers.
“The minimum amount of compensation established for workers, including the minimum amount of paid time off, is a decision entrusted by the Texas Constitution solely to the Texas Legislature,” Paxton said in a statement. “I’m confident that an appeals court will recognize that the law expressly preempts cities from passing a different law simply because they disagree with the judgment of our state’s elected representatives.”
Austin sick leave ordinance blocked by appeals court
The Texas Monitor, 8/23/2018
Court Halts Austin’s Paid Sick Leave Ordinance — For Now
KUT 90.5, 8/17/2018
Texas Legislature could trump San Antonio’s new paid sick leave ordinance
San Antonio Business Journal, 8/16/2018
San Antonio joins Austin as 2nd Texas city to mandate paid sick leave
At a Labor Day event in Burien, union leaders stumped for Initiative 1634, which would block Seattle-style soda taxes.
Washington initiative aims to block future soda taxes
King 5 News, 8/31/2018
An effort to block future soda taxes from being implemented is underway in Washington state.
Initiative 1634, nicknamed “Yes! To Affordable Groceries,” has already raised more than $8 million with major beverage companies such as Coca-Cola and PepsiCo at the top of the donor list.
In television ads that began running earlier this month, the campaign takes aim at Seattle’s tax on sugary drinks passed by City Council last year, warning other cities have looked at similar measures.
That’s true. Past reports show Tacoma has thought about a soda tax, Spokane discussed one as a way to solve police staffing challenges, and Federal Way also looked at one as a potential revenue source.
However, the I-1634 campaign acknowledges it’s not aware of a Washington city officially discussing plans to tax basic groceries, such as bread or eggs.
Washington law already exempts most grocery foods from retail tax, with exceptions such as prepared foods, soft drinks, and supplements.
Anti-grocery tax measure funded by big soda companies
KIRO 7, 9/3/2018
‘Yes! To Affordable Groceries’ Still Backed By Soft Drink Heavies
Across Washington PATCH, 8/27/2018
Gun owners sue city over mandatory gun lock law
Two gun owners allied with a Second Amendment group last week filed a legal challenge to a new city ordinance recently enacted by a Seattle suburb.
Brett Bass and Swan Seaberg have filed a lawsuit against the Snohomish County city of Edmonds following the adoption of a local law mandating that guns be locked up under penalty of civil fines that range up to $10,000. The two firearm owners, backed by the Bellevue-based Second Amendment Foundation, hold that the city’s new ordinance tramples on Washington state pre-emption statutes that bar county and municipal governments from adopting gun laws.