State Preemption of Food and Nutrition Policies and Litigation: Undermining Government’s Role in Public Health
By Jennifer L. Pomeranz, Leslie Zellers, Michael Bare, Mark Pertschuk
American Journal of Preventive Medicine, November 2018
Local governments are in a prime position to enact food and nutrition policies and especially those that address such fundamental concerns for public health as health disparities, healthy food access, food prices, and nutrition information. Preemption of this local control is part of a broader effort to reduce government regulation of the food industry. Preemption is thus one of the most important policy topics for public health and should be central to all food policy discussions. Thus, a concerted effort to fight preemption alongside food policy advocacy is necessary to change the culture of preemption in each state across the country.
Sugar-sweetened beverage taxation in the USA, state preemption of local efforts
Letter to the Editor, Jennifer L. Pomeranz and Mark A. Pertschuk
Public Health Nutrition, November 2018
The food and beverage industries successfully lobby state legislatures for preemption and against public health regulations including taxes, and simultaneously engage in public campaigns using front groups that, among other actions, characterize SSB taxes as ‘grocery taxes.’
Plastics industry executives wrong on several points
Conrad MacKerron and Tim Smith, Plastic News, 11/20/2018
Walden Asset Management, in collaboration with As You Sow, recently wrote to the CEO’s of nine companies arguing that membership in the Plastics Industry Association supports lobbying for statewide preemption laws that prohibit 70 million Americans in 10 states from the freedom to choose to enact bag ordinances to reduce plastics waste in their communities. Our goal was to end financial and brand support for plastic bag preemption lobbying that is usurping local community rights…
Support of plastic bag preemption lobbying is a demonstrated conflict with company commitments to reduce plastic pollution and is a brand risk. Companies have the choice to demonstrate leadership on plastic pollution now. [Emphasis added]
Tim Smith is director of ESG shareowner engagement at Walden Asset Management. Conrad MacKerron is senior vice president at As You Sow.
Paper or plastic? Either will cost you under St. Petersburg proposal
Tampa Bay Times, 11/16/2018
Council members on Thursday heard a pioneering proposal that would force retailers and restaurants citywide to charge customers 5 cents for “single-use carryout bags.”…
According to the language in the proposed ordinance, the bag plan would work like this: retailers would charge 5 cents at checkout for every single-use bag given to the customer, no matter the bag material. One cent would go to the retailer, while the city would collect 4 cents for a water cleanup fund…
The ordinance could put St. Petersburg at odds with state law, which pre-empts plastic bag regulation. A 2008 statute directed the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to make recommendations on ways to regulate containers, wrappings and plastic bags. In the meantime local municipalities were prohibited from enacting their own regulations on those products until the legislature adopted the recommendations. But that was eight years ago, and state lawmakers have not moved. [Emphasis added]
What’s the point of local government when we can’t decide?
Laconia Daily Sun, 11/15/2018
What’s the point of local government when we don’t get to decide what is best for our health, safety, and welfare at the local level? Why bother serving for a local public office when you can be penalized and held personally liable? Laws created by the NH State Legislature are supposed to protect its people, yet truth be told, laws coming from the state legislature are denying protections for Granite State people, communities, and ecosystems.
Specifically, issues of clean air, water, soil; acceptance of all human beings no matter where they are from or how they got here; food sovereignty, election integrity, waste management practices, sustainable energy choices, water quality and access, labor practices, farming practices; among many other issues, are all governed beyond our local communities while at the same time, through preemption, the state denies us any local decision-making authority over these issues, rendering us powerless to enact local laws that might help our economy or protect people and natural ecosystems. [Emphasis added]
Austin’s Paid Sick Leave Ordinance Violates State Constitution, Appeals Court Rules
KUT 90.5 (Austin NPR Affiliate), 11/16/2018
Austin’s paid sick leave ordinance is likely not going into effect any time soon – and may never.
A Texas court of appeals ruled Friday that the ordinance, which mandates that most private employees in Austin get six to eight paid sick days a year, violates the state constitution. Specifically, it found, the ordinance is preempted by the Texas Minimum Wage Act. [Emphasis added]
Virginia Bill Would Let Cities Ban Guns from Protests
The Trace, 11/20/2018
The city of Charlottesville, Virginia, was powerless to prevent attendees from carrying guns at last year’s Unite the Right rally. But one of the state’s top officials, Attorney General Mark Herring, thinks he can prevent a similar situation from unfolding in the future.
Last week, Herring’s office announced a package of legislation to combat violent extremism. Among the six bills Herring plans to introduce is a measure that would amend the state’s pre-emption statute to let local governments ban guns from permitted events. [Emphasis added]