Food and Nutrition
How big food companies are using the gun and tobacco industry playbook to thwart bold public health laws
New Food Economy, 12/6/2018
Preemption laws, once used to kill local smoking bans, are now being used to stop soda taxes and other bold nutrition policies before they even get started…
When it comes to food, preemption laws are increasingly popular. According to a new study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine (AJPM), since 2008, a total of 12 states have passed laws that preempt local governments from enacting a range of food and nutrition policies meant to protect public health. (Since the study was published, California and Washington passed their own laws preempting soda taxes.) Were it not for preemption laws, cities would be free to levy soda taxes—and regulate menu labeling, calorie counts, salt content, portion sizes, and launch plenty of other targeted efforts to reduce rates of diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and other diet-related diseases…
“They’re trying to completely block any nutrition policy,” says Jennifer Pomeranz, the study’s lead author, of preemption laws’ industry backers. “All it’s doing is keeping the status quo.” Pomeranz, an attorney, leads a public health policy research lab at New York University. She has been studying preemption laws, and their impact on a range of public health and civil rights issues, for over a decade.
U.S. Congress Shouldn’t Preempt California Privacy Law: State Official
U.S. News & World Report, 11/28/2018
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra warned on Wednesday that the U.S. Congress should not pass a relatively weak online privacy bill to protect consumer data and use it to take precedence over a new California law.
Big tech companies are pushing for a federal bill to preempt California’s law, which Governor Jerry Brown signed into law in June but whose provisions are not due to go into effect until 2020.
All Eyes on the Hill: 8 Issues to Watch Right Now
Pest Control Technology, 11/12/2018
Coverage of the preemption provisions of the pending Farm Bill, from a pro-preemption perspective.
“What Congress intended to do was to enact state pesticide preemption,” [Andrew] Architect [with the National Pest Management Association] explains. “What we are trying to correct in this Farm Bill is to define that a state-led agency is only that agency designated by state statute. And that state does not mean it could be counties and cities, which don’t have the resources to approve and enforce pesticide use. They don’t have the science or the budget.”
But in states without pesticide preemption, this “locality” verbiage is a big problem. “In Maine and Maryland, where pesticide ordinances have been put in place that say counties may ban the use of certain types of pesticides, that means homeowners and pesticide applicators cannot use those pesticides — and so there becomes a patchwork of regulations,” Architect says.
In Much of the Country, Cities Can’t Enact Their Own Gun Laws
The Trace, 12/8/2018
An in-depth analysis of state firearms preemption laws, with insights into preemption as a tactic across industries seeking to interfere in local policy setting. The Trace is a balanced blog that covers firearms and ammunition policies.
Days after 11 worshippers were gunned down by an anti-Semite wielding an AR-15 at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Mayor Bill Peduto urged the City Council to pass new laws regulating access to high-powered weapons. This week, Peduto followed up his plea with emails to dozens of mayors across the country urging them to do the same — even though it would probably result in lawsuits.
That’s because Pennsylvania, like 44 other states, has a “pre-emption” law prohibiting local governments from enacting gun regulations that are stricter than those passed by state legislatures.
This way of restricting local law-making was pioneered by tobacco companies looking to head off regulation in the 1960s and ‘70s. But in the last few decades, the National Rifle Association, through its supporters in state legislatures, has repeatedly used pre-emption to successfully block gun reform efforts. [Emphasis added]
The Oil Industry’s Covert Campaign to Rewrite American Car Emissions Rules
The New York Times, 12/13/2018
Emails obtained by the Times show that Marathon has been working with members of [ALEC] to build support for the Trump fuel-efficiency rollback in state legislatures and to denounce California’s power to write its own rules for cars. The emails were made public under Wisconsin’s open records law to Documented, a watchdog group that tracks corporate influence in public policy…
“Who should decide what cars and trucks consumers should buy, consumers themselves or unelected bureaucrats in Sacramento, California or Washington, D.C.?” the memo sent by Marathon said. [Emphasis added]
TUCSON LAWMAKER WANTS TO ONLY BUY FROM ‘SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE GUN DEALERS’
Guns.com is a pro-gun website that covers firearms policy issues and sells firearms.
Besides the proposed guidance in city firearm contracts, Kozachik wants even more sweeping measures such as requiring gun buyers to take out liability insurance when they purchase a firearm and the mandatory posting of health warnings in stores that sell guns. All of which could see serious issues when Arizona state preemption law comes to play.
Many still confused about recycling rules
The Ledger, 12/15/2018
Some focus group members suggested that perhaps local officials should consider prohibiting local businesses from selling products in containers that cannot be recycled.
Some local governments in Florida and elsewhere across the world have approved bans on some materials such as plastic straws and polystyrene containers though this has been difficult in the face of opposition from commercial interests.
There is pending legislation that may come before the 2019 Legislature to remove the pre-emption enacted on local bans. [Emphasis added]
Dogs, trees and more could slip out of local control in lame duck
The legislature is considering a handful of bills that would limit local control, sometimes referred to as “preemption” bills because they make a decision on a state level that prevents local governments from making decisions or rules on the same topic.
Banning local tree ordinances
Local governments would lose the ability to regulate most trees and vegetation on commercial and industrial properties under Senate Bill 1188, which passed the Senate on Nov. 29 and is currently pending in the House Local Government Committee…
Zoning for mining operations
Senate Bill 1210, introduced by Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, on Nov. 27, would prohibit a local government from preventing or denying approvals and permits to a mining operation if the resources are valuable and “very serious consequences would not result” from their extraction.
It’s the same as the idea behind House Bill 6530, introduced by Rep. Holly Hughes, R-Montague, on the same day.
While real problems fester, lawmakers get in cities’ way
Opinion, The Columbus Dispatch, 12/10/2018
If only Ohio lawmakers were as interested in addressing the state’s many challenges as they are in interfering with local communities’ efforts to solve their own problems, the Statehouse might not be the bastion of backwardness it has become under all-Republican rule.
Now it’s single-use plastic grocery bags, those ubiquitous, fluttering flaps of polyethylene that are filling landfills and littering roadways and storm drains from coast to coast. Just in case any Ohio community wants to make its landscape cleaner by banning the bags or requiring a fee for them, the Ohio House has passed a bill that prohibits any such local law.
No Ohio city has passed such a ban yet, but the Cuyahoga County Council has been studying a possible fee, and one has been discussed in Columbus. Officials in Boulder, Colorado, say that plastic-bag use dropped by 68 percent in the six months following the imposition of a 10 cents-per-bag fee.
If House Bill 625 is approved by the Senate and signed by Gov. John Kasich, it will join the long list of measures that take problem-solving options away from local governments.
PITTSBURGH MOVE TO BAN SOME GUNS, ACCESSORIES COULD SPARK LEGAL FIGHT
Guns.com is a pro-gun website that covers firearms policy issues and sells firearms.
[G]un rights organizations to include the National Rifle Association and the statewide group Firearm Owners Against Crime point out that the proposals run afoul of Pennsylvania’s 1974 firearm preemption laws barring cities and counties in the Commonwealth from establishing local gun controls of the sort proposed. The NRA, Second Amendment activists, and gun trade groups took Pittsburgh to court in 2009 and won an important legal victory against the city enforcing past ordinances regulating the transfer and possession of firearms.
“What the city is doing is criminal,” Kim Stolfer, FOAC president, told local media. “There’s going to be more than one lawsuit. We’re also going to be pursuing criminal charges against the mayor and council for intentionally violating the law.” [Emphasis added]
Pittsburgh gun safety proposal would ban semiautomatic rifles
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto was joined by Gov. Tom Wolf, members of City Council and state Democratic lawmakers Friday in proposing legislation that would ban semiautomatic rifles and certain ammunition and firearms accessories within city limits…
Kim Stolfer, president of the statewide group Firearm Owners Against Crime, cited a state law prohibiting counties and municipalities from regulating “the lawful ownership, possession, transfer or transportation of firearms, ammunition or ammunition components when carried or transported for purposes not prohibited” in Pennsylvania.
Stolfer said the group would sue the city if it enacts the bills.
State Rep. Frankel seeking support for bills to give cities more power over gun laws
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 12/12/2018
Six weeks after 11 people died in a shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue, Democratic state Rep. Dan Frankel is seeking co-sponsors for legislation that would allow municipalities or counties to more easily create their own gun laws.
Mr. Frankel, whose district includes the synagogue, is pitching two bills that would seek to remove so-called “pre-emption language” from either state law or the Allegheny County code. Pennsylvania courts have ruled that such language prohibits cities from enacting gun laws that differ substantially from state law, striking down, for example, assault weapon bans in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.
Mayor Peduto wants mayors across the nation to join local gun legislation fight
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 12/5/2018
Mayor Bill Peduto contacted dozens of mayors across the nation this week, asking them to join Pittsburgh in introducing local gun legislation possibly as soon as Friday — and which will most likely be challenged in court…
Pennsylvania law preempts the local regulation of the “lawful ownership, possession, transfer or transportation of firearms, ammunition or ammunition components.”
“I know that the mayor and city council expect that there may be some legal fight on it. But I think they, like other cities and mayors, are angry and frustrated,” said Shira Goodman, executive director of the gun-reform advocacy group CeaseFirePA. Gun rights advocates have successfully challenged many local laws restricting firearms.
Allow cities like Philly and Pittsburgh to make their own gun laws
The Inquirer, 12/17/2018
In the six weeks since a lone gunman killed 11 people and wounded six others inside the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, there have been nearly three dozen mass shootings in the United States.
As with previous mass shootings, lawmakers in Harrisburg have mostly shrugged and continued to collect their out-sized paychecks and guaranteed raises for largely part-time work. Given the lack of leadership in Harrisburg when it comes to reducing gun crimes and protecting innocent shooting victims, State Rep. Dan Frankel wisely wants to allow local lawmakers to pass their own gun laws.
Yes, it makes more sense for gun laws to come from Washington and Harrisburg – especially since the majority of Americans support commonsense reforms. Indeed, a host of studies show stricter gun laws can make a difference. But until the political landscape changes, lawmakers in such cities as Philadelphia and Pittsburgh should be allowed to pass their own gun measures.
There is a good argument to be made that local officials are more responsive to the needs of their community. Given the urban and rural political divide on guns, it may make more sense to allow cities to pass different laws. There is also historical precedent dating to frontier times when places like Dodge City, Kansas, and Tombstone, Arizona, regulated firearms.
The NRA-ILA is the National Rifle Association’s lobbying arm.
Today, Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto held a press conference to propose a trio of anti-gun city ordinances that, if enacted, would constitute a direct violation of Pennsylvania’s state firearms preemption law and Pennsylvania Supreme Court precedent…
Not content to spearhead his own city’s violation of state law, Peduto called for municipalities throughout the country to ignore state statutes duly enacted by their residents’ elected representatives.
Apress release from the mayor’s office chronicling the conference explained, “Mayor Peduto has asked cities around the country to support Pittsburgh’s measures and/or introduce similar legislation to create nationwide momentum behind the critically needed gun changes.”
Proposed Texas bill could mean ban on plastic bags in Corpus Christi
KIII TV (Local ABC Affiliate), 12/13/2018
A state representative out of San Antonio has introduced a bill that could change the way the City of Corpus Christi regulates the use of plastic shopping bags.
House Bill 514 is an effort to ban single-use plastic bags. The measure would allow each city to decide how to regulate the use of plastic bags in their communities.
The Texas Supreme Court already struck down 10 similar ordinances in communities across the state. House Bill 514 would undo the pre-emption in Texas state law. [Emphasis added]
Texas Sues San Antonio For Allegedly Violating The SB 4 Immigration Law
Texas Standard, 12/4/2018
On Friday, Texas sued the city of San Antonio for violating the state’s anti-sanctuary cities law. The lawsuit, led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, focuses on the San Antonio Police Department and its Chief, William McManus, saying he ordered the release of immigrants in a high-profile case, and claims that was a violation of the law often referred to as Senate Bill 4.
Bill filing for 2019 session begins with legislation on marijuana, taxes and daylight saving time
The Texas Tribune, 11/12/2018
House Bill 222, by Rep. Matt Krause, R-Fort Worth, would prohibit Texas cities from adopting or enforcing ordinances that would require employers to offer their employees paid sick leave. San Antonio and Austin have passed paid sick leave ordinances this year. Soon after Austin passed its ordinance, state Rep. Paul Workman, R-Austin, announced that he would file legislation banning the ordinances, but Workman was defeated in Tuesday’s election.
Initiative 1634 bottles up local options
The Columbian, 12/3/2018
Clark County shoppers don’t pay sales tax on groceries or soda, and they shouldn’t expect to start after Initiative 1634 passed in November’s midterm election with flying colors.
It’s tricky to gauge the local impact of I-1634 because there aren’t any immediate ramifications for never being able to impose a law that didn’t exist in the first place. However, its effects could play out in the coming years, because the initiative took a potential local taxing option off the table…
The initiative was worded to address local taxes on all grocery items. But ultimately, I-1634 came down to soda, which qualifies as a grocery item.
The campaign for I-1634 was funded by four beverage companies — combined, The Coca Cola Company, PepsiCo Inc., Dr Pepper Snapple Group and Red Bull North America contributed 99.93 percent of the $20,204,044 budget for the measure’s supporting committee, “Yes! To Affordable Groceries.”
WA gun control lobby will target preemption, magazines, open carry
Conservative Firing Line, 12/6/2018
The Seattle-based gun control lobby has announced its Washington State legislative priorities for 2019, and among them are state preemption, possession of so-called “high-capacity magazines,” and open carry, according to a news release.
This comes on the heels of passage of Initiative 1639, the restrictive gun legislation that strips 18-20-year-old’s of their rights to own a semiautomatic firearm, and classifies virtually every semi-auto rifle in the state as a “semiautomatic assault rifle.” The initiative is being challenged in federal court by the Second Amendment Foundation and National Rifle Association, two firearms retailers and private citizens.
Gun rights advocates: New gun safety agenda proof of slippery slope
My Northwest, 12/10/2018
Among the more controversial aspects of the Alliance for Gun Responsibility’s agenda – a proposal that targets state preemption. This is a more than 30-year-old state law that prohibits local jurisdictions from enacting gun restrictions that go beyond what the state has on the books.
Unlike previous bills in the Legislature that sought to completely undo state preemption, Trask says this proposal would be narrower – and focus on ensuring cities, such as Seattle, have the ability to enact their own rules to restrict open carry in volatile situations, such as protests or in areas where kids are present such as parks.