Property rights and rural justice: A study of U.S. right-to-farm laws
Ashwood L, Diamond D, Walker F. Journal of Rural Studies. 67:12-129. April 2019.
Right-to-farm laws initially were touted as an attempt to preserve farmland and the farming way of life in the face of urban sprawl during the 1980’s…Closer studies of such laws suggest that they have little to do with preserving a farming-centered way of life, and have more to do with preempting local land use controls and limiting environmental rights and protection of natural resources, often to the detriment of rural people (Hamilton, 1998)…
Governance is removed from the local level in any form in 48 percent of states, through preempting or superseding existing municipal and county ordinances or preventing any attempts at enacting new ordinances. [Emphasis added]
Big Ag Is Pushing Laws To Restrict Neighbors’ Ability To Sue Farms
In the past several months, legislators in Utah, Nebraska, Georgia, North Carolina, West Virginia, and Oklahoma have proposed, and in some cases passed, legislation that they say will protect farmers against similar lawsuits. The legislation varies, but several proposals reduce the potential damages that plaintiffs could win in such a suit or limit the distance from the farm a neighbor must live in order to bring a suit. Some do both.
Opinion: Right-to-Farm laws run counter to rural culture and property rights
Environmental Health News, 4/11/2019
Innocuous sounding laws, broadly known as right-to-farm laws…
Instead, these laws mostly protect large-scale industrial farming operations by reducing rural people’s capacity to sue them for nuisance when they pollute…
Right-to-farm laws also tend to collapse collective rights of governance. Sixty percent of right-to-farm laws limit the authority of local governments to regulate agricultural land uses.
Most counties and municipalities can protect public health, safety and welfare within their jurisdictions through ordinances and zoning. But with agriculture, 32 states restrict local governmental capacity to protect the people. As we write, a bill proposed in North Dakota seeks to significantly reduce the ability of local governments to impose zoning restrictions and control the siting of industrial livestock operations within their jurisdictions. [Emphasis added]
Oil & Gas
Will FERC trample state and local authorities in DER rulemaking?
Utility Dive, 4/4/2019
Jim Matheson, CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission may be poised to upset a long-standing balance among local, state and federal decision-making as it considers aggregating distributed energy resources in a way that eliminates local jurisdiction. This outcome would represent a shortsighted and severe overreach by the commission.…
Today, local or state entities coordinate the integration of distributed and behind-the-meter resources within the grid to accomplish a wide range of state and local objectives. These include encouraging efficiency, promoting new technology, protecting power quality, and fairly allocating the costs of integration for both DER owners and other consumers on the system. Every state does this differently depending on unique local objectives and circumstances.
Bills banning local plastic bag regulations use ALEC model
Montgomery Advertiser, 4/8/2019
Two bills filed last week in the Alabama Legislature would ban local municipalities from banning or taxing plastic bags.
The legislation has drawn criticism from environmental groups that note the bills copy model legislation pushed by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a conservative group that has pushed model legislation in other states. Both bills should be in committee this week.
Months before 15-year-old Nia Savage was killed on Valentine’s Day 2017, James Barber was urging Mobile residents to lock up their guns…
Savage’s murder occurred by someone who stole a gun from an unlocked car during Mardi Gras. Following her death, Barber once again pushed for action…
If the council adopts a resolution, it most likely won’t have any teeth. When it comes to gun regulations, state law prevents local governments from acting without the Legislature’s approval.
Alabama is one of a majority of states in which state lawmakers removed the ability of local governments to regulate guns. [Emphasis added]
To block California soda taxes, companies paid for ‘Black Panther’ tickets, fancy dinners
Los Angeles Time, 4/7/2019
Dinners at an expensive restaurant in Maui — with ocean views. Tickets to professional sports games. A free screening of “Black Panther” at a Sacramento IMAX theater. And a $250,000 donation to a group that funds the governor’s travel…
The association gave 11 legislative staffers tickets to Sacramento Kings basketball games and paid for their food and drinks, at a cost ranging from $163 to $326 per staffer. It also shelled out at least $3,747 for at least 92 lawmakers, staff members and their guests to attend a showing of “Black Panther” in March 2018…
The ABA’s biggest lobbying expense was a $250,000 payment to the California State Protocol Foundation, which funded Jerry Brown’s travel while he was governor.
California Allows Marijuana Delivery Pretty Much Anywhere. But Some Cities Are Pushing Back — And Suing.
Capitol Public Radio, 4/12/2019
“Our community did not want a Wild West situation where anybody can delivery anything,” said Sonora City Councilman Mark Plummer. “We want access to medical cannabis, but we want it to be safe, to be from vendors we have confidence in and to be fairly taxed.”…
The lawsuit claims the state’s rule allowing outside cannabis delivery undermines Proposition 64, the 2016 ballot measure that legalized recreational cannabis. Prop. 64 guaranteed cities and counties local control over certain cannabis activities, and the lawsuit argues that includes delivery. [Emphasis added]
California bill to block home delivery of cannabis sidelined for year
Los Angeles Times, 4/10/2019
A state bill that would have allowed cities to prohibit home deliveries of marijuana has been sidelined for the year amid concerns that doing so would further hamper California’s lagging market for cannabis.
Amendments to Colorado oil and gas bill raise concerns about extent of community say over development
The Denver Post, 4/1/2019
If the Senate approves the House amendments to the bill this week, the bill will then go to Gov. Jared Polis, who has supported the legislation.
However, some of the amendments worry those who want cities and counties to have more say over oil and gas development within their borders. Of particular concern are changes and additions that say state and local regulations must be “necessary and reasonable.”
The bill originally said the state couldn’t act “arbitrarily and capriciously” when imposing regulations, which would be a higher legal hurdle for companies if they challenge the rules.
“It’s a much higher threshold of scrutiny, and we feel a lot of local governments will not want to try to regulate for fear of litigation,” Anne Lee Foster of Colorado Rising, a community advocacy group, said in an email Monday. “The industry regularly uses the threat of a lawsuit to intimidate and coerce for their gain. Many threatened communities have already experienced that.” [Emphasis added]
Curious Colorado: What Senate Bill 181 Does – And Doesn’t Do
High Plains Public Radio, 4/1/2019
The Colorado House passed a major overhaul of oil and gas regulations in a final hearing Friday morning, sending the legislation back to the full Senate one last time to approve amendments…
Local control is one of the most contentious parts of this bill. It refers to what authority cities and counties have over oil and gas development within their jurisdiction…
In a nutshell, under SB 181, cities and counties would have more control over where oil and gas companies can drill. They could, for example, choose to impose local setback rules for new wells. They can also slap operators with more fines.
John C. Lamb: Oil and gas bill does not protect public health
Stock Standard, 4/15/2019
Senate Bill 19-181 does not allow communities to ban fracking. SB-181 allows communities to direct the industry where to frack; but they will be fracked… SB-181 does not eliminate forced pooling or state preemption of communities. It does not address environmental racism or provide money for the transition of oil and gas workers to the renewable fuel industry… Without allowing communities to ban fracking, people are just re-arranging chairs on the deck of the Titanic… I won‘t compromise on the life of our grandchildren‘s Earth.
Winner/loser of the week in Florida politics: April 14 edition
Tampa Bay Times, 4/14/2019
José Oliva. Florida’s House Speaker champions legislation that erodes local control. He supports steering local tax revenue earmarked for teacher salaries to charter schools. He supports making it harder for local governments to raise taxes. So it’s hard to follow his logic in opposing a bill that would provide cancer coverage for firefighters. “This is an issue best dealt with at the county level,” he says in a line of reasoning he rarely adopts.
Tuesday’s Afternoon Update
Florida Trend, 4/2/2019
Home rule battle heating up across Florida
In Tallahassee and across Florida, the debate of state control versus local control has heated up over the term “Home Rule”. Last week, dozens of local elected officials stood in the chambers of the Florida Senate to voice their concerns about state government wanting to thwart local control. Home Rule means that local matters are handled at the local level. While the state does have broad powers explicitly identified in the Florida Constitution, the default is for local communities to have say over things like zoning and other matters.
Summary of pre-emption bills advanced in the Florida legislature
FL Watchdog, 3/27/2019
Several measures that would pre-empt local government’s regulatory authority advanced through Florida legislative committees on Tuesday…
HB 603 and HB 1299 were both advanced by the House Business & Professions Subcommittee Tuesday.
HB 603, sponsored by Reps. Anthony Sabatini, R-Howey-in-the-Hills, and Randy Fine, R-Palm Bay, would prevent municipalities from regulating how restaurants and other establishments distribute plastic straws to customers.
Victoria Hunter Gibney and Wendy Resnick: Raise tobacco purchase age to 21 statewide
Herald Tribune, 4/1/2019
Positive policy changes to protect youth and promote health often begin at the local level, particularly when state and federal bodies are slow to respond.
Along with the matching Tobacco 21 bills, legislation in Tallahassee is currently being considered to prohibit cities and counties from passing regulations like Tobacco 21 to protect youth from Big Tobacco. If these bills pass, the state would control tobacco retail policies solely from Tallahassee. The current state policy of setting a “floor age” for tobacco retail sales and not a “ceiling age” would be history. [Emphasis added]
Amends the State Finance Act to create the Checkout Bag Tax Fund. Provides that moneys in the Fund shall be remitted to counties and municipal joint action agencies. Amends the Counties Code and the Illinois Municipal Code to preempt certain actions by counties and municipalities concerning auxiliary containers or checkout bags. [Emphasis added]
Farm groups rally in SL for ‘Farmer’s Bill of Rights’
Storm Lake Pilot Tribune, 4/1/2019
“We are told continually that mergers are good for family farms. Have any of you seen that? It is just another chance to screw the farmer and rob rural America,” said Chris Peterson, an Iowa non-confinement hog farmer and board member of the Organization of Competitive Markets…
Country music icon and Farm Aid founder Willie Nelson appeared by video. “Hello Storm Lake and hello family farmers,” Nelson said. “I’m glad to know you’re raising your voices in Iowa.”
Lawmakers should control property tax hikes while allowing local decisions
Chris Ingstad, Des Moines Register, 4/12/2019
Legislation should keep the state removed from local government decisions. Budget and tax decisions are best decided at the local level – city councils and county boards and their voters…
Chris Ingstad is president of Iowans for Tax Relief, a taxpayer protection organization based in West Des Moines.
New Orleans City Council Votes For Local Control Over Minimum Wage
The council on Thursday unanimously passed a resolution calling for the state to allow local governments to set their own minimum pay wage. A bill up for consideration this session would do just that, although it’s unlikely to pass the republican-controlled legislature.
Government Control: State, Local, or Corporate?
To preempt, or not to preempt? Is it better to have some state-level group of appointees decide who gets how much in tax breaks, or have local elected officials determine if there’s a fair return for giving up their revenue? …That’s an overarching question posed by bills now pre-filed for the [Louisiana] legislative session starting… April 8.
Some of the proposals seek to reinstate full state-level control over exempting industries from paying local property taxes…
And, in the case of HB 281, authored by Rep. Blake “Top Shot” Miguez (R-New Iberia), the bill seeks to expand previously enacted state preemption. The measure even uses the “p” word!
Blake Miguez, cover photo as CEO of Sea-Tran Marine, LLC. Inset: Zoom in to show he’s wearing his Louisiana House of Representatives lapel pin, while posing with the pistols.
Subtitled – or, more properly, described – as “WEAPONS/FIREARMS: Provides relative to preemption of state law for firearms,” HB 281 would remove the ability of local governments to have any ordinances prohibiting possession of a firearm in a commercial establishment or public building.
Take Action: Protect Local Government Authority
Beyond Pesticides, 4/16/2019
(Beyond Pesticides, April 16, 2019) Help stop another attack on local authority in Maine – a bellwether state that has upheld local pesticide restrictions and leads the nation. Maine has led the nation in supporting the local democratic process as communities across the state have adopted pesticide use standards on public and private property that are more restrictive than state laws.
This will be the third attack on local authority in recent years – each time beaten back with public opposition. This time preemption language has been introduced as a clause in the innocuous sounding bill LD 1518, An Act to Establish a Fund for Portions of the Operations and Outreach Activities of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Diagnostic and Research Laboratory and To Increase Statewide Enforcement of Pesticide Use. The language was introduced by Rep. Stephen Stanley (D), who ran unopposed in the 2018 Democratic primary.
Local control is again at the heart of State House conflict over raising teacher pay
Bangor Daily News, 3/18/2019
As lawmakers debate guns on campus, administrators prefer local control
Joplin Globe, 4/9/2019
As Missouri lawmakers consider a proposal to allow concealed weapons on college campuses, the presidents of both Missouri Southern State University and Crowder College say they believe it’s an issue better left to local control…
Glenn Coltharp, president of Crowder College, said he believes both gun-related matters in the legislation — that of concealed carry on campuses and that of arming staff or faculty members as designated security officers — should be left to local control.
Letter to the Editor: Put a stop to pro-CAFO bill
Columbia Daily Tribune, 4/15/2019
Some Missouri Senators at the behest of corporate lobbyists are pushing Senate Bill 391, a pro-factory farm bill that would take local control away from rural counties putting our water, air, and communities at risk.
Roger Allison: Bill would strip local control from farmers
The Joplin Globe, 4/4/2019
Corporate agribusiness and its lobbyists are attempting to take away local control and our rights. Why? They would rather have decisions being made where its money and lobbyists have the biggest impact — at the state and federal levels of government. But family farmers, county commissioners and rural residents are standing up to these attacks and fighting to protect local control.
SB 391 would hinder local control of family farmers
The Mexico Ledger, 3/26/2019
Senate Bill 391, introduced by Senator Bernskoetter, would strip local control from ALL rural counties, taking away our right to protect ourselves and our neighbors from the negative impacts of corporate-controlled industrial livestock operations, including foreign-controlled Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs). This bill even overturns the will of the people when farmers and rural people have voted to protect their communities from out-of-state and foreign CAFOs.
Senate Bill 391: ‘State governmental overreach at its worst’
West Plains Daily Quill, 3/22/2019
To the editor:
Corporate agri-business and their lobbyists are attempting to take away local control and our rights. Why? They would rather have decisions being made where their money and lobbyists have the biggest impact – at the state and federal levels of government. But family farmers, county commissioners and rural citizens are standing up to these attacks and fighting to protect local control.
Las Vegas massacre survivor pushes broad gun safety bill before Nevada lawmakers
Assembly Bill 291 would ban bump stocks in Nevada law, allow cities and counties to pass their own gun legislation and reduce the legal blood alcohol limit for people in possession of a firearm…
Another controversial provision of the bill has to deal with a concept called preemption. Existing Nevada law allows only the state legislature to create gun legislation, but AB291 would repeal that provision, allowing counties, cities and towns the ability to pass stricter gun policies. [Emphasis added]
Assembly Bill 291, introduced by Assemblywoman Sandra Jauregui (D-41), is omnibus anti-gun legislation that is a threat to both law-abiding gun owners residing in Nevada and those who are visiting. Most notably, AB 291:
Allows Local Gun Control Laws: Nevada’s firearm preemption laws have been on the books since 1989 and have been improved over the years to ensure consistency in firearm laws throughout the state, by occupying the field of firearm related regulations with the State Legislature. With the amendments to AB 291, the legislature is ceding authority to the counties to pass stricter gun control laws without limitation. This move could result in a confusing patchwork of laws for both residents and visitors to navigate while subjecting Nevadans in one county to a different set of rules and regulations regarding their constitutional rights than to a person in a neighboring county.
Assembly Bill 291, introduced by Assemblywoman Sandra Jauregui (D-41), is omnibus anti-gun legislation that is a threat to both law-abiding gun owners residing in Nevada and those who are visiting. Most notably, AB 291:
Repeals Firearms Preemption Laws: State preemption prevents local governments from enacting their own gun control ordinances and creating a confusing patchwork of laws. Without preemption, a person could face various laws and regulations when traveling throughout the State.
Today, Assembly Bill 291 was introduced by Assemblywoman Sandra Jauregui (D-41). This omnibus anti-gun legislation is a threat to both gun owners residing in Nevada and those who are visiting.
Most notably, this legislation:
Repeals Firearms Preemption Laws: State preemption prevents local governments from enacting their own gun control ordinances and creating a confusing patchwork of laws. Without preemption, a person could face various laws and regulations when traveling throughout the State. [Emphasis added]
Lujan Grisham vetoes language in budget threatening food seed control
Santa Fe New Mexican, 4/6/2019
TAOS — A single line in the state’s budget had some seed savers and food sovereignty activists worried that the ability to regulate seeds locally could be in jeopardy in New Mexico.
But after hundreds of people called on Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to line-item veto the language, she struck it from the bill Thursday, when she approved the state’s $7 billion budget…
Tucked into its 200-plus pages was a sentence that caught the attention of organizations like Española-based Tewa Women United and the New Mexico Acequia Association: “The general fund appropriation includes sufficient funding to the department of agriculture at New Mexico state university to promulgate rules to solely regulate seed.”
“This would prevent cities and counties from enacting ordinances that protect native seeds from GMO seeds, for example,” said a recent social media post by the acequia association.
Amended bill makes it easier to site large animal feeding operations
Prairie Public Radio, 4/9/2019
The measure says counties and townships cannot change zoning regulations after a permit application is filed. And it gives the county and township a 60-day window in which to approve or deny those applications. If the local government does not act within 60 days, the siting is approved.
North Dakota in brief
Williston Herald, 4/8/2019
ND House approves animal feedlot bill despite local control concerns
BISMARCK — The North Dakota House approved a bill Monday, April 8, that backers said would support the state’s livestock industry but was criticized as an infringement on local control.
Senate Bill 2345 would remove local governments’ ability to impose longer setbacks than the state’s requirements for livestock feeding operations. For the largest such facilities, the state’s setback is 1.5 miles.
Critics say North Dakota bill would strip local control of factory feedlots
FARGO — Representatives of North Dakota counties and townships have come out against amendments to a bill that critics say would effectively strip local governments’ zoning authority to regulate factory feedlots.
Senate Bill 2345, expected to be voted on Thursday, April 4, by the House Agriculture Committee, has changed significantly since it was introduced, in ways that greatly limit the ability of townships and counties to regulate livestock feeding operations.
Burn ’em if ya got ’em
Let me just give you some examples. The legislature voted to not allow communities across North Dakota to set their own minimum wage. They also voted to disallow any community to buyback firearms. Need another example? Well they are now taking away the rights of communities to ban plastic bags. That’s right, they are putting a ban on banning plastic bags, when they’ve probably never picked one out of the ditch themselves.
All of these are perfect examples of taking away local control, which is something that the Republican party has claimed to support for years. But time and time again they have proven to be hypocritical in support for that local control.
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Oklahoma lawmakers are considering legislation to prevent cities and towns from imposing fees on single-use plastic and paper bags.
A nonprofit group in Philadelphia is fighting in court to be allowed to open the first facility in the country for people to use illegal opioids under medical supervision. The group, called Safehouse, has the backing of local government, yet faces a legal challenge from federal prosecutors.
NRA sues city after gun bills signed into law banning use of assault-style rifles in public places
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 4/9/2019
Mayor Bill Peduto signed three gun-control ordinances into law Tuesday, making Pittsburgh the first city to enact a so-called “red flag” law.
Pittsburgh gun bills have little chance in courts, legal experts say
Legal experts gave Pittsburgh good marks for creativity in crafting ordinances aimed at regulating firearms in the city but said the bills have little chance of surviving the legal challenges that are sure to come.
The courts might uphold some provisions in the package of bills, but the city would likely have a better chance at changing gun regulations by working through the Legislature in Harrisburg, the experts said…
Bruce Antkowiak, a law professor at Saint Vincent College and former federal prosecutor, said a better strategy would be to pressure state lawmakers for a change in law. He said judges — whether liberal or conservative — would have a hard time ruling in favor of the city because of the preemption law. [Emphasis added]
Pittsburgh approves gun-control bills; opponents file suit against city
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 4/2/2019
Pennsylvania state law forbids municipalities from regulating guns, and pro-gun advocates vowed to sue to block the laws from taking effect. Last month, in an effort to write legislation that would not run afoul of state preemption, council voted to amend the bills, which had called for banning the possession of certain weapons and accessories. Instead they ban the use of those weapons and accessories within city limits. “Use” includes loading and firing.
PITTSBURGH ADOPTS GUN CONTROL, IMMEDIATELY HIT WITH LAWSUITS
The ordinances will ban the public carry of loaded magazines that can accept more than 10 rounds of ammunition, implements Extreme Risk Protection Orders which would pave the way for temporarily firearm seizures from those thought to be a danger to themselves or others, and other restrictions on guns deemed to be “assault weapons.” However, the Commonwealth’s broad firearm preemption laws likely preclude the city from enforcing the new restrictions. It is this argument that gun rights groups cited in their lawsuits against the city once Peduto pulled the trigger.
Pittsburgh City Council passes controversial gun legislation in initial vote
PITTSBURGH – Pittsburgh City Council Wednesday morning passed its controversial gun legislation in an initial vote.
In a vote of 6 to 3, the bill would ban assault weapons and certain accessories and modifications within city limits…
The bills came out not long after the mass shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill, but gun rights advocate and president of Firearms Owners Against Crime Kim Stolfer told Channel 11 if passed, the ban is illegal…
“We will file a lawsuit, we are also going to file criminal complaints against every council person and the mayor because it is a criminal act what they’re doing,” Stolfer said. “We are going to do everything in our power to hold them accountable.” [Emphasis added]
Senate bill would allow towns to ban firearms on public property
Bucks County Courier Times, 3/25/2019
A proposed bill from a Montgomery County lawmaker would let towns ban firearms on public property without fear of a lawsuit from organizations like the National Rifle Association.
Sen. Maria Collett, D-12, of Lower Gwynedd, said this week her bill primarily gives local officials authority to keep firearms out of public meeting spaces, but would not effect private gun ownership.
H. 3274. Preemption of local authority to regulate flavors or licensing of cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and other tobacco products.
POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS OF THIS STATE MAY NOT ENACT ANY LAWS, ORDINANCES, OR RULES PERTAINING TO INGREDIENTS, FLAVORS, OR LICENSING OF CIGARETTES, ELECTRONIC CIGARETTES, TOBACCO PRODUCTS, OR ALTERNATIVE NICOTINE PRODUCTS.
S. 394. Preemption of authority to ban or limit the use of plastic bags and other disposable food containers.
TO PROVIDE THAT ANY REGULATION REGARDING THE USE, DISPOSITION, SALE, OR IMPOSITION OF ANY PROHIBITION, RESTRICTION, FEE IMPOSITION, OR TAXATION OF AUXILIARY CONTAINERS MUST BE DONE BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY.
Fight against ‘emotions based’ plastic bag bans flares in SC Statehouse
The Post & Courier, 3/20/2019
COLUMBIA — New efforts to outlaw local bans on plastic bags and other single-use containers has reopened a passionate discussion between the plastic industry and state legislators who have championed such prohibitions, mostly in coastal regions.
A Senate bill that failed to pass last year was reintroduced this session and it not only would freeze future bans of plastic and foam bags, cups, bottles and other packaging but also would rescind any local laws already passed in several cities and counties.
Kingsport BOE to General Assembly: Give locals control of tobacco-use policy
KINGSPORT — Tennessee General Assembly members, Kingsport’s school board isn’t very happy with your tobacco law.
The board disagrees with the lack of local control on tobacco use on school campuses, as well as on pending voucher legislation getting traction among lawmakers that would allow public money to be used for private education.
Knoxville won’t be able to ban plastic bags, here’s why
Governor Bill Lee is expected to sign a bill within the next week that would ban cities from banning plastic shopping bags.
This comes in response to Memphis and Nashville considering a ban on a local level.
Right now, cities in Tennessee can place that ban without consulting the state legislature.
Anti-bag ban bill passes House
Nashville Post, 3/26/2019
A bill that would prohibit local governments from banning plastic bags, straws and other items passed the Tennessee House Monday night, though the Senate sent it back for further committee consideration.
Tennessee lawmakers look to prevent ban of plastic bags
Tennessee could become the latest state to ban local municipalities from regulating certain plastic bags and utensils.
House Bill 1021 would make it illegal for local governments to impose bag bans, or restrictions on Styrofoam containers and other disposable products.
Legislators Want to Curb Local Control of Plastic Bags, Food Containers
Memphis Flyer, 3/26/2019
The Tennessee Chapter of the Sierra Club is seeking signatures to help stop bills in the Tennessee General Assembly that would ban cities’ abilities to put any restrictions on plastic bags and single-use containers…
The bill ”prohibits a local government from adopting or enforcing a resolution, ordinance, policy, or regulation that:
• regulates the use, disposition, or sale of an auxiliary container
• prohibits or restricts an auxiliary container or
• Enacts a fee, charge, or tax on an auxiliary container.”
Mayors Issue Dire Warnings About Local Property Tax Cap
Bills in the Texas Legislature would reduce the annual rate of property tax revenue increase that cities could receive to just 2.5% instead of the current 8% before triggering a roll back election…
According to figures provided by Rawlings, the 7.5% property tax revenue increase that was included the current City of Dallas budget would be reduced by $32 million if the limit was 2.5% instead. That’s the equivalent of 358 police recruits or 477 civilian employees.
Texas Senate Approves Two Bills To Override Paid Sick Leave, Local Control Over Employment Practices
The Texas Tribune, 4/11/2019
After facing unexpected friction in Texas’ Republican-dominated Legislature, a pair of bills to override local rules mandating paid sick leave and standardize employment practices across the state passed the Senate on Thursday over the objections of LGBTQ advocates who have warned the bills could threaten local non-discrimination protections.
Texas Senate moves to block local governments from partnering with abortion providers
The Texas Tribune, 4/1/2019
The Texas Senate approved in a preliminary vote Monday its first major anti-abortion bill of the session — a measure that would prohibit state and local governments from partnering with agencies that perform abortions, even if they contract for services not related to the procedure…
Anti-abortion advocates support the measure in part because it would terminate “sweetheart rent deals,” which is just one of the ways local governments partner with abortion providers. Campbell, a New Braunfels Republican, has singled out one key target during the bill’s hearing: Planned Parenthood’s $1-per-year rental agreement with the city of Austin…
Meanwhile, abortion rights advocates rail against the bill as an attack on local control. The bill would “tie the hands of cities and counties,” according to Yvonne Gutierrez, executive director for Planned Parenthood Texas Votes. She also worried that the language of SB 22, which would limit “transactions” between the government and abortion providers, is too broad and would target more than just the downtown Austin rental deal. [Emphasis added]
This morning, the Texas Senate State Affairs Committee unanimously voted out a committee substitute for Senate Bill 19, an NRA-backed measure sponsored by State Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola) that protects the rights of tenants to possess lawfully-owned firearms and ammunition in residential units, and to transport them directly en route between their personal vehicles and their apartments or condominiums. The committee removed provisions from the bill relating to commercial tenants and leases, but added protections for tenants on manufactured home lots….
House Bill 1236 by Rep. Vikki Goodwin (D-Austin) allows public colleges and universities to opt-out of Texas’ campus carry law. The net effect of this bill would be repeal of the 2015 statute, since we know that most — if not all — taxpayer-funded post-secondary educational institutions would exercise that option…
House Bill 3231 by Rep. Travis Clardy (R-Nacogdoches) makes key improvements to Texas’ existing preemption statutes to ensure uniformity in laws governing firearms and ammunition across the state. It brings limits on county authority to regulate firearms and ammunition into line with restrictions that currently apply to municipalities, and holds localities accountable by providing legal remedies for private individuals when localities violate the preemption law. [Emphasis added]
Putting The Power In the Hands of the People In Local Communities, Where It Belongs
Brent Finnegan, BlueVIrginia.us, 4/4/2019
In Virginia, we have elections every single year. While voter turnout is always larger in national election years, [i]t’s in local government meetings where community members come together, organize, and speak directly to the elected officials who serve them. Local government is certainly more accessible than driving to Richmond on lobby day…
Policy options available to local governments are limited due to an archaic legal principle called Dillon’s Rule that constrains the solutions available to local communities. Virginia is one of only nine “strict construction” Dillon Rule states in the country…
Consider the development of Harrisonburg’s 2015 fire safety ordinance. For years leading up to 2015, there were dozens of fires in Harrisonburg involving landscaping mulch too close to vinyl siding on apartment buildings… City Council passed an ordinance at the request of the fire department to improve the fire safety of landscaping materials that touch apartment buildings and day care centers.
However, because the Dillon Rule concentrates power at the state level, our current delegate, Tony Wilt, introduced legislation to try to block our local ordinance. Without consulting with the fire department, Wilt introduced HB944, which targeted the city of Harrisonburg specifically, preempting our community’s fire safety solutions.
Lawsuit challenges city’s attack on 2nd Amendment
A judge allowed a lawsuit to proceed against an ordinance passed by the city of Edmonds, Washington, requiring gun owners to have “safe storage” for weapons.
The lawsuit argues the state of Washington has a law pre-empting local restrictions that conflict with state law…
A law Washington adopted 35 years ago places sole authority for firearms regulation in the hands of state lawmakers.