Report: State preemption laws disproportionately hurt women, people of color
State laws that prevent local governments from making their own rules on issues like affordable housing and minimum wages are especially detrimental to women and people of color. That’s according to a new report from the Partnership for Working Families, a national coalition of advocacy groups.
The report uses Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Colorado as case studies on these so-called “preemption laws.”
For more about recent preemption research, see Research Roundup at the end of this newsletter.
Sticking their tongue out and sticking their nose in — cities try to tackle social issues
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 6/1/2019
“There’s been an amazing shift over the past 10 years in the role of cities in addressing major issues, whether climate change or [the] refugee crisis,” Mr. Peduto said. “Organizations, maybe not federal governments, understand that solutions lie at the local level.”…
Albuquerque, N.M., raised the minimum wage to $8.20. Georgetown, Texas, only buys renewable energy. Minneapolis mandates paid sick leave for businesses with six or more employees. Cuyahoga County, Ohio, voted last week to ban plastic bags. And dozens of cities are refusing to aid federal law enforcement on matters of immigration, becoming so-called “sanctuary cities.”
McConnell’s Tobacco 21 Bill Exposes States to Big Tobacco’s Wishlist
The American Prospect, 5/31/2019
A critic of the bill is fellow Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), who introduced his own bipartisan bill that’s similar to McConnell’s but does not require states to pass their own Tobacco 21 legislation.
“Forcing state action creates a dangerous loophole that gives the tobacco industry an opening to intensify their efforts at the state level to undermine strong anti-tobacco proposals, such as regulations on flavored tobacco products,” said Schatz and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), a co-sponsor of the Schatz bill, in a May 21 statement. “Big Tobacco’s fingerprints should be nowhere near this effort. We strongly urge Leader McConnell to join us in cleanly raising the tobacco age to save lives and prevent youth addiction, and work with us on additional efforts, including cracking down on kid-friendly flavors.”
Neighbors suing over pig fumes spur ‘right-to-farm’ push
Johnson City Press, 6/2/2019
States began adopting right-to-farm statutes in the late 1970’s. The laws were initially touted as a way to preserve farmland and the farm lifestyle in the face of urban sprawl. But critics say they preempt local land use and environmental laws.
Auburn Study Suggests Right-To-Farm Laws Fail Small, Medium Growers
Southeast Produce Weekly, 5/9/2019
GREG HARTON: Local control not as strong as it once was
Frustrated that local control has been eroded within a short period of time by both the Federal Communications Commission on the pending contentious roll-out of 5G wireless technology and by the state Bureau of Cannabis Control on marijuana deliveries.
My View: Tobacco industry should be fought back again
Phoenix Business Journal, 5/3/2019
From the perspective of the tobacco industry, there is no bigger prize than the enactment of state-level measures that preempt efforts by cities and towns to enact their own tough clean air ordinances. This kind of state legislation represents the holy grail of tobacco industry objectives across the country, because tough local smoking ordinances are the most effective tool in reducing tobacco use over time. [Emphasis added]
PD Editorial: Maintain the local marijuana balance
The Press-Democrat, 5/25/2019
In California’s efforts to regulate legal marijuana, the state has achieved a sensible balance between the competing goals of public access and local control. State and local officials seeking to upset that balance should back off.
New California Proposition Seeks to Expand Paid Sick Leave Requirement from Three to Five Days
The enforcement of the proposed extension to sick leave also begs the question of whether the new law will preempt local ordinances which have independently expanded upon the existing law. Cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Berkeley and Oakland have enforced requirements of varying degrees which affect an employee’s use of accrued sick leave. As drafted, it is unclear how this amendment will affect—or completely preempt—local sick leave ordinances.
Regulatory Wrap-Up: Weekly recap of retail-related legislative developments-June 3
Colorado – The governor signed legislation that eliminates the state preemption on local minimum wage laws. Due to an industry-backed amendment, localities must honor the existing state tip credit of $3.02/hr. Additionally, any local increase in excess of the state wage would be delayed until 2021.
A Line in the Sand: Weld County & Boulder County
National Law Review, 5/8/2019
One of the ramifications of S.B. 181 is increased local control, allowing Colorado cities and counties more control over drilling operations through local zoning ordinances and land use regulations. Hence, a line in the sand is beginning to be drawn between Boulder and Weld Counties…
Connecticut Lawmakers Push For Plastic Bag Ban
Christine Cohen, Senate Chair of the Environment Committee, says the ban would take effect by July 2021, if approved.
“It also defines the type of paper bags that these businesses can be using, which would be 40% recycled content and 100% recyclable paper bags. It also, and this is very important, does not preempt municipalities.” [Emphasis added]
Plastic Bag Ban Moves Forward in Branford
Branford Seven, 5/8/2019
A potential law banning single use plastics bags is moving forward in Branford, even as the state looks at creating its own law.
Cities complain that in the session just ended, Legislature stepped on local control
Miami Herald, 5/8/2019
For the conservative majority of the Florida Legislature, the government closest to the people does not necessarily govern the best.
When the legislative session ended on Saturday, local governments across South Florida began to take stock of the powers that had been stripped away from them and given to the state. They include the ability to ban plastic straws, require tree removal permits and regulate vegetable gardens. Local governments also face new restrictions on community redevelopment agencies.
Florida League of Cities: Local Control Survived the Assaults From Tallahassee
Florida Daily, 5/6/2019
With the 2019 legislative session now in the rear view mirror, the Florida League of Cities (FLOC) is happy to see it over.
On issues ranging from banning plastic straws, impact fees and short-term rentals, the FLOC felt under attack.
Iowa Mayors say ‘heavy hand’ of Legislature getting heavier
The Gazette, 5/3/2019
Whether the issue is property taxes, caps on rental property, traffic cameras or the minimum wage, the mayors don’t like what they see as an increase of interference in local governance.
Regulatory Wrap-Up: Weekly recap of retail-related legislative developments-June 3
Maine – The governor signed a law mandating companies with 10 or more employees offer one hour of earned paid time off for every 40 hours worked. Workers can earn up to 40 hours and use the leave at their discretion. The law also preempts municipalities from enacting their own mandates above the state rate.
The chemical industry has fought for nearly three decades to suppress the right of local governments in the U.S. to protect public health and safety with pesticide law, having successfully lobbied 43 states to preempt their local political subdivisions’ authority. Seven states uphold local authority, including the state of Maryland, which has affirmed in its legislature the rights of localities by rejecting preemption legislation on numerous occasions.
How Michiganders feel about legalized marijuana businesses in their community
Local governments are seeking as much control as they can over Michigan’s new legalized marijuana industry.
More than 2.4 million people voted to legalize marijuana in November 2018. Yet, despite the public support, more than a quarter of Michigan communities have banned marijuana businesses from their towns.
Smooth First Session for Rep — Bailey Filed Five Bills
• Creating Consistent Farm Regulations — SB 391 will provide consistency in the way farm operations across the state are regulated. The bill addresses a problem in current state law that has resulted in inconsistent regulations placed on farms throughout the state by county commissions and health boards.
The bill will not block county ordinances or restrict local control. Instead it will ensure regulations on concentrated animal feeding operations are consistent and not more stringent than state laws. [Emphasis added]
Parson signs bill restricting local controls on CAFOs
JEFFERSON CITY – Gov. Mike Parson on Friday signed a bill that critics say strips control from rural communities in favor of corporate agriculture interests.
Senate Bill 391 would require counties to stick to state regulations, even if they want stricter controls on concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs).
Bill could take away local control of animal feeding operations
FULTON – Jeff Jones is a fourth generation farmer who now lives about a quarter of a mile away from 10,000 pigs.
Jones fought the Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation, or CAFO, since 2014. Now he’s fighting to make sure counties still have the ability to make their own rules regarding such operations.
Senate Bill 391 would require counties to stick to state regulations, even if they want stricter controls.
“We need local control so we can put in health ordinances and regulations that are stronger than the state regulations,” Jones said.
In Missouri, lawmakers are poised to eliminate local regulation of CAFO
Fern’s AG Insider, 5/7/2019
Communities in Missouri have been fighting the expansion of large-scale livestock operations in the state for years. But a controversial pair of bills moving through the state legislature would make community oversight of those farms even harder. The bills would eliminate local ordinances that regulate industrial animal farms in the state, or make it impossible to enforce those ordinances. The bills mirror trends in other states where legislators have moved to undermine local control of large-scale livestock farms. [Emphasis added]
Local control is under attack, in rural and urban Missouri
The St. Louis American, 5/9/2019
Then lobbyists in our state capitol convinced our state legislature to override the local minimum wage ordinance and take away the right to local control.
Our legislature’s blatant disregard of the will of the citizens and our local control was met with voter outrage and spurred a ballot initiative petition. Over 120,000 signatures were collected to put Prop B on the November ballot. The ballot measure, which increases Missouri’s minimum wage to $12 by 2023, passed statewide by a 62 percent to 38 percent margin.
Local municipalities in Montana have stretched the state’s preemption statutes to their own ends by passing anti-gun laws ranging from criminalizing private transfers to banning where people can lawfully carry a firearm for self-defense… House Bill 325 and House Bill 357 seek to strengthen Montana’s current preemption laws by further restricting the ability of local municipalities to enact a complex patchwork of gun laws throughout the state.
Letters: Demand Gov. Sununu Veto SB 43 and preserve local control over land development
The NH legislature, in complete disregard of NH’s locals, passed NH SB 43 to “study barriers to increased density of land development in NH.”
The [Union Leader] came out against creating a state-level board allowing developers to override local zoning decisions (HB 104, SB 306). The UL stood with us for local control. SB 43 would hand the fate of our towns over to a commission of biased pro-urbanists and special interests scheming to circumvent local control.
PREEMPTIVE STRIKES: BAGS, GUNS, ZONING, AND A LIVING WAGE
High Plains Reader (Fargo), 5/1/2019
Proposed Ohio law aims to preempt local plastic bag bans
CLEVELAND — A proposed state law aims to preempt the ban on disposable plastic bags just passed by Cuyahoga County Council.
Council passed the ban Tuesday to help reduce plastic pollution. It prohibits retailers from offering single-use plastic bags and encourages customers to instead use reusable bags. Retail violators could face fines. It is set to take effect January 1.
It’s time to free our local governments from corporate rule. Here’s how that happens
Pennsylvania Capital-Star, 5/26/2019
For too long, Pennsylvanians have suffered from the insidious use of a tool called preemption, a concept exploited by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a group of corporate lobbyists who meet behind closed doors to create ‘model bills’ that benefit corporations’ bottom line at public expense.
Tell your lawmakers to reject these bills gutting local gun-control ordinances | Opinion
Pennsylvania Capitol-Star, 5/3/2019
Instead of working to save lives and reduce violence, the Senate Local Government Committee chose to revive a punitive bill allowing gun groups to sue cities and town across Pennsylvania that choose to enact gun ordinances stronger than existing state law.
Senate Committee Approves Statewide Bag Ban
Bag Ban Supporters Want Statewide Ban Bills Changed
Dave McLaughlin, executive director of Middletown-based Clean Ocean Access (COA) and a member of the task force, said he expects an “up-swelling of opposition” unless flaws in the Senate and House bills (S0410 and H5671) are corrected.
McLaughlin said the drawbacks include a uniformity clause that preempts and therefore nullifies the 12 existing municipal bag bans. The provision prevents cities and towns from enforcing current rules, such as those that prohibit retailers from offering thicker plastic bags, often marketed as reusable bags, as replacements for the standard “thin-film” plastic bag. [Emphasis added]
Back in February, State Senator Donna Campbell (R-SD 25) — whose district includes part of San Antonio — requested an opinion from the Attorney General on three potential ordinances that a committee of the San Antonio City Council had begun studying last fall. Her request asked whether the Section 229.001 of the Texas Local Government Code (otherwise known as the state firearms preemption law) preempted a city from enacting regulations that (1) prohibit firearm and ammunition sales within 1,000 feet of any school or church; (2) restrict the location of a business that sells guns or ammunition to the highest-density commercial areas; and (3) prohibit gun stores from locating within 200 feet of schools, public parks or places of worship.
The Texas GOP’s War of Municipal Aggression
Texas Observer.org, 5/8/2019
With their approval of a bill to “protect” Confederate monuments from liberal city halls, Senate Republicans exposed the raw racial dynamics of the party’s preemption crusade.
Gov. Ralph Northam will convene special session of Virginia legislature to take up gun control
The Washington Post, 6/4/2019
… And as is always the case, preemption of local control is the gun lobby’s highest priority…
Virginia Beach Shooting Gives Gun-Grabbers Another Opportunity
Hopefully, in this case, this means an opportunity to repeal state preemption, the single greatest barrier to progress in preventing gun deaths and injuries. State preemption of stronger local firearm and ammunition laws, in 43 states, is the singular reason that advocates for reasonable gun violence prevention laws have consistently failed to build a grassroots movement even remotely as effective as the pro-gun movement.
Note to Seattle: It’s Not the Good Guys Who Are Shooting Up Your City
U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- Seattle has become one of the most anti-gun-rights cities in the United States, and its leadership—now wringing its hands over a Memorial Day shooting incident that left a mother and toddler wounded—will likely propose additional gun control laws, probably including yet another attempt to repeal state preemption. [Emphasis added]
Jennifer Pomeranz on Food Policy and Industry Tactics Driving Preemption
Duke Sanford World Food Policy Center, 4/25/2019
In the past several years, cities in California led the way in passing taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages. Berkeley was first with Oakland, San Francisco and Albany, California following, each with the aim of improving public health by decreasing consumption of beverages known to be associated with obesity, diabetes, and other medical issues, and to raise revenue for needed programs. But then something historic happened: preemption. A leading expert on the application of the law on public health and on the issue of preemption is Jennifer Pomeranz.
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 1980s… 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). [Emphasis added]