Local Public Health Policymakers’ Views on State Preemption: Results of a National Survey, 2018
Lainie Rutkow, et al. American Journal of Public Health. August 2019.
Researchers suggest that preemption will restrict or negate local public health policy-making. Our findings confirm that the vast majority of health officials and mayors have abandoned or delayed policy-making initiatives because of preemption. Fewer than one third of mayors and health officials implemented a local law when faced with preemption. These data provide support for the concern that preemption—or even the threat of preemption—has a “chilling effect.”
Local Policymakers’ New Role: Preventing Preemption
Jennifer L. Pomeranz. American Journal of Public Health. August 2019.
The study by Rutkow et al. provides new and compelling evidence that preemption has real consequences for public health policy-making across a wide range of topic areas. Local policymakers’ responses confirmed that preemption may undermine local democracy, prevent policymakers from addressing the needs and values of their communities, and lead to deregulation. Local policymakers are now in a position to have to educate community members, state officials, and the media on the realities of preemption and the values of local control.
For more about recent preemption research, see Research Roundup at the end of this newsletter.
Could States Do Single-Payer Health Care?
Health Affairs, 7/22/2019
Our study of state single-payer proposals in the ACA era highlights the extent to which states must contort their health reforms to overcome federal legal hurdles—particularly the threat of preemption by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) of 1974—and prompts questions about whether states can actually implement single-payer health care.
Plastic Bags & Other Disposable Containers
How the Plastics Industry if Fighting to Keep Polluting the World
The Intercept, 7/20/2019
And even as A Bag’s Life was encouraging kids to spread the uplifting message of cleaning up plastic waste, its parent organization, the American Progressive Bag Alliance, was backing a state bill that would strip Tennesseans of their ability to address the plastics crisis. The legislation would make it illegal for local governments to ban or restrict bags and other single-use plastic products — one of the few things shown to actually reduce plastic waste.
A week after Westmeade’s dragon won the contest, the APBA got its own reward: The plastic preemption bill passed the Tennessee state legislature. Weeks later, the governor signed it into law, throwing a wrench into an effort underway in Memphis to charge a fee for plastic bags.
Broadband & Wireless
Notes from RCRC
Since the Eastern Sierra has two county supervisors on Rural County Representatives of California’s executive committee, Chair Matt Kingsley from Inyo and Second Chair Stacy Corless from Mono, it seemed appropriate to share legislative updates that flow out of RCRC’s public information office.
First, Senator Diane Feinstein has introduced a bill, the Restoring Local Control Over Public Infrastructure Act, which would allow local governments to continue to determine where wireless facilities will be located.
In an e-mail, Kingsley stated “the bill is really in response to wireless carriers proposing bills that take away the local jurisdictions ability to regulate and negotiate for the placement of wireless facilities. If local jurisdictions can maintain the authority over wireless facilities that gives us the opportunity to leverage service to less profitable areas for placement in more profitable areas.”
Colorado oil and gas regulators tussle with Weld County over control
Kiowa Country Press, 7/24/2019
The state regulatory body for Colorado’s oil and gas industry warned Weld County officials that it still maintains regulatory authority over development in the county, despite legislation that was passed to give more control to local governments….
The COGCC’s letter noted Weld County’s plans and warned the county’s attorney that the commission still has regulatory authority.
“As set forth in SB19-181, the COGCC continues to have regulatory authority over oil and gas locations in unincorporated Weld County,” the letter read.
“While SB 19-181 provides local governments with siting authority over oil and gas surface locations, it does not diminish the COGCC’s authority to regulate the orderly development of oil and gas throughout the state,” the letter continued. “To the contrary, SB19-181 reaffirms the critical role for the COGCC in numerous places.”
Tensions between oil and gas companies and communities along the Front Range are heating up again. So far this year, at least eight cities and counties have temporarily stopped processing new drilling permits in the wake of a new state law. The latest is Boulder County, where commissioners will hear public testimony on Tuesday on a new nine-month moratorium.
Weld County Uses New Local Control Law To Create Oil And Gas Department
At the state level, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission has a backlog of thousands of drilling permits; officials hope the new department will help speed up the local part of the process.
This spring legislators passed Senate Bill 181, which was aimed at giving cities and counties more control over the oil and gas development process. While most local governments are expected to use the new law to make oil and gas development more difficult, Weld County is moving to make drilling more efficient for companies.
Appeal weighed in local gun regulations case
Fox 35 Orlando, 7/30/2019
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (NSF) – Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office Monday mulled appealing a judge’s ruling that struck down a state law that threatened tough penalties for locally approved gun regulations.
Lauren Schenone, a spokeswoman for Moody, said no decision had been made on appealing the ruling, which was issued late Friday by Leon County Circuit Judge Charles Dodson. She said the office is “currently evaluating next steps in this case.”
Siding with cities and counties, Dodson struck down a 2011 law that threatened stiff penalties against local governments and local officials if they approve gun regulations that go beyond state firearms laws.
Florida judge says cities can’t be punished for passing their own gun laws
Orlando Weekly, 7/29/2019
A Leon County circuit judge late Friday struck down a state law that threatened tough penalties if city and county officials approve gun regulations.
Florida since 1987 has barred cities and counties from passing regulations that are stricter than state firearms laws. But in 2011, lawmakers went further by approving a series of penalties that local governments and officials could face if they violated the prohibition.
Judge strikes down punitive gun-rights law
Florida Phoenix, 7/29/2019
A Florida court has struck down a 2011 state law that threatened the state’s locally elected officials with a $5,000 fine if they passed local regulations on firearms.
The ruling, however, doesn’t change the fact that state law still prevents any local government from passing gun restrictions.
The Florida Retail Federation says it will sue the city of Gainesville when its bag ban takes effect.
Officials for the Florida Retail Federation say they were astonished by the Gainesville City Commission’s decision to reject a legal recommendation to hold off on implementing a Styrofoam and plastic bag ban.
George L. Barnett: Gun control should be a local issue
With the 2020 presidential race commencing, undoubtedly federal gun control will be a major issue. In fact, it should not be.
It is one that raises voices and personal temperatures without the use of common sense. It would be my hope but unlikely that the candidates and the public will realize that gun control, with certain limited exceptions, should not be a federal issue.
It is the height of irrationality to think that gun control rules that govern municipalities such as New York should be applicable on the plains of Nebraska or the ranches of Wyoming and Montana. Thus, again with limited exceptions, gun control should be determined by states, counties and municipalities.
This court has effectively given tacit approval for local government officials to knowingly and willfully violate the state preemption law by striking down the penalty provisions. The message is: go ahead and violate the law, the state can’t punish you.
Specifically, in a lawsuit brought by several anti-gun South Florida cities and counties, the court struck down the $5,000 fine and the risk of removal from office for individual public officials, local governments, and government agencies who willfully and knowing violate the state preemption law by adopting local gun control ordinances.
In their opposition brief, the NRA argued “It is a bedrock principle of American constitutional law that local governments have no legal authority to defy the will of their creator: the state.”
Four awful new state laws that punish citizens
Florida Phoenix, 7/29/2019
It’s never been more perilous for a Florida citizen or a local government to stand up for what they believe than it is right now…
DeSantis got public accolades for vetoing one bad bill that said local governments aren’t allowed to ban plastic straws. But look at the much-worse bills he signed into law to benefit corporations, developers, retail giants, and Big Agriculture:
— Under a sweeping new law that got little attention when it passed the Legislature (HB 829), if a local government passes an ordinance on something that’s already covered by a state law, and the state or some other entity (like a multinational corporation with deep pockets) sues, the local government has to pay attorney’s fees for the winning side. [Emphasis added]
A Short Recap of the History & Success of the National Rifle Association
Opinion by Marion Hammer [Past President and Florida Lobbyist for the NRA]
This is an email I sent to NRA Board members awhile back, but apparently “leakers” on the Board don’t want anything out there that gives facts. NRA members and AmmoLand News readers should see it as it gives a lot of factual history. ~ Marion Hammer.
The current attack on the NRA and Wayne and the “dire warnings” about finances are much like the strategy dissidents used over 20 years ago. Like now, they tried to take control of NRA, NRA finances and oust the leadership most responsible for the multi decade success of our Association- Wayne LaPierre…
In 1980, Wayne was promoted to Director of State and Local Affairs. Once he got settled into that position he and I worked out the plan to create and pass the [Florida] “Shall Issue Right to Carry” legislation. Bob Dowlut, in the NRA General Counsel’s office worked with me on drafting the legislation because we planned for it to be a model for the nation.
Our plan also included passing a firearms preemption bill. Wayne wanted a “double” to make sure we made a statement that the NRA is on OFFENSE and would not stop until gun rights were protected. [Emphasis added]
Bevin announces legislation that would ban sanctuary cities
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin says some Republican lawmakers will introduce legislation to keep local governments from enacting policies that would keep police from cooperating with immigration authorities…
The announcement came as President Donald Trump said a nationwide immigration enforcement operation targeting people who are in the U.S. illegally will start Sunday.
Beyond Pesticides: Montgomery County Legal Victory a Win for Public Health and the Environment, Loss for Pesticide Industry Bullying
Beyond Pesticides, prnewswire.com, 7/12/2019
MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md., July, 12, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Today Maryland’s highest court upheld the right of local governments to restrict the use of toxic lawn care pesticides more stringently than the state. By denying an appeal from the pesticide industry’s challenge to a lower court ruling, the Maryland Court of Appeals has made official Montgomery County’s 2015 Healthy Lawns Act, which prohibits toxic pesticides from being used on public and private property for cosmetic purposes.
Plastic bag ban caught in political crosswind
Gloucester Daily Times, 7/14/2019
A bipartisan proposal, backed by nearly 100 lawmakers, called for phasing out plastic bags used by convenience stores and supermarkets and allowing retailers to charge a 10-cent fee for biodegradable and reusable bags, as well as recycled paper bags.
But the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Natural Resources, Environment and Agriculture, deliberating behind closed doors, stripped the fee and added a “preemption” clause that would effectively override nearly 100 local plastic bag bans, some of them voter-approved. It also would allow stores to offer thicker plastic bags as alternatives. [Emphasis added]
Ban on a Ban on Bans: Legislation introduced to overturn a previous ban on plastic bag bans
Michigan has legislation on the table right now that would ban the ban of plastic bags ban, a situation that started during the 2016 lame duck session before Gov. Gretchen Whitmer took office…
In the final days of 2016, former Michigan Lt. Gov. Brian Calley signed Senate Bill 853 into action while former Gov. Rick Snyder was on vacation. The bill, proposed by Republican Sen. Jim Stamas, banned the banning of plastic bags in Michigan, on the grounds that a plastic bag ban would create a patchwork of regulations that large corporations would have too much trouble complying with and small businesses could not afford.
Closing hour comes for North Dakota ‘blue laws’
Bismarck Tribune, 7/29/2019
The 2019 repeal bill brought by Rep. Shannon Roers Jones, R-Fargo, passed the House 56-35 and the Senate 25-21, and was signed by Gov. Doug Burgum.
Roers-Jones, in introducing the bill, pointed to personal responsibility in making time for worship and family. Burgum highlighted “freedom, fairness and local control” in signing the long-debated repeal.
Pennsylvania may raise tobacco sales age to 21. Science says that could slash smoking rates.
Philadelphia Inquirer, 7/30/2019
Currently 16 states without tobacco-21 laws, including Pennsylvania, have preemption policies that prohibit towns and cities from raising the minimum legal age for tobacco sales above the state’s minimum age.
“Preemption laws are impeding public health,” Friedman said, even when residents support tobacco-21 laws. A CDC survey found three-quarters of American adults — including seven out of 10 smokers — support raising the minimum age of tobacco sales.
Philly leaders vow to ban guns at city recreation centers, parks
“We own and operate these rec centers and parks, and we have every right to set reasonable rules and regulations to protect our kids and adults from harm,” City council president Darrell Clarke said.
But, Pennsylvania’s preemption laws prohibit municipalities from passing their own gun-control measures, as Pittsburgh tried to do this spring following a mass shooting at a synagogue, WHYY reported.
Plastic bag ban: Uncharted waters for West Chester
WEST CHESTER — With borough council possibly acting in direct violation of state law, last Wednesday’s vote to ban single use plastic bags and plastic straws passed by the thinnest of margins.
Council voted 4-3 to enact the ban during July 2020, which will be about a year after the governor signed a ban on municipalities enacting legislation to ban single use plastics and plastic straws.
Preemption, explained: How Pennsylvania’s biggest city and the Legislature grapple over power
Pennsylvania Capitol-Star, 7/26/2019
Pennsylvania last raised its minimum wage on July 9, 2006, when Gov. Ed Rendell signed a bill that gradually increased the state’s base pay from $5.15 to $7.15 an hour.
But the Legislature didn’t just give workers a $2 raise. Lawmakers also voted to preempt local municipalities from raising the minimum wage on their own. [Emphasis added]
San Antonio’s Paid Sick Leave Delayed – Is Relief On The Way For Dallas Employers?
Despite the successful legal challenges to the Austin ordinance, the cities of San Antonio and Dallas enacted their own paid sick leave ordinances in August 2018 and March 2019, respectively. Business groups felt confident, however, that there was sufficient support in the Texas legislature to pass legislation that would prohibit local governments from enacting a state-wide patchwork of mandatory paid sick leave laws. To their surprise, the legislation died in the House after debate ensued regarding the legislation’s scope and whether it could be construed to negatively impact the enforce-ability of local anti-discrimination laws.
Lubbock lawmakers call 86th session a successful one
The battle that seemed to raise its head more was statewide vs. local, or the state legislature vs. city councils. Some recent bills will impact local decisions, such as the bill to stop forced annexations and the property tax bill with the lower automatic rollback rate, but the state lawmakers argued against any notion that they’re taking away local control.
Lawmakers to return to Richmond for special session on guns
The Roanoke Times, 7/6/2019
Democrats are expected to file a suite of proposals such as universal background checks, an assault weapons ban, requiring people to report lost and stolen firearms, and tougher penalties when firearms are left in the presence of minors. Northam is also interested in legislation expanding local authority to regulate firearms, such as in government buildings. [Emphasis added]
Local control and jobs
The Osceola Sun, 7/26/2019
In disturbing news, our new State Representative, Gae Magnafici, seems to be stepping right into the same role as her predecessor, Adam Jarchow, by continuing his efforts to thwart local control and decision-making in favor of consolidating power in Madison with one-size-fits-all solutions that don’t work.
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…
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). [Emphasis added]