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How Preemption is Expanding and Changing in 2019

August 22, 2019

National League of Cities,

NLC Partner,

August 21, 2019-

During the 2019 legislative sessions, state lawmakers again passed preemption laws limiting local power, including authority over minimum wage, regulation of e-cigarettes and local contracting powers. This, according to a new report from the Local Solutions Support Center and State Innovation Exchange entitled “The Growing Shadow of State Interference,” highlights the work of 2019 state legislative sessions to further limit local decision-making.

The report explores multiple preemption trends, including further attacks on core local powers and the use of “new preemption” to deliberately and broadly stop local regulation. It also analyzes why we have seen a rise in such laws over the course of the last decade. While the report explores specific policy areas, and offers illustrative rather than encyclopedic tracking, it serves as a great resource for updating the field of preemption.

Core Local Powers

Cities have a multitude of responsibilities. But there are some basic domains that are the foundation, or “core,” of local governance, such as zoning, budgeting and administering local elections. Yet, 2019 saw continued state interference on these domains, severely limiting the ability of municipalities to serve their basic functions.

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