Jim Fossel: Democrats push top-down reform
Leading contenders for the presidency are calling for national projects that would interfere with state and local prerogatives.
One of the great features of our constitutional democracy — one that was thoroughly intended by our Founding Fathers as they drafted the Constitution — was that they carefully diffused power throughout government… The most famous example of this is the division of the federal government into three separate branches, but it’s not the only one. The Founding Fathers also ensured that states had a great deal of power in the new system, giving them their own constitutions and in turn empowering them to create local governments…
Many of the current crop of Democratic presidential candidates seem to have little regard for that history. They seem hell-bent on the federal government not only taking control over huge portions of our economy in order to enact their ideological agenda, but also on usurping the authority of state and local governments as well. It’s not just on one issue here or there, either — it’s on a whole variety of issues in different policy areas. [Emphasis added]
Climate Change & the Natural Environment
EPA-California Legal Showdown Looms Over Authority to Regulate Carbon
Multi-state coalition’s lawsuit challenges Trump EPA withdrawal of California Clean Air Act waiver.
The Clean Air Act Waiver Provision and EPA’s Bases for Proposed Withdrawal
Although the CAA generally preempts state regulation of new motor vehicle tailpipe emissions, California is specially empowered to apply for a waiver from this preemption, which must be granted by EPA unless certain conditions are triggered. The waiver issued by the Obama EPA to California in January 2013 permitted California to set stricter tailpipe GHG and conventional pollutant standards than the corresponding federal standards to facilitate California’s Advanced Clean Car (ACC) program, ZEV mandate, and GHG tailpipe emissions standards applicable to model years 2021-2025.
EPA’s Repeal of California Waiver Sets Up Legal Contest
EHS Daily Advisor, 9/24/2019
With the exception of a waiver denial in 2007—which was later reversed—the EPA has granted every request California has made since the first request was granted in 1968 to allow the state to set its own vehicle emissions standards. That record is now ended with the EPA’s final rule that withdraws its January 2013 waiver of federal preemption of the state’s Advanced Clean Cars (ACC) program, which established greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards and a zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) mandate for model year (MY) 2021–2026 vehicles.
According to Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh, these standards— authorized in 2013 by a waiver from the Environmental Protection Agency and followed in part or whole by 13 other states, including Maryland, and the District of Columbia — are a key part of state efforts to protect public health and the environment. In the lawsuit, the coalition asserts that this Preemption Rule is unlawful and should be vacated.
Take the example of preemption laws, which prohibit lower levels of government from passing stronger legislation. Preemption is a defensive tactic. Industries turn to it when cities pass laws that more strictly regulate products or practices, such as higher minimum wage laws, stronger gun control and even the removal of Confederate monuments. Big Tobacco pioneered the use of preemption laws in the 1980’s—and now e-cigarette manufacturers, including Juul, the biggest player in the e-cigarette market, are turning to that page in the Big Tobacco playbook.
Senator Donovan looks to scrap plastic-ban preemption
Aspen Daily News, 9/30/2019
The Colorado state senator whose district includes Aspen said she is considering carrying a bill during next year’s legislative session that would amend a state law preventing local governments from enacting plastic bans.
Plastic bag ban preemption conflict ongoing in Florida
Ballotpedia News, 10/8/2019
Preemption occurs when law at a higher level of government is used to overrule authority at a lower level of government. A recent sequence of events in Florida provides an example of the conflict that can emerge between state and local governments over the idea of preemption.
In August 2019, the Florida Third District Court of Appeal ruled that sections of Florida law that prohibit local governments from regulating plastic bags and other packaging were constitutional. That decision reversed a ruling by the Eleventh Circuit Court that upheld the city of Coral Gables’ ban on the retail use of polystyrene, or Styrofoam, which had been approved in February 2016. The case was originally brought by the Florida Retail Federation.
Tampa mulls resolution supporting federal assault weapons ban
The Florida Legislature passed in 2011 and Gov. Rick Scott signed into law a preemption on local gun ordinances. That law took preemption to a whole new level, providing fines of up to $5,000 against elected officials who try to usurp state power and giving the Governor the authority to remove them from office.
Gun control to be hotly debated before – and during – Florida’s 2020 session
SB 134: Pre-filed Aug. 1 by Sen. Annette Taddeo, D-Miami, would repeal a 1987 preemption law prohibiting local governments from adopting gun regulations more restrictive than the state’s. It has been referred to the Senate Infrastructure & Security, Judiciary and Rules committees. Rep. Dan Daley, D-Sunrise, pre-filed a House companion bill, HB 6009, on Aug. 16. It has not been assigned to a committee.
Missouri CAFO Law Goes Into Effect, Regulation Moves From Local To State Control
St. Louis Public Radio, 9/16/2019
The state of Missouri can begin taking over the regulation of large livestock operations from county and local representatives.
A Cole County judge last week lifted a temporary injunction that had been blocking a law that transfers that regulatory power from counties to the state since last month.
Ohio Cities Would Get Back Gun Control Powers Under New Bill
Ohio lawmakers passed a law in 2006 that prevented local governments from passing any gun laws that are more restrictive than those enacted at the state level, and when cities challenged it, the Ohio Supreme Court upheld the law. Now, there’s a move afoot to change it.
Mayors, Health Groups Slam Plan to Lower Emissions Standards in Ohio
Ohio News Service, 9/20/2019
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Groups concerned about air quality, climate change and local control are speaking out to oppose the Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to impose a lower federal standard for vehicle emissions, and prevent states from requiring more pollution controls on cars.
Column: State legislatures are on a mission to stifle home rule
Columbus Dispatch, 9/21/2019
Every day, our local elected officials make decisions that impact our communities — decisions that protect our health and safety, ensure municipal services are seamlessly executed and allow our local needs and values to guide the policies we implement. It’s important that they have this ability, especially when the federal or state government lack necessary laws or regulations that address local issues and concerns.
Oklahoma representative sues Gov. Stitt over permitless carry gun law
In the lawsuit, attorneys for Lowe and the other plaintiffs argue that the bill deals not just with carrying firearms, but also with self-defense, a campus weapons ban, the transportation of firearms, preemption and other subjects.
In 2017, voters in Lincoln County narrowly approved an initiative to ban the spraying of pesticides from the air. Now, more than two years after a lawsuit was filed by opponents, Circuit Court Judge Sheryl Bachart in Newport has ruled that state law pre-empts local efforts to regulate pesticides. [Emphasis added]
New Sick Leave Guidance for San Antonio Employers
National Law Review, 10/7/2019
While many business groups still believe San Antonio’s revised sick leave ordinance is preempted by Texas’ state wage laws, and its implementation on December 1, 2019 is still to be determined, employers should remain vigilant and stay up-to-speed on these changes in the run-up to December 1, 2019. It is still possible that the revised San Antonio ordinance will be challenged in court as we’ve seen with similar Dallas and Austin ordinances. At the time this blog post is published, the Austin ordinance remains enjoined and the Dallas ordinance is pending litigation. In the case of the Dallas ordinance, there is an October 8, 2019, hearing on a motion to transfer venue, and the City of Dallas just filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit on September 20, 2019.
Editorial: Local government makes difference
Cody Enterprise, 10/2/2019
[S]tate and local governments need to deliver on the things voters need – streets without potholes, adequate police protection, excellent public education, sewers that work.
In other words, state and local officials need to promote real programs with real results that affect real people where they live.
The result is more divisiveness in this nation with presidential candidates promising what polls in this country show voters don’t want or aren’t concerned about and candidates for state and local offices focusing on local issues that impact voters.
It is a strange dichotomy that has divided the way federal and local governments operate and most assuredly will lead to one of two alternatives…
We hope and pray the first alternative prevails and the citizens of Wyoming and Park County and Cody can call on local governments to provide the services they need.
Local control faces third assault
Jackson Hole News & Guide, 9/25/2019
It’s startling to consider that the Wyoming Legislature isn’t even back in session, and another bill aimed at seizing local control from Jackson Hole elected officials is making its way to Cheyenne.