Broadband & Wireless
Fleeced by the Telecoms and Your State is Blessing It
The American Conservative, 10/21/2019
Joey Durel was not an obvious champion for building a municipal broadband network in his city. He owned multiple private businesses and was the head of the local chamber of commerce prior to becoming mayor of Lafayette, Louisiana, one of the most conservative urban centers in America…
Durel soon determined that a city-run broadband network would provide better services at lower prices than Bellsouth or Cox, but he was under no illusion those companies would go quietly into the night. However, he probably didn’t expect such a challenge to his authority—a challenge that went right up to the state legislature to stop him. This was preemption, and Durel was about to get one heck of an education in how monopolies use the levers of government to get what they want…
[In] Lafayette a conservative legislature is stream-rolling what can only be described as a local conservative effort to save money and increase the quality of service to the community. [Emphasis Added]
Plastic Bags & Other Disposable Containers
These 16 U.S. States Have a Ban on Banning Plastic?!
One Green Planet, 10/17/2019
While states like Massachusetts and California embrace plastic bag bans and laws on straws, other states are doing the opposite. North Dakota, Tennessee, and Oklahoma have enacted “ban on local bans” laws, also known as preemption laws, which prevents cities and towns from creating laws prohibiting plastic bags and the like.
Paid Sick Leave
On October 11, 2019, a federal judge for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington ruled that Washington state’s paid sick leave law does not violate the Constitution or federal preemption law, thereby guaranteeing sick leave benefits for airline flight crew employees based in Washington.
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.
Ducey OK with municipalities differing from Arizona law on public health
The Daily Independent, 10/27/2019
PHOENIX — Gov. Doug Ducey said Thursday he’s OK with local governments enacting their own ordinances that conflict with state law — as long as the issue is public health.
“I like to see uniformity,” the governor told Capitol Media Services. And Ducey has penned his approval to a state law that can lead to a city forfeiting half of its state revenue sharing if the attorney general determines that a local ordinance conflicts with state law…
“An exception that I would be open-minded to would be around public health and safety,” he said.
Ducey’s comments come just days after the Tucson City Council voted 6-1 to set the minimum age to sell tobacco products at 21…
“If the city of Tucson makes a decision to raise the smoking age to 21, who am I to argue,” he said.
The smoking age and local preemption
Capitol Media Services, 10/26/2019
[Governor] Ducey sidestepped questions about whether he would veto any legislation to remove local options — the kind of legislation approved by the House earlier this year before it failed in the Senate.
That measure would have raised the age for purchase and sale from 18 to 21. But that proposal had a poison pill of sorts: It would block communities from enacting any new future local laws on the marketing and sale of both tobacco and vaping products.
Denver Wage Plan Sign of Fight Over Ever-Wider State Preemptions
Bloomberg Law, 10/25/2019
Denver officials are considering a minimum wage increase for the first time in 20 years—not because there’s been no appetite for it but because state law prevented it until now.
A new Colorado law effective in August lets cities and counties set minimum wage requirements higher than the state minimum, which is $11.10 per hour. The Denver mayor’s plan, if approved, would gradually raise the city’s wage floor to more than $15.
DENVER – Proponents of an effort to recall Senate President Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, turned in four of the 13,506 signatures they needed to get a recall on a ballot in the latest and perhaps final failed recall effort of state-level lawmakers in 2019 in Colorado…
The effort against Garcia was seen as a long-shot by many from its onset. The Pueblo Democrat won his 2018 race by nearly 47 percentage points, but organizers of the effort against him said they were unhappy with his support of SB19-181, the local control oil and gas bill.
Bevin brings campaign to Ohio County
“Without question, I am a believer in local control to the extent possible,” Bevin said. “We have to do it in a way that isn’t a detriment to Kentucky as a whole, but we do have some pretty antiquated rules in respect to who can have an occupancy tax for example. I am a big believer in us having a modern, 21st-century conversation, and I am looking forward to that conversation. We have started to make changes there and have given more control to local levels of control, including how discretionary road dollars are being spent. Local control and local voices need to be heard more than they have historically.”
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.
Editorial: Weaning the US off its plastic addiction
Gainesville Sun, 10/15/2019
Baltimore’s Plastic Bag Ban Proposal Advances Through Committee, Heads To Full City Council
Much of the discussion about the legislation revolved around a possible statewide ban that could possibly be passed in 2020…
Councilman Bill Henry introduced the plastic bag ban in Baltimore. He said he won’t know how a new state law could affect the proposed city ban until it passes.
“When they’re passing bills in Annapolis, they make a conscious decision whether they will preempt local legislation,” he said. “Right now, we’re just moving forward on making Baltimore City better.”
Baltimore lawmakers advance plastic bag ban, 5-cent paper bag fee, and predict a statewide ban is coming
The Baltimore Sun, 10/28/2019
Cailey Locklair Tolle, president of the Maryland Retailers Association, said her organization no longer opposes the city bill because she expects the General Assembly to pass plastic bag-related legislation in 2020. As more county and municipal governments around the state adopt bans, retailers are seeking a simpler, statewide policy as opposed to what she called “this bizarre patchwork” of bag bans and fees.
Supreme Court reverses decision on Missoula gun ordinance
The Sun Times, 10/22/2019
In its Tuesday ruling, the Supreme Court said the ordinance went too far beyond keeping guns away from convicted felons, minors and the mentally ill. While the state law controlling local government’s ability to enact gun regulations allows cities the ability to restrict “possession” of firearms, it does not allow restrictions on purchase, sale, other transfer, ownership, transportation and use, the justices wrote.
Montana Supreme Court Strikes Down Missoula Gun Control Scheme
State vs. Local: Battle Over Home Rule Rages in Ohio
The home rule provision was added to the Ohio constitution by voters in 1912, and the struggles between local officials and state lawmakers have raged almost since then. There have been claims that home rule is “under attack”.
In recent years, state laws colliding with local ordinances on guns, fracking, traffic cameras, residency and construction projects have come for resolution to the Ohio Supreme Court. In 2009, assistant attorney general Benjamin Mizer argued before the court about a 2006 state law overturning more than a hundred local residency laws for public employees.
Local municipalities defend their eroding right to home rule
The Athens Post, 10/17/2019
Municipalities in Ohio have home rule, meaning local governments can make their own laws outside of the Ohio Revised Code. At the same time, the state government can use its power of preemption to make laws that render local actions obsolete.
That’s where the people in Fahl’s ward get upset.
“People are pissed,” Fahl said. “They should be pissed. It doesn’t matter if you’re Republican or independent, or, you know, Democrat … who cares? It’s an infringement of our basic rights.”
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.
Can a campaign for nature and community rights stop aerial spraying in Oregon?
High Country News, 10/23/2019
With both hands in the pockets of his khakis, Loren Wand wavered nervously on a small stage at Bier One Brewing in Newport, Oregon… As Wand started speaking, someone in the audience reminded him to talk directly into the microphone.
He did, telling the story of his wife, Debra Wand, who was 44 when she died from cancer. Wand attributes her illness, which started with respiratory issues, to aerially sprayed herbicides that drifted onto his wife on their rural property. At the 2015 kickoff for a campaign to ban aerial pesticide spraying in Lincoln County, Wand said it was time to put the rights of people and the environment over corporate profit.
Wand’s story was the first of many told during the campaign for the ballot initiative, which narrowly prevailed in May 2017. Almost immediately after the ban passed, however, a local timberland owner and farming corporation challenged it in court. This September, a circuit court judge struck it down, saying it violated a state law pre-empting counties and cities from regulating pesticides. [Emphasis Added]
Pittsburgh gun ordinances struck down by Allegheny County judge
PITTSBURGH — Gun restrictions passed by the city of Pittsburgh earlier this year were struck down by an Allegheny County judge on Tuesday.
Judge Joseph James agreed with attorneys for gun rights advocates that the Pennsylvania Uniform Firearms Act trumps the city’s ability to pass such legislation at a local level.
As Fairhill reels from weekend shooting, a reminder of government’s role in preventing trauma
Philadelphia Inquirer, 10/14/2019
Gun violence is sickening an entire generation. Like all epidemics, it requires swift action. It requires Philadelphia to enact common sense gun control.
But Pennsylvania has a “preemption law.” This means our city cannot pass gun legislation more restrictive than what our state allows. We cannot ban assault-style weapons. We cannot keep firearms out of city parks. We cannot limit the number of guns a person may own or require safe storage.
Rep. Kyle Kacal talks election issues, Bonnen recording
Waco Tribune-Herald 10/27/2019
Kacal and the other GOP lawmakers apparently were targeted because they didn’t support Senate Bill 29, a failed bill that would have prevented cities and counties from lobbying using taxpayer dollars.
Kacal this week was unapologetic about that position, saying that he doesn’t see county and city governments as the adversaries some state lawmakers do.
“I ran on local control, and I think I’ve been consistent since Day 1,” he said. “I’ve worked with my mayors, county judges, commissioners. It’s a partnership. …My job is not to come in and tell the people of Waco that you voted wrong.”
House Speaker Dennis Bonnen may be gone, but the fight over local control continues
Richard Green, star-telegram.com, 10/25/2019
Prior to and during the Legislature’s last session, readers may recall, I tried to sound the alarm about the disdain many of our state lawmakers have for local governments.
Some of the feedback I received was that my concerns were unfounded and that our representatives were only trying to cut property taxes.
Bill Whitaker: Lessons on politics, local control and voting from the fall of the House of Bonnen
Waco Tribune-Herald, 10/24/2019
Every so often, someone emerges who seems uniquely suited to make a positive difference in politics. A few years ago, I felt this way about state Rep. Dennis Bonnen, a sharp-tongued, intellectually edgy Republican from Angleton, south of Houston…
So there’s cruel irony in the fact that, after one term as House speaker, Bonnen will go down in Texas history as a Texas-sized hypocrite fooled by an unelected lobbyist and blogger. Mere weeks after making a magnanimous show of warning House members, Democrat and Republican alike, to not campaign against fellow incumbents, he and Republican Rep. Dustin Burrows met behind closed doors with Michael Quinn Sullivan, a right-wing lobbyist funded partially by a wealthy West Texas oilman. There they sought to enlist Sullivan’s support in defeating 10 Republican legislators who declined to back a bill to ban taxpayer-funded lobbying, which would have stifled inconvenient push-back from locally elected leaders, especially those far from Austin.
Q&A: Tacoma City Council Member Ryan Mello on battling with the NRA over his firearms tax
We are very much preempted from doing much of anything to really get at gun violence, except for taxation to fund proven prevention programs.
Washington: Court Upholds State Preemption in Legal Victory for NRA & SAF
On October 18th, law-abiding gun owners won a major victory when the Washington Superior Court granted a motion for summary judgment against the City of Edmonds for violating the state’s preemption statute. This win invalidates the mandatory firearm storage ordinance passed by the City Council, and constitutes a victory for freedom and the Second Amendment.
Judge Says Edmonds, WA ‘Safe Storage’ Rule Violates Firearms Preemption Law
BELLEVUE, WA – -(AmmoLand.com)- A Snohomish County, WA Superior Court judge has ruled that a 2018-passed ordinance in the City of Edmonds requiring so-called “safe storage” of firearms “impermissibly regulates firearms in violation” of Washington’s 36-year-old preemption law, in a lawsuit filed by the Second Amendment Foundation and National Rifle Association.
What Is Wisconsin’s ‘Right-To-Farm’ Law And Who Does It Protect?
Daily life for many Wisconsinites is permeated with the sights, sounds and smells of agriculture. But as a growing number of livestock farms in Wisconsin expand to massive sizes, sometimes housing thousands of animals in relatively close quarters, the sensations these farms arouse among their neighbors can lead to intense personal conflicts.
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…
We hope and pray [that] the citizens of Wyoming and Park County and Cody can call on local governments to provide the services they need.