Let’s fight preemption of local control
Luke Fuszard, Tribune News Service, 1/15/2020
Four years ago, the residents of Denton, Texas, took extraordinary action. In a state known for its ties to oil and gas production, Denton voters overwhelmingly passed a resolution banning the process for extracting natural gas known as hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” within city limits.
Neighbors had been complaining about noise and toxic fumes from the nearby drilling sites for years. Finally, a group of concerned activists rose up and scored a major victory for public health.
Sadly, their victory was short-lived.
Five months later, after intense lobbying from the oil and gas industry, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill prohibiting all Texas towns from passing oil and gas regulations, thus nullifying the city referendum. Today, drilling within the city is fully operational and takes place near many of Denton’s public parks and hospitals. [Emphasis added]
Food & Nutrition Policy
Philadelphia won the pop tax battle. But in Cook County and across US, Big Soda is winning the war.
Chicago Tribune, 1/30/2020
Only seven cities levy a tax on soda distribution, and Philadelphia is the only one on the East Coast to do so, according to The Tax Policy Center, a Washington think tank. No new taxes have taken effect since January 2018. The beverage industry has mounted an effective counteroffensive in the past three years, backing state “preemption” legislation that now bans municipalities from passing new taxes in Arizona, California, Michigan and Washington state. [Emphasis added]
Strong Firearms Preemption Laws Are More Important Than Ever
This past fall, gun owners have been given two prime examples of just how important strong firearms preemption laws are to the vibrant exercise of Second Amendment rights. On Oct. 22, the Montana Supreme Court struck down a Missoula ordinance that purported to restrict city residents’ ability to transfer firearms. On Oct. 29, Allegheny County Common Pleas Senior Judge Joseph M. James struck down a raft of Pittsburgh ordinances that purported to regulate the use of firearms in public places within the city and provide for the confiscation of firearms without due process. In both instances, the tribunals pointed to the state firearms preemption statute as precluding the locality’s anti-gun efforts.
City regulation of 5G deployment on council agenda Tuesday
Davis Enterprise, 1/24/2020
Opposition to 5G high-speed internet service — and, specifically, the small cell antenna systems that must be deployed in large numbers to provide it — has been seen and heard around the country over the last two years as federal law has limited the ability of local government to regulate the service.
Colorado Senate committee ‘postpones’ bill that sought to give local governments power over plastics
Aspen Daily News, 2/6/2020
A bill that sought to repeal the law that keeps local governments from banning plastics was essentially shelved on Tuesday evening.
4 Ways Colorado Lawmakers Want To Reduce The Plastic In Your Life
Supporters feel the 1989 law now stands in the way of reducing plastic pollution and the Colorado Municipal League would like to see some local control restored.
“We have a proud, long tradition and respect for both local control and home rule authority here in Colorado,” CML’s Morgan Cullen said. “Yet we’re just one of 15 other [states] across the country that actually has one of these plastic preemptions.”
Ask Eartha: The ban on banning plastics
Summit Daily, 2/6/2020
Before we demand change from local lawmakers, we need to understand what we’re working with. In Colorado, there is a statute that restricts towns, cities and counties from banning or regulating any plastic products, making it illegal to ban things like plastic shopping bags and Styrofoam takeout containers.
Proposed Florida law a ‘nuclear bomb’ to local control of zoning, attorney says
Tampa Bay Times, 2/5/2020
REDINGTON SHORES — Pinellas County beach town officials are hoping to defeat a proposed new state law that they fear would cost them to millions of dollars in liability settlements and undermine their ability to determine their very character through changes to zoning and land use rules.
“This is a terrible bill … it is a nuclear bomb to local regulation of land use,” Jay Daigneault, attorney for two beach communities, told the Barrier Island Governmental Council last week.
Florida agriculture commissioner and NRA lobbyist spar over gun case
Tampa Bay Times, 12/30/2019
Florida since 1987 has barred cities and counties from passing regulations that are stricter than state firearms laws, a concept known as “preemption” of local gun laws. The 2011 law was designed to strengthen the preemption by adding penalties, such as the possibility of local officials facing $5,000 fines and potential removal from office for passing gun regulations.
Nikki Fried rebukes NRA and state officials backing gun preemption law
In a brief filed Tuesday, the Commissioner opposed punishments, found unconstitutional in July, for local mayors and commissioners who consider certain gun control measures. And Friday, the NRA sent its supporters a message from its past president, Marion Hammer, calling Fried “the most anti-gun Commissioner of Agriculture in over 40 years — maybe ever!”
Right to Farm Act passes state Senate committee
The Hartwell Sun, 2/5/2020
ATLANTA – A bill supporters say would increase protections for Georgia farmers from nuisance lawsuits passed a state Senate committee Tuesday.
Senate looks to limit suits against ag operations
The Brunswick News, 1/29/2020
A bill backed by agribusiness groups that seeks to limit lawsuits against agriculture operations received new life Tuesday in the state Senate, as the Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee debated a substitute to House Bill 545.
Kansas bills would block ‘red flag’ orders that require residents to give up guns
Twin bills filed in the House and Senate would prohibit Kansas authorities from enforcing so-called “red flag” orders issued in other states barring Kansas residents from possessing weapons because they are considered a danger to themselves or others.
Rep. Howell continues fight against bill to eliminate mining regulations
Michigan House Republicans, 1/31/2020
State Representative Gary Howell (R -North Branch) this week testified in opposition to Senate Bill 431 in the Senate Transportation Committee.
The Senate bill, if enacted, would strip away local control and give aggregate companies full authority to establish gravel mines anywhere in Michigan regardless of what the local citizens and their township officials say and regardless of health and safety issues…
“The residents of Metamora as well as citizens throughout the state deserve to maintain the right of local control over decisions affecting their homes and property,” Howell said. “The aggregate companies have been defeated three times in court. They know that if they were to continue going to court, they would continue to lose. They are now trying to change state law and void the judicial decisions.”
Opinion: Respect local control over mining
Paul Mitchell, Detroit News, 1/29/2020
As the U.S. representative for Michigan’s 10th Congressional District, it is my duty to represent my constituents and district wherever necessary. Last week, it took me to Lansing to testify in opposition to a Michigan Senate bill (SB 431) that effectively eliminates local control over aggregate mine decisions and eases approval of permits for such mines in Michigan. Constituents contacted me to help voice their significant concerns about the impact this legislation could have upon human health, the environment, and their communities.
Limiting microplastics begins at local level
First and foremost, local municipalities and the Oakland County Board of Commissioners should encourage the Michigan legislature to repeal its 2016 law which prohibits local governments from passing ordinances regulating single-use plastic containers or banning the use of plastic grocery bags in its municipality.
Plastic Bag Fees in MN Cities Underscore National Movement
The two Minnesota ordinances were adopted as fees, because the state Legislature had already enacted a preemption law prohibiting plastic bag bans.
Close Vote: Fargo ND Investigates Removal of Zoning Ban on Selling Firearms
North Dakota has a strong preemption law, which prohibits local governments from passing restrictions on the exercise of Second Amendment rights.
The zoning code appears to violate the state preemption law. Some case law argues zoning law is exempt from state preemption. This may be the case when the law applies to all commercial sales, not to firearms sales alone.
Could the Ohio River have rights? A movement to grant rights to the environment tests the power of local control
Environmental Health News, 2/4/2020
Can you imagine if the Ohio River and its tributaries had legal rights? While speculative, the idea isn’t necessarily far-fetched. This month marks the one-year anniversary of residents in Toledo, Ohio, bestowing Lake Erie with its own bill of rights.
In 2014, Ohio declared a state of emergency after about 110 people fell sick from an algae bloom and about half a million area residents were instructed not to drink tap water for three days. Unhappy with existing state and federal environmental protection, area activists got creative.
Cuyahoga County’s ban on single use plastic bags takes effect as we ring in 2020
Fox8 Cleveland, 12/31/2019
LYNDHURST, Ohio (WJW) — Cuyahoga County’s ban on single use plastic bags takes effect Wednesday…
Meanwhile, proposed state legislation would prohibit local bag bans like the one taking effect in Cuyahoga County.
The Ohio House passed a bill this month that would preempt the bans, and it’s now in the Senate.
Philadelphia’s state legislators fail to move gun regulation in Harrisburg, dooming a city bill
The Philadelphia Tribune, 12/20/2019
Without the passage of the bills in Harrisburg, the state’s preemption law, which prohibits local governments from regulating firearms, all but dooms similar legislation Philadelphia City Council passed in November, which Mayor Jim Kenney later signed.
Environmental Groups Support Latest Bag Ban Bill
Last year, the lack of a fee and, to a greater extent, the inclusion of a preemption clause soured groups such as Clean Water Action, the Conservation Law Foundation, and Clean Ocean Access and members of Gov. Gina Raimondo’s Task Force to Tackle Plastics, an initiative that failed to secure any directives last year.
South Dakota Is the Latest State Looking to Outlaw Plastic Bag Bans
Food & Wine, 1/31/2020
Growing concerns over plastic waste—especially from single-use items like bags and straws—has been a huge topic of discussion in recent years. As a result, a number of U.S. states have passed bans on these items. But thanks in part to America’s polarized political landscape, we’ve seen another, opposite response as well: Other states have chosen to pass bans on these kinds of bans themselves, preempting local governments from stepping in and taking matters into their own hands.
State Senator Kel Seliger talks local control with county voters
Moore County News-Press, 12/23/2019
“Local control right now in the Texas Legislature is on life support, and it is one of the most troubling things I have seen,” said State Senator Kel Seliger Tuesday, December 10, before a group of voters in the Dumas/Moore County Chamber of Commerce. The senator was in Dumas as part of a series of town-hall meetings he was having across the 31st District to discuss developments from the 86th Texas Legislature and issues facing the Texas Panhandle.
Outgunned in Galveston: Texas wrong to supersede modest local control
Editorial Board, Houston Chronicle, 2/3/2020
“The Office of the Attorney General demands that the City repeal these regulations and any like them immediately,” Assistant Attorney General Cleve Doty wrote. “Rather than file litigation now, we are confident that the City of Galveston intends to comply with Texas law and will rescind regulations that are in violation of Texas law.”
The message was a reminder that state law prohibits municipalities from “adopt[ing] regulations relating to: the transfer, possession, wearing, carrying, ownership, storage, transportation, licensing, or registration of firearms.”
And how exactly had the city so brazenly defied the state?
It had passed ordinances prohibiting gun stores from operating within 200 feet of schools, public parks or places of worship, and also set noise limits for outdoor shooting ranges.
Board of Health Sends Requests on Key Issues to State Legislature
“King County and Public Health are faced with a myriad of challenges that are further compounded by state preemption laws or inaction by the Legislature,” said Council-member Jeanne Kohl-Welles, chair of the King County Board of Health. “These resolutions are a strong reminder to the Legislature that we must work collaboratively to address the region’s most pressing issues and that we should be free to tackle local problems with local action.”