Research & Resources
Webinar (video recording, November 18, 2020)
Oregon Community Rights Network (OCRN) & Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF)
- Lindsey Schromen Wawrin (OCRN)
- Mark Pertschuk (Grassroots Change & Preemption Watch)
- Tim Gibbons (Missouri Rural Crisis Center)
- Kai Huschke, Moderator (CELDF)
State Preemption of Local Immigration “Sanctuary” Policies: Legal Considerations. Mark Hall, Lilli Mann-Jackson, Scott Rhodes. American Journal of Public Health. (2021)
Starving counties, squeezing cities: tax and expenditure limits in the US. Christine Wen, Yuanshuo Xu, Yunji Kim & Mildred E. Warner. Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Volume 23 Issue 2. (2020)
Blocking the Progressive City: How State Preemptions Undermine Labor Rights. Kim, Yunji, Austin M. Aldag and Mildred E. Warner. (2020)
Grabbing Market Share, Taming Rogue Cities and Crippling Counties: Views from the Field on State Preemption of Local Authority. Bravo, N, Warner, ME and Aldag A. Dept. of City and Regional Planning, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. (2020)
Shrinking Local Autonomy: Corporate Coalitions and the Subnational State. Yunji Kim and Mildred Warner. Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, 11(3): 427-441. (2018)
Executive Order on Promoting COVID-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel
The White House, 1/21/2021
Preemption. To the extent permitted by applicable law, the heads of agencies shall ensure that any action taken to implement this section does not preempt State, local, Tribal, and territorial laws or rules imposing public health measures that are more protective of public health than those required by the heads of agencies.
How Biden Can Use Federal Power to Liberate Localities
The Washington Monthly, January-March 2021
At the behest of telecommunications monopolists, some GOP-run states, such as Mississippi, have started banning localities from setting up their own broadband internet networks…
[A]t least 22 states… have passed laws pushed by wealthy telecom companies that ban or severely limit municipal broadband…
If Biden obtains a majority on the FCC—it currently has a 2–2 split—the agency should go to court to challenge states’ preemption power in this area. [Emphasis added]
Climate Change & the Natural Environment
Gas ban backlash spreads across the U.S.
E&E News, 2/2/2021
The Berkeley, Calif., City Council passed the nation’s first ban on natural gas hookups for new buildings in the summer of 2019…
Dozens of other cities, mostly in California, have adopted or proposed policies to prohibit or limit gas infrastructure in new buildings. Seattle passed similar restrictions last night.
Now, Republican-led states in the South and Midwest — many of them gas-producing states — have moved swiftly to preempt local governments from following suit. [Emphasis added]
Preemption Looms Large
Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, 1/21/2021
High Alert: FL, TX, LA, WV, TN, KS, IA, MO
We are on high alert with advocates anticipating preemptive bill language to be filed in Florida, Texas, Louisiana, West Virginia, Tennessee, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, and beyond. This is in part a response to the American Legislative Exchange Council or ALEC’s nationwide strategy via an “emergency limitation act” to limit local control of public health during an emergency like a global pandemic.
North and South: Anti-gunners Targeting State Preemption Statutes
U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- Anti-gun lawmakers in at least three states are pushing legislation to undo state firearms preemption statutes in an effort to return to the days when gun owners could easily fall victim to legal rat traps by crossing an invisible line between two jurisdictions with gun laws that might conflict with one another.
“We need comprehensive privacy reform to protect Americans at all times…
the issue of a federal data privacy law has been one that has been a hotly contested topic on Capitol Hill for years, in particular following the passage of California’s landmark privacy law…
U.S. Supreme Court: State law can require PBMs to pay fair amount
American Medical Association, 1/8/2021
In a win for patients and physicians, state lawmakers can continue to legislate certain aspects of how pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs) operate in their states, the U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled.
COVID-19 Unmasks Issues Around Public Health Preemption
Temple University Center for Public Health Law, 12/21/2020
States across the U.S. are using preemption to stifle local authority aimed at mitigating the spread of COVID-19, resulting in confusion and a fragmented response.
Fort Collins approves plastic bag ban ballot measure despite disagreement over preemption
Local members of Congress propose giving D.C. control of its National Guard troops
The Washington Post, 1/28/2021
Record Number Of Senate Democrats Support D.C. Statehood Bill
[T]he insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 and the ensuing controversy over federal law enforcement’s response renewed demands for statehood. Advocates pointed to the lack of local control over the D.C. National Guard as one of the reasons why the mob was able to breach the Capitol.
Senator Stewart Attempts to Repeal Preemption on Single-Use Plastic Ban
West Orlando News, 2/2/2021
Plastic bag laws still wrapped up by state pre-emption
Proposed legislation aims to repeal the state’s pre-emptions of local law restricting the use of foam-based containers, plastic wrappings and disposable plastic bags and to restore home rule for local governments wishing to regulate single-use plastics.
Bill opens way for smoking bans at Florida parks, beaches
Jackson County Floridian, 1/29/2021
Local governments could ban tobacco smoking at beaches and parks they own and Florida would prohibit smoking in state parks under a bill approved by a Senate committee on Tuesday…
Effort to Repeal Local Minimum Wage and Earned Sick Time Preemption Law
West Orlando News, 1/20/2021
Medical pot, guns, corruption and more: Five Florida legal fights to watch in 2021
Tallahassee Democrat, 1/5/2021
From a water battle to a gun law passed after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, courts are grappling with numerous major Florida legal issues.
From Gun Laws To Medical Marijuana: Five Florida Legal Fights To Watch In 2021
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.
‘Government overreach’: Indy Democrats, Republican lawmakers clash over policy
Hope springs eternal with Iowa’s 89th General Assembly
The Gazette, 1/10/2021
There were at least five bills the trifecta-controlled Republicans passed that may not be in the best interest of Iowans: 1) a pitiful investment in Iowa’s K-12 public schools, 2) overriding local control of weapons laws… [Emphasis added]
In Kansas, the biggest counties have less say over their elections. Some want a change
The Kansas City Star, 1/31/2021
The controversy has prompted a reassessment of whether the state law that allows Schwab to name election commissioners in the most-populated counties is the best system for running elections. As elections grow more complex and public confidence in them is increasingly threatened by baseless allegations of fraud, some Democrats and Republicans are calling for a change.
Survey: Pandemic hasn’t curbed teen e-cig use
Two bills filed for consideration in Frankfort would give local governments the ability to regulate where and how tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, are sold and marketed in their communities. The KYA survey found 70% of middle school and high school students support giving local governments authority to regulate tobacco sales. [Emphasis added]
Counties seek local control of tobacco marketing, sales
A dozen states, including Kentucky, have laws on the books pre-empting local tobacco ordinances.
Bills would give local governments ability to regulate tobacco sales, advertising
Two bills filed in the state House of Representatives and Senate would [repeal preemption and] give local governments the authority to regulate tobacco sales along with the advertising and distribution of tobacco products.
Advocates push statewide ban on plastic bags
The Eagle-Tribune, 2/2/2021
The food industry supports a uniform ban on plastic bags to replace the patchwork of local restrictions and create an “even playing field” for businesses.
Judge orders Batavia compost site to be cleaned up by March 1
The township took Cornelius Farms and Fred Cornelius to court last summer claiming the alleged commercial composting was not permitted in an agricultural district. The township also complained about the “obnoxious odors” which according to the plaintiff constituted a nuisance.
The defendants maintained that the Michigan Right to Farm Act preempts the local zoning requirements and therefore precludes a nuisance finding. [Emphasis added]
Missouri lawmakers cracking down on local emergency powers used to crack down on businesses
The Center Square, 1/24/2021
The Senate Health & Pensions Committee is reviewing at least six proposed bills that would make it more difficult for city and state officials to close businesses or religious services during a public health emergency.
Our Call: ‘Local control’ is preached, not practiced by legislators (Editorial)
Call newspapers, 1/7/2021
As COVID-19 rages, Missouri Republicans push limits on local public health authority
Kansas City Star, 1/6/2021
Local health officials across Missouri have deployed extraordinary measures against COVID-19, everything from mask mandates to bans on indoor dining, in an attempt to bring the virus under control.
Montana House Supports Ban To Repeal Local Control Of Flavored Electronic Cigarettes
Vaping Post, 2/2/2021
Bill will stop new smoke-free laws (Letter to the Editor)
A local governing body, local board of health, or the department may not enact or enforce any regulation, rule, or ordinance that alters, expands, or modifies the prohibitions provided for in 50-40-104 or that alters, expands, or modifies the definitions provided in 50-40-103.
NEW SECTION. Section 1. Alternative nicotine products and vapor products — rulemaking and local ordinance prohibition
House endorses repeal of local vape product bans
Independent Record, 1/29/2021
A bill to prohibit local governments from putting regulations on vaping and alternative nicotine products got the initial approval from the Montana House Friday, a proposal carried by a lawmaker who co-owns three vape shops.
Montana Bill Would Limit Rulemaking by Local Health Boards
Flathead Beason, 1/15/2021
Proponents of the bill said during a committee hearing Thursday that it would restore confidence in public health edicts. Opponents said allowing elected officials to intervene in health board decisions could allow politics to overpower science in decisions regarding urgent health concerns.
Ricketts pitches property tax measure to Nebraska panel
Tulsa World, 1/27/2021
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts pitched his property tax proposal to a legislative committee on Wednesday. warning that voters might take the issue into their own hands if lawmakers don’t cap how much local governments can collect.
The Republican governor’s measure won support from a prominent farming organization and conservative groups, but faced opposition from cities, counties and school advocates who say it would undermine local control.
Editorial, 1/3: Editorial board sets priorities for 2021
Lincoln Journal Star, 1/3/2021
Gov. Pete Ricketts has floated the idea of spending caps on public schools, which would override the state’s long, proud tradition of local control over public schools.
6 Policies To Reduce Gun Violence in Nevada
Center for American Progress, 1/27/2021
Nevada has a restrictive preemption law that prevents localities from enacting laws or ordinances to protect local communities from the particular forms of gun violence that are of biggest local concern. This law prohibits local units of government from enacting local laws that “regulate the transfer, sale, purchase, possession, carrying, ownership, transportation, storage, registration and licensing of firearms, firearm accessories and ammunition.”
New Mexico bill would give state more authority on air pollution from oil and gas if passed
Carlsbad Current-Argus, 1/28/2021
“We believe local communities, impacted communities know best what additional protections are needed to protect their health and the places they live…”
Crime Commission supports changing residency requirements for first responders
“During our discussion, it was obvious that many Board members were sensitive to the issue of state government preempting local decision-making. However, most Board members see enactment of the legislation as a necessary step to address the severe shortage of local law enforcement officers,” said Ben Adams, Board chair.
Political notebook: Tulsa-area representative elected to House’s No. 2 slot
Tulsa World, 1/10/2021
State v. local: Legislators will also again struggle over how much “local control” they want local governments to have.
Over the past decade, the Legislature has chipped away at municipal autonomy with laws restricting towns’ and cities’ ability to set such things as minimum wages and oil and gas drilling regulations.
Bills filed so far this year would limit their ability to require home-based businesses to meet zoning and building codes and enact mask ordinances. [Emphasis added]
Broken Arrow legislator Nathan Dahm seeks to preempt local mask mandates
The Oklahoman, 1/5/2021
A Republican state senator from Broken Arrow has pre-filed legislation for the upcoming legislative session seeking to prevent localities from imposing COVID-19 mask mandates.
Looking to boost minimum wage, Pa. Dems want to end preemption. That’s a heavy lift
Pennsylvania Capital-Star, 1/6/2021
Knife Rights’ South Carolina Knife Law Preemption Bill Introduced
State Versus Local Control Underpins 87th Texas Legislative Session
The Texan, 1/27/2021
“I thought Republicans believed in local control.”
Such a retort is frequently recited in and around Texas politics — a theme that permeates issues ranging from taxation and energy policy to police department funding and property rights.
City prepares for 87th Texas Legislative Session
Valley Morning Star, 1/10/2021
A brief overview of the issues pertinent to the City of Brownsville for this upcoming legislative issues include…
>> Local Control and State Preemption. [Emphasis added]
[Judge Whitley] also spoke on how he is concerned about state officials’ “assault on local control,” saying it is a big concern for him.
“Texas is a huge state, we have 254 counties, we have thousands of cities and towns, over 28 million people, and the wants of the citizens in Azle are different than they are in Arlington. Tarrant County is different than Travis County, and for that matter, Texas is different than Tennessee,” he explained…
“I always have strongly supported local control and advocated that elected officials really be allowed to represent the citizens at their respective levels.”
Texas Senate launches effort to ban cities, counties from lobbying Legislature
Houston Chronicle, 12/8/2020
Last year, as part of the anti-gun legislative package that was passed in Richmond, Virginia’s preemption law was partially gutted. Previously, Virginia did not allow local governments to enact regulations on firearms that are more restrictive than what comes out of Richmond. Now, however, cities and counties have the ability to prohibit firearms where government business takes place.
West Virginia’s gets overall ‘F’ grade in latest State of Tobacco Control report
The report gives West Virginia a “D” for its strength of smoke-free workplace laws which was mostly attributed to the large percentage of the state’s population covered under local regulations.
Anticipating Statewide Mask Mandate Repeal, Cities And Counties Craft Local Ordinances
Wisconsin Public Radio, 2/3/2021