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Grassroots Change Newsletter

February 23, 2017 Grassroots Change Newsletter

We’ve expanded and updated our Preemption Map!

The Grassroots Change Preemption Map now covers two new issues: LGBTQ Discrimination & Residential Fire Sprinklers.

Our original six issues have all been updated with new preemption laws from the 2016 legislative sessions.

Discrimination: Three states preempt local LGBTQ nondiscrimination laws (A fourth preemptive law, in Mississippi, was overturned and is on appeal). Preemption of local nondiscrimination policies has taken three forms: 1) state laws with express preemption clauses; 2) “religious freedom” statutes; and 3) “bathroom bills,” which prohibit transgender people from using public restrooms that correlate with their gender identity.

Factory Farms: Thirteen states preempt local control over the location and operation of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs).

Firearms: Forty-three states preempt local firearm and ammunition laws. Six of these states have various forms of “super-preemption” provisions that extend statutory standing to pro-gun membership organizations, making it easier to sue cities and counties, and impose special fines and punishments on local agencies and individual officials.

Paid Sick Days: Sixteen states preempt local paid (or “earned”) sick days requirements for employees, and a majority of these also preempt higher local minimum wages.

E-Cigarettes: Eight states preempt local ordinances regarding e-cigarettes.

Fire Sprinklers: Sixteen states preempt local building codes requiring fire sprinklers in new single family homes.

Nutrition: Nine states preempt local authority over nutrition and food policy, ranging from eliminating local control over food and beverage portion sizes to preempting all food, nutrition, and agricultural policies.

Smokefree: Twelve states preempt local smokefree ordinances that are stronger than state standards.

In addition, in 2016 Arizona adopted a form of Blanket Preemption which allows a single member of the state legislature to freeze the transfer of shared revenues from the state to a “county, city or town that the member alleges violates state law or the Constitution of Arizona.”  Read more here.

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February 7, 2017 Grassroots Change Newsletter

Case Study: Lessons from Two Successful Soda Tax Campaigns

Local soda taxes are policies that work to promote healthy people and communities, and the national grassroots soda tax movement is growing quickly. When sugar sweetened beverages are taxed at the local level people consume less and the revenue is typically used to benefit the community through investment in public health, community development, and education.

Berkeley passed the first local sugary beverage tax in 2014, followed by San FranciscoOakland, and Albany, California; Boulder, Colorado; Cook County (including Chicago), Illinois; and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

In Grassroots Change’s five-part case study of the Boulder and Berkeley victories, you can learn how to inspire a local movement, manage volunteers, navigate local politics, respond to legal challenges, and more. View the case study here: Grassroots Change Soda Tax case study.

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January 18, 2017 Grassroots Change Newsletter

Grassroots Change Interview: Lessons from the Boulder Soda Tax

Part 3: Legal Challenges

“There is always a risk of industry meddling, but the measure passed decisively, so I do think that the City Council will have a hard time making changes that significantly depart from the will of the voters. That said, we will have to remain vigilant that the tax is being implemented in the way in which the community and campaign intended.”

-Hillary Jorgensen, Director of Policy Change, Healthier Colorado

Healthy Boulder Kids coalition

In this final installment in “Lessons from the Boulder Soda Tax,” Grassroots Change talks with Hillary Jorgensen, Director of Policy Change at Healthier Colorado about the soda industry’s legal challenges during Boulder’s successful grassroots soda tax campaign. Read the interview here.

Read how social & health equity motivated Boulder’s grassroots movement in Part 1, and the importance of navigating local politics in Part 2.

Special thanks to Sara Soka and Ninjas for Health for developing this 3-part series for Grassroots Change. Soka was the campaign manager for Berkeley’s successful soda tax initiative in 2014.

Photo Credit: Kyle Pfister, Ninjas for Health

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December 21, 2016 Grassroots Change Newsletter

Grassroots Change Interview: Lessons from the Boulder Soda Tax

Part 2: Local Politics 

Healthy Boulder Kids' fundraiser at Zeal Restaurant.  Credit: Kyle Pfister, Ninjas for Health

Healthy Boulder Kids’ fundraiser at Zeal Restaurant. Credit: Kyle Pfister, Ninjas for Health

This interview series, “Lessons from the Boulder Soda Tax,” delves into three related aspects of successful grassroots movement building. This second installment features Angelique Espinoza, the campaign manager for Healthy Boulder Kids, talking about the art and science of navigating local politics. Read the interview here. 

Next up: Legal challenges, with Hillary Jorgensen, JD, Director of Policy Change at Healthier Colorado.

Read about how social & health equity motivated Boulder’s movement in our previously published interview with Jorge De Santiago and Elena Aranda of AMISTAD.

Special thanks to Sara Soka and Ninjas for Health for developing this series for Grassroots Change. Soka was the campaign manager of Berkeley’s successful soda tax initiative in 2014.

Prevention Diaries

The newly published Prevention Diaries, by Larry Cohen, provides a compelling and personal story about the art and science of preventionprevention. Cohen served on the front lines of the prevention movement in public health, first with the Contra Costa County, California Health Department and then as founder and director of the Prevention Institute. Cohen is a pioneer of “environmental prevention,” the need to change physical and social environments to protect community health and safety. His work has addressed violence, food systems, healthcare, injury prevention, health equity, and the built environment.

Learn more about Prevention Diaries and purchase it here.

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December 7, 2016 Grassroots Change Newsletter

Building a Grassroots Movement: Lessons from the Boulder Soda Tax

Part 1:  Inspired by Health Equity 

On November 8, 2016, voters in four US cities approved soda taxes – San Francisco, Oakland, and Albany, California, and Boulder, Colorado. These communities joined Berkeley, whose voters approved a tax in 2014, and Philadelphia (in June 2016).  Cook County, Illinois (including Chicago) followed, on November 10, 2016.

jorge-de-santiago-y-elena-arandaThis Grassroots Change interview series delves into three related aspects of grassroots movement building. The first looks at how social and health equity motivated supporters of the Boulder soda tax, and features Jorge De Santiago and Elena Aranda of AMISTAD, a nonprofit promoting health and human rights for Boulder’s Latinx community.

Read “Boulder’s Soda Tax, part 1”

In the coming weeks, Grassroots Change will post the second installment, featuring lessons in coalition building and local policy making from Angelique Espinoza, the Healthy Boulder Kids’ Campaign Manager. The third installment will examine the soda industry’s legal challenges during the campaign, with Hillary Jorgensen, JD, Director of Policy Change at Healthier Colorado. 

Prevention Diaries

The newly published Prevention Diaries, by Larry Cohen, provides a compelling and personal story about the art and science of prevention. Cohen served on the front lines of the prevention movement in public health, first with the Contra Costa County, California Health Department and then as founder and director of the Prevention Institute. Cohen is pioneer of “environmental prevention,” the need to change physical and social environments to protect community health and safety. His work has addressed violence, food systems, healthcare, injury prevention, health equity, and the built environment.

Learn more about Prevention Diaries and purchase here.

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November 16, 2016 Grassroots Change Newsletter

Join Us: Preemption Webinar TODAY
Prepare, Plan, Push Back

Join us today, Wednesday, November 16, 2:00 pm Central Standard Time (1 hour)
Presented by Voices for Healthy Kids, The American Heart Association, & Grassroots Change

When it’s time, join the meeting
Call-in number: 1-877-972-6091 (US)
Attendee access code: 316 526 4
Meeting Number: 742 823 290
Meeting Password: VFHK

Add to Calendar

Click here for more information

The SLO Garden Project, Part 2: Success & Sustainability

Our weekly visits to the jail always seemed to go by too fast, and as senior year passed we considered one of the most important aspects of the project: How could we make it sustainable after we graduated?
– Ellie Gertler, Program & Communications Associate, Grassroots Change

“One of our major challenges was the budget, or lack thereof. Initially we were successful in having materials donated, but we knew that thipicture1s would not always be the case and wanted to adopt a strategy that could provide funding for the future. We also wanted to make the project more interdisciplinary, with the intention that including multiple departments at Cal Poly would offer different skills and resources to benefit the garden, the inmates, and the community.”

Read Part 2 of the SLO Garden Project here.

As a junior at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 2013, Ellie Gertler planned and led a project to build a community garden at the San Luis Obispo County Jail that provided practical farming education and a healthier source of food for inmates. In part 1, Ellie covered the vision and implementation phase.

 

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November 3, 2016 Grassroots Change Newsletter

The SLO Garden Project: San Luis Obispo County’s Jail Garden

As soon as we started, we could barely keep track of the questions we faced: How would we get the materials and funding that we needed to support this project? How would we teach inmates about gardening when we didn’t know that much ourselves? And, perhaps most important, could we really make a lasting difference?                                                                                                    -Ellie Gertler, Grassroots Change

Grassroots Change recently welcomed Ellie Gertler as our new Program & Communications Associate. In part one of her two-part blog, she shares the story of her work initiating and planning a project to build a community garden at the San Luis Obispo County Jail while she was a student at California Polytechnic University in 2013. 

As a junior in the sociology department planning for her senior project, Gertler realized she was more interested in working in the community than writingscreen-shot-2016-10-20-at-3-31-16-pm another paper. She and a classmate connected their background in sociology with the deep agricultural culture of California’s Central Coast. After reaching out to Restorative Partners in San Luis Obispo County, they envisioned and successfully implemented an ambitious and challenging gardening project. In part 1, Ellie covers the vision and implementation phase. Stay tuned for Part 2 of the SLO jail garden story to learn about the success and sustainability of the project.

Read the post here.                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Fusion.net: “Cities Getting Screwed”

screen-shot-2016-11-02-at-11-50-29-am

If you care about nutrition, farming, the tobacco industry, paid sick leave, violence prevention, or ALEC, you’re going to want to know about preemption and why it’s such a big deal. This awesome (short!) video from Fusion.net is one of the best pieces we’ve seen on the topic. Congratulations to Tahsin Hyder and Romina Puga from Fusion.

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October 19, 2016 Grassroots Change Newsletter

Join Grassroots Change’s Michael Bare in Denver and Pittsburgh!

Michael Bare, Program Manager and Policy Analyst with Preemption Watch, a project of Grassroots Change, will be attending the American Public Health Association’s Annual Meeting and Exposition (APHA) in Denver from October 30 – November 2, and theNational League of Cities’ City Summit (NLC) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from November 16 – 19.

At APHA, Michael will be attending several caucus meetings that are relevant to current trends in federal and state preemption of local public health authority, as well as meeting with our partners and colleagues. At NLC, Michael will be tabling with Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights in the exhibitor hall, discussing the threat of preemption across public health issues with local advocates and policy makers.

 Please email Michael if you would like to connect at either meeting.  

 Thank You Again to our Friends and Colleagues with Place Matters Oregon

We joined nearly 500 public health practitioners and advocates in Portland for the bi-annual Place Matters Oregon conference from October 3-5. Our Director, Mark Pertschuk, gave a plenary talk entitled “Building a Public Health Movement Starts with the Local Community,” followed by our breakout session, “From Berkeley to Boulder: Applying Tobacco Lessons to Address Sugary Beverages.” Grassroots Change’s Michael Bare was joined by Annie Tegen of Healthy Food America and Sara Soka, the former Campaign Manager for the successful Berkeley vs. Big Soda campaign. The questions and conversations during the plenary and breakout inspired and energized us for our current and future work in Oregon and around the country!

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September 21, 2016 Grassroots Change Newsletter


[A] move to a… data-driven, results-oriented approach oftenworks against deeply transformational work of organizations,as it requires a smaller, narrower focus or goals. The focus of the funder is almost always then on whether the recipient organization hit the numerical benchmarks… Some organizations can get stuck trying to make benchmarks in particular programs rather than thinking about larger transformational impact. 
– Dana Kawaoka-Chen, Bay Area Justice Funders Network

Grassroots movement building requires adequate funding, resourcing, and organizational capacity. In the post-Great Recession context, the nonprofit world continues to transform and respond to radical changes in fundraising. Grassroots Change recently sat down with Dana Kawaoka-Chen, Network Director of the Bay Area Justice Funders Network, to discuss the current landscape of organizational development needs and best practices in fundraising to support grassroots movement building. Read the interview.

Join Grassroots Change for the annual Place Matters Conference in Portland, Oregon from October 4 – 6. Our director, Mark Pertschuk, will deliver a plenary talk on October 5 entitled “Building a Public Health Movement Begins with the Local Community.”

Immediately following the 9:30 plenary, Grassroots Change will host a breakout sessioncalled “From Berkeley to Boulder: Using Lessons from the Tobacco Playbook to Address Sugary Beverages.”  We’ll be joined by:

  • Annie Tegen, Vice President for Policy, Healthy Food America & former Senior Program Manager with Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights
  • Sara Soka, the Campaign Manager of Berkeley’s successful soda tax movement
  • Michael Bare, Program Manager, Preemption Watch, a program of Grassroots Change

Public health has taken a comprehensive approach to reducing tobacco use to protect the public’s health, and the tobacco industry has responded in predictable and well-documented ways. This session will take lessons learned from tobacco policy and prevention to help public health practitioners prepare for addressing sugary beverages.

The breakout session will be interactive, exploring industry tactics common to many grassroots public health movements.  In particular, we’ll highlight examples from recent soda tax campaigns and the longer track record of the tobacco prevention movement, including legal challenges, front groups, and preemption.

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September 07, 2016 Grassroots Change Newsletter

Case Study: How One Texas Town Beat the Oil & Gas Industry
Preempted by the state in 2015, the fight for local democracy in Denton lives on
On November 4, 2014, the people of Denton, Texas voted to ban fracking in their community. The ballot measure was a hard-fought victory for environmental justice and local democracy. Defeated by a nonpartisan grassroots movement, the oil & gas industry responded by undermining the will of the people with statewide preemption.

Today, activists in Denton and across the state continue to fight for local control through civil disobedience and advocacy. See our interactive case study on Denton’s grassroots movement and the ongoing battle against state preemption.

Join us in Portland!
Join Grassroots Change at the annual Place Matters Conference in Portland, Oregon from October 4 – 6. Our Director, Mark Pertschuk, will deliver a plenary talk entitled “Building a Public Health Movement Begins with the Local Community,” and we will be hosting a breakout session on “Applying Tobacco Lessons to Address Sugary Beverages.”

Public health has taken a comprehensive approach to reducing tobacco use and protecting the public’s health, and the tobacco industry has responded in predictable and well-documented ways. In our plenary presentation, Grassroots Change will cover key elements of local, grassroots success and preemption, the major challenge to local progress. The breakout session will focus on lessons learned from tobacco control to help public health practitioners prepare to address the health impacts of sugary beverages, including the use of preemption to undermine progress by both the tobacco and soda industries.

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