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Preemption Watch Newsletter

March 22, 2017 Preemption Watch Newsletter

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Arkansas inches closer to transgender ‘bathroom bill’
LGBTQ Nation, 3/16/2017


Lakeland officials are fighting bills they say attack their ability to govern
The Ledger, 3/14/2017

“Every session, we seem to have to fight what I see as encroachments of constitutional rights of home rule,” Commissioner Don Selvage said, referring to powers left to cities by the state government…

CS/HB 17, Local Regulation Pre-emption, would deny local governments the ability to adopt or impose “new regulations on a business, profession or occupation unless the regulation is expressly authorized by general law,” according to the House of Representatives staff analysis. The bill was introduced by Palm Bay Republican Rep. Randy Fine…

“There is an attack on home rule like I have not seen in 25 years,” Mayor Howard Wiggs said of the legislative session. 

CS/HB 17


Iowa Senate panel asked to raise minimum wage before preemption
Sioux City Journal, 3/21/2017

Members of a Senate panel were urged Monday to consider raising the state’s minimum wage before they take up a House-passed local pre-emption measure that would void pay levels in four counties that are higher than Iowa’s statewide wage floor…

However, opponents to the pre-emption bill, like Ryan Arnold, senior minister at the First Christian Church in Des Moines, said they worry the bill would carry unintended consequences by rolling back scheduled pay raises for some families fighting to feed their families and stay off public assistance…

The legislation includes broad pre-emption language that blocks cities and counties from implementing policies that are at odds with state law, including setting minimum wages that exceed the state level of $7.25 an hour. If signed by Gov. Terry Branstad, H.F. 295 would nullify higher wage floors approved in Johnson, Linn, Polk and Wapello counties…

“This bill is flying in the face of local control,” countered Lucas Beenken of the Iowa State Association of Counties.


Maryland Senate Passes Paid Sick Leave Bill
U.S. World & News Report, 3/16/2017

SB 230, the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act, preempts local authority to set higher sick and safe leave standards.

Hogan: Sick-leave bills ‘dead on arrival’
Washington Post, 3/15/2017

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on Wednesday rejected both versions of paid-sick-leave legislation advancing through the General Assembly, apparently because they require businesses with as few as 15 employees to offer the benefit and do not give employers tax credits or other incentives to lessen the financial blow.


H.1158 preempts local health departments from banning any tobacco product that is legal to sell in the state, and could therefore preempt local Tobacco 21 policies that prohibit the sale of tobacco products to persons under the age of 21.


Kalispell legislator seeks ban on sanctuary cities
Helena Independent Record, 3/20/2017

A legislator from Kalispell has introduced a bill that would ban sanctuary cities in Montana and inflict steep financial punishment for any local governments that violate the law.

Rep. Derek Skees, R-Kalispell, introduced House Bill 611 on Monday.

HB 611


Nebraska: Important Firearms Preemption Bill Passes Committee
NRA-ILA, 3/17/2017

LB 68, a firearms super-preemption bill, passed the Government, Military and Veterans Affairs committee in the Nebraska legislature on March 14, 2017. Nebraska is the only US state with a unicameral legislature.

New Mexico

Competing minimum wage bills moving along
Albuquerque Journal, 3/14/2017

Legislature needs to get serious about minimum wage
Albuquerque Journal, 3/15/2017

With less than a week left in the 2017 legislative session, it looks like New Mexico’s working families may again be left to fight for crumbs. Despite the introduction of two living wage bills that would raise the minimum wage to at least $10.10 an hour or more, New Mexico’s poorest workers will likely have to settle for much less. More troubling, a deal for a slight increase in the minimum wage may come at the expense of local governments being prohibited from increasing working conditions at the local level in the future…

The two other minimum wage bills that do have some momentum going into the last few days of the session are problematic. HB 442, sponsored by several Democratic legislators including Rep. Debbie Rodella, D-Española, and House Speaker Brian Egolf, D-Santa Fe, would raise the minimum wage to $9.25 an hour beginning in 2018 but would also prohibit cities and counties from passing laws requiring employers to give advance notice to employees of their work schedules. This pre-emption language, which is based on national model language from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), is part of a growing effort to take away the authority local governments have to improve wages and conditions of work at the local level.

HB 442


Nevada library gun ban vote scheduled Thursday, 3/15/2017


Reversal of Oregon’s GMO pre-emption debated
Capital Press, 3/16/2017

Nearly four years after barring local governments from regulating genetically engineered crops, Oregon lawmakers are thinking of reversing that policy.

The Oregon Legislature pre-empted all local ordinances over seed in 2013 but is now considering House Bill 2469, which would create an exception allowing local restrictions for genetically engineered crops.

Bill undermines seed preemption law
Natural Resource Report, 3/20/2017

HB 2469


Gun bill would harm state
The Tennessean, 3/18/2017

HB 508/SB 445 would give out-of-state gun groups legal standing to sue Tennessee cities or counties who adopt or enforce local solutions to gun violence.

Current Tennessee law already prevents counties and towns from regulating firearms in almost any way. It’s called preemption…

However, this proposed expansion would allow these out-of-state groups to collect the greatest amount of attorney’s fees, damages or court costs possible. Plain and simple, this bill threatens to punish our communities, and threaten our safety and tax dollars.

HB 508


House makes changes to ‘Sanctuary Cities’ bill

Valley Morning Star, 3/18/2017

The legislation would accomplish a few things, if passed.

First, it would prohibit sanctuary jurisdictions. Second, it would allow law enforcement officers to arrest individuals they have determined to be unlawful residents. Finally, it would require city and county LEOs to comply with immigration detainer requests.

There is a hefty price to pay for violators of the bill’s provisions. For cities and counties, that is a denial of state grant funds. For the department head of an agency, the punishment is a Class A misdemeanor.

SB 4

Bills seek to restore local control over oil and gas drilling
Houston Chronicle, 3/17/2017

Two South Texas lawmakers, backed by an environmental group and residents in small-town Texas, are pushing to restore communities’ rights to limit where oil and gas companies drill, particularly around schools and day care facilities.

If successful, a pair of bills from the House and the Senate would chip away at House Bill 40, a 2015 law that stripped municipalities of the right to restrict drilling in city limits. That law superseded more than 300 local ordinances that limited or prohibited local oil and gas development, and declared that any regulations that aren’t “commercially reasonable” – such as a setback that prevents drilling – cannot be enforced.

The House and Senate bills, proposed by two border town Democrats, Rep. Terry Canales of Edinburg and Sen. Judith Zaffirini of Laredo, are the first legislative attack on HB40.

The House bill would require a 1,500-foot drilling setback from schools and day care centers; the Senate bill would require a local public meeting anytime a permit is submitted to drill within 1,500 feet of a school or day care center.

HB 3403

UPDATE: Senate sends transgender bathroom bill to House
The Austin American-Statesman, 3/15/2017

After a second day of sharp disagreement and impassioned debate, the Texas Senate on Wednesday gave final approval to the transgender bathroom bill, sending it to an uncertain reception in the House, where Speaker Joe Straus has said he isn’t a fan and prefers to address other priorities.

The 21-10 vote was unchanged from Tuesday’s initial vote on Senate Bill 6.

West Virginia

HB 2095 / SB52 – “This bill preempts the authority of county Boards of Health to adopt smokefree and any other public health polices by requiring Boards of Health to submit any proposed rules to the local governing body for approval, modification, or rejection. Significantly, the local governing body may also review any existing Board of Health policies in order to approve, modify, or reject them.” – Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights


Former Cheyenne Mayor Applauds Gun Bill Veto
KGAB, 3/16/2017

The Vetoed House Bill 137 would have preempted “Gun Free Zones,” and preempted local governments from prohibiting firearms in government meetings.

Read more

March 15, 2017 Preemption Watch Newsletter

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Voices for Healthy Kids Preemption Messaging Toolkit

Grassroots Change has joined with Voices for Healthy Kids and the American Heart Association to develop a new toolkit to help advocates communicate with diverse audiences about the impact of preemption on public health.  While the toolkit is geared toward advocates for healthy food policies, the tools are equally useful for those working on other issues. View the toolkit here.

In pitting locals vs. the Legislature, Minnesota’s preemption battle follows a national pattern
Minnesota Post, 3/9/2017

Michael Bare, a program manager for Preemption Watch, which monitors state efforts to block local ordinances, said there has been a steady pace of state laws to block paid leave and local minimum wage ordinances. According to Preemption Watch, 16 states already preempt local ordinances on paid leave and some of those also include local minimum wage ordinances. Three more, including Minnesota, have pay and benefits preemption in play this year.

Bare said he sees a national pattern for preemption ordinances. The topics often appear in just a few states and then, depending on their success, move on to other places. The conservative American Legislative Exchange Council offers model bills that have been the starting point in many states…

Update: Discrimination & Sanctuary Cities

Two months into the 2017 state legislative sessions, local LGBTQ nondiscrimination ordinances and sanctuary cities have emerged as two of the leading targets of state preemption. As in the past, preemption proposals have been introduced in both states with existing local ordinances or policies, and those with no local LGBTQ protections or communities with sanctuary status.

Read our blog post here.

WPI Wage Watch: Minimum Wage & Overtime Updates
Mondaq, 3/1/2017

A detailed update on recent minimum wage laws, including state level preemption of local higher minimum wage policies.


The big question for courts: What’s the extent of cities’ right to make their own laws?Arizona Capitol Times, 2/28/2017

The question of whether cities can decide what to do with seized and forfeited guns — and a lot of other issues — could end up being decided based on how extensive the Arizona Supreme Court believes is the right of local governments to make their own laws.

During nearly an hour of arguments Tuesday, the justices peppered attorneys with questions ranging from whether they should even intercede in the dispute between Attorney General Mark Brnovich and the City of Tucson over its gun-destruction ordinance to the constitutionality of a 2016 law that Brnovich says gives him the power to withhold money from cities that enact local laws that he concludes run afoul of state statutes.

But Rick Rollman, representing the city, told the justices the issue is simpler than all that.

He pointed out the Arizona Constitution allows cities to establish their own charters. Nineteen, including Tucson, have gone that route…

The justices could sidestep the entire legal fight and simply decide they will not intercede in the fight between the state and the city, at least not at that point.

That, however, would not end the legal dispute. Tucson already has filed a separate lawsuit in Pima County Superior Court asking a judge there to declare unconstitutional the 2016 law giving Brnovich the power to order that state aid be withheld. And whatever the judge there rules would likely be appealed by whoever loses, putting the issue back before the high court.


Arkansas Bill to Ban Local Minimum Wage Hikes Fails
U.S. News and World Report, 3/13/2017

An effort to prevent cities and counties from raising the minimum wage higher than the state or federal rate has failed in the Arkansas Senate.

The Senate voted 14-10 in favor of the bill by Republican Sen. Bart Hester to prevent local governments from requiring business to pay workers a minimum wage or employment benefit higher than what’s required by state or federal law. The proposal needed at least 18 votes to advance to the House.

Bill Would Expand Arkansas Civil Rights Law to LGBT People
U.S. News & World Report, 3/1/2017

The bill filed Wednesday comes less than a week after the state Supreme Court struck down a Fayetteville ordinance banning discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

The court ruled that the city ordinance violated a state law preventing cities and counties from enacting discrimination protections on a basis not covered in state law. Fayetteville was among several cities that passed anti-discrimination ordinances in response to the 2015 law.

Arkansas’ civil rights law currently doesn’t cover sexual orientation or gender identity.


Appeals court rejects gun rights group’s suit against city of Tallahassee
Florida Record, 3/13/2017

An appeals court recently handed a victory to the city of Tallahassee, rejecting a suit filed by a pair of guns-rights groups.

The suit challenged the city over ordinances that conflict with state law even though those ordinances were rarely enforced, the Tallahassee Democrat reported.

In its 25-page ruling, the 1st District Court of Appeal said the ordinances, even though they are still considered law, are null and void because of the state law and that the city has not tried to enforce them.

The appeals-court judges affirmed the decision of a Leon County circuit judge, who rejected the claims of Florida Carry Inc. and The Second Amendment Foundation Inc. Their lawyers argued that Tallahassee should have to repeal the laws and be blocked from enforcing them.

A ‘Ray’ Of Hope For Fracking Legislation This Year
WUSF, 3/9/2017

The House Majority Leader says there’s a chance a hydraulic fracturing bill could pass the Florida Legislature this year.

Representative Ray Rodrigues of Fort Myers opposes a statewide ban…

Fracking opponents fought Rodrigues’ attempts last year to preempt local fracking bans, but Rodrigues says their support for a statewide ban convinces him they’ve moved closer to his position.

Local leaders concerned about state preemption
WCTV, 3/7/2017

“Every year with the legislature, cities, counties, school boards, local governments, have to fight what’s known as preemptions; where the state puts into place things that prevent us from governing on a local level,” said City Commissioner Gil Ziffer. “This year is no different, but there are some that are really even beyond the pale of comparison from past years.”

One of those includes House Bill 17, which would take the management of businesses out of the hands of the city.

Citizens’ right to bear arms prompts constitutional crisis among Sarasota officials
Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 3/3/2017

A constitutional crisis is looming in the 12th Judicial Circuit, a showdown of sorts between Chief Judge Charles Williams and Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight.

Late last month, Knight removed deputies from all of the court’s non-courtroom facilities — such as the Clerk of Court’s Office — where they formerly screened visitors for weapons, after the sheriff’s legal team determined that action could be in violation of the state’s powerful preemption statute, which allows only the Florida Legislature to regulate firearms.

In an administrative order hand-delivered to the Sheriff’s Office on Thursday, Williams ordered the Sheriff’s Office to return the deputies to the screening stations at the court facilities buildings, including the clerk’s office.

Sterling Davenport: Preemption bill would strip protections
The Gainesville Sun, 3/3/2017

HB 17 is a preemption bill, which means it invalidates local statutes that regulate “businesses, professions, or occupations.” “Local government” means everything from the School Board to the County Commission and anything in between. Sometimes preemption bills are aimed at specific issues. But this one is much broader. It covers any “regulation,” anywhere in the state. Any “regulation” passed after July 1 of this year would be rendered invalid and unenforceable.

If that wasn’t bad enough, this bill also contains a sunset provision which would invalidate any existing local regulation, no matter how long-standing. That would strip protections from every LGBT citizen in the state; it would keep cities and counties from protecting their environment; it would remove at a stroke all the progress we have made in making our local communities reflect our values.


Iowa House Votes to Pre-empt Local Minimum Wage Hikes
KGLO, 3/10/2017

Iowa House Passes Stand Your Ground, Pro-Gun Measures
Caffeinated Thoughts, 3/7/2017

The Iowa House of Representatives passed HF 517, an omnibus gun bill, 58 to 39 on Tuesday afternoon. The bill passed out of the House Judiciary Committee before the funnel deadline.

The bill… had several pro-gun rights measures, including Stand Your Ground language packed into one bill, making it the largest gun bill in state history…

  • It prohibits any political subdivision (city, county, or township) from creating gun free zones that violate state preemption law.

Iowa lawmakers clash with local representatives over home rule authority
The Gazette (Cedar Rapids), 3/3/2017

With this legislative session — and with one party in firm control of the Iowa Senate, House and governor’s office — has come a flurry of bills that aim to pre-empt local authority from cities and counties and place it squarely in Des Moines.

Among these pre-emption measures is House File 295, which would pre-empt local governments from passing minimum wage ordinances and plastic bag bans.

Two identical bills in the House and Senate — HF 265 and SSB 1170 — that would require local governments and colleges to enforce federal immigration laws.

House Study Bill 11 doesn’t necessarily pre-empt local rule, but it aims to abolish the use of compensation boards by county officials when voting on raises.

“You add all those things up and it seems to me someone doesn’t want local governments to control their own destinies,” said Bill Peterson, executive director with the West Des Moines-based Iowa State Association of Counties.

Gun bill advances without ‘campus carry’ provision
The Des Moines Register, 3/1/2017

Wednesday after stripping out a provision that would have banned the Board of Regents from implementing gun-free policies on its college campuses…

House Study Bill 133 represents a broad rewrite of Iowa’s weapons laws and includes provisions enhancing “stand your ground” laws, allowing children to use handguns while under adult supervision and changing some permitting processes.


New bill would pre-empt concealed-carry regulations devised by KU and other schools
Lawrence Journal-World, 3/9/2017

Pushing back against what they claim are unreasonable regulations on concealed-carry rights that the University of Kansas and other Regents institutions plan to implement on July 1, gun rights advocates have introduced a new bill in the Legislature that would prohibit public colleges and universities from enacting any limitations…

Megan Jones, a graduate student and instructor at KU expressed her objections to the bill even more bluntly.

“Campus-carry is only meant to defend and protect white men on campus,” she said, prompting a quick warning from committee chairman Rep. John Barker, R-Abilene, to focus her remarks on the bill being discussed.

“This is incredibly relevant because the universities cannot make policies that would protect students on our campuses who are at the most risk,” she said. “People are being threatened now on our university campuses for being black, for being LGBT, for not appearing the way all of the representatives for the NRA have appeared in front of this Legislature.”


Senate gives preliminary approval to paid sick leave bill
The Washington Post, 3/10/2017

On Friday, March 10, 2017 the Maryland Senate passed SB0230, requiring all employers with 15 or more employees to provide safe and sick leave, and preempts local authority to set higher standards.


Plastic bag debate moves to State Capitol
KARE (Minneapolis NBC Affiliate), 3/7/2017

The plastic bag debate has moved to the State Capitol, as Republican lawmakers move to stop the City of Minneapolis from banning plastic bags in retail stores…

But Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen or Alexandria wants to trash that bag ban, with a bill that would prohibit local cities from limiting the types of bags retailers and consumers can use. It would also bar cities from enacting local fees aimed a curbing the use of disposable bags.

Citizens vow not to be silenced after House approves preemption bill
Workday Minnesota, 3/2/2017

The House voted 76-53 to pass a preemption bill that bars local governments from adopting measures to improve workplaces. It included a provision to retroactively rescind the earned sick and safe time ordinances passed by the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, depriving 150,000 people of paid leave when they are ill or need to care for a loved one.

The Republican-controlled Senate still must vote on the bill before it can go to Governor Mark Dayton, who is likely to veto it.


Sanctuary city ban gets House’s OK
Hattiesburg American, 3/7/2017

The Mississippi House advanced a bill to ban immigration sanctuary policies.

Senate Bill 2710 says cities, state agencies and public colleges can’t prevent employees from asking someone’s immigration status. These public agencies also can’t give legal status to people who entered the country without permission, such as by issuing an ID card.

The bill passed the House Tuesday and will return to the Senate.


Missouri lawmakers work to pre-empt St. Louis wage increase
KTRS (St. Louis), 3/7/2017

Advocates of Local Control and Minimum Wage Score a Legal Victory in Missouri
Governing, 3/1/2017

The Missouri Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the state couldn’t bar St. Louis from establishing its own minimum wage. The ruling could bolster legal arguments in favor of a higher minimum wage in Kansas City if voters approve one in an upcoming election.


Firearms Preemption Law Before Legislature Would Void Some Local Gun Laws
KIOS Omaha Public Radio, 3/3/2017

The Nebraska Legislature is considering a firearms preemption law this year for the second time.  

LB 68, Introduced by Senator Mike Hilgers, is similar to a bill that was one vote short of passing the floor vote last year. We tried but were unsuccessful in reaching Senator Hilgers.

Amanda Gailey, founder of Nebraskans against Gun Violence, says firearms preemption laws, which currently exist in 43 states, prohibit towns, cities and villages from passing ordinances related to firearms ownership and carrying.

New Mexico

State legislation could block sugary drinks tax, Santa Fe mayor fears
NM Politics, 3/2/2017

House Bill 430 which, as introduced, would preempt local authority to enact excise taxes on food and beverages, is a response to Santa Fe’s plans to for a local soda tax initiative. The bill language was subsequently amended into the New Mexico’s budget bill. Although legislators agreed to remove the preemptive language from the budget bill on March 10, advocates continue to monitor the legislation.

North Carolina

NC bill would penalize sanctuary cities
Winston-Salem Journal, 3/1/2017

A bill filed in the N.C. Senate on Tuesday would financially penalize local governments that provide “sanctuary status” to unauthorized immigrants, and ban the use of any non-official identification documents as an alternative identification for such immigrants.

The bill, filed by N.C. Sen. Norman Sanderson, R-Pamlico, would also penalize public universities in the UNC system if they put into place sanctuary-type rules…

N.C. law already prohibits cities and counties from enacting sanctuary ordinancesThe Sanderson bill would enforce that law with financial penalties.


Judge to decide soon whether to shut down quarry
Sandusky Register, 3/7/2017

Lawyers for the Ottawa County prosecutor and for a quarry in Benton Township clashed Tuesday over whether a judge should shut down operations at the Rocky Ridge Quarry in Benton Township…

The quarry is depositing the spent lime from a Toledo water filter plant, which it’s allowed to do under an Ohio EPA permit. It has applied separately for another Ohio EPA permit to deposit the lime waste in the quarry itself, filling it up…

The lawsuit brought by VanEerten contends that the lime dumping violates zoning rules for the quarry, which is partially zoned for industrial use but also includes land zoned for agricultural use…

Assistant Attorney General Janean Weber, representing the Ohio EPA, reminded the judge that she has filed a motion to intervene, and also a motion to dismiss the case, arguing that only the [State] EPA can consider any legal issue.


HB 2469 would repeal some of Oregon’s preemption of local ordinances regulating or banning seeds, and therefore reestablish local authority to ban GMO seeds.


Pennsylvania lawmaker reintroduces gun pre-emption bill>, 3/9/2017

Firearm super-preemption reintroduced in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania: Important Firearms Preemption Legislation Introduced In the General Assembly
NRA-ILA, 3/2/2017

SB5 and HB 671 are new super-preemption bills in the PA legislature.

OPINION: How the State Senate Is Trying to Undermine Philadelphia’s Pay-Equity Law
Philly Mag, 3/3/2017

…Equal Pay for Equal Work, has recently come under attack in the form of Senate Bill 241, which… aims to undermine municipalities with stronger pay-equity ordinances, like Philadelphia and so many of our surrounding towns and cities.

In order to chip away at local protections, the Republican caucuses in Harrisburg are utilizing their new favorite legislative tool devised by the… American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and their corporate members: preemption.


Tennessee transgender bathroom bill pulled; could be reintroduced/a>
WATE (Local ABC Affiliate), 3/7/2017

The sponsor of a state bill that would require Tennessee students to use bathroom and locker rooms matching the sex on their birth certificate has pulled it from consideration. The bill, however, could be reintroduced later in the session.

Smoking in Parks Could be Stopped by Cities
OakRidger, 3/2/2017

Currently, the city of Oak Ridge cannot restrict smoking in parks — but that could change.

New state laws could give the city more authority…Tennessee Senate Bill 0303 and House Bill 0122 would allow “local governments, airports and utility districts to regulate the use and possession of tobacco products in all public places. …” She said the bill had been referred to the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee and the House Agricultural and Natural Resources Subcommittee…

Council member Ellen Smith explained that currently state laws preempt local authority “over anything to do with smoking” except city-owned buildings. The city can not restrict its own parks or any other spaces.

“We have concerns about health and safety and fire related to parks and playgrounds,” Smith said.

“There’s some concern as to whether we can even tell people ‘Don’t put your cigarette butts in the mulch that might catch fire,'” she said.

Mark Green defends bill called ‘thin veneer’ for discrimination
The Tennessean, 2/26/2017

Democrats and Republicans in the Tennessee legislature and cities across the state are questioning a controversial bill they say is the first step down a path toward empowering discrimination and could keep cities “constantly” in court.

Senate Bill 0127, filed by Clarksville Republican Sen. Mark Green, would prohibit action against a business for its internal personnel and benefits policies so long as those policies are already compliant with state law…


‘Bathroom bill’ advances to full Senate
KVUE (Local ABC Affiliate), 3/7/2017

One of the most controversial and discussed bills of this Texas legislative session — the so-called “bathroom bill” — advanced out of committee following a marathon hearing…

If passed by both the Senate and House and signed into law, SB 6 would require people go by the sex on their current birth certificate when using bathrooms, locker rooms and showers in state buildings and public schools and universities.


General Assembly passes anti-sanctuary cities bill
The Cavalier Daily, 3/1/2017

The General Assembly passed a bill Feb. 23 that would prohibit the establishment of sanctuary cities in Virginia…

The anti-sanctuary cities bill — HB 2000 — would prohibit localities from making provisions to impede the enforcement of federal immigration laws.


Wisconsin Supreme Court approves passengers carrying guns on Madison buses
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 3/7/2017

Wisconsin’s Supreme Court on Tuesday sided with gun rights advocates and ruled that Madison’s transit agency cannot ban passengers from bringing weapons on the city’s buses…

The plaintiffs argue that Wisconsin’s Act 35, the state’s concealed carry law, pre-empts any local government from imposing stricter regulations on when and where license holders may take their guns.

A circuit judge and the Court of Appeals agreed that the Act 35 pre-emption rule only applies to counties, cities, villages or towns adopting ordinances or resolutions more strict than the state’s gun law, and not to an  “agency rule” of the transit commission.


Read more

March 1, 2017 Preemption Watch Newsletter

Arkansas   Colorado   Florida   Idaho   Illinois   Kentucky   Minnesota   Mississippi   New York   Oklahoma   Pennsylvania   Tennessee   Texas   Virginia   Wyoming


Thank you to our wonderful colleagues and partners who contributed to the updated and expanded Grassroots Change State Preemption Map: Leslie Zellers, Kim Haddow, Liz Williams, Equality FederationFamily Values @ WorkAmericans for Nonsmokers’ RightsNational Partnership for Women & FamiliesLaw Center to Prevent Gun ViolenceNational Fire Protection Association, and Rockefeller Family Fund.

The Other Right-Wing Tidal Wave Sweeping America: Federal and State Preemption of Local Progressive Laws
AlterNet, 2/25/2017

AlterNet’s Don Hazen and Steven Rosenfeld recently spoke to Mark Pertschuk, director of Grassroots Change and Preemption Watch about this insidious trend. Pertschuk discusses its growth in recent years, its explosion in 2016 and 2017 as Donald Trump has diverted media attention, and how grassroots protests have been effective in exposing, slowing and stopping some brazen corporate power grabs.

Trump Executive Order May Strike Down Maryland’s Ruling to Ban Semiautomatic Rifles
OutdoorHub, 2/24/2017

Section 5.  Pre-emption.  This Executive Order is intended to pre-empt the laws of States or political subdivisions that infringe upon the rights of citizens to keep and bear the arms designated in Section 4.

Proposed Executive Order Designating Certain Rifles for ‘Militia Purposes’
The Truth About Guns, 2/24/2017

According to this report from the firearms industry, Maryland’s assault weapons ban, as well as other state firearm laws, could be preempted by a proposed federal executive order.

Bills targeting transgender bathroom access are floundering
Savannah Morning News, 2/24/2017

Bills to curtail transgender people’s access to public restrooms are pending in about a dozen states, but even in conservative bastions such as Texas and Arkansas they may be doomed by high-powered opposition


HRC Blasts Arkansas Supreme Court for Undermining LGBTQ Protections
Human Rights Campaign, 2/23/2017

Today, HRC blasted the Arkansas Supreme Court for striking down a local ordinance banning discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The ordinance, approved by Fayetteville voters in September of 2015, includes protections for LGBTQ people in housing, employment and public accommodations. This ruling removes these protections for LGBTQ people in Fayetteville, further opening up Arkansans to discrimination.

“Let’s be clear, the state’s preemption law is unconstitutional. This ruling from the Arkansas Supreme Court is an attack on LGBTQ Arkansans and takes away hard-won protections approved by voters in Fayetteville,” said Kendra R. Johnson, HRC Arkansas state director. “Fayetteville’s leaders and citizens chose to protect their friends and neighbors when their representatives in Little Rock would not. Removing these protections leaves LGBTQ people without local, municipal or state protections, putting them at heightened risk of discrimination as they simply go about their daily lives. We oppose this harmful ruling.”

Arkansas GOP lawmakers work on transgender ‘bathroom bill’
ABC, 2/14/2017

Arkansas lawmakers said Tuesday they’re working on a “bathroom bill” targeting transgender people, despite warnings from the Republican governor that such a measure isn’t needed and could harm the state.

A one-sentence bill was filed by two GOP state senators stating only that it addresses “gender identity and bathroom privileges” without any specifics. But co-sponsor Republican Sen. Gary Stubblefield said it’ll require people to use public bathrooms that correspond to the sex on their birth certificate.

ASG Opposes Bill to Allow Guns on Campus
The Arkansas Traveler, 2/14/2017

The concealed carry bill, House Bill 1249, will change UA gun regulations, and the Associated Student Government passed a resolution on Feb. 1 echoing the chancellor’s disagreement with the bill.

“The state of Arkansas has previously allowed institutions to determine for themselves if they will allow Campus Carry,” according to the resolution passed at the ASG Senate meeting.

This upcoming bill would change that self determination, often called local control, and make faculty and staff able to carry guns at all universities in Arkansas, provided that they have a concealed carry permit.

HB 1249


Bill that would have allowed lawsuits against ‘sanctuary city’ officials dies in House committee
Denver ABC, 2/23/2017

A bill that would have prohibited the establishment of “sanctuary cities” in Colorado and would have allowed individuals affected by such policies to sue the lawmakers who put the laws in place died in a House committee Wednesday night.

The House State, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee killed House Bill 1134 with a 6-3 party-line vote.


House takes aim at local regulations
News4 JAX, 2/22/2017

Blanket preemption is moving in Florida…

The House Careers & Competition Subcommittee approved the bill (HB 17) on a nearly party-line vote, 9-6. Rep. Shawn Harrison, R-Tampa, joined the panel’s five Democrats in opposing the legislation.

Sponsored by Rep. Randy Fine, R-Palm Bay, the bill would repeal any local regulations not authorized by state law in 2020, in addition to banning new rules.

HB17Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, this section expressly preempts the regulation of businesses, professions, and occupations to the state and supersedes any local government regulation of businesses, professions, or occupations

What home rule? How Florida lawmakers try to take power away from cities
Creative Loafing, Tampa Bay, 2/21/2017

The broadly written House Bill 17 would bar cities and counties from passing literally any laws pertaining to businesses. It would make it illegal for cities to pass everything from plastic straw bans to zoning laws that keep strip clubs from opening in residential areas. It would also sunset similar laws that are already on the books.

It could also reverse decades of progress on LGBT equality.

“The reason it caught my eye is that it put LGBT human rights ordinances in serious jeopardy,” said Hannah Willard, public policy director of Equality Florida. “It would set a sunset date for all human rights ordinances for the year 2020 and it would prohibit the passage of any new policies from here forward, and in fact, would prohibit the implementation of the recently passed Jacksonville ordinance.”


Sanctuary city ban bill reintroduced in House committee
KIVI (Local ABC Affiliate), 2/20/2017

Rep. Greg Chaney, R-Caldwell, reintroduced his bill to prevent sanctuary cities from forming in Idaho to the House State Affairs Committee on Monday. 

Chaney’s original legislation, introduced on Jan. 30, would cut off state sales tax funding for “sanctuary cities”. The new version of the bill would cut 50 percent of a city or county’s designated portion of sales tax. The new bill also no longer requires police officers to check the immigration status of anyone they arrest for a misdemeanor or felony charge.

H 0076


City officials push for local control over pesticide use
The Daily Northwestern, 2/19/2017

[The Evanston] City Council passed a resolution last week calling on state legislators to repeal or amend a state law that prevents municipalities from regulating the use of pesticides themselves.

The state statute, called the Illinois Pesticide Act, puts all control of pesticide regulation in the hand of the General Assembly. Leslie Shad, board member of Citizens’ Greener Evanston, said Evanston’s resolution was put forward after the village of Oak Park passed a similar measure. Shad — who worked with Oak Park officials on the issue and pushed for the resolution in Evanston — said the use of pesticides should be under local control.


Iowa bill may give landlord rights edge over disabled veterans
The Des Moines Register, 2/26/2017

This article explores how House File 295, which preempts local authority to prohibit questions about “source of income” on rental applications in order to protect those who use housing vouchers, could adversely impact the housing security of veterans.

Bill 92 seeks to limit local government
Iowa City Press-Citizen, 2/24/2017

House Study Bill 92… pre-empts cities and counties from enacting policies in a variety of areas. These include having a higher minimum wage than the state, from enacting laws about plastics and other containers, and from having broader human rights protections than the State.


Pre-emption bill softens aim on civil rights ordinances
The Gazette, 2/23/2017

A bill in the Iowa Statehouse targeting local control on such topics as the minimum wage now takes a more focused stance on city and county civil rights ordinances.

An earlier draft of the bill would have taken away local governments’ ability to adopt civil rights ordinances that go above and beyond the statewide standard. But an amendment filed this week narrows that section of the bill’s scope to cover lease agreements between residential rental property owners and their tenants.

The amended bill essentially would eliminate any local measure that requires a landlord to consider a tenant’s or potential tenant’s source of income when leasing a property.

Housing voucher ordinances such as those in Iowa City and Marion — which ban landlords from discriminating against voucher holders — would be abolished under the bill.

The bill also still would eliminate local minimum wage higher than the state’s $7.25 rate as well as plastic bag ordinances.

HF 295

Iowa: Important Pro-Gun Bill Officially Introduced in Des Moines
NRA-ILA, 2/22/2017

Enhancing Firearms Preemption – HSB 133 proposes an amended preemption law to restrict regulation of firearms, firearm accessories and ammunition by political subdivisions of the state to ensure that firearm regulations and policy are uniform throughout Iowa.

HSB 133

Extends statutory standing to sue local governments to pro-gun membership organizations, among other provisions.


Local GOPers go after plastic bag ban – again
Courier Journal, 2/15/2017

The ban was imposed by the local solid waste board with the mayor’s backing. That came after two failed attempts to get Metro Council to pass an ordinance.

But Republican council members, including those in especially leafy districts, objected to what they called a power grab by an “unelected” board packed with mayoral appointees. The 

Louisville GOPers on Metro Council failed to persuade their colleagues to get rid of the ban — then some of them got new jobs in the General Assembly…

HB 246 passed a House committee unanimously on Wednesday. It would abolish the city-county solid waste board and remake with new requirements where those board members should live, with term limits.


Resistance builds to legislation restricting local control
Workday Minnesota, 2/24/2017

Legislative Update for Minnesota Employers: Paid Leave Bills Advance, Cell Phone Hands-Free Bill Introduced
The National Law Review, 2/21/2017

H.F. No. 600 and S.F. No. 580

Bills have been introduced in the Minnesota House (H.F. No. 600) and Senate (S.F. No. 580) to preempt the safe and sick leave ordinances enacted last year by the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, which are scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2017. Both bills have cleared initial review in one or more committees and appear to be on track for passage in their respective chambers. However, it is likely that a free-standing preemption bill passed by the Republican-controlled legislature would be vetoed by Democratic Governor Mark Dayton.

H.F. No. 239, H.F. No. 1013, and S.F. No. 830

Also in the legislature are several bills (H.F. No. 239, H.F. No. 1013, and S.F. No. 830) that would provide for various types of paid leaves of absence, including paid family leave and paid safe and sick leave…

None of these bills address preemption of municipal ordinances. Thus, at some point in the session, it is possible that the preemption bills (H.F. No. 600 and S.F. No. 580) and the paid leave bills could be presented to the governor as a single bill that would extend paid safe and sick leave and paid family leave to all Minnesota employees on a uniform basis and preempt municipal ordinances on the same subjects.

HF 600 and SF 580

HF 239 and HF 1013 and SF 830


Anti-sanctuary city bill moves forward in Legislature
The Clarion-Ledger, 2/23/2017

A bill that would prohibit local governments and public universities from passing policies to allow sanctuary cities or deviate from federal immigration laws was passed by a House committee Thursday.

The House Judiciary B Committee passed Senate Bill 2710 on Thursday and added an amendment by Rep. John Moore, R-Brandon, requiring compliance with federal and state laws…

Senate Bill 2710 says no state agency, local government or public college can adopt or implement a policy to limit any agent, employee or officer from communicating or cooperating with federal agencies or officials to verify or report the immigration status of any person.

Also, it would prohibit granting any person the right to lawful presence or status within the state, a county or municipality, or the campus of a university, college, community college or junior college in violation of federal law.

New York

State Wrecks NYC’s Plastic Bag Fee Law & Bashes Home Rule
Natural Resources Defense Council, 2/17/2017

New York City’s 2016 break-through law that established a five cent fee on single use plastic (and paper) grocery bags so as to encourage shoppers to switch to reusables has been toppled in Albany.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed an ill-advised state bill preempting NYC’s plastic bag fee law just one day before the local statute was set to take effect.

The State’s action is a setback for litter reduction and clean water, and a reprieve for the plastic bag industry, which conducted an under-the-radar campaign against the City’s bag fee statute.


Anti-LGBT bill advances from committee
Tulsa World, 2/21/2017

Advocates for the LGBT community on Monday expressed frustration with the passage of a measure they say would allow for discrimination and the rolling back of protections that some cities have already established.

The Senate Committee on General Government passed Senate Bill 694 by Sen. Josh Brecheen, R-Coalgate, on Monday.

The measure would prohibit local cities and counties from passing ordinances that are stricter than state law in the areas of employment and public accommodation.

SB 694


SB 10 – Preempts sanctuary cities, allows for withholding of state funds from sanctuary cities and for civil damages for individuals harmed by sanctuary city status; currently in the Pennsylvania House Judiciary Committee.

SB 128 – Preempts local paid or unpaid leave mandates; passed the Senate Local Government Committee.

SB 241 – Preemption of local policies addressing pay equity for women; currently in the House Labor and Industry Committee.


Tennessee: Busy Year Ahead as Important Pro-Gun and Anti-Gun Bills Get Filed
NRA-ILA, 2/14/2017

House Bill 508 and Senate Bill 445, sponsored by Representative William Lamberth (R-44), Representative Andy Holt (R-3) and Senator John Stevens (R-24), would create a private cause of action for a party that is adversely affected by a local ordinance, resolution, policy, rule, or other enactment on firearms preempted by state law.  This bill would prohibit local or state government entities from prohibiting or restricting firearms on state or local property unless certain conditions are met.  

House Bill 1006 and Senate Bill 861, sponsored by Representative Andy Holt (R-3) and Senator Kerry Roberts (R-25), would apply criminal and civil immunity upon a person who lawfully uses a firearm in self-defense, defense of another, or defense from a person committing criminal offense.


Bathroom bill gets its first hearing in two weeks
WFAA (Local ABC affiliate), 2/26/2017

The state’s controversial bathroom legislation, Senate Bill 6, which pits Republicans against more than 1,200 of the largest Texas businesses will get its first public hearing in less than two weeks in Texas Senate committee…

Separately, the Senate recently passed a strong bill against sanctuary cities, which would hold sheriffs criminally responsible for not holding county jail inmates when Immigration and Customs Enforcement requests it.


Virginia Senate passes anti-sanctuary cities bill
WHSV, 2/22/2017

The Virginia General Assembly has approved legislation that would ban local governments from restricting the enforcement of federal immigration laws.

The bill, which Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe has promised to veto, is quickly becoming one of the most contentious issues in Virginia politics as President Donald Trump makes moves to deport many of the estimated 11 million immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.

SB 1262


Wyoming Senate Rejects Local Control on Gun Bill
KGAB, 2/24/2017

The Wyoming Senate has narrowly rejected an amendment to a gun bill that would have allowed local governments to decide whether concealed weapons should be allowed at government meetings.

House Bill 137 would allow the carrying of concealed guns into government meetings ranging from local city council proceedings to the state legislature.

Read more

February 15, 2017 Preemption Watch Newsletter

We’ve expanded and updated our Preemption Map!


Our most popular interactive graphic, the state Preemption Map, has been updated to include two new issues: Discrimination and Residential Fire Sprinklers. The original six topics have been updated with new laws from the 2016 state legislative sessions. 



Red State, Blue City
The Atlantic, March 2017 Issue

Close observers of these clashes expect them to proliferate in the years to come, with similar results. “We are about to see a s**t storm of state and federal preemption… of a magnitude greater than anything in history,” says Mark Pertschuk of Grassroots Change, which tracks such laws through an initiative called Preemption Watch. By the group’s count, at least 36 states introduced laws preempting cities in 2016.

Deluge of new state bills would curtail LGBT rights
The Hill, 2/10/2017

More than 70 bills that would roll back LGBT rights, block transgender people from using the restrooms of their choice or allow denial of service on religious grounds have been introduced in nearly two dozen states across the country this year…

A handful of states are considering measures similar to North Carolina’s controversial H.B. 2 legislation, which prohibited cities from enacting anti-discrimination laws stricter than state standards.

GOP states move to block sanctuary cities after Trump order
The Hill, 2/9/2017

Amid protests over President Trump’s executive order aiming to block federal funding to so-called sanctuary cities, Republican legislators across the country are moving to deny their own funding to cities that refuse to comply with federal immigration authorities.

The Texas state Senate on Wednesday passed a measure to block state funding to cities in which law enforcement officials disregard federal immigration laws…

Similar legislation has been introduced in Ohio, Tennessee, Florida, North Carolina, Iowa, Idaho and Pennsylvania. Other laws are likely to be introduced in the coming weeks. Many are inspired by Trump’s executive orders barring refugees and blocking all immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries.

NRA Moving from Defense to Offense
The New American, 1/31/2017

Perhaps the biggest push will be for national reciprocity — a federal law that would require every state to recognize every other state’s concealed weapons licenses, much like automobile driver’s licenses. Such a law would allow those carrying concealed to do so in every state without worrying about violating local laws.


Alabama: 2017 Legislative Session Convenes with a Pro-Gun Bill Introduced
NRA-ILA, 2/8/2017

Senate Bill 2, introduced by state Senator Phil Williams (R-10), would amend and expand Alabama’s existing state firearms preemption statutes to clarify that the state Legislature has the sole responsibility and authority to create regulations related to taxation and use of firearms, ammunition, and firearm accessories.  Further, this bill prohibits counties and municipalities from imposing user fees or other special fees related solely to the ownership or use of a firearm, ammunition, or firearm accessory or from imposing additional restrictions on the issuance of pistol permits.

Birmingham City Council passes sanctuary city resolution
WBRC (Birmingham), 1/31/2017

Tuesday morning, Birmingham William Mayor Bell held a press conference with community leaders to name Birmingham a “welcoming city.”…

Though the resolution passed, it does not create policy and is not law in the city, only a statement of support. 

The Beason Hammon Act, also known as HB56, prohibits cities from setting policies that conflict with federal immigration law or state law. During the council meeting, city lawyers informed the council that violating the law could bring criminal and civil penalties and the loss of federal and state funding.


Arkansas panel OKs bill ending opt-out option for guns on campuses
Times Record (Fort Smith), 1/31/2017

A bill to allow faculty and staff of public colleges and universities to carry concealed handguns, with no opt-out option for the schools, cleared a House committee Tuesday.

In a 12-5 vote, the House Judiciary Committee gave a “do pass” recommendation to House Bill 1249 by Rep. Charlie Collins, R-Fayetteville. The bill goes to the House…

HB 1249 would eliminate the opt-out option. Collins told the committee the colleges have argued for maintaining local control, but he said his bill is consistent with the principle of local control.

HB 1249


Colorado lawmaker wants to let victims of crimes committed by immigrants sue politicians in “sanctuary cities”
Denver Post, 1/30/2017

A Republican state lawmaker on Monday announced a bill that would allow victims of certain crimes committed by immigrants in the country illegally to sue politicians who refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

The proposal, which has not yet been introduced, targets so-called “sanctuary cities” like Denver, Boulder and Aurora, where police and other officials have said they won’t enforce federal immigration laws.


HB17 Would preempt all local authority to adopt or enforce any “new regulation on a business, profession, and occupation [and] supersedes any local government regulation of businesses, professions, and occupations.”

A Florida Mayor Beat the Gun Lobby, but Battle With the State Still Looms
CityLab, 2/7/2017

Back in January, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum appeared before a federal court to defend his city against a lawsuit brought forward by Florida Carry and the Second Amendment Foundation, two guns rights organizations. The groups sued the city in 2014, arguing that a pair of decades-old city laws banning the use of firearms in public parks violated state law—retroactively.

On Friday, Florida’s First District Court of Appeal ruled in favor of Tallahassee. The appellate court confirmed that it couldn’t compel the city’s government to repeal local ordinances that the city wasn’t enforcing anyway. It was a narrow ruling, however. The court also decided against Tallahassee’s counter-claim that parts of the state’s preemption law were unconstitutional.

Mayor Andrew Gillum condemns preemption bill
WCTV, 2/10/2017

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum is fighting to keep local governing bodies in charge of their own communities.

Friday morning, Mayor Gillum, Equality Florida and the Sierra Club announced they’re joining the Campaign to Defend Local Solutions. They’re condemning Florida HB 17.

This bill would take away local control from cities, counties, towns, and school districts, otherwise known as “preemption”.

SB 786 and HB 697 are two slightly different bills that provide penalties for sanctuary cities that do not comply with federal immigration policies.

HB 599 and SB 534 are identical bills that preempt local governments from making any additional standard or requirement for contractors not made by state statute.


Republicans push ahead with local preemption
Sioux City Journal, 2/9/2017

Members of the House Local Government Committee voted 12-9 along party lines to approve legislation to bar cities and counties from establishing minimum wage levels or employment regulations, invoking marketing or consumer merchandise sales restrictions or adopting civil rights ordinances that go above and beyond what the Legislature and governor have set as a statewide standard.

HSB 92


Hoover declares transgender bathroom bills ‘dead’
Lexington Herald Leader, 2/9/2017

Two bills that attempt to regulate where transgender people can use the bathroom will not get a vote in the Kentucky House of Representatives, House Speaker Jeff Hoover said Thursday.

“It’s dead, wherever it is,” Hoover said of House Bill 106

But conservative groups in Kentucky have continued pushing the General Assembly to pass a similar law.

“We know there is a lot of support among rank and file Republicans for the legislation,” said Martin Cothran, a spokesman for The Family Foundation.

Cothran said his organization supports House Bill 141, a bill that focuses on restrooms in public schools, rather than HB 106, which was nearly identical to the North Carolina legislation.

But when asked if HB 141 has a better chance, Hoover shot it down.

“It’s just as dead,” said Hoover, R-Jamestown.


Montgomery County Leaders Oppose State Minimum Wage Preemption Bill
Bethesda Magazine, 2/7/2017

Montgomery County Council President Roger Berliner asked state lawmakers in Annapolis on Tuesday to reject proposed legislation that would prohibit local jurisdictions from enacting their own minimum wage laws.

The state bill proposed by Del. Dereck Davis (D-Prince George’s County) would allow local governments to set base pay for their own employees, but not set a minimum wage for all workers. Davis, the chair of the House Economic Matters Committee, said the billwould help improve the business climate in Maryland by making wages more predictable throughout the state.



Schuette says cities can’t pre-empt the “age of majority” when selling tobacco
Michigan Radio (NPR), 2/3/2017

Cities cannot refuse to sell tobacco products to people between the ages of 18 and 20. That’s coming from state Attorney General Bill Schuette who issued an opinion today…

Last July, the city of Ann Arbor passed an ordinance forbidding the sale of tobacco to anyone under the age of 21.


Minnesota Legislature Moves Forward to Preempt Municipal Safe and Sick Leave and Wage Ordinances
The National Law Review, 2/7/2017

The battle over paid sick leave and minimum wage ordinances at the municipal level moved to the Minnesota Legislature as its 2017–2018 session kicked off at the end of January. Several bills introduced in the 2017-2018 session would either establish a statewide standard for paid leaves or preempt and prevent municipalities from passing their own ordinances on these subjects.

HF 600 and SF 580

LETTER: Reasons to be concerned about ‘pre-emption’
Hutchinson Leader, 2/11/2017


Ag Bill Pushes For State Regulation Over Local Control
Montana Public Radio, 2/8/2017

Lawmakers in Helena will consider a bill that would strip local governments’ authority to regulate the agricultural industry with the aim of providing consistency for farming techniques across the state. Senate Bill 155 would mean any regulations dealing with agricultural processes or seed usage would have to come from the state.


Nebraska: Important Firearms Preemption Legislation to Be Heard in Committee
NRA-ILA, 2/8/2017

LB 68

New Mexico

Santa Fe preparing for lawsuit over sanctuary city rights
KOAT (Albuquerque), 2/9/2017

[Albuquerque Mayor] Javier Gonzales says the city is preparing for a potential battle with President Trump over sanctuary cities.

New York

S00736 and A04316 create an exemption to the state’s smokefree laws for casino patios.

State lawmakers move to postpone NYC plastic bag fee
McClatchy DC Bureau, 2/7/2017

State lawmakers are poised to overrule New York City’s impending fee on non-reusable shopping bags after legislators from both parties voted Tuesday to delay any fee until at least next year.

The fee of at least a nickel was set to begin later this month. Mayor Bill de Blasio has defended the idea as a commonsense way of reducing litter and protecting the environment.

Lawmakers disagreed, calling the fee a burden on already strapped consumers. Following similar action in the Senate on Monday, the Democrat-led Assembly voted Tuesday to rebuke the elected leaders of the nation’s largest city by prohibiting any bag fee from taking effect until at least 2018.

North Carolina

North Carolina legislation aims to repeal ‘bathroom bill’
CNN, 2/9/2017

Six Democratic sponsors filed legislation in the North Carolina House of Representatives on Thursday that would repeal the state’s “bathroom bill” and expand LGBT protections…

HB2, signed into law last March, bans people from using public bathrooms that don’t correspond to their biological sex as listed on their birth certificates.

The law also stops local governments from passing their own non-discrimination laws that would expand rights for LGBT people or allow them to use bathrooms and other public facilities that correspond to their gender preference.


Ohio bill banning sanctuary cities is ‘extreme’ and unconstitutional, ACLU of Ohio says
WCPO (Cincinnati), 2/7/2017

One of the largest provisions in the Mandel-backed proposal could have city officials who designate their cities as a sanctuary city charged with a fourth-degree felony were a crime to be committed by an undocumented immigrant. The charge carries up to 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine.


Move to regulate GMOs resprouts in Legislature
The Eugene Register-Guard, 2/09/2017

Some farmers are renewing an effort to get Oregon lawmakers to allow local governments to regulate, and potentially ban, genetically modified crops.

Cities and counties have been barred from doing so since 2013, when the Legislature passed a pre-emption bill as part of a bipartisan package of unrelated tax increases and public pension reforms. That year, activists in several counties, including Lane, had been working on going to voters with anti-GMO ballot measures.

HB 2469

Legislative Briefcase
Blue Mountain [OR] Eagle, 2/7/2017

Lawmakers backing pesticide restrictions poised to shape farm policy

Lawmakers with strong track records of supporting pesticide restrictions are chairing two Senate committees that are positioned to affect Oregon agricultural policies in 2017. Senate Bill 499 — a proposal to strip pesticide protections from Oregon’s “right to farm” law — was introduced at the behest of the Senate Judiciary Committee, whose chair is Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene.

Oregon’s “Right to Farm and Forest” law prohibits local ordinances restricting common farm practices as well as nuisance and trespass lawsuits against such farm practices. People who lose such lawsuits are required to pay the opposing party’s attorney fees, which has discouraged such cases against farm practices from being filed in Oregon. Under SB 499, however, complaints alleging nuisance or trespass from pesticides are exempted from the “right to farm” law.

SB 499


Lawmakers line up to overturn the Philadelphia soda tax
Consumer Affairs, 2/7/2017

Senate bill aims to preempt Philadelphia’s new wage equity law
The Inquirer (Philadelphia), 2/8/2017

Philadelphia’s newly minted wage equity law survived protests by Comcast Corp. and the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, and a legal review by the city solicitor, before being signed by Mayor Kenney last month…

The law, which will ban employers from asking job applicants for their salary history, would be preempted under a bill passed by the state Senate Wednesday. The preemption language was added at the eleventh hour to a related piece of legislation that aims to expand wage equity protections for women.

SB 241

South Dakota

South Dakota’s transgender locker room bill withdrawn
The San Diego Union-Tribune, 1/31/2017

A bill that would have restricted which locker rooms South Dakota transgender students could use was scuttled Tuesday, for now averting another bitter fight in the Capitol over the regulation of school facilities.


Tennessee GOP Gubernatorial Hopeful Introduces Sanctuary City Ban
Nashville Patch, 2/10/2017

State Sen. Mark Green, Republican of Clarksville, has introduced a bill which bars law enforcement agencies, including campus police from engaging in so-called sanctuary policies, even if those policies are informal. Green’s bill provides a relatively exhaustive list of what would be considered such a policy under his proposal and directs that cities engaging in them would be denied state funding.


GOP lawmaker files bill to repeal new Nashville, Memphis marijuana laws
The Commercial Appeal, 1/31/2017

House Criminal Justice Committee Chairman William Lamberth, R-Cottontown, on Monday filed a bill that would repeal any local law that is inconsistent with penalties outlined in the state’s statute for drug control and narcotic drugs. It would also prevent local governments from creating their own sanctions for drug possession moving forward.

HB 0173


HB1279 and HB1348 exempt cigar bars from state smokefree laws.

Texas Senate OKs bill to effectively abolish sanctuary cities
CNN, 2/7/2017

A bill that withholds state dollars for sanctuary cities in which police fail to enforce immigration laws at the request of federal officials cleared the Texas Senate on Wednesday.



Virginia Senate Passes Bill to Crack Down on ‘Sanctuary Cities’
WVIR (Local NBC Affiliate), 2/6/2017

The Virginia Senate narrowly passed a bill Monday that targets sanctuary cities…

If the measure is approved, Virginia communities could be sued for crimes committed by illegal immigrants…

SB 1262


Spokane Residents Want to Bar Fossil Fuel Railcars
Courthouse News, 2/13/2017

Residents of Spokane have sued the federal government for the right to ban railroads from carrying fossil fuels through the city, an initiative the city placed on the ballot last year, then removed as legally indefensible because of federal pre-emption.

Read more

February 1, 2017 Preemption Watch Newsletter

Arizona   Idaho   Iowa   Maryland   Montana   Oregon   Pennsylvania   South Carolina 


Last week we reported on eight preemptive state “bathroom bills.”  Three more states can now be added to the list:

Kansas: HB 2171
South Dakota: SB 115
Wyoming: HB 244

So-called “Religious Freedom Restoration Acts,” which would preempt inconsistent local LGBTQ non-discrimination ordinances, have been introduced in Oklahoma, Virginia and Wyoming. 

Oklahoma: SB 197, SB 530, HB 1507
Virginia: HB 2025
Wyoming: HB135

Transgender Rights Are Under Attack in These 11 States
Mother Jones, 1/27/2017

Virginia lawmakers advance legislation promoting anti-LGBTQ taxpayer-funded discrimination
LGBT Weekly, 1/27/2017

ACLU update on anti-LGBT legislation across America
LGBT Weekly, 1/26/2017

‘Sanctuary Cities’ Just the Start of Mayors’ Opposition to Trump
Governing, 1/27/2017

Even before he took office, President Trump and many of the nation’s big-city mayors found themselves at odds over issues such as climate change and immigrant rights. Baltimore, San Francisco and Seattle were among cities that approved resolutions either castigating Trump and his rhetoric or calling on him to condemn the instances of hate speech that followed his election…

Numerous states have stripped away the authority of local governments to set their own policies when it comes to transgender rights, minimum-wage levels, plastic bag bans and a host of other issues. Most federal preemption laws have been comparatively modest — blocking local requirements for restaurant menu disclosures, for instance, or reserving regulation of certain chemicals at the federal level. But constitutional authority exists for a federal preemption wave that could equal or even exceed the one launched so far by Republican state governments.


Rep. Jay Lawrence (R-North Scottsdale) sponsored HB 2086, which would block municipalities from issuing identification cards, and would withhold the distribution of state funding to local governments that violate the law.


New Idaho bill would ban sanctuary cities
KTVB (Idaho), 1/31/2017

A proposed bill by a local lawmaker would ban sanctuary cities in Idaho, and if those cities don’t comply, they will lose taxpayer money.

Republican Rep. Greg Chaney of Caldwell introduced the bill Monday in the House State Affairs Committee…

Chaney said this bill isn’t meant to change anything. Currently, there are no sanctuary cities in Idaho. Chaney said this bill is meant to discourage counties and cities from become sanctuary cities. If they do, those cities and counties would lose state sales tax distribution funds.

Under the proposal, local law enforcement would be prohibited from arresting someone on immigration status alone, but it would also require law enforcement to check for and comply with immigration holds when arresting someone on a misdemeanor or felony.


NOTEBOOK: ABI backs minimum wage pre-emption; hopeful for rollback of ‘onerous’ federal rules
Business Record, 1/27/2017

On Jan. 11 more than 500 Iowa Association of Business and Industry members from across the state met in Des Moines to mingle with their legislators as the new session got underway. 

A few days later I sat down with Nicole Crain, ABI’s senior vice president of public policy, to get her take on the key issues her organization is paying attention to this session. 

A uniform statewide minimum wage, tax reform and tort reform, and water quality are some of the issues that float to the top, Crain said. The issues tie in with the organization’s top three legislative priorities this year, which are workforce, competitive business climate, and environmental investment and accountability.  


HB0317, which would preempt local authority to raise the minimum wage or mandate that employers provide any form of leave or other employee benefit, was filed in the Maryland House.


Attorney General Fox strikes down Missoula gun ordinance
Missoula News, 1/26/2017

A hotly contested Missoula city ordinance that extends background checks to private gun sales is prohibited by state law and may not be enforced, Montana Attorney General Tim Fox has ordered.

Fox issued his opinion Thursday in response to a request last fall by Speaker of the House Austin Knudsen of Culbertson. The attorney general had previously stated his opposition to the ordinance.

The nine-page opinion concludes that the city ordinance, which requires a federal background check for most private gun sales and transfers within city limits, violates a state law prohibiting local governments from regulating citizens’ constitutional right to keep and bear arms.


SB 544 preempts local laws mandating “benefits other than salary and wages, including but not limited to retirement benefits, transportation benefits, sick time leave, scheduling preferences or scheduling rights, vacation leave and any form of paid time off or paid leave that accrues to an employee in regular intervals that may be used by the employee for any purpose.”


Twenty-one state Senators led by Sen. John H. Eichelberger (R-30), have filed SB 128, a bill to preempt local governments from adopting any “paid leave or compensation mandates.”

South Carolina

A group of state Senators has filed S. 218, which would preempt local governments from requiring “an employee benefit. Employee benefit includes, but is not limited to any health benefits, disability benefits, death benefits, group accidental death and dismemberment benefits, paid days off for holidays, paid sick leave, paid vacation leave, paid personal necessity leave, retirement benefits, and profit-sharing benefits.”

Read more

January 26, 2017 Preemption Watch Newsletter

Florida  Maryland   Nebraska   New York   Pennsylvania   Texas  Virginia

Transgender “bathroom bills” earliest state preemption trend of 2017

Preemptive “bathroom bills” have been filed in eight states, following the adoption in 2016 of HB2 in North Carolina (which also expressly preempts local LGBT non-discrimination ordinances). These bills make it illegal for transgender persons to use a bathroom, locker room or other changing facility that does not match the gender listed on their birth certificate. If adopted, these state laws would preempt inconsistent local laws. A similar bill, which was vetoed in 2016, may be re-introduced in South Dakota.

In Texas, one of the eight states with a pending bathroom bill, a bill preempting local nondiscrimination ordinances has also been filed. SB 92 would “overturn local ordinances protecting LGBT people from workplace and housing discrimination.” 

LGBT advocates decry ‘bathroom bill’ and other measures
Austin American Statesman, 1/19/2017

Virginia’s bill, also one of the eight, died in committee on January 19, 2017.

State “bathroom bills” 2017 (current as of 1/25/2017)

Alabama – SB1
Kentucky – HB106
Minnesota – HF41
Missouri – SB98 and HB202
South Carolina – H3012
Texas – SB6
Virginia – HB1612 (Died In Committee)
Washington – HB1011


State Bills To Block Munis Start In MO, VA
Community Networks, 1/12/2017

SB 186 (Missouri) starts out strong by prohibiting local government from offering “competitive service,” which includes both retail or wholesale models. By preventing wholesale models, the bill interferes with a municipality’s ability to work with private sector partners, a major complaint about the bill introduced last year 

Fresh from Virginia comes HB 2108, the “Virginia Broadband Deployment Act,” which makes changes to existing law by adding an entire section. The bill also repeals several disclosure exclusions relating to telecommunications; those exclusions are now under the Freedom of information Act.

Trump, Congress Could Halt State Action on Climate
Climate Central, 1/9/2017

“There really is virtually no aspect of federal regulation of the natural environment or health that’s not at risk of preemption now,” said Mark Pertschuk, a lawyer [with] Grassroots Change, which tracks state preemptions of local rules…”Federal laws almost always trump state and local laws”…

Not all talk of federal preemption is hypothetical. Rep. Michael Burgess, a Republican from Texas, introduced a bill last week that would repeal federal efficiency standards affecting washing machines, dryers, ceiling fans, fridges, and other appliances. It would also prevent states from adopting any product standards governing “energy conservation or water efficiency.”

HR 117

Cities Need a National Movement Against Conservative Meddling
Slate, 1/10/2017

With its focus on political principles rather than issues, Defend Local is a new kind of coalition, said Mark Pertschuk, the director of the Bay Area nonprofit Grassroots Change, which monitors pre-emption laws. “It’s unique and very important, because in the ecosystem of advocacy groups it’s much easier to raise money for single issues,” he said. The focus on guns or environmental protection or workers’ rights prevents local citizens from recognizing just how similar the predicaments are.


Firearm Preemption Case Gets Hearing
WFSU (NPR Affiliate), 1/10/2017

The first district court of appeals must consider whether the city went afoul of the law when it left a pair of provisions regulating gun use on the books…

But city attorneys argue the state’s preemption law violates city commissioners’ rights under the state constitution. Lauren Lennon says that’s because it violates the commissioners’ legislative immunity by carrying penalties and fines, even allowing them to be personally sued based on how they vote.


The Push For Paid Sick Leave In Maryland
CBS Baltimore, 1/9/2017

A paid sick days bill in Maryland, HB0001, would preempt local authority to set a higher standard.


Gun rights bill faces potentially easier path to advancement in Nebraska Legislature

Omaha World-Herald, 1/14/2017

Also at stake is a bill that would put an end to local gun regulations, including an Omaha ordinance that prohibits those under 21 from possessing a handgun.

Four members of the Omaha City Council and the Omaha Police Officers Association opposed a similar gun pre-emption bill last year. Mayor Jean Stothert supported the bill, saying she questions whether the local regulations help reduce gun violence.

A filibuster narrowly killed the measure last year. This year’s version, Legislative Bill 68, is sponsored by Sen. Mike Hilgers of Lincoln.

New York

State Preemption Bill Threatens NYC’s #BYOBag Law, 1/14/2017

On May 5, 2016, the New York City Council adopted the #BYOBag law, which requires that all retailers in NYC charge a 5-cent minimum fee for each carryout bag provided at check-out. Due to preemption legislation introduced by state legislators later that month and a resulting compromise, implementation of the law was delayed from October 1, 2016 until February 15, 2017. In January 2017, companion preemption bills were reintroduced in Albany: Senate Bill 362 and Assembly Bill 1750.


Can Allegheny County enact its vaping ban?
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 1/19/2017

The Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association is questioning whether Allegheny County has the legal authority to institute a proposed vaping ban that’s been in the works since May.

A Jan. 12 letter to Allegheny County Council members from the Western Pennsylvania chapter of the association points to the preemption clause in the state’s Clean Indoor Air Act…

Michael Parker, solicitor for the Allegheny County Health Department, said the department’s legal analysis determined vaping products are not covered by the Clean Indoor Air Act or its preemption clause.

“The Clean Indoor Air Act only regulates ‘lighted smoking devices’ and does not include any language on e-cigarettes or vaping,” Parker wrote in an email to the Tribune-Review. “A recent Clean Indoor amendment (HB 682) proposed by the legislature included e-cigarettes and vaping but was not passed. This acknowledged that e-cigarettes and vaping were not covered by the act.”

The proposal would prohibit vaping and e-cigarettes everywhere cigarette smoking is not permitted such as indoor workplaces, schools, restaurants, health care-related properties, theaters, sports facilities and transit stations.

Firearm owners group president calls injunction against Lower Merion ‘long overdue’
The Penn Record, 1/17/2017


Six years later, fight over anti-sanctuary cities bill has changed
Texas Tribune, 1/15/2017

Bills filed in both chambers — Senate Bill 4 by state Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock, and House Bill 889 by state Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Fort Worth — would allow local police to enforce immigration laws, but only if the officer is working with a federal immigration officer or under an agreement between the local and federal agency. It would also punish governments if their law enforcement agencies — specifically county jails — fail to honor requests, known as detainers, from federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers for sheriffs to hand over immigrants in their custodies for possible deportation. The punishment would be a denial of state grant funds.


Plastic bag bans could end up in Texas Supreme Court
Waste DIVE, 1/13/2017


Virginia Communities Reject State Preemption Bill
Community Networks, 1/20/2017

Last week, Virginia State Delegate Kathy Byron introduced a bill that, if passed, will cripple attempts for municipalities to improve local connectivity. HB 2108, the “Virginia Broadband Deployment Act, imposes specific requirements on municipal networks that would greatly limit whether communities could offer Internet access or work with private sector partners. The City of Roanoke and Franklin County wasted no time in unanimously passing resolutions to oppose the Virginia bill.

Read more

January 11, 2017 Preemption Watch Newsletter

Arizona Florida Hawaii Iowa Maryland Michigan Minnesota Montana Nebraska North Carolina Pennsylvania South Carolina Texas Wisconsin


Is a New Battle Brewing Over Soda Taxes?
Governing, January 2017

Assuming that the idea of soda taxes continues to gain traction, the industry might turn to other allies to block them. New taxes imposed at the local level could be wiped out by tax-despising state legislatures, which have shown little hesitation in recent years when it comes to preempting liberal economic policy ideas, such as minimum-wage increases. “Many state lawmakers are watching the growth of discriminatory taxes, on beverages and hotels for example, and are concerned with the aggressive approach utilized by certain local units of government,” says Jonathan Williams of the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council. “If this growth in discriminatory taxation at the local level persists, I think it is quite possible efforts will emerge at the state level to address these threats to taxpayers.”

Sugary drink taxes could be threatened by Trump administration, experts say
The Guardian, 12/25/16

GOP aims to rein in liberal cities
The Hill, 1/5/17

In the last four years… the number of issues on which states are asserting their rights has skyrocketed, said Mark Pertschuk, director of the Oakland-based Grassroots Change, which keeps close tabs on preemption legislation…At least some Republican-dominated states are considering what Pertschuk calls “blanket preemption” laws…That law would allow the state to cut off funding to cities that refuse to give up laws that run counter to state law.

Trump, Congress Could Halt State Action on Climate
John Upton, Climate Central, 1/9/2017

“There really is virtually no aspect of federal regulation of the natural environment or health that’s not at risk of preemption now,” said Mark Pertschuk, a lawyer and activist with the nonprofit Grassroots Change, which tracks state preemptions of local rules affecting gun safety, paid sick days, factory farming and other issues. “Federal laws almost always trump state and local laws.”It’s difficult to predict when, how or whether the federal government will wield any tools of preemption to bar cities and states from enforcing their own environmental rules. Nonetheless, governments across the country are bracing for new restrictions. California’s decision to hire Obama’s attorney general, Eric Holder Jr., showed it’s preparing to fight for state rights in court.

The Republicans Who Want Trump to Fight Climate Change
The Atlantic, 1/4/17

Exxon’s Alan Jeffers affirmed the company’s commitment to a revenue-neutral carbon tax in an email to The Atlantic. Among the state and federal proposals the company had studied, Jeffers wrote, “The most significant common shortcoming is their failure to pre-empt existing greenhouse gas regulations. The pre-emption issue is important because a properly-designed carbon tax that replaces the existing regime of emissions regulations would be a beneficial policy rationalization.” In simpler terms, an Exxon-friendly carbon tax shouldn’t just avoid regulations. It should dismantle them, and place as little strain as possible on the company’s operations.

As a Trump Administration Fast Approaches, Cities and Towns Gear Up for Political Resistance
Moyers & Company, 1/4/17

But in most states, power — and funding — held at higher levels make local legislation a soft target. State governments preempt local governments, and the Federal government preempts the state. CELDF thus makes a philosophical argument that pushes up against preemption.

“Communities are arguing that they have a right to local governance,” Margil said. “We have a fundamental violation of our democratic rights when we have a state legislature that is overriding our ability to protect our communities, protect our people, protect our land. It is a right to community self-governance that is being usurped by industry, by corporations, by state legislatures working hand-in-hand with corporations.”

Not so fast, state-level Republicans say to local minimum wage increases and sick leave laws
Daily Kos, 1/2/17

Ohio was just the latest example. In its end-of-year rush, the state’s Republican legislature passed and Gov. John Kasich signed a bill blocking cities from raising the minimum wage locally. But such “pre-emption” laws are increasingly common…

More than 20 mostly red states have passed preemption laws banning local minimum-wage increases, according to NELP…

Republican state legislatures have passed similar laws in Missouri, Michigan, Alabama, and more. With Congress in Republican hands, states and cities are the only path to improving conditions for working people through minimum wage increases, paid sick leave, and more.

Will States Stop Cities From Combating Climate Change?
Governing, 12/22/16

In 2016, for instance, “no states enacted legislation that would preempt local governments from taking climate change into account,” says Kim Tyrrell, program director on the environment for the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). To her knowledge, there are only two instances in the last five years in which a state legislature passed such a law…

But while there is no discernible trend in state legislatures to strip cities and counties of their authority to regulate climate change, mayors are cautious. Many cities have renewable energy and zero-waste goals. With Republicans in full control in half the states, climate change skeptics in legislatures much like Arizona’s might feel empowered to target such programs. “I was elected to represent and move the values of our citizens forward,” says Phoenix’s Stanton. “As cities like mine act to more aggressively reduce the impact of climate change, mayors shouldn’t have to worry about the state.”


City of Tucson files its response in state preemption lawsuit
Arizona Daily Star, 12/23/16

The city of Tucson is asking the Arizona Supreme Court to throw out a lawsuit filed by Attorney General Mark Brnovich over the city’s policy to destroy confiscated guns.

The 30-page motion filed Thursday night suggests the legal mechanism that brought the complaint to the state’s highest court — SB 1487 — is unconstitutional and therefore, unenforceable. The state is threatening to pull shared revenue from the city unless Tucson stops destroying seized guns.


A Florida Mayor Fights the Gun Lobby
City Lab from The Atlantic, 1/6/17

In 2014, two gun-rights organizations… sued the city of Tallahassee and various of its officials over a pair of laws, passed in 1957 and 1988, that prohibit residents from discharging firearms in public parks. Those local regulations retroactively violated a Florida state law, passed in 2011, preempting local governments from passing any ordinances that regulate guns.

On Tuesday, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum will appear before Florida’s First District Court of Appeal for oral arguments in that continuing case. Except Gillum will not have the benefit of Tallahassee’s legal team behind him: The same Florida state preemption law prohibits the use of public funds in defending local government officials in any dispute over gun ordinances. So, in this case, the mayor had to procure pro-bono representation.

The mayor refers to the law as “super-preemption.” Like state preemption laws across the country, including North Carolina’s notorious H.B. 2, Florida’s firearms statute forbids city or county governments from passing certain local policies—in this case, laws regulating the sale or use of firearms. But Florida’s law goes much further: It opens up local government officials to lawsuits, penalties, fees, and even removal from office for even attempting to pass a bill contravening state law.

State bill to ban plastic bags introduced 3rd time by Rep. David Richardson
Treasure Coast Palm, 12/15/16

Florida coastal communities could ban plastic shopping bags to preserve the environment and reduce litter under a proposed state law…

This is the third time Rep. David Richardson has filed the bill since the Legislature in 2008 prohibited local governments from enacting ordinances to regulate disposable plastic bags.

Richardson’s hometown of Miami Beach wants to enact the pilot program, and 24 local governments across the state have passed resolutions supporting the end of the state’s pre-emption. Those include Sewall’s Point, Brevard County, Melbourne Beach, Indiatlantic, Satellite Beach, Bonita Springs and Leon County.

The House bill (HB93) and its Senate companion (SB162) would prohibit municipalities from imposing fees or taxes on bag use, and would require governments to collect data on the pilot program to generate a report for the Department of Environmental Protection.


County heads toward repealing GMO bill
The Garden Island, 12/15/16

The Kauai County Council voted 6-0 on the first reading of Bill No. 2643, which seeks to repeal Bill No. 2491, also known as Ordinance 960. Councilman Arthur Brun, an employee of Syngenta, recused himself from the vote.

The bill…sought to regulate the use of GMOs and pesticides by requiring mandatory disclosure of GMO and pesticide use by large agricultural businesses, and prohibiting open air testing of experimental pesticides and GMOs…

The bill was overturned in the federal court. And on Nov. 18, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the court’s ruling that the Hawaii Pesticides Law preempts the county’s laws.


Iowa Legislature likely to have minimum wage debate – or two
The Gazette, 1/2/17

It’s all but certain the Iowa Legislature will have a minimum wage debate this year. Maybe two…

That means there will be attempts to pre-empt local government from setting their own minimum wage rates…

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement spokeswoman Bridget Fagan-Reidburn and Progress Iowa’s Matt Sinovic said their groups will not accept any pre-emption legislation that would lower workers’ wages.


Hogan backs mandatory paid sick leave at large companies
Capital Gazette, 12/7/16

Republican Gov. Larry Hogan announced Wednesday he will lobby the General Assembly to mandate paid sick leave at large companies, offering a proposal that puts his stamp on an issue long championed by Democrats

Democrats have been working since April on legislation for next year, and bristled at the governor’s preemptive alternative…

Hogan’s proposal would override more expansive local laws, such as the mandated paid sick leave required in Montgomery County.

Montgomery County Councilman Tom Hucker said preempting his county’s law could effect hundreds of thousands of workers that are guaranteed paid sick time or parental leave under local laws.


Michigan bans bans on plastic bags, takeout food containers, styrofoam cups and just about anything else
Tree Hugger, 1/3/17

Ban on local plastic bag bans now Michigan law
MLive, 12/29/16

The bill to ban local governments from banning plastic bags and other disposable containers is now Michigan law, as it was signed by Lt. Gov. Brian Calley on Wednesday afternoon.

The bill moves to preempt local governments from putting in place ordinances disallowing or placing fees on disposable containers. That would affect Washtenaw County, which planned to start enforcing a 10-cent charge on paper and plastic grocery bags in 2017.

Appeals Court: Michigan Schools Can Ban Guns
WEMU (Ypsilanti, MI NPR Affiliate), 12/16/16

The state Court of Appeals says the state’s preemption of local firearms ordinances does not apply to schools.  The court upheld the Ann Arbor public schools ban on guns on school property. The ban was challenged by a gun rights group and a parent with a concealed pistol permit.

There is a state law that preempts most local gun ordinances to allow people to carry a pistol in many public places.


The Six Issues That Will (Probably) Dominate The Year In Local Government
Twin Cities [Minnesota] Business Magazine, 12/27/16

“Government that is closest to the people, is the best,” someone is supposed to have said, somewhere in history. But when it comes to issues, if you’re not winning at the local level, one longstanding tactic has been to take it up a notch — to address it in a venue where the odds might be more in your favor.

Is Minnesota the Next Target for GOP Wage Suppression Laws?
The American Prospect, 12/23/16

One of ALEC’s top priorities has been passing state laws that preempt local minimum wages. More than 20 mostly red states have passed minimum wage preemption laws, according to the National Employment Law Project. Just this week, Ohio Governor John Kasich signed a wage preemption law aimed at blocking an upcoming Cleveland ballot measure for a $15 minimum wage.


Montana Legislature will wrestle with variety of ag issues
AgWeek, 12/27/16

Lola Raska, executive vice president of the Montana Grain Growers Association…thinks a right-to-farm proposal that would prevent counties and local governments from regulating seeds could be a hot topic. Other states, including Oregon, Hawaii and California, have experienced local government regulation of seeds, usually because of anti-biotech leanings.

“We don’t have any of that in Montana but we know other states that do, so we’re trying to get ahead of that,” she says.


Nebraska: Important Firearms Preemption Legislation Introduced
NRA-ILA, 1/6/17

Yesterday, Legislative Bill 68 was introduced in the Nebraska Legislature…a [super-] preemption statute to ensure that firearm and ammunition laws are consistent throughout The Cornhusker State.

North Carolina

How Did North Carolina’s Deal to Repeal HB 2 Fall Apart?
The Atlantic, 12/22/16

McCrory calls lawmakers back; HB2 repeal planned
WRAL (Raleigh, NC), 12/19/16

There has been no official word from North Carolina House or Senate leadership as to the timing of the session or what exactly will happen, but [NC Governor-elect] Cooper said Monday a deal had been struck.

“Senate Leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore assured me that as a result of Charlotte’s vote, a special session will be called for Tuesday to repeal HB2 in full. I hope they will keep their word to me and with the help of Democrats in the legislature, HB2 will be repealed in full,” Cooper said. “Full repeal will help to bring jobs, sports and entertainment events back and will provide the opportunity for strong LGBT protections in our state.”


Pennsylvania court finds town’s gun ban unlawful, 12/19/16

A Commonwealth Court panel ruled 2-1 on Friday to grant a gun rights group an injunction against a Pennsylvania town’s ban on carrying firearms in area parks.

The court held the group’s case against Lower Merion Township, a 60,000 resident suburb of Philadelphia, has merit and issued a preliminary injunction against the city enforcing its local ban, overturning a lower court’s decision.

To the panel’s majority, it came down to a question of if the town violated state preemption laws regarding the lawful possession or transportation of firearms.

After judge OKs Philly sugary drink tax, appeal may bring thorny legal battle
NewsWorks WHYY (NPR-Philadelphia), 12/20/16

Soda tax lawsuit dismissed, 12/19/16

Common Pleas Court Judge Gary S. Glazer has dismissed a lawsuit against the city’s sweetened beverage tax, allowing the Kenney Administration to move forward with the implementation of an expanded prekindergarten program the levy will fund…

The lawsuit contended that the new tax is preempted by the state sales tax and would violate state law that requires similar products to be taxed at the same rate.

The lawsuit also contended that products purchased through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), popularly known as food stamps, are exempt from sales taxes and therefore implementing a soda tax on such purchases would be in violation of state and federal rules.

Glazer dismissed all three arguments.

In his order, Glazer ruled that the soda tax is not preempted by the state sales tax because the two taxes are fundamentally different, one being levied at the point of distribution and one at the point of sale.

South Carolina

South Carolina lawmaker proposes law similar to HB2
WSOC TV (Charlotte, NC), 12/29/16

In South Carolina H3012 is similar to North Carolina’s HB2 in that it would preempt local governments from enacting gender-affirming bathroom policies which would protect transgender people’s ability to use bathrooms that match their gender identity.


Texas Governor Pledges to Sign Anti-Sanctuary City Bill
The Daily Signal, 1/6/17

SB 4 states that, “A local entity shall not adopt, enforce, or endorse a policy under which the entity prohibits or discourages the enforcement of immigration laws.” The bill also allows for financial penalties (withholding of state grants) against cities and counties and the removal from office of officials who “violate” the law.

Following North Carolina’s lead, Texas GOP unveils its own anti-trans ‘bathroom bill’
Raw Story, 1/5/17

Following North Carolina’s lead, Texas Republicans announced Senate Bill 6 (SB6), which would require transgender people to use bathrooms in public schools, government buildings and universities based on “biological sex” and would pre-empt local nondiscrimination ordinances that allow for transgender Texans to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity.


State And Local Level Officials Prepare To Stand Up Against Trump On Climate Issues
WORT (Madison, WI), 12/15/16

“Now, here in California, and actually in Washington and Oregon as well, we have a Pacific Coast climate initiative, where the governors of all three states, along with British Columbia, have signed statements and executed their own programs,” explains Anne Nothoff, the California director for the National Resources Defense Council.

And she says AGs in California and other states can use the courts to slow-walk federal changes that would impact their states: “At the state level the AG should ensure that any legislation and regulations coming out of California are really bulletproof and won’t be susceptible to any sort of federal preemption arguments or any dormant commerce clause concerns. Those are two things that have set back some of the California regulations.”

Read more

December 15, 2016 Preemption Watch Newsletter


There are preemption threats at the federal or state levels targeting dozens of social justice, safety, and health issues, including: Food & nutrition; agriculture; local soda taxes; LGBT non-discrimination; tobacco control; e-cigarettes; all local licensure & permitting; fire & building codes; chemical safety; environmental justice; earned sick days; paid family leave; community benefits; all local regulations impacting private property; predatory lending; disposable containers; climate change; and statewide “blanket” preemption, which either directly or indirectly prevents the adoption or enforcement of any local ordinance, rule or regulation.

The evolving threat of state and federal preemption suggests that advocates must fundamentally shift strategy in 2017 and beyond: Rather than waiting for individual bills, amendments, or regulations, whether at the state or federal level, it is now incumbent upon advocates to expect and prepare for preemption well before it has been introduced or proposed.

Although the challenges vary from state to state and issue to issue, the public health field must now be prepared for preemption in all 50 states and at the federal level.

Contact Michael Bare @ or Mark Pertschuk @ for detailed updates on specific threats in your state and at the federal level.

E-Cigarettes Escape Stricter Labeling
Lexology, 11/30/16

The FDA, pursuant to the authority it possesses under the TCA (Tobacco Control Act), has promulgated a labeling requirement that applies to e-cigarettes. Therefore, state labeling requirements that apply to e-cigarettes that are “different from, or in addition to” the FDA’s requirement are preempted.


Tucson and state will square off in court over gun laws and local control
Arizona Daily Star, 12/7/16

After the Tucson City Council refused Tuesday to permanently stop the practice of destroying confiscated firearms, Attorney General Mark Brnovich asked the Arizona Supreme Court to cut off the city’s state aid…

Tuesday’s action is the first test of a new state law giving Brnovich the power to pressure cities to change policies he believes contradict the wishes of Arizona lawmakers. The law, known as SB 1486, allows the state to withhold state-shared revenues if Tucson refuses to repeal its legislation.

On Tuesday, city officials revised downward the dollar amount they believe is in jeopardy if Tucson loses in court, saying only two types of state revenue are applicable. The city received a total of $115 million from both last year.

These funds are used to pay for law enforcement, city courts, public transportation and the parks and recreation department, said Joyce Garland, the city’s chief financial officer.

Steller: Tucson right to fight state over bad ordinance
Arizona Daily Star, 12/7/16

In this opinion piece the author, who is opposed to a Tucson firearm ordinance, nonetheless also opposes Arizona’s “blanket” preemption on principle and states that local control is always preferable:

Tucson is fighting against a law, SB 1487, that imposes Draconian penalties on cities whose ordinances might violate state law or the Constitution. You could say that it’s just coincidence that the first city action to be challenged is a Tucson ordinance related to the destruction of seized guns…

The ordinance is pointless… But it is our right to have pointless ordinances and hash out the arguments ourselves, without putting $115 million per year in jeopardy…

But the NRA opposes any city efforts to regulate firearms, and pushed a bill in this year’s legislative session to give it a tool to sue. SB 1266 allowed pretty much anyone to sue a city attempting to do so. It imposes fines of up to $50,000 on the city, allows for firing of employees carrying out the policy, and says any successful plaintiff is due both attorneys’ fees and damages up to $100,000.

That bill was the one the NRA planned to use to fight Tucson, but then the nuclear option came into effect. SB 1487 takes away state-shared revenue from any city that violates any state law or the constitution — about $115 million in Tucson’s case. And it forces the Attorney General’s Office to handle any complaints made by a single state legislator, taking the legal burden off of individuals and interest groups.


California, Trump Administration Will Clash Over Environmental Policy
California Public Radio, 12/12/16

Serious clashes over environmental policy between California and President-elect Donald Trump’s administration are likely. Legal experts say to expect increased tension and litigation. 

Legally, California’s environmental rules and programs could be challenged in a variety of ways by the Trump administration – putting at risk wildlife and coastal protections, land use regulations, and pollution controls. Rick Frank, director of the Environmental Law and Policy Center at UC Davis, says federal law prevails when in conflict with state or local law under the preemption doctrine.

“The preemption doctrine can and does arise in a variety of contexts and the whole controversy over oil by rail is one of them,” says Frank.

He says while California hasn’t taken on a regulatory role in limiting oil shipments by rail, local governments have. Benicia’s rejection of oil trains might not prevail under a Trump administration.


Linn County supervisor wants to delay start date for minimum wage ordinance
The Gazette, Cedar Rapids, IA, 12/13/2016

Oleson said his concern is the Linn County minimum wage, currently scheduled to increase to $8.25 an hour at the beginning of the year, could become a moot point if state lawmakers add a pre-emption clause this General Assembly that eliminates local governments’ ability to pass such an ordinance.


County Council Opposes Possible State Limits on Sick and Safe Leave Bill
Bethesda Magazine, 12/6/16

The Montgomery County Council on Tuesday opposed potential statewide legislation that would mimic the county’s Sick and Safe Leave legislation, but would limit the companies that would be required to provide the benefits…

Annapolis lobbyist Bruce Bereano said, in a telephone interview, the Montgomery statute is applicable statewide because it covers any company doing business in the county.

“There has been and will be a very strenuous effort this upcoming session when a sick leave bill is passed is to pre-empt all jurisdictions,” Bereano said. He is representing a number business, construction and floor-covering companies, as well as clients that operate locations in a number of counties in the state, he said.


Courtroom battle begins over Minneapolis’ sick leave ordinance
Minnesota Star Tribune, 12/8/16

The case…is focused on whether state law already pre-empts a municipal sick and safe leave ordinance, and whether businesses would suffer irreparable harm if the judge does not halt its enforcement well before it goes into effect July 2017.


Lawmakers use Petland bill to ban Ohio cities from upping minimum wage
The Columbus Dispatch, 12/8/16

A bill that started out ensuring cities couldn’t limit where pet stores purchase puppies grew Tuesday to also block cities from raising their minimum wages and provide an expedited process for AT&T to install equipment needed to bring next-generation 5G wireless connectivity to Ohio.


Galveston tries to outwit bag-ban foes
Houston Chronicle, 12/11/16

Bills in previous legislative sessions aimed at shackling local authority to ban plastic bags have died quick deaths, but this year could be different, warned Melanie Scruggs, program director for the Texas Campaign for the Environment’s Houston office.

Bills aiming at restricting cities’ rights to ban plastic bags, like SB 103, are sure to run into stiff opposition from organizations like the Texas Municipal League. “It’s an abandonment of the concept of local control,” said Bennett Sandlin, Municipal League executive director. “Most cities will never do it, but for the cities that want to do it, they have good reasons.”

Read more

November 30, 2016 Preemption Watch Newsletter

Preemption Front and Center in 2017

Even before the 2016 elections, we expected an increased threat of state preemption in 2017, both across issues and in a growing number of states. That fear was confirmed by the 2016 elections. Even more concerning, the outcome of the presidential election suddenly and dramatically increased the risk of federal preemption, both by legislative and regulatory action.

In November of 2014 and 2015, we posted our preemption forecasts for the upcoming legislative sessions. We based our predictions on our research, trends from prior years, ongoing monitoring, intelligence from the field, and the behavior of industry lobbyists and front groups.

Our forecasts for both years were unfortunately accurate. As predicted, the opponents of local (and state) authority were aggressive in introducing and promoting preemptive state legislation across dozens of issues. Simply put, 2015 was worse than 2014 and 2016 worse than 2015. The good news was that advocates for public health, safety and workers succeeded in slowing and stopping numerous preemptive proposals in many states.

Coming Soon: Our detailed 2017 federal & state preemption forecast.


Trump’s Agriculture Policy?
Marion Nestle, Food Politics, 11/15/16

Leaked pre-election talking points indicate that the Trump administration and their appointees will push federal preemption in agriculture and food policy, especially as it concerns corporate or factory farming (such as concentrated animal feeding operations [CAFOs]), and seek to eliminate state and local authority to address water and air pollution caused by factory farming.

What Does the NRA Want? (And What To Do About it)
The Huffington Post, 11/22/16

…state activity occurs because federal law does not preempt state gun law; indeed, there is an express anti-preemption provision in the Gun Control Act of 1968. It is possible the NRA will seek to establish a beachhead of federal preemption, particularly as it affects state restrictions on concealed carry, thus preventing states from restricting concealed carry by their own residents.

Local gun-carrying restrictions may be wiped out under Trump, advocates say
The Guardian, 11/14/16

If Congress passes a federal right-to-carry law, it’s “certainly possible” that within a year or two, New York tourists might be able to carry a concealed weapon as they tour the city, said Robert Spitzer, a gun politics expert at SUNY Cortland.

 …Concealed-carry permits from one state “should be valid in all 50 states”, [Trump’s] platform reads, calling the proposal “common sense”.


State and Local GMO bans declared legal
Capital Press, 11/18/16

While the 9th Circuit ruled in favor of biotech critics on federal pre-emption, Maui County’s GMO ban remains overturned under its recent ruling. The appellate court found that the ordinance was still pre-empted by Hawaii’s comprehensive state laws and rules that deal with the same subject matter of potentially harmful plants.

Circuit court nixes Hawaiian counties’ GE bans
AgriPulse 11/18/16

But under the preemption clause of the federal Plant Protection Act (PPA), the court said that “state and local governments may not supplement the strict controls that apply to federally regulated plant pests” without the approval of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service [APHIS].

The court said the PPA “expressly” preempts the Maui and Hawaii county ordinances to the extent that they seek to ban GE plants that APHIS regulates as plant pests. The court added, however, that federal law does not preempt state regulation of federally deregulated, commercialized GE crops. [emphasis added]


What’s Kansas City’s fate with Missouri Republicans?
The Kansas City Star, 11/18/16

Mayor Sly James (D-Kansas City) isn’t sure what’s ahead for Kansas City’s legislative priorities…“My main concern, frankly, in the very broadest sense is pre-emption (losing local control over city priorities). I’m concerned they’ll continue to pre-empt us in places that hurt us without any real sense of the consequences.”

In recent years, lawmakers have voted to strip local governments of control over regulation of firearms, prohibit cities from enacting their own minimum wage and block local efforts to ban plastic grocery bags.


County official: Political gridlock and local preemption loom at the Capitol
Austin Monitor, 11/23/16

State preemption is on the radar for many local officials, regardless of political affiliation, as they anticipate the 2017 Texas legislative session commencing in January.

Texas Senate Bill proposal asks to take away local anti-discrimination ordinances
KBMT News (ABC, Beaumont), 11/16/16

“This is modeled after HB-2 in North Carolina, and seeing the economic impact there, the fact that we’re trying to carry this into Texas, it was definitely disappointing to see,” Burnham said. East Texas senator Bob Hall proposed Senate Bill 92.

It would end city and local ordinance protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The bill, also called the Intrastate Commerce Improvement Act, states that the purpose of this act is to improve intrastate commerce by ensuring that businesses, organizations, and employers doing business in this state are subject to uniform nondiscrimination laws and obligations, irrespective of the county, municipality, or other political subdivision in which the business, organization, or employer is located or engages in business or a commercial activity.

According to Equality Texas, removing local control would restrict the ability of local elected officials to pass or enforce ordinances, rules, or regulations that are not identical to state protections.

The bill would end up restricting local governments to only protecting the attributes covered under state law: race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, disability, age or genetic information, according to Equality Texas.

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November 10, 2016 Preemption Watch Newsletter

Preemption Webinar: Join us Nov. 16

Prepare, Plan, and Push Back

With the passage of four new local sugary beverage taxes on November 8, 2016, public health advocates are batting 1000 at the ballot box and joining a rapidly growing national nutrition movement. Unfortunately, grassroots success foreshadows efforts to preempt local authority over food, nutrition, and other public health concerns.

Please join us for a webinar providing tools and best practices to prepare and plan for preemption attempts in states across the country. The presenters will share new messaging resources, important tips to prepare for preemption bills and amendments, and a case study from Kansas. Hear about the latest developments in state preemption post-election and what you can do to anticipate and push back against attacks on local public health authority.

Carter Headrick, Director, State and Local Obesity Policy Initiative, Voices for Healthy Kids, American Heart Association/American Stroke Association

Mark Pertschuk, Director, Grassroots Change

Missty Lechner, Kansas Alliance for Wellness, American Heart Association, Kansas

Kevin Walker, Regional Vice President of Advocacy, American Heart Association, Midwest Affiliate


Preemption: Prepare, Plan, and Push Back

What to expect in 2017 and beyond

Presented by Voices for Healthy Kids, the American Heart Association, and Grassroots Change

Wednesday, Novemeber 16 2016 3:00 pm Eastern Time/ noon Pacific Time (1 hour)

Meeting Number: 742 823 290

Meeting Password: VFHK

Add to Calendar     When it’s time,  join the meeting

Join by phone:

Call-in toll-free number (Verizon): 1-877-972-6091  (US)

Call-in number (Verizon): 1-877-972-6091  (US)

Attendee access code: 316 526 4 

Can’t join the meeting?


Bay Area and Boulder voters say yes to a soda tax

Healthy Food America, 11/9/16

The passage of four local sugary beverage tax initiatives in Boulder, CO and Albany, Oakland and San Francisco, CA adds to a successful and growing food movement and means it’s time to expect state preemption in the 2017 legislative sessions, not only in these states but in all states.


Arizona lawmaker says Tucson breaking state law by destroying guns, 10/31/16

A state representative wants Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s office to investigate if Tucson has violated a 2013 law requiring jurisdictions to sell rather than scrap surplus firearms.

State Rep. Mark Finchem, R-Oro Valley, filed a complaint with Brnovich Oct. 12 arguing the city of Tucson is destroying confiscated and forfeited firearms which, according to state law, are public property and should be sold as surplus.



Florida Association of Counties, 10/28/16

You may recall that legislation filed in the last two sessions proposed the preemption of local government authority over fertilizer, ranging from a full preemption (including the sale, composition, formulation, packaging, use, application and distribution of fertilizer) to partial preemptions (for commercial applicators and prohibited application periods or “summer bans”).    

While the Association of Counties has played an important role in protecting home rule authority over the past several years, it is very likely that similar legislation will be introduced again this coming session.   At the 2012 Water Forum, Chairman Crisafulli (R – Merritt Island) stated that he expects a fertilizer bill to be filed this session, and legislative staff members with the House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources have already contacted both FAC and the League of Cities seeking information related to fertilizer regulation.  Although the committee staff indicated that they are not working on an interim project or an analysis of any specific proposal, they were interested in the number of existing fertilizer ordinances and wanted to become more familiar with the issue.


We repeat: Local CAFO control needed

Globe Gazette, 11/2/16

This editorial calls for greater local control over CAFOs (factory farms) in Iowa, a state that currently preempts local authority in this area.


Anti-Gun Legislation Pre-Filed to Remove State Preemption Laws

NRA-ILA, 11/5/16

This week, state Senator Reginald Thomas (D-13) pre-filed BR 172, legislation that would allow urban-county governments and consolidated local governments to regulate firearms and ammunition.


Solar energy runs into resistance in Maryland

Bay Journal, 10/28/16

Booming Solar Industry Raises Local Land Use Preemption Concerns

Maryland Association of Counties, 11/7/16

The Bay Journal (top article) outlines “some of the challenges posed by utility scale solar projects on prime agricultural lands and open space.” The MD Association of Counties, agreeing with this analysis, links it to threats of possible preemption of solar utilities in the state, stating that “one of MACo’s 2017 Legislative Initiatives is to ensure local zoning and land use concerns play a role in the siting of ‘dispersed’ energy facilities, such as solar”

North Dakota

LETTER: What is real, local control?

The Dickinson Press, 11/3/16

An opinion piece arguing for more local control over industrial waste sites in light of North Dakota’s state preemption of local authority in this issue area, and citing potential mismanagement and harm to local communities.


SQ 777: Right to Farm roundly rejected by Oklahomans

NonDoc, 11/8/16

Oklahoma’s “right to farm” ballot initiative, SQ777, which would have preempted local agriculture policies, was defeated on election day.


Voucher Tenants Need Protection from Discrimination and Preemption

Nonprofit Quarterly, 11/1/16

Even as some senators put more emphasis on housing choice vouchers (HCV) and recognize the social value of mobility, state governments are raising roadblocks to Source of Income (SOI) protections for HCV households…

 The Dallas Observer tells how a progressive city council in Dallas has backed down from a confrontation with the Texas State Legislature over anti-discrimination laws that would have protected housing choice voucher households.

“The city of Dallas is not going to be the test case for the state of Texas’ ban on ordinances that require landlords to take affordable housing vouchers. Wednesday, the Dallas City Council voted 9-6 against enacting an income non-discrimination, later adopting a half-measure that will require builders getting certain tax breaks from the city to rent a small percentage of their units to voucher recipients.”

Texas, national bag law advocates fight attorney general’s suit

SE Texas Record, 10/27/16

Attorney General Ken Paxton has caught resistance from numerous entities in response to his lawsuit against Texas’ first local law against bag pollution in Brownsville.

Bag law advocates on the state and national level recently joined to defend the bag ordinances. Organizations are ready to help as this issue heads to the Texas Supreme Court with the city of Laredo appealing a recent decision to dismiss the city’s bag law.

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