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GOP state legislatures are attacking local democracy

May 2017

The Hightower Lowdown, May 1, 2017

Jim Hightower

Even in the reddest of states, many urban areas are governed by progressive-minded, pragmatic problem solvers. Not all local governments are progressive, of course, and not all progressive solutions pan out, but at least homegrown public officials live where they work, have a personal sense of their communities’ values and needs, and are usually more in touch with local voters than faraway state or national big shots. Among mayors, council members, commissioners, et al., there’s also greater pressure for bipartisanship (or nonpartisanship), because, unlike congress critters and state officials, local office holders are on the ground level of public service and can’t hide behind do-nothing, laissez-faire BS. Thus, as noted by Mark Pertschuk, director of the watchdog group Grassroots Change: “The last operating bastion of democracy is at the local level: counties, cities, school boards, other types of local agencies. That’s where innovations and progress have been made.”

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Punishing Grassroots Action

Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble… – US Constitution, Amendment 1 Opponents of grassroots movements have a new policy strategy in addition to preemption – laws punishing participation in rallies, protests, marches, and other …

Preemption 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 …

Updated Preemption Map

The Grassroots Change Preemption Map now covers two new issues: LGBTQ Discrimination & Residential Fire Sprinklers. Our original six issues have all been updated with new preemption laws from the 2016 legislative sessions. Discrimination: Three states preempt local LGBTQ nondiscrimination laws (A fourth preemptive law, in Mississippi, was overturned and is on …

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News

GOP state legislatures are attacking local democracy

The Hightower Lowdown, May 2017- We the People are being burgled. Again. The most recent hit is just the latest in a long string of political robberies, a nationwide crime wave being pulled off by moneyed elites and their political henchmen. With each heist, they haul off a little more …

Texas Senate revives full bathroom bill with late-night move

Dailymail.com May 24, 2017- Texas’ Republican-controlled Legislature is tying itself in knots over a transgender “bathroom bill.” The state Senate voted 21-10 vote after 1 a.m. Wednesday to attach rules requiring transgender Texans to use public restrooms corresponding to their birth-certificate gender onto an otherwise unrelated proposal on county governments. …

What 120 U.S. Mayors Say About the “State of the City”

Next City, Kelsey E. Thomas, May 24, 2017- From Omaha, Nebraska, to Austin, Texas, to Washington, D.C., most U.S. mayors’ top concerns during the past year were the usual suspects: economics, housing, infrastructure, healthcare and education, according to an analysis from the National League of Cities. The National League of Cities …

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