March 4, 2015 - What they say about grassroots & the new state preemption “feeding frenzy”
“Grassroots movements provide an opportunity for everyone to have a voice in what our society looks like – it’s at the core of what a democracy can and should be.”
        – Shannon Frattaroli, interview, “Grassroots Power and the Future of Public Health”

Since 2009, Grassroots Change has conducted research and collected other evidence to help answer two questions: Why are grassroots movements so important to making real progress in public health; and what does it take to build a powerful change movement? We have a lot of answers to these questions, but many of our partners also have unique experience and expertise to share.
Our newest tool, “Grassroots Movement Building: In Their Own Words,” features movement leaders, researchers, and grassroots organizers sharing their experience about the power and process of grassroots movement building. 
New York Times: Preemption “Feeding Frenzy” in State Legislatures

Govern Yourselves, State Lawmakers Tell Cities, but Not Too Much
Shaila Dewan, The New York Times, 2/23/15
“Darren Hodges, a Tea Party Republican and councilman in the windy West Texas city of Fort Stockton, is a fierce defender of his town’s decision to ban plastic bags. It was a local solution to a local problem and one, he says, city officials had a ‘God-given right’ to make...
“So-called pre-emption laws, passed in states across the country, have banned cities from regulating landlords, building municipal broadband systems and raising the minimum wage. In the last two years, eight Republican-dominated states, most recently Alabama and Oklahoma, have prevented cities from enacting paid sick leave for workers… At least five states have pre-empted local regulation of e-cigarettes. And in New Mexico, the restaurant industry supports a modest increase to the minimum wage only if the state stops cities from mandating higher minimums...
“Often these efforts are driven by industry, which finds it easier to wield influence in 50 capitols than in thousands of city halls,” said Mark Pertschuk, the director of Grassroots Change, which opposes the pre-emption of public health measures.
“This year, a combination of big money in state politics and a large number of first-time state legislators presents an opportunity for industries interested in getting favorable laws on the books, Mr. Pertschuk said. Increasingly, he said, disparate industries are banding together to back the same laws, either through the business-funded American Legislative Exchange Council, or by way of shared lobbyists. ‘There is going to be a feeding frenzy all year long in the state legislatures,’ he said.”

Read the article

F.C.C. Moves to Free Up Community Broadband Services
Steve Lohr, The New York Times, 2/27/2015
“Mr. DePriest is the chief executive of the Electric Power Board, a community supplier of ultrahigh-speed Internet service in Chattanooga, Tenn. E.P.B. and the city of Wilson, N.C., another municipal broadband provider, last year petitioned the F.C.C. to preempt state laws that limit the build-out of community broadband services. The commission voted 3-2, along political party lines, in favor of using its federal power to override the restrictive laws in those two states.”
Read the article
Other News
Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the airline smoking ban, one of the most successful grassroots health campaigns in history. Visit ANR’s 25th Anniversary page here.
Grassroots Change documented the grassroots movement for smokefree airlines in this case study and timeline.
Logo courtesy ANR
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                                Mark Pertschuk                                                   Kyung Jin Lee                                  
                                    Director                                                 Communications Director                     
Grassroots Change supports grassroots public health and safety movements. We’re joined together by a shared belief in the power of grassroots movements and a commitment to improving the lives of all Americans – whether that means fire prevention, access to healthy foods, violence prevention, or reconnecting children with nature. 
Grassroots Change
221 Oak Street, Oakland, CA 94607
(510) 452-9419 |
Support for this project is provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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