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September 10, 2015
Welcome to the Preemption Watch News. We hope you find these news links and summaries useful.
Please let us know if you have any news about proposed or pending preemption that you would like us to include in future updates. Contact us at michael@grassrootschange.net or (510) 452-9419. 
More information can be found at Preemption Watch. Thank you for your support!

 
National

Big Food is Spending Millions to Lobby for Less Transparency
KQED, 8/26/15
By all accounts, Americans want a more transparent food system….And yet, several bills are currently moving through Congress that could make it much harder to learn about the source of our food...would prevent state and local governments from requiring labeling of GMOs; remove country-of-origin labeling (COOL) requirements for most of the meat we buy; and make it harder to know where pesticides are used. The international trade agreements now being negotiated also include provisions that could make such information less available to consumers.

Arkansas

Arkansas AG: Local LGBT protections barred by state law
Seattlepi, 9/2/15
The Arkansas AG confirms that the state’s recently passed Anti-Discrimination Preemption Law does, indeed, nullify local LGBT protections.

California

Bill would allow local taxes on tobacco
Record-Bee Community News, 8/20/15
Senator Mike McGuire’s legislation to continue to fight the impacts of tobacco use on public health was approved in the Senate’s Extraordinary Session Committee on Health Care this week. California has one of the lowest tobacco taxes in the nation, currently ranking 35th with a tax of 87 cents…

This legislation would empower counties to place locally generated tobacco taxes onto the ballot.

Colorado

STATE PREEMPTION PROHIBITS DEMOCRACY, LETS CHANGE IT!!!
East Boulder County United, 8/20/15
In Colorado governments cannot raise the minimum wage, pass rent control laws, or ban fracking... a coalition embodying a range of economic and environmental justice fights is coming together to directly challenge the basis for state preemption: On August 17, a statewide initiative was launched by Coloradans for Community Rights to do just that. It may be the first time that anti-extraction and workers’ rights movements have allied behind a concrete political tactic in modern US history.

Florida

BREAKING: Florida Carry Inc. sues FSU, its president and police chief for preemption violation
The Gun Writer, 9/8/15
Florida Carry Inc. has sued Florida State University, the college president and the campus police chief for violating the state preemption law, which mandates that only the state legislature can regulate arms.

Florida Carry Inc. is alleging in the civil suit that even though John Thrasher, President of Florida State University and FSU Police Chief David Perry “are well aware of the law and the binding decision of the court, they have chosen to continue illegally prohibiting the possession of firearms in people’s private vehicles.”

Lawsuit against Tallahassee officials misguided
Tallahassee Democrat, 8/28/15
An opinion article against the lawsuit "by the pro-gun groups, Washington-state based Second Amendment Foundation and Florida Carry — naming then-Mayor John Marks and three city commissioners and seeking to fine them for their failure to repeal Tallahassee city ordinances prohibiting the shooting of firearms in city parks or other public areas."

FL: Gun rights groups urge fines against city leaders on preemption violations
Guns.com, 8/21/15
Second Amendment organizations as part of a suit against the city of Tallahassee are seeking a Florida court to fine the mayor and others $5,000 for breaking state law.

The suit, filed last May as a constitutional challenge of city’s longstanding ordinances on firearm possession and use in public, was argued Thursday in front of Circuit Judge George Reynolds.

Michigan

2015 House Bill 4795: Authorize sanctions against local gun ban preemption scofflaws
Michigan Votes
Introduced by Rep. Lee Chatfield (R) on August 18, 2015, to authorize private lawsuits against a local government that violates a state preemption on local firearms ownership or use restrictions, which would allow plaintiffs to collect actual damages and costs if they prevail. Also, to authorize a $5,000 civil fine against elected or appointed local officials who “knowingly and willfully” enact or enforce local restrictions that violate the state preemption.

•    Referred to the House Judiciary Committee on August 18, 2015.
HB 4795

Nebraska

Letter, 9/1: On Ebke and guns
Journal Star, 9/1/15
Sen. Laura Ebke has proposed a gun preemption bill that would nullify city gun laws in Nebraska and require all gun policy to be written at the state level ("Local control not best on guns," Aug. 13). Preemption laws are how powerful industries that are harmful to public health cripple communities’ efforts to protect their citizens. Preemption kneecaps grassroots efforts to minimize such obvious community hazards as carcinogens, pollution and firearms.

North Carolina

Stokes County commissioners likely to consider fracking moratorium
Winston-Salem Journal, 9/2/15
The Stokes County Board of Commissioners will likely consider a two-year moratorium on the natural-gas drilling method known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, at its meeting Sept. 14…

The role of local government in fracking has been a subject of debate. Some say that local governments have no authority to regulate fracking, but that point of view is not accurate, according to law experts.

Ohio

Fracking foes say Ohio elections chief exceeds his authority
The Washington Times, 9/1/15
Residents in three Ohio counties where Secretary of State Jon Husted invalidated anti-fracking ballot issues this fall argued in a court filing Tuesday that voters, not the elections chief, should decide the substance of such issues.

Residents in Fulton, Medina and Athens counties told the Ohio Supreme Court that Husted was supposed to decide the validity of their petitions, not the merits of the “community rights county charters” they proposed.

Oregon

Why initiatives should remain a power tool for citizens
Capital Press, 8/27/15
The Oregon Secretary of State has refused to certify a proposed initiative that sought to prohibit state pre-emption of local laws…

Newspapers across the state reprinted the Capital Press’ editorial “happy dance,” silently agreeing that this level of local control would “set up a patchwork of regulation that would make everyone’s business difficult, if not impossible.”

...the better response would have been outrage at the poor excuse for “due process” afforded the would-be petitioners.

Simply put, this total lack of constitutional respect is a direct attack on direct democracy.

Tennessee

Van Huss opposes proposed legislation banning guns at sports, music events
Johnson City Press, 9/2/15
Senate Minority Leader Lee Harris of Memphis and state Rep. John Ray Clemmons of Nashville say their bill would create an exemption to the new state law that bans local governments from prohibiting people with handgun carry permits to be armed in parks…

In April, two weeks after the National Rifle Association had its annual meeting in Nashville, Gov. Bill Haslam signed the bill permitting guns in parks. The bill nixed any local government bans on people with handgun permits taking their guns into parks, though it was amended to restrict such guns in the "immediate vicinity" of a school-sanctioned event at a park while that event is under way.

Texas

State law voids SA locking knife ban
KSAT, 8/25/15
The knife preemption law, passed overwhelmingly by state legislators this session, prohibits municipalities and counties from creating or enforcing their own regulations on the transfer, private ownership, keeping, transportation, licensing or registration of knives. This means San Antonio's ordinance prohibiting anyone from carrying a knife with a locking blade will no longer be enforceable.

Washington

NRA Challenges Seattle's $25 'Gun Violence' Tax on Firearms Sales
Courthouse News Service, 8/26/15
The National Rifle Association sued Seattle on Monday, claiming the City Council's recent unanimous approval of a tax on gun sales and ammunition is unconstitutional…”The rule of preemption could not be clearer: the City of Seattle (like any municipality in the state of Washington) is not permitted to pass laws that target the sale of firearms and ammunition through any means, be it through the suppressive effect of a $25 tax, the operative prohibition of sales through a $1,000 tax, or an outright ban,” the complaint states.

Other

If you're not already terrified about the potential human cost of TTIP, these examples will do it
The Independent, 8/20/15
This article, while written from a UK perspective, illustrates the concerns about preemption of national health and safety laws under international trade treaties.

"For a complete picture of the suffering this changed NHS would cause in the UK, consider alongside it the power TTIP would give corporations like tobacco companies to sue governments for health campaigns detrimental to their profits. In the most famous case...Philip Morris sued Uruguay for its anti-smoking campaign. This is nothing short of a public health catastrophe."
 

   
                                           
     
                                Mark Pertschuk                                                   Michael Bare                               
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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 access to healthy foods, violence prevention, paid sick days, or reconnecting children with nature. Preemption Watch is a project of Grassroots Change.
 
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