April 15, 2015 - Protecting Local Control of Civil Rights and Public Health

How does preemption affect local communities’ ability to protect the health and safety of its citizens? And why is it so important that municipalities maintain the ability to set higher standards than the state?
“Local governments are on the frontlines in the fight to protect public health and safety and set modern workplace standards. But as more communities try to enact local health, wage and workplace reforms, they are being blocked by state ‘preemption’ laws that strip local governments of their law-making authority. That happens when state legislators interfere in the democratic process and stop the people of a local community from passing their own laws.”
- Rockefeller Family Fund, Protecting Local Control: A Research & Messaging Toolkit
Esteemed public health organizations and leaders, including the Institute of Medicine and Jill Birnbaum of the American Heart Association, talk about the detrimental impacts of preemption.
Read what they have to say here.

By Michael G. Bare

The use of preemption in state legislatures has long been a favored strategy of powerful lobbies including the tobacco and beverage industries. As in the case of Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, opponents of civil rights are now using preemption to undermine local anti-discrimination ordinances. Texas and Arkansas, among others, are considering measures similar to the law recently passed in Indiana.
Read Michael G. Bare’s blog post about the connection between preemption, public health and civil rights here

Grassroots leaders from across the country gathered in Austin, Texas to celebrate the successes of their movement building and brainstorm innovative ways to connect all communities with nature.

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See pictures from the event here.

                                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. 
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Support for this project is provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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