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August 20, 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. You can contact us at michael@grassrootschange.net or (510) 452-9419. More information can be found at Preemption Watch. Thank you for your support!
 
We’re happy to have a slow month in preemption news with Congress and many state legislatures in recess. That doesn’t mean we need to stop paying attention, but you may want to take this time to like & share our new Preemption Watch Facebook page, or our recently updated Preemption Map (now with 6 issue areas, searchable by state or issue, with links to the preemptive laws themselves).
 
As always, we depend on our network of friends and colleagues to let us know about preemptive proposals, bills, amendments, or other attacks on local control, wherever they may arise. Please contact us anytime with information to share! 

In February 2014, Grassroots Change published an interview with Laura Cutilletta, Senior Staff Attorney at the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, about the Law Center’s work countering preemption and supporting grassroots gun violence prevention movements. We interviewed her again recently to get an update on the Law Center’s work.

Read the interview here.
 
We will also be releasing our new Introduction to Preemption toolkit in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

Michigan

Organic egg mega-farm construction underway in Allegan County
mLive, 8/18/15
Last December, several township residents objected to the proposed construction at the Otsego Township Planning Commission's meeting, expressing their concerns about the impact a large animal facility might have. But after the township attorney advised that Michigan Right to Farm law specifically preempts local regulation of commercial farms in areas zoned for agriculture, the township withdrew from the site approval process.
 
North Carolina
 
Ordinance could delay fracking
The Sanford Herald, 8/15/15
The Chatham County Board of Commissioners potentially could slow the arrival of hydraulic fracturing in the county at its meeting Monday with a local ordinance imposing a two-year moratorium on the practice…

According to N.C. General Statute 113-415.1, state law preempts any county and local government ordinances that “place any restriction or condition upon oil and gas exploration, development, and production activities and use of horizontal drilling or hydraulic fracturing for that purpose within any county, city, or other political subdivision.” But Chatham County Attorney Richard “Jep” Rose said the county’s ordinance, if enacted, would not be subject to preemption.

Pennsylvania
 
Pittsburgh City Council Passes Controversial Paid Sick Days Act
The National Law Review, 8/18/15
Pittsburgh’s City Council made headlines by passing the Paid Sick Days Act, requiring all employers within the City to provide paid sick leave to employees. Pittsburgh is now the 20th city to enact such a law.  This new requirement is expected to impact over 50,000 employees within the City...

Skeptics assert that the bill was proposed and passed so quickly because the City Council was acting under questionable authority in passing the Ordinance, and there are rumblings that a challenge will likely be made to kill the Ordinance on the grounds it is preempted by state law, which generally does not permit municipalities with home-rule charters to impose duties, responsibilities, or requirements on businesses.  Pittsburgh just so happens to be such a municipality.

Tennessee
 
Editorial: Cities, counties need flexibility on ‘guns in parks' law
Knoxville News Sentinel, 8/10/15
When Gov. Bill Haslam signed the controversial "guns in parks" law in April, he warned of the unintended consequences of removing local control over whether to allow firearms in city or county parks. Those unintended consequences arrived last week.
 
Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery III, in an advisory opinion, wrote that contractors hosting special events in parks or managing public facilities could not ban people carrying weapons while possessing a handgun carry permit.
 
Wisconsin
 
Appeals court upholds gun ban on Madison buses
Wisconsin State Journal, 8/7/15
A state appeals court on Thursday agreed with a Dane County judge who ruled last year that a Madison city policy banning guns on city buses does not violate Wisconsin’s concealed carry law.
 
Wisconsin Carry, a gun rights group, contended that state law preempted the policy. But the state 4th District Court of Appeals said that, as written, state law doesn’t bar the rule, which prohibits guns on Metro Transit buses.
 
Other

State and Local Update on Minimum Purchase Age
Convenience Store and Fuel News, 8/12/15
This year, an increasing number of state legislatures and local city councils and town boards have considered raising the legal age to buy or use tobacco. These proposals have included raising the legal age to either 19 or 21.
 
The main reasons for this new trend include the adoption of a minimum age 21 to purchase tobacco products in New York City and the FDA-sponsored Institute of Medicine study that researched the public health impact of raising the legal age to 21 or 25 and concluded that raising the legal age to 21 would reduce the number of underage youth that begin using tobacco products...

However, there are states that have what are called pre-emption laws that do not allow a city or county to adopt a more restrictive regulation than current state law. This means that cities and towns in states with pre-emption laws are precluded from adopting a local law to raise the minimum legal purchase age. 
 
   
                                           
     
                                Mark Pertschuk                                                   Michael Bare                               
                             Director                                                    Program Manager                   
 
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.
 
Grassroots Change
221 Oak Street, Oakland, CA 94607
(510) 452-9419 | info@grassrootschange.net
 
Support for this project is provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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