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News Summary

Preemption Prevents Innovation

Publication Date: 3/6/2017
  • Author: Ben Seigel and Brooks Rainwater
  • Publication:U.S. News & World Report

We must not let states squash local policy experimentation

As the battle lines are forming between so-called sanctuary cities and the Trump administration, local jurisdictions across the country ought to be bracing for a much larger federalism fight: the stifling of social and economic progress by their own state governments.

City leaders work tirelessly every day to reflect their community's values and represent the people who elected them to office, and yet throughout the country, state legislatures are stopping cities from taking action on a vast array of issues -- from making local decisions on guns, smoking in public places, requirements for employers to provide paid sick leave and even setting clearer standards for restaurant menus.

State governments are using a tactic known as "preemption," based on the constitutional principle that state laws supersede local laws...

A preemption surge is especially worrisome because cities have traditionally been laboratories for policy innovation...