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Sunday, January 29, 2017
Expect More Conflict Between Cities and States
With the federal government and most states controlled by conservative Republicans this year, Democrats are looking to Democratic cities and counties to stand up for progressive policy.
But they may want to temper their expectations. State lawmakers have blocked city action on a range of economic, environmental and human rights issues, including liberal priorities such as minimum wage increases, in recent years. And the stage looks set for more confrontation between cities and states this year.
Already, state lawmakers in Texas and Arkansas are weighing bills that would ban cities from declaring themselves “sanctuaries” and withholding cooperation with federal immigration officials.
Lawmakers in Kentucky, Virginia and six other states are considering preventing localities from allowing transgender people to use some restrooms that match their gender identity. In Montana, one lawmaker wants to prevent local governments from banning texting while driving.
While legislators say they’re trying to ensure consistency in state policy, so-called state preemption laws often expose political differences between state leaders — many of whom hail from rural districts — and city leaders.
“We’ve seen a continual uptick in preemptive measures at the state level over the last few years,” said Brooks Rainwater, director of the Center for City Solutions at the National League of Cities (NLC). He expects more of the same this year. READ MORE