18
states preempt local laws guaranteeing paid sick days.
20
million people live in states that prevent cities from protecting LGBTQ individuals from discrimination.
10
states have passed anti-immigrant laws aiming to ban or punish sanctuary cities.
69%
of voters believe that local communities should be able to improve upon state law.

A Better Balance is working on the front lines with advocates and elected officials across the country, using the power of the law to defend progressive local policies against state and federal preemption.

Preemption and A Better Balance’s Mission

Working families and LGBTQ communities are being put at risk by the rise of preemption.

Cities have been on the frontlines in the fight to reform the workplace, enacting progressive policies such as paid sick time, minimum wage, and fair scheduling. Cities were also the first to expand nondiscrimination policies to protect LGBTQ populations. These policies—and many more that ABB fights for—have been targeted by state interference, stifling policy innovation, blocking social justice efforts, and hurting working families.

Preemption is becoming more common and more extreme.

State legislatures—often in response to corporate lobbyists and special interest groups—are increasingly turning to preemption to overturn and prevent local laws that would guarantee residents a living wage, protect the local environment, prevent discrimination, and more. At the same time, progressive local laws and policies face a growing threat of federal preemption.

Preemption laws are also becoming more extreme: some laws go so far as to withhold funding from cities or punish individual local legislators for passing laws that would benefit their communities.

Legal Effort to Address Preemption (LEAP) Project

ABB is helping to lead an innovative, cross-movement national project dedicated to strengthening, protecting, and defending progressive local laws.

We are working with legal experts and organizations nationwide, including Fordham University’s Urban Law Center, the Campaign to Defend Local Solutions, the Partnership for Working Families, and Rockefeller Family Fund to develop proactive and defensive legal strategies and technical assistance to help cities and advocates in their fight against preemption.

Visit ABB’s resources page for additional materials and resources to push back against preemption.

For more information, including legal research, advocacy tools, and amicus briefs, check out our resources page.

If you would like to request technical assistance from ABB or learn more about LEAP research and resources, please call us at (212) 430-5989 or email Dilini Lankachandra at dlankachandra@abetterbalance.org.