Cities are often the birthplace of innovative, equitable, and progressive local policies. From workplace fairness to environmental justice, local communities are leading the way when it comes to protecting the health, welfare, and safety of their residents.
Unfortunately, this local progress and innovation is increasingly being blocked, or “preempted,” by state and federal laws, preventing cities from passing ordinances that reflect local views and values. We believe that local communities know what’s best for them, and we are working across the nation to defend and expand the power of cities and counties to enact progressive policies.
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.
Working Around the Country and Across Movements
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 ChangeLab Solutions, Fordham University’s Urban Law Center, and the Partnership for Working Families, to support the work of the Local Solutions Support Center to develop proactive and defensive legal strategies and provide technical assistance to cities and advocates in their fight 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.