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Defending Local Democracy, Brief Bank

These briefs and decisions are meant to be used as a guide and the information contained in them do not constitute legal advice. Laws and judicial precedent vary in different jurisdictions, especially in the realm of state preemption, meaning that the legal authorities in these briefs may not be relevant to your particular case.

  • Lewis v. Bentley: Complaint
    Complaint filed by the NAACP arguing that an Alabama state law preempting Birmingham’s minimum wage ordinance violates the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution and the Federal Voting Rights Act.
  • Lewis v. Bentley: Decision
    District Court (N.D. Ala.) decision that the state law preempting Birmingham’s minimum wage violated neither the Federal Voting Rights Act nor the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution. This decision is currently being appealed.
  • Lewis v. Bentley: Amicus Brief by the NAACP and Campaign Legal Center
    Amicus brief submitted in support of NAACP’s appeal, arguing that the Federal Voting Rights Act allows minority voters to bring private enforcement actions against states.
  • Lewis v. Bentley: Amicus Brief by Partnership for Working Families & SPLC
    Amicus brief submitted in support of NAACP’s appeal, arguing that the Alabama state law preempting Birmingham’s minimum wage ordinance does violate the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
  • Amicus brief submitted in support of NAACP’s appeal, arguing that preemption of local minimum wage ordinances undermines the ability of policymakers to respond to local economic conditions, that such preemption disproportionately impacts African American workers, and that higher local minimum wages are a sound policy idea.

  • Puppies ‘N Love v. Phoenix: Amicus Brief by the City of Tempe
    Amicus brief submitted in support of the city of Phoenix, arguing that the city’s regulation of pet dealers should not be preempted by state law because of the state’s inaction with regard to regulating pet dealers.
  • United Food and Commercial Workers Local 99 v. Arizona: Decision
    Arizona Superior Court decision holding that an Arizona law preempting local regulation of employee benefits was invalid because the Voter Protection Act prevents the state Legislature from amending or superseding voter-approved initiatives unless the state law either furthers the purposes of the initiative or is passed by a three-fourths majority in the House of Representatives and the Senate, and Arizona voters had previously approved an initiative that explicitly preserved the power of municipalities to regulate “wages and other benefits

Arkansas v. Fayetteville: Amicus Brief by the ACLU
Amicus brief submitted in support of Fayetteville, arguing that the city’s antidiscrimination ordinance is not preempted by an Arkansas state law, and if it is, that the Arkansas state law violates the U.S. Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause. This case has been remanded to a lower court to determine whether the Arkansas state law violates the Equal Protection Clause.

  • Florida Retail Federation v. Coral Gables: Decision
    Florida 11th Circuit Court decision finding that a state law prohibiting local regulation of polystyrene did not preempt Coral Gables’ ban on certain polystyrene food packaging. This decision is currently being appealed.
  • Florida Carry, Inc. v. Tallahassee: Decision
    Florida Appellate Court decision holding that Tallahassee legislators were not personally liable for failing to rescind decades old firearms regulations in light of a state punitive preemption law prescribing individual liability for local legislators “promulgating” firearms regulations. This decision did not reach the merits of whether the state law’s use punitive preemption is unconstitutional and is currently being appealed.
  • Florida Carry, Inc. v. Tallahassee: Amicus Brief by the Florida League of Cities
    Amicus brief submitted in support of the City of Tallahassee arguing that local legislators are absolutely immune from suit for their legislative activity under the Florida Constitution.
  • This decision did not reach the merits of whether the state law’s use punitive preemption is unconstitutional and is currently being appealed.
  • Florida Carry, Inc. v. Tallahassee: Amicus Brief by the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence et al.
    Amicus brief submitted in support of the City of Tallahassee arguing that local legislators are absolutely immune from suit for their legislative activity under the Florida and Federal Constitutions, and that punitive preemption provisions such as those found in Florida’s preemption law would have a chilling effect on legitimate legislative activity.
  • Florida Retail Federation v. Miami Beach: Amicus Brief by Legal Scholars
    Amicus brief submitted in support of Miami Beach’s minimum wage ordinance, arguing that the Minimum Wage Amendment to the Florida Constitution explicitly preserved local power to adopt a higher minimum wage than the state’s.
  • Florida Retail Federation v. Miami Beach: Amicus Brief by Coral Gables
    Amicus brief submitted in support of Miami Beach’s minimum wage ordinance, arguing that the Florida Constitution authorizes municipalities to adopt a higher minimum wage than the state’s.
  • Florida Retail Federation v. Miami Beach: Decision
    Florida Appellate Court decision holding that the Minimum Wage Amendment to the Florida Constitution does not prevent the state from preempting local authority to establish a higher minimum wage in a subsequent statute. This decision is being appealed.

Michigan Court of Appeals decision upholding policies enacted by Ann Arbor Public Schools banning the possession of firearms on school property and at school-sponsored activities. The Court found that these policies were not preempted by state gun regulations.

  • Minnesota Chamber of Commerce v. Minneapolis (District Court): Decision
    Minnesota District Court decision declining to preliminarily enjoin Minneapolis’s paid sick time ordinance, except to the extent that it applies to employers outside of Minneapolis. The decision holds that Minneapolis was likely to succeed on the issue of whether the ordinance was preempted by state law but that it was unclear whether Minneapolis could enforce the ordinance against employers outside of Minneapolis. This case is currently pending at the intermediate appellate level.
  • Minneapolis v. Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, et al (Court of Appeals): Amicus Brief by ABB et al.
    Amicus brief submitted by SEIU Local 26, TakeAction Minnesota, Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en la Lucha, and A Better Balance, arguing that Minneapolis’s Sick and Safe Time Law does not have an impermissible extraterritorial effect.
  • Minnesota District Court decision upholding Minnesota’s minimum wage ordinance, finding that a state minimum wage statute did not impliedly preempt a local ordinance requiring a higher minimum wage.

  • Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Assoc. v. Pittsburgh: Decision
    Pennsylvania appellate court decision holding that Pittsburgh lacked the authority to enact a paid sick time ordinance because 2nd class cities—like Pittsburgh—are statutorily barred from enacting “business regulations.” The dissent argues that Pittsburgh’s paid sick time ordinance was a valid use of its police powers to enact ordinances to protect health and safety. This case is currently being appealed.
  • Lora Jean Williams v. Philadelphia: Decision
    Pennsylvania appellate court decision holding that Philadelphia’s tax on sugar-sweetened beverages was not preempted by the Pennsylvania tax code or the Federal Food Stamp Act.
  • Amicus brief submitted to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court by A Better Balance and leading law school professor experts in local government law and/or labor law in support of Pittsburgh. The brief outlines the history and importance of home rule in Pennsylvania, argues that Pittsburgh has the authority to pass the Paid Sick Days Act, and notes that striking down the ordinance would undermine home rule in Pennsylvania, severely limiting the ability of municipalities to protect public health and safety.
  • Amicus brief submitted to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court by fifty-one organizations committed to women’s health and safety in support of Pittsburgh. The brief explains the importance of paid sick leave to protect public health, notes that a lack of paid sick leave disproportionately harms women and people of color, and argues that Pittsburgh has the authority to enact the Paid Sick Days Act.

El Cenzino v. Texas: Decision
District Court decision granting a preliminary injunction against parts of Texas’s SB4, which would prevent municipalities from establishing “sanctuary city” policies and impose penalties against localities that do so. The decision holds that a provision blocking local government entities and officials from “endorsing” sanctuary city policies likely violates the First Amendment, that provisions prohibiting localities from adopting certain policies, patterns or practices regarding immigration enforcement and cooperation are likely unconstitutionally vague under the 14th Amendment, that a provision forcing local jails to honor ICE detention requests likely violates the Fourth Amendment, and that a provision requiring local police departments to allow their officers to provide enforcement assistance of federal immigration law was likely preempted by federal immigration law.

Texas Ass’n of Business v. City of Austin: Amicus Brief by A Better Balance
Amicus brief by A Better Balance before the Texas 3rd Court of Appeals in support of Austin’s Earned Sick Time Ordinance, arguing that, because paid sick leave laws like Austin’s do not harm businesses and provide significant benefits to workers, the court should not temporarily enjoin the ordinance while it is being challenged.

Texas Ass’n of Business v. City of Austin: Appellate Brief by the City of Austin
Brief filed by the City of Austin before the Texas 3rd Court of Appeals arguing that the state’s minimum wage law does not preempt the city’s Earned Sick Time Ordinance, that the city had a rational basis for enacting the ordinance, and that the court should not temporarily enjoin the enforcement of the ordinance while it is being challenged.

Texas Ass’n of Business v. City of Austin: Amicus Brief by Law Professors
Amicus brief by a group of law professors specializing in local government law and related fields, before the Texas 3rd Court of Appeals, describing the history and purpose of the Texas Home Rule Amendment and arguing that Texas’s minimum wage law does not preempt Austin’s Earned Sick Time Ordinance.

Texas Ass’n of Business v. City of Austin: Amicus Brief by Workers Defense Project et al.
Amicus brief by the Workers Defense Project, Austin workers, businesses, and advocacy organizations arguing that Austin’s Earned Sick Time Ordinance should not be temporarily enjoined because the plaintiffs challenging the ordinance have failed to demonstrate (1) that the ordinance is unduly burdensome to businesses in relation to the underlying government interest of protecting the health and safety of Austin residents, (2) that there was no rational reason to allow employers operating under a collective bargaining agreement to modify the cap of required paid sick leave, and (3) that the records-keeping requirement under the ordinance would subject businesses to unreasonable searches and seizures.

  • Gill v. Whitford: Amicus Brief by the International Municipal Lawyers Ass’n et al.
    Amicus brief submitted to the US Supreme Court on a case addressing the validity of certain intentional partisan gerrymandering practices. This brief connects the rise of partisan gerrymandering to the rise of intrastate preemption and argues that both of these practices undermine local democracy.
  • Santa Clara v. Trump: Decision
    District Court (N.D. Cal.) decision enjoining the enforcement of a federal Executive Order that threatened to withhold funding from “sanctuary cities.”
  • Chicago v. Sessions: Complaint
    Complaint filed by Chicago to enjoin the Department of Justice from withholding federal grant funding from “sanctuary cities.”
  • San Francisco v. Sessions: Complaint
    Complaint filed by San Francisco to enjoin the Department of Justice from withholding federal grant funding from “sanctuary cities.”
  • Park Pet Shop, Inc. v. Chicago: Decision
    Seventh Circuit decision holding that Chicago did not exceed its Home Rule authority when it passed an ordinance prohibiting pet retailers from obtaining animals from “puppy mills,” and that the ordinance did not implicate the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution.
  • 7th Circuit decision upholding a preliminary injunction on efforts by the Department of Justice to withhold federal grants from “sanctuary cities.”

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