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This Week in Statehouse Action: Doctor, Doctor edition

1528, Illustration from an early treatise on field surgery. A man's arm is strapped into a splint and traction is being applied to the limb. Original Artwork: Pub - Joannem Schott - Strasbourg (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Get up come on get down with the sickness

I’ve got a fever, and the only prescription is … less BS.

Yeah, I know, I’m basically dead, right? RIP me.

Alas, Nonsense Burnout didn’t make it into the DSM-5, so instead of taking a sick day, I get to engage in some therapy here, with you.

Send me your bill.

Campaign Action

An Ounce Of Preemption Is Worth A Pound Of: One of the less-noticed phenomena of the GOP’s dominance in state legislatures over the past decade is the glut of preemption laws Republican lawmakers have been routinely using to undermine the local authority of (often more liberal) city and municipal governments.

Fun fact! North Carolina’s infamous Bathroom Bill was one of these preemption laws—the Republican-controlled legislature passed it specifically in response to a Charlotte city ordinance that allowed folks to use the bathroom corresponding with the gender with which they identify.

  • Theoretically, preemption measures are used establish a sort of hierarchy to prevent conflicts between state laws and local ordinances and ensure that statewide policies are generally applied uniformly.
  • Over the past eight years (read: since Republicans came into ginormous power in state legislatures after the 2010 elections), however, many state-level preemption efforts have been used to bar localities from addressing local problems and issues—and to expressly punish jurisdictions that suddenly find themselves in violation of these new laws.
    • Take, for example, the mid-decade situation Pennsylvania cities found themselves in.
      • For decades, around 100 Keystone State cities/towns/boroughs/etc. had effectively ignored the existing state statute preventing them from regulating guns beyond what was allowed statewide and implemented their own gun safety measures.
      • But the passage of Act 192 in 2014 changed all that.
      • Nearly 100 Pennsylvania municipalities scrambled to repeal their gun ordinances—basically “at gunpoint,” according to one borough council president.
      • Larger cities that could afford the inevitable litigation, however, stood firm.
      • Ultimately, Act 192 was thrown out by state courts, and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld that decision when it finally landed on their bench in 2016—but on procedural grounds, not the merits of the issue.
    • In 2016, Arizona passed a law appropriately described as “the mother of all local preemption bills,” a measure that withholds all shared revenue from a town, city, or county that passes an ordinance that conflicts with state law.
  • Now, the State Innovation Exchange (SiX) and the Local Solution Support Center have delivered a lightly belated Christmas in July gift (to me, anyway) by issuing an excellent report on state preemption laws, which you should totally read with all the free time I know you have.

… Okay that was a bad joke.

But the preemption news isn’t all bad.

Sure, this isn’t a lot in the grand scheme of all the preemption laws Republicans have used to strait-jacket local governments, but not only is it a start—it likely also indicates the beginning of a bigger, broader push against this state-level gutting of local authority.

Smaller government, anyone?

Down With The Sickness: Now that Tennessee Republican Rep. Glen Casada has finally resigned his speakership, I was getting a little nostalgic for those bygone days (… a whole three weeks ago) of kicking him around.

Bad Medicine: Remember that ugly corporate giveaway Wisconsin Republicans gave to a flat-screen manufacturer to woo a factory to the state back in 2017?

  • The GOP-controlled legislature was so desperate to coax Foxconn to locate its facility in the Badger State that it passed legislation that:
  • The GOP’s Foxconn giveaway started to smell pretty bad right out of the gate. 
  • The state commissioned a report to assess the costs and benefits of this way smaller facility, and, well … the findings were not great.
  • Foxconn execs have already met with Democratic Gov. Tony Evers to express “interest” in revising the company’s contract with the state.
  • But Evers bashed the Foxconn boondoggle on the campaign trail last year, so it seem unlikely he’ll just roll over and let Wisconsinites continue to get screwed by Republicans’ crap deal.

What does the Foxconn say

… honestly dude you could have used any other word

Welp, that’s plenty for this week. Time for a mental health break. You should engage in some of that “self-care” stuff yourself. Get an early start on your weekend and whatnot. Just print this out and show it to your boss, I’m sure she’ll at least suggest you see a professional.  

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