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Bravo, N, Warner, ME and Aldag A. (2020). "Grabbing market share, Taming rogue cities and Crippling Counties: Views from the field on state preemption of local authority," Dept. of City and Regional Planning, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.

States and local governments have historically competed for power and resources, but in recent years there has been a new wave of state preemption of local authority. These preemptions limit local initiative in regulation for public health (smoking, gun control, sugary drinks), environment (land use controls, right of way), economic equality (minimum wage and worker protections), human rights (sanctuary cities and anti-discrimination) and new emerging sectors (5-G, broadband, ride sharing and home sharing), and limit fiscal authority (tax and expenditure limitations). Local government is on the forefront of addressing these issues, but states can restrict local government action.  Our report looks at the changing nature of preemption and how local governments are responding.
Who holds the right to regulate public services? How has local government’s involvement been affected by state preemption laws? Are preemption laws targeting sparse and high-demand markets equally, disregarding the asymmetries across rural and urban areas? Are states taming rogue cities and allowing corporate lobbies to grab market share, especially in emerging markets not yet defined as utilities, such as broadband?
We conducted interviews with over fifty-eight experts from statewide local government organizations for both municipalities and counties. Qualitative results show that many preemptions are reactionary in nature, and states pass preemptions regardless of whether any localities in their state are pursuing such policies. We find preemption is not simply a partisan or an urban vs. rural matter. Rather, it should be examined by identifying the values behind such policies and the dynamics of lobbying efforts and political considerations in each state. We find monopoly power is being auctioned, and statewide preemption laws narrow the bidding market for both traditional and innovative markets.

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Subject: Preemption