The On-Going Battle Over Municipal Balkanization

Date: November 17, 2017

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Earlier this year, National Public Radio reported that 27 states now have law preempting local minimum wage ordinances. That’s good news for small business in those select states. But of course, the issue remains fiercely contested—and these numbers will change with time. For that matter, NFIB Small Business Legal Center continues to oppose municipal labor and employment regulation—including in cases out of Miami, Florida and Birmingham, Alabama this year.

Interestingly, the National League of Cities (NLC) released a report earlier this year identifying states with and without municipal preemption laws on a host of issues. But of course, the NLC has an interest in promoting municipal powers to regulate in areas that we think should be left to the states, or the federal government. So, we would caution our readers that we might dispute some of what NLC reports here. In any event, this is a useful starting reference for anyone wondering about the rules in their state.

One might wonder whether the issue might eventually be addressed at the federal level through legislation requiring states to either apply federal standards, or a uniform statewide standard. But in the interim, NFIB is continuing to support legislative efforts to preempt employment regulation at the state level. And where legal disputes arise, the Legal Center is rushing in. For example, we helped secure a victory over an illegally imposed paid sick leave ordinance in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania and we will continue to challenge these sorts of local regulations in the coming year.

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