March 2006, Issue 2
States have long been the laboratories for innovative public policy. Over the last three decades, states have become more active in passing strong laws to protect the environment and consumers. This state initiative has given rise to a disturbing and growing trend: the increasing willingness of the federal government to preempt the right of states to enact stronger laws to safeguard their citizens. The State PIRGs’ “Preemption Alert” is a periodic newsletter designed to highlight federal efforts to preempt state environmental and consumer protection laws.
In this issue:
“Merry Band” of Industry Lawyers Seeks Weak Laws: Commentary on a recent Los Angeles Times article detailing the link between well-connected industry lawyers and government officials crafting environmental and consumer protections.
Protecting Consumers from Unsafe Products: The Consumer Product Safety Commission finalized a new mattress flammability rule that immunizes mattress manufacturers from state common law, including tort law, if their products meet the new federal standards.
Protecting Americans from Predatory Lenders: A new study by the Center for Responsible Lending shows that state laws enacted to prevent predatory mortgage lending reduce abusive loan terms without impeding access to credit. Two House bills threaten to nullify these strong state mortgage laws and replace them with a weak federal standard. Meanwhile, the House Financial Services Committee has approved and the Senate Banking Committee is considering bills to preempt the usury ceiling in the Arkansas Constitution. The Senate Banking Committee also is considering a proposal to preempt stronger state rent-to-own laws.
Guaranteeing the Safety of America’s Food Supply: On March 2nd, the House will vote on a bill blocking states from enacting food labeling standards that are stronger than federal law.
Protecting Americans from Toxic Chemicals: Rep. Hilda Solis (D-CA) introduced her bill to implement the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants as an alternative to Rep. Paul Gillmor’s bill (R-OH), which threatens to nullify state bans on toxic flame retardants and other chemicals. The House Subcommittee on Environment and Hazardous Materials has scheduled a hearing on these bills for March 2nd.
Smog-Forming Pollutants in Paint:
Coming in the Next Issue: A preview of a few issues we will cover in depth in the April issue of Preemption Alert.
Preemption Tracker: The latest list of pending federal rulemakings and bills in Congress that could preempt state laws.
Click here to download a copy of this Preemption Alert. (321 KB, PDF)
-- Jason Barbose PIRGIM Field Organizer 103 E. Liberty St., Suite 202 Ann Arbor, MI 48104 734.662.6597 firstname.lastname@example.org