Tracking State Preemption Just Got Easier

Uber and Lyft in 2016 boasted more lobbyists in state legislatures than Amazon, Microsoft and Walmart combined.

Uber and Lyft in 2016 boasted more lobbyists in state legislatures than Amazon, Microsoft and Walmart combined. Jeff Chiu / AP Photo

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A new map from the Partnership for Working Families covers nine economic and racial justice issue areas where localities are being interfered with.

The Partnership for Working Families launched a map detailing state preemption of localities on nine economic and racial justice issues.

A network of 19 regional advocacy organizations, the partnership is tracking state interference in everything from ridesharing to sanctuary cities and nondiscrimination ordinances to the minimum wage.

Only states with laws on the books are included, so users can see that 28 now prohibit localities from setting the minimum wage and 27 ban local rent control.

“The map confirms the extent of corporate capture of state legislatures,” said Miya Saika Chen, the partnership’s staff attorney. “They’re trying to clear the field of anything that protects workers, consumers or tenants.”

Take ridesharing companies Uber and Lyft, which in 2016 boasted more lobbyists in state legislatures than Amazon, Microsoft and Walmart combined. Forty-two states now preempt local regulation or taxation of transportation network companies, or TNCs, and in some cases classify their drivers as “independent contractors” rather than employees.

Partnership for Working Families

In late April, California’s Supreme Court bucked that trend with a ruling making it harder for TNCs to classify their workers as independent contractors if they’re not free from company control and not performing work outside the core business. The ridesharing industry uses the classification to avoid paying minimum wage or overtime.

Generally speaking, the more white males a state legislature has, the more likely it is to pass laws preempting local governments. Eight states prohibit immigrant protections, seven uphold “Jim Crow-era” wage gaps and those interfering with local sick day laws disproportionately harm women and people of color, Chen said.

By clicking on an issue, users can pull up every state with preemptive laws in that area, and by clicking on a state they can see all its preemptive laws among the nine types studied. Links to the actual statutes are included.

Pay equity and fracking tracking will be offered in the future, and Grassroots Change released a companion Preemption Watch map focused on public health issues like factory farms and soda taxes.

Dave Nyczepir is a News Editor at Government Executive’s Route Fifty and is based in Washington, D.C.

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