NY Times Front Page: Blue States Want to Make Their Own Rules. Red States Won’t Let Them

Today, CDLS’ work was featured in an article from the front page of the New York Times!

“’It is about power, and I think it’s about wielding power at any cost. That’s it,’ said Andrew Gillum, the Democratic mayor of Tallahassee, Fla., who formed a national group to fight pre-emption laws this year. Now that Republicans control both legislative chambers in 32 states and the governor’s office on top of that in 25, he said, their slogans lionizing local government ring hollow. ‘They only mean that,’ Mr. Gillum said, ‘to the extent that they’re in control.’


The new punitive nature of pre-emptions, though, has escalated the fight beyond the usual partisan bickering. ‘It’s intended to send a chilling effect,’ said Mr. Gillum, the Tallahassee mayor.

In Florida, local officials who run afoul of the state’s pre-emption on gun control are personally liable in court. Mr. Gillum and other city commissioners were sued by gun-rights groups over an old ordinance the city never repealed — but that no longer had effect — making it illegal to shoot guns in public parks. An appellate court rejected the lawsuit, but Mr. Gillum and other local officials had to defend themselves without public money (they were able to get pro bono legal help).

‘It is intended to put everyone across this state and across this country where these efforts are taking place on notice: Don’t come near it,” Mr. Gillum said of issues like gun control and immigration. “And if you do, we’ll come after you personally, we’ll come after your government, we’ll come after the very survivability of your community by cutting off resources to you.’

Read more of this front page article on the conflict between cities and states.