7.3.17

WaPo: In Austin, the air smells of tacos and trees — and city-state conflict

“Texas presents perhaps the most dramatic example of the increasingly acrimonious relationship between red-state leaders and their blue city centers, which have moved aggressively to expand environmental regulations and social programs often against the grain of their states.

Republican state leaders across the country have responded to the widening cultural gulf by passing legislation preempting local laws. The best-known example is North Carolina’s “bathroom bill,” which was partially reversed this year. It was originally aimed at undercutting Charlotte’s efforts to expand civil rights laws to include LGBT people and to prevent cities from setting their own minimum wage.

But states also have gone after cities in more subtle ways. Ohio’s legislature last year attempted to block a Cleveland regulation that requires certain city contractors to hire local residents. A new Arizona law threatens to cut off funding to cities that take actions state officials deem to be in violation of state law.

“These preemption laws are designed to intimidate and bully local officials into doing the bidding of a smaller group of folks,” said Michael Alfano of the Campaign to Defend Local Solutions, a new nonprofit organization aimed at fending off state efforts to undermine local power.”

Read the full Washington Post article on the conflict between local and state governments occurring in Texas and across the country.