Preemption at the state and federal level threatens local telecommunications authority, as we’ve seen in about 20 states. When state laws usurp local governments’ ability to decide how they improve poor connectivity, they disregard an understanding of local affairs that is unique to each community. Some states are threatening to take preemption another damaging step farther with super-preemption.
Super-Preemption: “Super” In A Bad Way
The Campaign to Defend Local Solutions describes the problem like this:
State legislatures across the country have gone beyond preventing local governments from passing common-sense local solutions. They’ve begun silencing local voices using draconian super-preemption laws. These laws allow special interest groups to sue local governments and in some cases personally sue local officials for doing their job. These laws are designed to intimidate, bully, and chill government at the local level. This infographic highlights where these laws exist, where they have been recently proposed, and what their impacts could be to cities, counties, local officials, and taxpayers alike.
Mayor Andrew Gillum from Tallahassee, Florida, recently spoke with Community Broadband Networks initiative director Christopher Mitchell and our Communications Manager Nick Stumo-Langer about super-preemption for episode 17 of the Building Local Power podcast. He noted that local governments need flexibility to meet the demands of local constituents:
“There’s a nimbleness to local governments that I think people have an appreciation for. The legislature [is trying to] exclude us from being able to make any investments in that space for the greater good.”
In order to spread the word about super-preemption, the Campaign to Defend Local Solutions created an infographic to help educate lawmakers, constituents, and communities about the issue. The resource describes how super-preemption influences policy makers, giving lobbyists and their corporate or special interest clients’ power. The infographic also shows where super-preemption laws are in place or are proposed. Lastly, the infographic suggests how citizens can get involved and express their concern for preserving local authority.
Check out a larger version of the infographic here.
There are more resources at the Defend Local Solutions website, including a list of partners, how to get involved, and more resources on local matters.