Monday, March 19, 2012

State legislatures trying to limit local authority

Power struggles between state and local governments, like the one in Pennsylvania over hydraulic fracturing, aren't new, but they do carry different subtext when Republicans hold the power, Josh Goodman of Stateline reports. Many Republicans argue the federal government is trying to take power from states, even as they attempt to take power from local governments, and critics accuse them of hypocrisy. Republicans reply that localities are using power in ways that aren't consistent with state values, including property rights and reducing regulation. They also say the only way they can enact the state vision for government is to handle it all and not delegate power to localities.

Local officials in Tennessee think the Republican-led state legislature is attempting to preempt their power with a slew of bills designed to reduce local planning and zoning powers, limit local regulation of signs, ban localities from requiring residential sprinkler systems, and end local regulation of fireworks. In Indiana, the legislature rejected a bill that would have allowed localities to seek voter approval of tax increases for public transit. Florida's legislature considered bills this year to "preempt everything from local fertilizer regulations to Miami-Dade County’s ban on pit bulls." (Read more)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What happened to Newt Gingrich's gospel of "Devolution" that pushed decision making down to the local level? Have the Republicans forgot that having one central government making all the rules is not what they have promoted? Confusing indeed!