Preemption Toolkit

States Blocking Local Action that Promotes Health, Well-being, and Equity

Across the United States, local governments have developed and implemented innovative solutions to improve their communities, and in some cases, that has led to wider adoption of those policies by other communities or even the state. For example, local governments were the first to pass indoor smoke-free laws before states began adopting them. But the ability of local governments to pass these kinds of laws is now at risk.  

States are increasingly passing preemption laws that limit the ability of local governments from taking action on an issue. Local governments are uniquely positioned to meet the needs of the people in their communities. They are more connected to residents and more accountable to them, and they should be able to pass laws that are proven to promote good health, well-being, and equity.

Throughout this toolkit, you’ll find information and resources that can help you advocate for local governments maintaining their ability to pass laws about issues that are important to their communities. Here at Voices for Healthy Kids, we want to work with advocates like you to spur healthy changes in local communities nationwide, and we want to make sure that locally elected officials have the ability to enact laws to support those changes.

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Our Community. Our Voice. Our Health: Progress in Utah.

Many policies that help make communities healthier start locally. Policies that stop, limit, or discourage local communities from enacting policy solutions are referred to as “preemption.” Voices for Healthy Kids works to oppose preemption and believes it is possible for advocates to stand up for local policy solutions, as seen in this progress from Utah.

June 10, 2019

The Beverage Industry Has Figured Out a Legal End Run Around Soda Taxes

Voters in the state of Washington just said yes to a measure that will prevent cities there from enacting “soda taxes”.

Mother Jones

November 7, 2018

California, of All Places, Has Banned Soda Taxes. How a New Industry Strategy Is Succeeding

For years, the soda industry had an ironclad strategy when a city wanted to enact a soda tax: spend a lot of money, rally local businesses, and shoot it down.

New York Times

June 27, 2018