Our Opinion: Not all Pre-emptions are Equal

One of the most oft-repeated little cliches of state legislating is that the government closest to the people governs best.

Well, yes – except when legislators feel like reserving some area of the law unto themselves. Then we need statewide uniformity, not some crazy quilt of conflicting, contradictory or overlapping local ordinances.

In recent years, legislators have done it with guns. They’ve set, and reset, various curriculum requirements for public schools and re-jiggered school-grading and testing requirements. Members speak piously about unfunded mandates, while continuing to impose them on cities and counties.

In the current legislative session, there are more than 20 pre-emption bills – and that is by no means an unusually high number. Some of the most hotly debated bills shifting power to the state, and away from county or city governments, are those regarding “fracking” for oil and gas exploration and how local governments have to comply with immigration laws.

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