Let the Mayors Lead


Professor Nestor Davidson co-authored a perspective piece in CityLab about why it is important for local governments to be able to function independently without interference from state governments.

In the wake of the Parkland tragedy, mayors of Florida cities—and other local leaders across the nation—want to help protect children from gun violence by passing common sense laws, but in many cases, their hands are tied by state governments that ban local regulation of firearms.

Unfortunately, the use of state laws to stop or ‘preempt’ local lawmaking is not limited to guns.

Half of all states now ban local efforts to combat inequality through minimum wage policy, while 18 states have denied local governments the power to enact paid sick leave policies. States have shut down local LGBTQ anti-discrimination ordinances; halted efforts to protect immigrants; undermined efforts to advance environmental protection, and stifled innovation by preventing cities from having a say on high-speed broadband.

Not only do these measures place a wedge between the government and the governed, they constrict liberty.

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