Preemption and the COVID-19 Pandemic: Exploring State Interference Before, During, & After the Crisis   [open pdf - 3MB]

From the Document: "Preemption is when a higher level of government removes or limits the authority of a lower level of government. The impact on people's well-being, health, and economic situation can be severe. During the COVID-19 [coronavirus disease 2019] pandemic, for example, states preempted local governments from being able to enact mask mandates, meaning local leaders could not make mask-wearing mandatory in their local communities . At times, these states were not implementing any sort of mandate at the state level. Preemption is neither inherently good nor bad. Preemption can be used to set minimum standards or can be used in policy areas that should be left to the state. The misuse and abuse of preemption, however, represents state interference, where the higher level of government unnecessarily constrains the actions of local leaders. For instance, states implementing emergency orders during the pandemic to close businesses to prevent the spread of the virus across the state. [...] There are a few different types of preemption, including floor preemption as North Carolina used, and each has been used in the current crisis. These types of preemptions are laid out [in this report]."

2020 National League of Cities. Posted here with permission. Documents are for personal use only and not for commercial profit.
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