Lawmakers Must Oppose Legislation to Remove Power from Local Decision Makers; Protect Public Health
The Maine legislature is set to hear testimony on two bills that would take away municipalities control over certain public health ordinances
AUGUSTA – Today, Maine lawmakers will hear testimony on LD 620 “An Act to Promote Free Trade by Preventing Municipalities from Prohibiting the Sale of Legal Goods” and LD 662 “An Act to Prohibit Municipal Flavored Tobacco Product Bans on State-licensed Tobacco Retailers”. The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) urges lawmakers to protect the public health of all Mainers by opposing both of these bills.
The following is a statement from ACS CAN Maine Director of Government Hilary Schneider:
“These bills, LD 620 and LD 622, are wolves in sheep’s clothing. While they purport to protect free trade, what they really do is take local control away from Maine cities and towns to make the decisions best suited to their communities.
“If passed, LD 620 establishes what is referred to as “ceiling preemption.” Ceiling preemption occurs when state government enacts a law revoking or invalidating the authority of local government and preventing their ability to regulate beyond or differently than outlined in the state law. Similarly, LD 662 would prohibit a municipality from adopting or enforcing an ordinance that prohibits a licensed tobacco retailer from selling a flavored tobacco product. In both cases, if passed, the communities closest to a problem would be limited by state law in how they can legislate to resolve it.
“This is not just about flavored tobacco, nor is it just about public health or the merits of any one ordinance. Passing policies at the local level – on the whole – creates an opportunity for community debate, education, and engagement. This process fosters a broader, deeper understanding of the goals and importance of these approaches among local communities and can result in more sustainable, effective policies across issue areas, public health among them. For this reason, lawmakers should prioritize local control and vote against both LD 620 and LD 622.”
About ACS CAN at 20
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) makes cancer a top priority for policymakers at every level of government. ACS CAN empowers volunteers across the country to make their voices heard to influence evidence-based public policy change that saves lives. We believe everyone should have a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer. Since 2001, as the American Cancer Society’s nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN has successfully advocated for billions of dollars in cancer research funding, expanded access to quality affordable health care, and made workplaces, including restaurants and bars, smoke-free. As we mark our 20th anniversary, we’re more determined than ever to stand together with our volunteers and save more lives from cancer. Join the fight by visiting www.fightcancer.org.