December 1 - Preemption
Structural Racism, Local Authority, and the Harmful Impacts of State Preemption in the South
*FREE LIVE FOR IMLA MEMBERS! CLE available to Kitchen Sink Subscribers and in some cases to others but fees may apply.
Description: State interference in local democracy is embedded in a long history of events and actions that have sought to promote the interests of historically privileged property owners and perpetuate the South’s racist past. Across the region, the configuration of government, policies, and practices are rooted in earlier efforts to limit the rights and freedoms of Black people and entrench white supremacy during the dismantling of Reconstruction-era economic and political gains and the concurrent rise of Jim Crow–era state-sanctioned discrimination. Preemption as it is used today works to reinforce these inequalities when it is used to block local policies that promote racial and economic equity.
In fact, a new report documents the use of preemption laws in the South by overwhelmingly white male legislatures to keep Black-majority cities from passing the progressive policies their people need. For example, the Alabama legislature preempted Birmingham's minimum wage increase; the Tennessee legislature preempted Nashville's local hire law; and the Georgia legislature preempted Atlanta's fair scheduling law.
This webinar will discuss the legal history of local government after the Civil War, the extent to which racial animus shaped and continues to shape local institutions and how state legislatures and the misuse of preemption continues to perpetuate inequities in the South. While the session discussion and research focus on the South, the impacts and lessons learned can be applied anywhere preemption and state-local conflicts block policies that promote racial and economic equity.
Dan Farbman joined the Boston College Law faculty as an Assistant Professor of Law in 2017. He teaches and writes in the areas of local government law, legal history, constitutional law, the legal profession, civil rights, and property. His work focuses on the legal history of radical reform movements in public law both from an institutional perspective and from the perspective of the practice of cause lawyering.
After he graduated from Amherst College in 2001, Dan spent a few years in New York City trying (and failing) to make it as a professional actor before he enrolled at Harvard Law School. After graduating in 2007, he was a clerk for Judge Margaret Morrow on the Central District of California in Los Angeles before beginning a Skadden Fellowship at Advancement Project in Washington, D.C. At Advancement Project he worked with community organizers around the country on grassroots efforts to fight racial injustice in public education with a particular focus on the school to prison pipeline.
After leaving practice, Dan pursued a Ph.D. in American Studies at Harvard. For three years prior to joining Boston College, he was a Climenko Fellow and Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School. While at Harvard, Dan taught Legal Research and Writing and a seminar on Legal Realism.
Jaimie K. Worker is the senior state policy coordinator for the Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN) at EPI. She is committed to ensuring that racial and gender equity is a public policy priority and that the leaders of communities impacted by structural racism and oppression are key collaborators in developing public policy.
Prior to joining EPI, Worker was a senior policy analyst at Community Change, where for more than six years she worked on racial and economic justice campaigns focused on jobs and public investment in partnership with grassroots organizations. Previously, she worked with the New Organizing Institute, as well as the Restaurant Opportunities Center of Michigan, supporting workplace organizing and policy campaigns to win improved working conditions in the restaurant industry.
Worker is the proud daughter of immigrants and hails from Detroit, Michigan. Jaimie has a Master of Social Work from the University of Michigan School of Social Work and a degree in sociology from the University of Michigan.
Julia Wolfe joined the Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN) team at EPI as an economic analyst in 2019. In addition to conducting national and state-level research on labor market trends, inequality, and collective bargaining, she provides technical support to the state-level policy research and advocacy organizations that make up EARN. Julia first joined EPI as a research assistant in 2017. Prior to joining EPI, Julia worked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics as the retail and manufacturing employment analyst for the Current Employment Statistics program. Julia has a degree in political science and international development from Truman State University