Model Resolution Calling for Local Authority to Adopt Housing & Worker Protections & Expand Broadband Access During COVID Pandemic

[Note: This resource – a model local resolution – was produced by A Better Balance, Local Solution Support Center, and the National Employment Law Project. View a PDF of the resource here. And click here to view the text of the resolution itself.]

As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads and states reopen, local elected officials and advocates are asking what power they have to help their communities across a range of policies, including housing and homelessness needs, worker needs, and broadband access.

In many cases, advocates and local officials are finding that their authority to implement urgent policies and support is limited, if not entirely preempted, by state law. In other cases, they are finding that their authority to adopt the policies residents need most is not clear, and taking local action could subject the local government to a legal challenge based on state preemption. In other states, local governments have found they have the authority to act.

Local advocates and officials could save crucial time as they determine what they can do locally if their state legislature or governor asserted and clarified local authority pertaining to key policies around housing, worker protection, and broadband access. This model resolution is geared towards helping local officials and advocates push their legislature and governor to do just that.

The model resolution includes:

  • General “WHEREAS” clauses to provide context for the need for greater and/or clear local authority around key policies that can help address COVID-19 needs.
  • “WHEREAS” clauses tied to a demand for greater and/or clear local authority concerning: housing protections, worker health and safety, paid sick leave, minimum wage, and broadband access. (Local officials and advocates can choose which subject-specific clauses to include in their resolution.)
  • Resolution language calling for specific action on the part of the state legislature and governor to expand and/or clarify local authority around each policy issue. While calling on the state legislature to repeal preemption statutes offers a more long-term solution for many localities, governors can use their emergency powers in important ways to employer local governments. In general, the resolution language calls for:
    • The state legislature to adopt a statewide policy on the particular subject issue.
    • The governor to suspend for the duration of the declared emergency all state laws (and any past Executive Orders) preempting local governments from adopting a particular policy.
    • The governor to issue a mandatory order requiring temporary relief tied to a particular policy.
    • The state legislature to repeal all state laws preempting a particular policy.

The full document includes links to resources that can help you find information on how/whether a particular policy is preempted in your state.

Download the full document to read more. 

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