197008 Preemption in alcohol control: Lessons learned the hard way

Monday, November 9, 2009: 11:00 AM

Michele Simon, JD, MPH , Research and Policy, Marin Institute, San Rafael, CA
The field of alcohol control has a history of dealing with preemption challenges dating back to the enactment of the 21st Amendment in 1933. Unlike other consumer products, alcohol is heavily regulated at the state level. Because the 21st Amendment expressly gives states the authority to regulate alcohol, federal preemption is rarely at issue. However, state-level preemption is an ongoing challenge. In an attempt to thwart local control, the alcohol industry has overturned numerous local ordinances by getting state legislatures to pass preemption statutes. In one particularly painful example in California, years of hard work to enact dozens of local ordinances to ban the sale of alcohol at gas stations were wiped out with one state preemption statute. This presentation will describe these lessons learned, explaining why alcohol advocates have become fierce defenders of local control, writing into virtually every state bill express language to preserve the rights of local jurisdictions to go further than state law. The critical importance of preemption in other issues, such as food policy, will also be discussed.

Learning Objectives:
1. Explain the importance of state regulation of alcohol under the 21st Amendment 2. Describe several case studies of how state preemption undermined local progress in alcohol advocacy 3. Explain how local control is critical to public health law and advocacy in general

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: 13 years in public health law
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.