By Chris Bosch
“Home Rule Provisions” in the constitutions of some states provide cities with the authority to adopt local laws and regulations, so long as they do not directly conflict with general state laws that uniformly target statewide actors and activities. Three ongoing debates in Ohio, Iowa, and New York consider the impact of these provisions in state, agency, and city efforts to regulate traffic safety.
In Ohio, Cleveland.com reports that some believe that recently proposed state legislation to ban traffic cameras, except in school zones, would fail in court as it improperly infringes upon Ohio cities’ home rule authority to decide whether or not to utilize the cameras within their borders. Recent Ohio Supreme Court precedent supports the pro-home rule position.
In Iowa, the Quad-City Times reports that city officials are questioning whether the State’s Department of Transportation has the authority to impose state regulation on the operation of automated traffic enforcement devices. They argue that only laws passed by the state legislature – not agency rules – can infringe on Iowa cities’ home rule authority in this manner. The implied issue of political accountability confusion that results when agency rules are likened to state laws for the purposes of home rule analysis is a valid point of concern.
In New York, state law prevents cities from setting a speed limit below thirty miles per hour, except in school zones. According to the Epoch Times, that isn’t stopping Mayor De Blasio and others from pushing for the state legislature to grant more home rule authority in lowering the city’s speed limits and expanding the use of red light cameras to enhance traffic safety.
The traffic safety home rule issues presented in these three instances highlight the ongoing legal debate over if, and to what extent, home rule authority is an inherent right of cities or, as Joe Stinson puts it, “held by the grace of the state.”
Seven years ago, Shadya Yazback and I published an article in this journal about the legal options available to cities seeking to combat the harms arising from predatory lending. The editors have invited me to participate in an online debate with my friend and former colleague Kathleen Engel, who has done path-breaking work on predatory lending. (more…)
The Fordham Urban Law Journal is proud to present “City Square,” the Journal‘s online companion. City Square is a competitive and lively arena showcasing meaningful discourse between the nation’s top legal scholars. City Square features five literary discussions at a time and is regularly updated with new content. Enjoy the literary discussions as they unfold and stay tuned! City Square Responses and Replies are permanently published on urbanlawjournal.com. We also hope to make City Square available on Westlaw, LexisNexis, and HeinOnline soon.
In a article examining the “myths and realities about early American gun regulation,” Saul Cornell provides new insight as to how the right to arms outside the home evolved in Antebellum law. Cornell’s article is arguably the first to seriously examine this legal development and I do not challenge his general findings in this regard. Where we seemingly diverge is the role that the Statute of Northampton served in this process, particularly its intellectual impact by the turn of the nineteenth century. (more…)
Thank you to the Fordham Urban Law Journal for this opportunity to participate in the debate over the recent United Kingdom Constitutional Reform Act of 2005 (“CRA”), which was delineated so comprehensively by Professor Maute, particularly the potential of the new judicial appointment processes it instituted for diversifying the judiciary. Sparked by Professor Maute’s suggestion that these reforms could provide lessons for the U.S. selection system, the conversation has been broadened by subsequent contributors to encompass themes such as the meaning and value of diversity, the means by which progress on diversity can be measured, and the question of merit, representativeness and judicial legitimacy. (more…)
Reading the exchange between Professor Wax and Professor Tani, I was struck by how our discussions about teaching poverty law resemble church-state or other discussions I have witnessed over the years, since I also participate in church-state scholarship. These are discussions among insiders who largely agree about what the landscape looks like. The points of disagreement fall on a small piece of geography within that landscape. (more…)