Lori Riverstone-Newell presented her latest research at the first brownbag presentation of the semester on September 18. Her research addresses the rising incidence of state preemption of local laws, particularly those of larger cities. Riverstone-Newell explained that states commonly use preemption to guide localities, shaping local laws and regulations in accordance with state policy goals.

Recently, however, states have used their preemption authority to ban local legislation in a range of policy areas, often prohibiting local leaders from creating progressive policies that reflect the interests of their citizens, the local quality of life, and the environmental health of the community. Riverstone-Newell discussed the range of recent state preemption laws, possible reasons for targeting progressive local legislation, and the implications to intergovernmental relations and local liberty.