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West Lafayette city council asks legislature to respect local control

West Lafayette councilor James Blanco discusses the preemption resolution. (WBAA/Ben Thorp)
West Lafayette councilor James Blanco discusses the preemption resolution. (WBAA/Ben Thorp)

West Lafayette’s city council unanimously passed a resolution Monday opposing state preemption.

State preemption takes place when Statehouse lawmakers limit what local officials are able to enact on a range of issues -- including things like firearm bans and housing vouchers.

Resolution sponsor James Blanco said as a councilor, he’s surprised by how often local control is superseded by the state.

“How many different policy arenas - whether housing or wages or even this dogs and cats ordinance we just passed - that are being taken away by the state legislature,” he said.

A recent city ordinance passed by the council banning the sale of dogs and cats at pet stores could be subject to preemption if legislation introduced last yearwere to pass during the upcoming session.

Blanco said he understands the resolution is not binding, but he’s hopeful that the state legislature takes notice.

Council member David Sanders said he wants to open a stronger line of communication between state lawmakers and local officials.

“I think it’s important to have legislators communicating with their local government, not just the mayor but the council as well,” he said. “I’m hoping specifically on issues that affect us directly, and the powers that we have, that communication will start.”

The resolution calls on regional lawmakers to both veto preemption legislation and consult with both the mayor and city council on laws which could result in the preemption of local authority.