Impact of Federalism and Preemption on State and Local Efforts

Concurrent Session Block 1: 1:15 – 2:15 p.m. ET Wednesday, September 16


Federalism in Pandemic Prevention and Response
Federal-state conflicts over business regulations, controls on personal movement, and financial support and coordination of supply chains have dominated headlines during the coronavirus pandemic. This session will outline how these conflicts have stymied efforts to ramp up and coordinate need-based distribution of resources for implementing widespread testing, tracing and supported isolation and quarantine of individuals; ensuring widespread availability of adequate personal protective equipment for health workers, other essential workers, and the general public; and ensuring widespread access to therapeutics and vaccination based on equitable and public health-based criteria.

  • Lindsay F. Wiley, JD, MPH, Professor of Law, Director of Health Law and Policy Program, American University Washington College of Law

Preemption, Public Health, and Equity in the Time of COVID-19
Preemption is a legal doctrine that allows a higher level of government to limit or eliminate the power of a lower level of government to regulate a specific issue. As governments seek to address the myriad health, social and economic consequences of COVID-19, an effective response requires coordination between state and local governments. Unfortunately, for many localities the misuse of state preemption over the last decade has increased state and local government friction and weakened or abolished local government’s ability to adopt the health- and equity-promoting policies necessary to respond to and recover from this crisis. In this session, the presenters will discuss the ways in which the conflict between state and local governments has cost lives, delayed effective responses and created confusion that continues to undermine public health efforts.

  • Kim Haddow, BA, Director, Local Solutions Support Center
  • Derek Carr, JD, Senior Attorney, ChangeLab Solutions
  • Benjamin D. Winig, JD, MPA, Founder, ThinkForward Strategies