Obama issues memo on pre-emption regs

May 20, 2009 at 5:31 PM
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WASHINGTON, May 20 (UPI) -- Federal departments and agencies announcing regulations that pre-empt state laws won't do so without a sufficient legal basis, U.S. President Barack Obama said.

In a memorandum distributed the heads of executive departments and agencies Wednesday, Obama said, "(The) general policy of my administration (is) that pre-emption of state law by executive departments and agencies should be undertaken only with full consideration of the legitimate prerogatives of the states and with a sufficient legal basis for preemption."

Obama said federal officials need to remember that state residents have "distinctive circumstances and values" and that it's appropriate, in many instances, for states to apply rules and principles that reflect the circumstances and values.

During recent years, however, "executive departments and agencies have sometimes announced that their regulations pre-empt state law, including state common law, without explicit pre-emption by the Congress or an otherwise sufficient basis under applicable legal principles."

Among other things, Obama said heads of departments and agencies shouldn't include in regulatory preambles any statement that the department or agency intends to pre-empt state law, regulation except where pre-emption provisions are included in the codified regulation.

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