Housing, Health Equity & Local Control


  • How to define preemption as it relates to housing and health equity
  • How to identify key partners to combat the threat of preemption
  • How the history of local control can be employed in today's current political context to achieve healthy housing and health equity


The debate over state preemption and local control looms large in the housing and health-equity worlds. Kansas recently passed legislation prohibiting communities from requiring proactive rental inspections and from enacting inclusionary zoning laws. Texas prohibits local laws that protect individuals from housing discrimination based on an individual's source of income, which could be federal housing assistance. And 26 states prohibit local governments from enacting rent control laws. Although "local control" may ultimately help local governments meet their goals of providing safe, stable, and affordable housing, it is worth remembering that the mechanisms many cities rely on for local innovation are vestiges of strategies once used to combat reconstruction and civil rights. For example, when the federal government adopted policies to address and undo segregation, particularly in the context of housing (e.g., the Fair Housing Act of 1968), resistance was organized around state rights and local control. Today, local lawmakers and advocates have joined together to promote grassroots resistance to state preemption. But is local control the path forward to achieve healthy housing and health equity? What will it take to ensure that state preemption doesn’t stand in the way of local innovations geared towards safeguarding and supporting affordable housing? Find out. 

This course qualifies for 1.50 Law CM.