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Preemptive legislation is a policy enacted at a higher level of government, such as at the state or federal level, that effectively strips lower levels of government, like towns or counties, of their regulatory authority over a specific subject matter.
To address the proliferation of public smoking laws around the U.S., Philip Morris attempted to enact preemptive laws in all 50 states that would prevent, localities from enacting their own public smoking laws.
Steven C. Parrish of Philip Morris, in a 1995 internal speech titled Worldwide Regulatory Affairs Issues Review, Prospects and Plans, described the company's pursuit of preemptive laws in the U.S.:
...[L]et me report on our use of preemption as a general strategy to maintain and protect the social and physical space in which
adult smokers can enjoy our products...So far we have successfully passed preemptive legislation in 17 states. In those states, state law defines where smoking can be enjoyed, and also preempts localities from passing any
legislation that is more restrictive than the guidelines defined in the state law. Our goal is the passage of preemptive legislation in all 50 states.
- Washington Post Tobacco Lobby Lights a Preemptive Strike, September 9, 1991
- Tobacco Institute Pro-Active proposal MS smoking restriction local preemption, one-page, undated Institute proposal to enact a weak, preemptive state smoking law in Mississippi
<tdo>search_term=preemptive legislation confidential</tdo> Additional suggested search terms to use at the Legacy Tobacco Documents Library to find more information on tobacco industry use of preemption: "proactive proposal," "pro-active proposal," "legislative program," "preempt and confidential"