Preserving State Consumer Laws

When consumers are harmed by products or services, one way corporations try to avoid accountability is through regulatory preemption. Preemption basically means that federal regulations trump state or local laws so that enforcement of local laws enacted to protect consumers are made null and void.

While there are some instances in which a federal law should override a state or local law, corporate lobbyists argue that if a regulatory agency merely sets a minimum safety standard, like requiring cars to have seat belts, corporations should be off the hook for any injuries their products cause as long as they met that minimum safety standard. In most cases, federal regulations for the financial industry and public health and safety should be the floor, not the ceiling.

States should be able to enact and enforce tougher rules for businesses that operate within their borders and more protection for their residents. But corporations prefer to invest in Washington, where they have a power center for weakening federal regulations.

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