On November 8, 2023, Jobs to Move America and the UCLA Law Review presented “Preemption Through Procurement” a webinar discussing the evolution and impact of a long standing legal misinterpretation of “competition” in federal procurement law, which has prevented state and local governments from maximizing the benefits of federal investments.
The webinar offered a deeper exploration and expansion of the findings presented in the recently published UCLA Law Review article, co-authored by two of the panelists, JMA’s Co-Executive Director, Madeline Janis and UCLA School of Law Professor, Scott Cummings. Panelists in the webinar discussed how this misinterpretation fits into broader historical and legal paradigms as well as the challenges and opportunities inherent in reimagining federal procurement for a more just and equitable future.
Watch the Webinar Here
About the Speakers
Scott Cummings is the Robert Henigson Professor of Legal Ethics at the UCLA School of Law and the founding faculty director of the UCLA Program on Legal Ethics and the Profession. His academic research focuses on the legal profession, legal ethics, access to justice, and local government law. He co-authored a new analysis of federal procurement law, recently published in the UCLA Law Review to reveal how ideologically driven conceptions of “full and open competition” dating back to the 1980s have constrained federal contracting considerations and limited state and local innovation. In 2021, he was named the Fulbright Distinguished Chair at the European University Institute and in 2023, he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to study the role of lawyers in democratic backsliding.
Madeline Janis is the co-founder and co-executive director of Jobs to Move America. For over 35 years, she has used her legal expertise on the inside and outside of local and state government, working to create high road, equitable economic development, and strong industrial policy. She is a recognized expert on procurement law, urban economic and industrial development, women’s rights, immigrant rights, and racial justice. She co-authored a new analysis of federal procurement law, recently published in the UCLA Law Review to reveal how ideologically driven conceptions of “full and open competition” dating back to the 1980s have constrained federal contracting considerations and limited state and local innovation.
K. Sabeel Rahman is a Professor of Law at Cornell Law School. He is also a co-founder and faculty co-director of the Law and Political Economy Project. His academic research focuses on issues of democracy, governance, economic power, political economy paradigms, racial equity, and inequality. From 2021-2023, he served in the Biden-Harris Administration where he led the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). At OIRA, he oversaw the policy review and approval of all significant federal regulations and played a lead role in the Administration’s efforts on equity, data and information policy, and reforming regulatory analysis. From 2018-2021 he served as President of Demos, a racial justice think tank and advocacy organization working on democracy reform and economic policy through research, litigation, and movement partnerships
Amy Kapczynski is a Professor of Law at Yale Law School. She is also a faculty co-director of the Law and Political Economy Project, cofounder of the Law and Political Economy blog, and faculty co-director of the Global Health Justice Partnership. Her academic research focuses on law and political economy, and theorizes the failures of legal logic and structure that condition contemporary inequality, precarity, and hollowed out democracy. Before teaching, she served as a law clerk to Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Stephen G. Breyer at the U.S. Supreme Court, and to Judge Guido Calabresi on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
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Last week, a letter signed by 61 Members of Congress was sent to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in support of the Local Opportunities Campaign efforts to update current federal grant regulations, which are known as the Uniform Guidance.
The letter was led by Representative Greg Casar and Senator Tammy Duckworth, and encourages the Biden Administration to move forward with updating federal grant regulations to allow cities and states to incorporate labor and equity standards when contracting with federal funds, including allowing good jobs policies and local and targeted hiring on all federally-funded projects.
Members of Congress emphasized the critical importance of updating the Uniform Guidance to ensure that state and local recipients are able to implement legislative landmarks—like the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA)—in a way that advances equity and family-sustaining jobs in their communities.
The webinar, which also featured speakers from LA Metro and Stand Up Nashville, discussed the historical and legal background of local and targeted hire policies, what changed under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), and how states and cities can use tools like project labor agreements and community benefits agreements to create equitable access to infrastructure jobs for their residents. The event also highlighted the ongoing campaign from Jobs to Move America to permanently end the federal ban on local hire.
Jaimie Worker, Senior State Policy Coordinator, Economic Analysis and Research Network
Miguel Cabral, Executive Officer, Diversity and Economic Opportunity, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority
Nathaniel Carter, Director of Workforce and Employment, StandUp Nashville
Michael Lawliss, Senior National Policy Coordinator, Jobs to Move America
Jennifer Sherer, Senior State Policy Coordinator, Economic Analysis and Research Network