- Jul 11, 2001
Texas’s “Death Star Bill” Is an Attack on Workers and Democracy
Abbot and his legislature to local governments: Hey, do it Our Way!
In a major escalation of Republicans’ efforts to weaken the state’s bluer cities and counties, lawmakers in the Texas Legislature are advancing a pair of bills that would seize control of local regulations that could range from worker protections to water restrictions during droughts.
A bill backed by Gov. Greg Abbott and business lobbying groups, House Bill 2127, would bar cities and counties from passing regulations — and overturn existing ones — that go further than state law in a broad swath of areas including labor, agriculture, natural resources and finance. It passed the Texas House by a 92-56 vote Wednesday after clearing an initial vote the previous day.
The bill’s backers argue it’s needed to combat what they call a growing patchwork of local regulations that make it difficult for business owners to operate and harm the state’s economy. Texas’ economic growth and jobs are overwhelmingly concentrated in the state’s urban areas.
HB 2127 is one of several bills that Republicans filed this session to prevent cities and counties from enacting new progressive policies. For example, the bill would block local ordinances designed to provide more benefits to workers such as mandatory paid sick leave — though the state’s courts have already halted such city rules — and eliminate mandated water breaks for construction workers in Austin and Dallas.
The bill’s opponents — which include Democrats, local leaders, advocates for low-income workers and environmental groups — see a major power grab in the making that would prevent local officials from responding to their communities’ needs.
Rep. Chris Turner, a Grand Prairie Democrat, blasted the bill as “unconstitutional” as House lawmakers debated it Tuesday.
"One law for the lion and ox is oppression" - William Blake
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