Texas Judge Overturns City Authority Restriction : On Wednesday, a Texas state judge determined that a recently approved bill that would have made it difficult for cities and municipalities to set their own rules was unconstitutional. The Act had been in place briefly. Thus, the bill was tossed out of committee.
The law, formally termed House Bill 2127 but known as the “Death Star Bill” by opponents, prevented cities from enacting and implementing local ordinances in several key policy areas without state approval. The law was House Bill 2127. Opponents called it the “Death Star Bill.” This covers minimum wage and employment protection regulations. Safety laws also fit this topic.
Houston, San Antonio, and El Paso opposed the law, but it was due to take effect on Friday. People in these locations thought the law was overly broad and subject to interpretation. It violated state legislation, which allowed communities “the full power of self-government.” They claimed this was illegal.
State District Judge Maya Guerra Gamble said, “The Court declares that House Bill 2127 is unconstitutional in its entirety, both on its face and as it applies to Houston as a constitutional home rule city.” This suggests the court thinks the entire bill is illegal.
Cities and Democratic supporters, who believed the statute was meant to impede progressive projects, were pleased with the verdict. They said the law stopped aid programs.
The ruling pleased Houston Democratic Mayor Sylvester Turner. He remarked, “I am thrilled that Houston, our legal department, and sister cities won this for Texas cities.” House Bill 2127, passed by the Texas legislature to gain more power, violated Houston and other “home-rule” towns’ municipal autonomy. This invasion violated the Texas Constitution and Municipal Code.
Republican lawmakers proposed it. It was one of the Republican-controlled Texas Legislature’s boldest attempts to limit the state’s major cities’ independence, most of which are Democratic. This endeavor stood out because the measure was implemented.
Republican Dustin Burrows, the law’s sponsor, stated, “The judgment handed down today by a Democrat Travis County District Judge is not worth the paper it’s printed on.” The Texas Supreme Court will rule that this measure is legal and within the law. After HB2127 is signed into law on September 1, 2023, today’s decision will have no legal effect. Thus, today’s judgment shouldn’t deter Texas from using their legal rights.
City officials and others opposed the bill, afraid that the law’s imprecise wording would lead to lengthy court battles over its scope and usage. The move was opposed by city officials.
People worried that the Act would make it harder to take emergency measures during hurricanes without state Legislature approval. It’s important to remember that Texas’s legislature meets every two years.
Despite not knowing which municipal regulations will be thrown out by the preemption act, the bill’s text suggests that measures protecting employees and providing paid sick leave could be affected. The plan also states that paid sick leave laws may alter.
The city officials predicted the measure would likely lead to lengthy court battles to define it. This is because the law is unclear.
Texas Attorney General will undoubtedly challenge the judge’s verdict.