A bill was recently signed into law in Texas that seeks to “provide consistency” when it comes to rules and regulations. Now, a federal judge has ruled that the law is unconstitutional. But what is this law, anyway? Here’s everything you need to know to get caught up.
Bill Becomes a Law
Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a new bill into law in his home state. The law is officially known as the Texas Regulatory Consistency Act, but critics have deemed it the “Death Star” law.
The “Death Star” Bill
The Death Star bill was created to limit cities and counties from enacting ordinances that exceed what is permitted under state law.
Regulatory Authority to the State
The law says that it “restores the regulatory authority to the state” rather than thousands of local governments.
Transfer of Power
Texas state Representative John Bryant said, “Basically, it’s the greatest transfer of power away from the public and into the hands of a few people in Austin that we’ve ever seen.”
All About Control
Bryant said the state doesn’t want cities to be able to “act in their own interest.” In his opinion, it’s all about control at the state level.
No More Local Laws
With this law in effect, cities in Texas no longer have the ability to pass local laws and regulations when it comes to eight major policy areas.
Policy Areas Affected
These policy areas include: agriculture, business and commerce, finance, insurance, labor, natural resource law, occupational law, and property law.
It Will Destroy Texas
In the movie Star Wars, the Death Star was the ultimate weapon. It had the ability to destroy an entire planet. Critics say that’s what this law does to the state of Texas.
Supporters of the law say that having a single set of regulations will make it easier to conduct business in Texas. Republicans said the law is “pro-business.”
Issues Outside the Local Scope
Texas Republicans say that some issues are outside the scope for local authorities to handle, and there needs to be consistency across the state.
Opponents of the law say that it takes away rights from cities and is a “power grab” by the state. They say the law targets Democrat-run cities.
According to the bill that was signed into law, its purpose is to ensure consistency across the state.
Cities Sue the State
The City of Houston and the City of San Antonio sued the state over the new Regulatory Consistency Act. These two cities said the law violates the Texas Constitution and will “lead to frivolous legal action against cities.”
They Want the Law Overturned
Many cities in the state of Texas are fighting for the law to be overturned.
Leaders are arguing that the language used to write the law is “vague” which could lead to different interpretations.
Confusion and Uncertainty
The mayor of San Antonio spoke out, saying, “Lawmakers have overstepped and abused their authority.” Nirenberg’s opinion is that the new law will create much more confusion and uncertainty.
Republicans Support the Law
Many Republicans support the new consistency law. A Republican San Antonio City Councilman said the law would “bring clarity” to their work.
Cities Need This Law
On Twitter, @ToddJeffries posted a story about 14 US cities that have a “target of banning meat by 2030.” His story was retweeted by Dustin Burrows who said, “Yet another example of the need for the Texas Regulatory Consistency Act.”
Small Business Owners Benefit
Republicans say the new law is beneficial for many small business owners. Oftentimes, small business owners don’t even realize they are out of compliance with regulations until they receive a hefty fine from the city they are doing business in.
The Law Is Not All Good
Not everyone has interpreted the new law this way. Twitter user Ray Loewe posted saying that Governor Abbott had just signed a law “that took away construction workers’ right to take a rest break every four hours.”
Leaving It in the State’s Hands
Many argue that cities will no longer be able to make their own rules and regulations based on the local needs in their communities. Instead, it will be left up to the state.
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