Abbott Signs “Death Star” Act That Limits Municipalities’ Ability to Self-Govern

The brand new legislation will make it subsequent to unattainable to guard staff and customers on the native stage, metropolis officers say.

Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has signed into legislation a invoice that restricts native governments within the state from enacting and implementing their very own ordinances on all kinds of points.

House Bill 2127, dubbed the “Death Star bill” by its opponents (after the house station within the film sequence Star Wars that the movies’ antagonists use to destroy planets throughout the empire), handed the state legislature earlier this month. Abbott signed the invoice on Wednesday and it’ll go into impact on September 1.

In response to native authorities officers throughout the state who’re involved about its affect, the brand new legislation will limit native governments from taking motion on eight different types of government code, until the state authorities explicitly provides them permission. Notably, the legislation is extraordinarily ambiguous, making it unclear whether or not cities or counties can act on sure points.

“The uncertainty surrounding the validity of ordinances stifles Council’s capacity to satisfy the neighborhood’s wants,” stated San Antonio city attorney Andy Segovia.

Native governments will seemingly be restricted from deciding on various objects, together with instituting development requirements that transcend state legislation. A Harris County, Texas, regulation that requires development corporations to maintain information on security — and which bars unsafe corporations from being thought-about for sure tasks — could be on the chopping block, critics of the legislation have famous.

“Work in development in Texas is extraordinarily unsafe, with one thing on the order of about one employee dying a day as a consequence of security concerns in Texas on these sorts of jobs,” Hany Khalil, government director of the Texas Gulf Coast Space Labor Federation, said last month.

Different ordinances or proposals by native governments that could be affected by the brand new legislation include:

  • Regulation of payday mortgage lenders;
  • Stricter bans on discrimination in hiring and housing;
  • Minimal wage necessities and different staff’ rights protections that transcend state requirements;
  • Paid depart ordinances; and
  • Bans on plastic grocery baggage.

The brand new legislation even has the potential to have an effect on how governments can react to pure disasters, together with hurricanes that hit coastal areas of the state, critics have pointed out.

Advocates for the legislation have claimed that limiting native governments’ talents will provide “consistency and predictability” across the state. However native leaders in Texas have rejected that justification, and are describing the transfer as an influence seize greater than anything.

Finally, critics of the legislation predict it should defend enterprise and company pursuits on the expense of protections for customers and staff within the state.

In Might, San Antonio councilwoman Adriana Rocha Garcia described the proposal as “the most dangerous bill” of the legislative session, as it could detrimentally “have an effect on cities throughout the state.”

“This can be a large invoice meant to dismiss and take away protections from on a regular basis working individuals,” warned another San Antonio councilwoman, Teri Castillo.

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