The New Texas’ ‘Death Star’ Law – A Power Shift or a Death Blow to Local Governance?

A bill recently signed into law in Texas seeks to “provide consistency” regarding rules and regulations. Here’s the whole story. 

The ‘Death Star’ 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 was created to limit cities and counties from enacting ordinances that exceed what is permitted under state law.

The law says it “restores the regulatory authority…to the state” rather than thousands of local governments.

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.”

The State Doesn’t Want Cities To Be Able to “Act in Their Own Interest.

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.

With this law in effect, cities in Texas can no longer pass local laws and regulations regarding eight major policy areas.

These policy areas include agriculture, business and commerce, finance, insurance, labor, natural resource, occupational, and property law.

In the movie Star Wars, the Death Star was the ultimate weapon. It could destroy an entire planet. Critics say that’s what this law will do to the state of Texas.

Takes Away Rights From Cities

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.”

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 Democratic-run cities.

According to the bill that was signed into law, its purpose is to ensure consistency across the state.

Will “Lead To Frivolous Legal Action Against Cities”

Houston and 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.”

Many cities in Texas are fighting for the law to be overturned.

Many leaders argue that the language used to write the law is “vague” which could lead to different interpretations.

The mayor of San Antonio, Ron Nirenberg, said, “Lawmakers have overstepped and abused their authority.” Nirenberg believes the new law will create much more confusion and uncertainty.

The New Law Is Beneficial for Many Small Business Owners

Many Republicans support the new consistency law. A Republican San Antonio City Councilman said the law would “bring clarity” to their work.

On Twitter, @ToddJeffries posted a story about 14 US cities with 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.”

Republicans say the new law is beneficial for many small business owners. Frequently, 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.

Cities Will No Longer Be Able To Make Their Own Rules and Regulations Based on the Local Needs of Their Communities

Not everyone has interpreted the new law this way. Twitter user Ray Loewe posted that Governor Abbott had just signed a law “that took away construction workers’ right to take a rest break every four hours.”

Many argue that cities will no longer be able to make their own rules and regulations based on the local needs of their communities. Instead, it will be left up to the state.

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