Following in the footsteps of the City of Houston, officials in San Antonio have now filed a lawsuit against a new state law designed to restrict burdensome local regulations.
According to San Antonio’s lawsuit, House Bill 2127 is unconstitutionally vague and violates the Texas Constitution.
HB 2127, known as the Texas Regulatory Consistency Act, was authored by State Rep. Dustin Burrows (R–Lubbock). The goal of the legislation was to provide statewide consistency in the regulatory burdens placed on business. The new law forbids cities from adopting or maintaining an ordinance, order, or rule regulating those things covered by state law unless otherwise authorized.
Some officials in local governments around the state—especially large cities like Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio—have expressed concern that the state will take powers from cities.
Earlier this week, officials from San Antonio held a press conference announcing their lawsuit against what they called the “Death Star Bill.” San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg described the new law as “big government overreach.”
“The Texas Constitution gives home-rule cities the ability to create local ordinances, and in an attempt to seize that power, lawmakers have overstepped and abused their authority with HB 2127,” said Nirenberg. “House Bill 2127 is so vague, no one really knows the full specific repercussions of it. So, it will be tested in the Courts.”
San Antonio City Attorney Andy Segovia added to Nirenberg’s comments, claiming the measure is an attempt to rewrite the Texas Constitution and strip home-rule cities of their self-governance.
“The unconstitutionally vague language in HB 2127 purports to strip the power of self-government from home-rule cities. It essentially delegates any home-rule city’s power, in relation to multiple subject matters, to the courts,” said City Attorney Andy Segovia. “House Bill 2127’s vague language poses many more questions for cities than it answers. Its language makes it impossible to understand which specific city ordinances may conflict with state statutes amended by the bill.”
Further, the city’s lawsuit argues that the new law leaves all home-rule cities open to legal challenges—the cost of which must be borne by taxpayers.
Burrows has not responded to a request for comment.
The measure is set to take effect September 1, unless the court rules to block it.