Legislation to roll back a “patchwork” of county and municipal ordinances in multiple areas of policy is one step closer to the governor’s desk.
House Bill 2127 by State Rep. Dustin Burrows (R–Lubbock) would “provide statewide consistency by returning sovereign regulatory powers to the state.” The legislation effectively repeals any local ordinance that conflicts with state law and prohibits any attempt to enact or enforce such an ordinance. It also states that anyone adversely affected by a potential violation of this law can bring legal action against the city or county that committed the violation.
The House passed the bill last month by a vote of 92-55. It was then sent to the Business and Commerce Committee in the Senate, where it received a vote of 6-2 before making its way to the Senate floor.
State Sen. Brandon Creighton (R–Conroe) sponsored the Texas Regulatory Consistency Act in the Senate and led the discussion on the Senate floor, calling the bill a lifeline for small and big businesses alike.
“House Bill 2127 is a lifeline for small businesses, entrepreneurs, and job creators in Texas who need consistency and certainty to invest, expand, and grow,” Creighton said. “This bill is about jurisdiction. It’s about the state constitution. And just as the federal government is the correct venue within certain areas of the law, the state is best suited to regulate the issues of labor and commerce outlined in this bill.”
Despite criticism from some legislators who feared municipalities would no longer have authority, the legislation does not prohibit municipalities “from building or maintaining roads, imposing taxes, or carrying out any authority expressly authorized by statute.” It also does not “affect the authority of a municipality to adopt, enforce, or maintain an ordinance or rule that relates to the control, care, management, welfare or health and safety of animals.”
This is not the first time Creighton has attempted to rein in local regulations.
In 2019, Creighton introduced Senate Bill 15, which would have prevented local governments from regulating private businesses. The bill made it through the Senate but was later killed in the House by Dade Phelan, who then served as the chairman of the State Affairs Committee.
After passing the Senate by a vote of 18-13, the bill will now head back to the House for final approval on some Senate changes before heading to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk.