San Antonio likely will sue the Texas over the so-called “Death Star bill,” recently passed state legislation limiting municipalities’ ability to exercise their right to home rule, City Attorney Andy Segovia told the Express-News.
Segovia told the daily his office is exploring legal options and is in talks with its counterparts in Houston, El Paso, Dallas and Austin. Staff is weighing whether San Antonio should file its own lawsuit or join Houston in a complaint filed earlier this month.
Under House Bill 2127, municipalities are barred from passing local ordinances that exceed current state laws that govern business, agriculture and other areas. For example, Dallas mandates that contractors schedule 10-minute water breaks for construction workers. However, under the bill, the city would be forced to scrap the law since it exceeds state regulations, according to a KXAN report.
San Antonio City Council was considering a similar water-break ordinance. However, that proposal has been amended only to include contractors directly hired by the city to avoid a conflict with HB 2127, which goes into effect Sept. 1, the Express-News reports.
The state argues the law makes doing business in Texas easier by streamlining the number of ordinances companies must keep up with.
However, in its lawsuit, Houston argues that HB 2127 violates the Texas Constitution, which states that cities have the right to home rule. Critics also maintain that the Republican-controlled Texas Legislature passed the bill to punish large municipalities such as San Antonio and Houston, which tend to be under Democrats’ control.
“This notion that 2127 is going to create consistency is way off the mark,” Segovia told the Express-News. “If anything, it’s going to add confusion and chaos statewide.”
See here for more on the Houston lawsuit. I don’t know if there’s a technical advantage to joining the Houston lawsuit or filing their own, but I trust they’ll figure out what works best for them. San Antonio says they don’t plan to roll back their existing ordinances that may be blocked by the Death Star law, which may wind up generating litigation from those who would want the existing ordinances tossed. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, a lot of lawyers are going to make a lot of money as a result of this legislative session. News 4 San Antonio and the San Antonio Report have more.