Texas Gov. Abbott signs "Death Star" bill to severely limit city government power

Austin, Texas - Texas Republicans are taking away power from local governments after Governor Greg Abbott signed what's been called the "Death Star" bill into law.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has signed a bill that will ban cities from putting laws into place that differ from the Texas state code in several categories.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott has signed a bill that will ban cities from putting laws into place that differ from the Texas state code in several categories.  © Brandon Bell / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

Texas Gov. Abbott has officially signed House Bill 2127, nicknamed the "Death Star" bill, according to More Perfect Union.

The bill, which passed the state legislature in May, bans cities from enacting laws that differ from the Texas state code in nine categories, including local government, labor, finance, occupations, natural resources, business, property, commerce, and insurance.

Not only does HB 2127 ban local governments from enacting their own laws and regulations, it will overturn any currently in place that differ from the Texas state code once it takes effect September 1.

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Proponents of the extreme bill that may have unforeseen implications, such as Republican Rep. Dustin Burrows, have argued it will help business owners.

"We want those small business owners creating new jobs and providing for their families, not trying to navigate a Byzantine array of local regulations that twist and turn," Burrows previously said, per the Texas Tribune.

However, the bill will also block local ordinances that are currently in place that aim to protect workers rights and other local protections for those living in cities such as Austin, Houston, and San Antonio.

Texas HB 2127 opponents have called the bill "unconstitutional"

Some city ordinances and laws that can be overturned once HB 2127 takes effect include minimum wage requirements and other workers’ rights protections that go beyond state standards, and bans on discrimination in hiring and housing.

Democratic Rep. Chris Turner previously called the bill "unconstitutional," adding, "Texas is unique, and our communities are diverse. A cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all approach simply does not work for our vast and complex state."

Rick Levy, head of the Texas AFL-CIO, has also slammed the bill, calling it a "radical attack on our democracy and on the voices of local voters across our state."

One major issue with HB217 is the broadness of it, with many local officials unsure of how far-reaching the bill may be.

San Antonio city attorney Andy Segovia previously said "the uncertainty surrounding the validity of ordinances stifles Council’s ability to meet the community’s needs," per Truth Out.

Cover photo: Brandon Bell / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

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