AUSTIN — Today’s ruling from a district court judge in Travis County that House Bill 2127, 88th Regular Legislative Session, is unconstitutional was not unexpected, but is wholly inconsistent with Texas Constitutional law.
The Texas Supreme Court has consistently ruled in prior cases that the Texas Legislature has the “prerogative” to decide “whether uniform statewide regulation or nonregulation is preferable to a patchwork of local regulations.” The Texas Legislature has exercised such prerogative by enacting House Bill 2127. Today, a local state district judge in Austin, Texas has decided that the Texas Supreme Court is wrong, and the legislature has no such authority to enact legislation limiting local ordinance authority. We expect this decision to be appealed and overturned.
House Bill 2127 is a measured, constitutionally valid bill which limits local municipalities from enacting ordinances which restrict or regulate activities already regulated by state law. Contrary to the arguments of the plaintiffs in the case, the bill does not eliminate local ordinance authority altogether. The legislative intent is clear and limited to specific state codes such as Agriculture, Finance, Insurance, Labor, Natural Resources, Property, Business and Commerce, and Occupations. These codes have statewide implication and should not be further regulated by hundreds of inconsistent, competing local ordinances. Cities continue to have ample authority to enact ordinances to determine how best to run their cities outside of these preempted areas. They should have no business in the business of the state.
Texans have the right to conduct business and activities without having to research and comply with myriad listings of local regulations across the state. Having a single, consistently applied set of regulations is not only constitutional, but fair to all Texans.