Don’t California my Texas. That phrase has increasingly made its way into the vernacular of Texas freedom lovers, especially notable as we wait for a decision in the Texas Supreme Court case City of Laredo v. Laredo Merchants Association.
At issue in the case, which could well establish a statewide precedent, is whether various overreaching city governments are in violation of state law. A look at the law suggests that they are.
Texas’ Health and Safety Code plainly states: “A local government … may not adopt an ordinance, rule, or regulation to … prohibit or restrict, for solid waste management purposes, the sale or use of a container or package in a manner not authorized by state law.”
In response, the city of Laredo has taken the position that a plastic bag is not a container. Both common sense and technical definitions reveal the weakness of that argument.
Another argument posited by Laredo is that the purpose of the ban is not for solid waste management but rather beautification and flood control. However, as my colleague James Quintero argues in this recent Austin American-Statesman article, the city’s own documentation suggests otherwise.
This case is more than just about policy, it’s about the rule of law. That’s why the Foundation filed an amicus brief last year urging the high court to affirm the appellate court’s decision and reinforce the idea that: “Texas is governed by objective, black-letter rules, not the capricious desires of men.”
That’s right decision to reach for Texans and a good step toward keeping California-style controls out.