Texas Legislature Considers Bills Limiting Power Of Cities To Enact Laws
State lawmakers this session will consider bills to limit the power of cities to enact certain laws. Those local ordinances could include bans on hydraulic fracturing, using plastic bags at stores, and LGBT non-discrimination ordinances.
The effort to rein in local ordinances is a reaction to what Governor Greg Abbott has called the "California-zation" of Texas.
That sentiment is echoed by Republican State Representative Matt Shaheen of Plano. He co-authored a House bill this session that would prohibit cities from adopting non-discrimination protections not already covered by state law. In Shaheen’s view, cities exist to provide basic services - like infrastructure - and nothing else.
"The state of Texas didn't put cities in place to start playing around with these social-type agendas," said Shaheen, a recent guest on Houston Matters. "So if you want to see where a ‘nanny state’ is happening, it's more at the local level with these types of ordinances."
But cities with a population of 5,000 or more - and a charter - are known, under the Texas constitution, as "Home Rule" cities.