<== Click on Rep. Rose's picture to watch a 5-minute excerpt of the hour presentation to LIV on June 6th by Adrian Shelley, environmental attorney and Executive Director of Public Texas Public Citizen.
The full video is available to members of LIV. Send us a note, and we'll send you a private link. The presentation includes Adrian's review of TCEQ (Texas Commission for Environmental Quality) legislation.
What is a Texas Independent, if not someone for every Texan's local control?
"What if we Texas independents simply want open and ethical government, just as do millions of Republicans and Democrats in our open primary state? HB 2127 threw out 112 years of Texas home rule, both the baby and the bathwater of what makes Texas tick -- local self-governance by thousands of local governing authorities and their citizens. We need a thorough-going cross-partisan anti-corruption movement or watch chaos and litigation go wild in our already wild state. And if this movement is led by Texas independent voters, Ken Paxton won't be the only one we hope gets a pink slip," said Linda Curtis, LIV's Chief Organizer.
The biggest stinker of the 88th Texas Legislative Session, HB 2127.
HB 2127 represents a paradigm shift from “local authority except where specifically preempted by the state constitution or state law” in favor of “super-preemption” by the state of broad swaths of municipal and county regulation. As a result, the right to self-governance of over 350 home-rule cities (cities with at least 5,000 residents and a city charter), currently protected by our state constitution’s 1912 Home Rule Amendment, have been irreparably damaged. Never mind that Texans have enjoyed the most home rule of any state in the nation for 112 years. (See Terrell Blodgett's explanation here.)
LIV has an equally unsettling concern that HB 2127 will have unintended --- or even intended ---consequences for citizens’ rights to petition their cities for a public vote, also protected under the Home-Rule Amendment. We will explore that concern after we give you the flavor of HB 2127.
This article in JD Supra about HB 2127, called the "Regulator Consistency Act", is a helpful overview, explaining the "broader implications than lawmakers envisioned”. As noted in the article, HB 2127 marks a profound shift away from local government authority and towards increasing state control.
Excerpted from the House Research Organization's Report on 2127:
"CSHB 2127, the Texas Regulatory Consistency Act, would prohibit a municipality or county from adopting, enforcing, or maintaining an ordinance, order, or rule regulating conduct in a field of regulation occupied by a provision of certain statutory codes unless the municipal or county regulation was expressly authorized by another statute. The prohibition would apply to the following codes:
Business & Commerce
Click here for the full analysis from the House Research Organization about you who pushed for HB 2127. Notice the big players, NFIB (National Federal of Independent Business) and the conservative think tank Texas Public Policy Foundation. Enjoy these comments from those who tried to nip HB 2127 in the bud at the Lege to no avail, a cross-partisan crew of local officials and citizens of Texas.
The burr under Rep. Dustin Burrow's (R-Lubbock) Saddle
There's at least one big problem now for HB 2127 House author Rep. Burrows (R-Lubbock) and the Senate sponsor Brandan Creighton (R-Conroe). The legislation may well be unconstitutional.
<== Watch one of our more brilliant Texas State Senators, Sarah Eckhardt (D-Austin), former Travis County Judge, take on HB 2127 sponsor Senator Brandan Creighton. The exchange makes plain a solid argument that HB 2127 is a test case for an unconstitutional state of Texas overreach.
Moreover, if you read the bill, there is little definition of how HB 2127 is supposed to work. The author and sponsor, clever operators they are, deliberately left it vague to make the courts do their work for them. As the JD Supra article makes plain, there's money in them thar hills for litigators!
More’s the pity, we all know who is going to pay for those lawsuits. And you thought the GOP was for lawsuit "tort reform," didn't you?
Note that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis vetoed a similar "super-preemption" bill in 2022, stating that it would lead to "unintended consequences," including "costly litigation." Here is Gov. DeSantis' veto letter. See WUSF News article here for more information. Meanwhile, Governor Abbott signed HB 2127 on June 13th, and over the last few days, he has made plain he will use his veto pen as a club against other Republicans. We'll be writing about this soon, meanwhile, sign up for the "Buzz" at QuorumReport.com.
Every Texan's Local Control -- the Right to Petition -- vandalized by HB 2127.
For 112 years, Texans from across the spectrum have used petitions on a wide range of issues when our municipal government fails to address problems with campaign finance, criminal justice, open government, aquifer protection, public smoking, camping bans, discrimination, corporate subsidies, red-light cameras, local taxes, local budget audits and more. The list goes on and you win some and lose many because more fail than pass, and many (like LIV's SAWS Accountability Act) fail to get the required signatures. But local petitions are all part of the process of local civic involvement, the very thing the nanny overlords in the Lege seek to stamp out of the Texas body politic.
Those who pushed HB 2127 on us Texans, are begging for the entry of more than Texas Democrats into the war they kicked off against local governance. Texas populism may be dead. Stick with us, folks. We're about to prove that reincarnation happens in genuinely independent populist politics.
"Deciding Local Matters for Themselves"
These words, written six decades ago referred to the strong emotions that local leaders have toward the concept of home rule. That deep desire for local decision-making is the common thread that continues to link municipal officials across time, geography, and political ideology.
“Municipal governments can be neither free nor responsible unless they are guaranteed the right (and the compulsion) to decide purely local matters for themselves.” –Carl Chatters, Executive Director of the American Municipal Association (1953).
What now? Don't mourn, organize!
Texas independents must self-organize together with our friends in all parties to send the worst actors in this preemption business a pink slip in 2024. And, yes, we should pray for successful court action.
Join LIV and Volunteer to make it happen.
Hint: LIV dues are $10 to $1000 per year, you choose what to give, including your time.
If you are like us at LIV, you cherish the opportunity to DO something politically meaningful right where you are in Texas. Contact LIV, we have real work for you to do from home or in the field.
Mark Your Calendar!
Let's grab some power for all the people of Texas.
August 6 thru 8, Southern Family Farmers and Food Systems Conference, at Texas State University. LIV needs volunteers (and funds for sponsoring them) to staff our booth while taking breaks to attend sessions. More here.
We at LIV bemoan the thousands of bills that failed in this session to protect our water, wallets, energy and so much more that went down the tubes. Read the hot-off-the-press Texas Monthly's "The Best and Worst Legislators."