Texas Legislature

Texas Regulatory Consistency Act Heads to Governor's Desk

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The Texas Regulatory Consistency Act was headed to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk for signature Friday after versions approved by both the Texas House and Senate were reconciled.

Anni Spilman with the National Federation of Independent Business said the change in state law keeps Texas cities from stepping outside their traditional regulatory authority.

“Right now we’re in very uncertain times facing a possible recession,” Spilman said. “We don’t need duplication in regulation when it comes to employment law and labor law. We have very good regulation on the state level, the federal level.”

Dallas County and City of Dallas officials opposed the new law. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said it is a power grab by state lawmakers.

“One size fits all local government does not work and it goes against the conservative principle of local control,” Jenkins said. “When it suited the leaders to talk about local control, they were for that.”

The City of Dallas has passed ordinances requiring rest breaks for construction workers and sick time for private employees that some small businesses strongly opposed. Cities will no longer be allowed to regulate those private business issues. Local leaders fear homelessness may increase with a prohibition on local eviction protections.

Dallas City Council Member Tennell Atkins who chairs the City Council Legislative Affairs Committee said all cities should not be treated the same.

“You just can’t just compare apples and apples in what is good for the City of Dallas. And right now, we just oppose the bill,” Atkins said.

Dallas, Fort Worth and other North Texas cities have passed limits on the amount of interest payday and title loan businesses can charge.

“Those rules can stay in effect, but new ones can’t be passed if this passes,” Jenkins said.

That could leave cities unable to respond if lenders find new ways to increase penalties for borrowers.

But other restrictions local officials feared were not included in the final version of the bill according to Spilman.  She said most of what cities and counties regulate will still be in place such as zoning, health and safety issues.

Local restrictions to combat puppy mills and short-term rental homes would still be allowed.

Abbott has said he plans to sign the new law.

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