Amid scorching triple-digit heat, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott decided to pass new legislation that eliminates mandated water breaks for certain service workers.
House Bill 2127, also known as the Texas Regulatory Consistency Act or as its critics refer to it the “Death Star Bill,” allows the state government to overrule local government, Fox 26 Houston reports. The new bill prevents local municipalities from going against Texas state codes and applies to eight key areas of local government, including agriculture, business & commerce, finance, insurance, labor, natural resources, occupations, and property.
As part of the new bill, mandated water breaks for certain laborers, including construction workers have been eliminated, as noted by The Hill.
Since Gov. Abbott signed the bill into law on June 6, at least four service workers died after collapsing while laboring in triple-digit heat, according to the Texas Observer. Among those include a post office worker in Dallas, a utility lineman in East Texas, and construction workers in Houston. Many are crediting an ongoing heatwave for the deaths of at least 13 people, AP News reports.
The bill that goes into effect on September 1 is facing backlash from critics who say it will invalidate local ordinances, including the city of Houston which sued the state over the new legislation, the Texas Standard reports.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner held a press conference on Monday, July 3 claiming HB 2127 would overturn ordinances regulating tow truck companies, outdoor music festivals, noise control, and boarding homes. Turner notes the uncertainty around what local laws would become illegal under the new state law.
News Briefing on HB 2127 Lawsuit https://t.co/MmMr38bkY3
“What this means is that cities like the city of Houston cannot pass ordinances in these areas unless the state of Texas explicitly gives us permission to do so,” Turner said.
“That is a total reversal from the way things have been in this state for more than a century.”
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Source: Black Enterprise