Texas Regulatory Consistency Act likely to pass both chambers
AUSTIN, Texas - The Texas Regulatory Consistency Act is designed to take some authority away from cities that impose ordinances that go beyond state law. The bill looks likely to pass both chambers.
Supporters claim it does not infringe on home rule or take away power from cities and counties. That language is in the bill.
Matt Mackowiak, chair of the Travis County GOP, and Democratic Analyst Ed Espinoza, joined FOX 7 Austin's Mike Warren to discuss.
MIKE WARREN: Matt Mackowiak, Republicans say this is about keeping consistency across the state. Do you agree with that?
MATT MACKOWIAK: I do. If you look across our state, every city has different local ordinances and regulations related to all manner of life. And as I think activists across the state have grown frustrated with their inability to pass their agenda at the state level, they've tried to take that take out that frustration on cities integrating themselves into almost every aspect of human existence. This law is going to pass. It's passed both the House and the Senate. You have members from all over the state in rural areas and every region and every city and every suburb. The bill just says in six specific areas, state law is not going to be able to be overridden or extended by a city ordinance. That's agriculture, finance, insurance, natural resources, labor and occupations. It's a reasonable bill, and both big business and small business supports it.
MIKE WARREN: Ed Espinoza, do you have any concerns about this legislation?
ED ESPINOZA: Well, you know, I mean, you can talk about progressives not passing things at the state level, but obviously conservatives haven't been able to pass things at the local level. And I think what this bill represents is retribution for the failure of conservative policies to make it anywhere at the local level. Because, look, why would you do this? Why does Corpus Christi and Beaumont and Austin and Odessa need to have the same laws when it comes to certain things? They don't. They're entirely different places in entirely different parts of the state. And that's why we have cities, because we have local governance. Why would we get rid of construction worker water breaks that's covered by the labor code? Why would we get rid of Predator? Predatory lending by payday lenders? Why would we get rid of laws that govern those? That's something that in fact affects people at the local level as well. Yet the legislature wants to come in and tell cities what they can and can't do at their local level. How is this small government? What happened to the small government conservatives? And it's those guys.
MIKE WARREN: To that point, Matt, don't most communities know what's best for them? Why take that away?
MATT MACKOWIAK: Well, overriding ridiculous regulations on every aspect of human existence is to limit the government position. Look, cities don't exist on their own. They were created by states. States give them their charter. They operate under a state. They don't operate entirely. They're of their own volition. And so in this case, it's not saying you can't regulate certain areas. It's just saying in these kinds of areas it would be good to have consistent, stable regulations from one place to another so that small businesses don't have to manage or be micromanaged by activists on the hard left that are trying to make it harder, do business more expensive in a way that reduces the liberty of the average citizen.
MIKE WARREN: Ed Espinoza, I mean, shouldn't cities stay within the law?
ED ESPINOZA: They should stay within the laws. State should also stay within its realm of governing things at the state level. Cities pass things like burn bans. They regulate door to door sales. You don't like an Airbnb next to your house. You can go to your city and do something about it. Unless the state comes and tells you can't, and now you're creating a permission structure. What Republicans like to call a nanny state where you have to go to the state and ask permission for things like this. This is not how cities and states are supposed to work together. Cities are supposed to govern their own areas, and the state governs its area. This idea that every city has to be the same is just an excuse. Republicans know it. It's part of their message. But it's unfortunately on its way to pass in the legislature, and it's wildly impractical.
MIKE WARREN: Okay. We got to wrap it up for now. But the push and pull never ends. Ed, Matt, thank you both very much.