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Death Star Law: Texas curbs Greg Abbott’s legislation limiting power of Democratic-led cities

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Texas Governor Greg Abbott speaks at the annual National Rifle Association (NRA) convention in Dallas, Texas, US. — Reuters

A Texas judge has unruled the Death Star law by Republican Greg Abbott that prohibited Democratic-led cities from passing certain local ordinances.

District Judge Maya Guerra Gamble of Texas announced the decision in response to a lawsuit from the city of Houston.

“I am thrilled that Houston, our legal department, and sister cities were able to obtain this victory for Texas cities,” Mayor Sylvester Turner of Houston wrote in a statement. 

“HB 2127 was a power grab by the Legislature and an unwarranted and unconstitutional intrusion into local power granted to Houston and other home-rule cities by the Texas Constitution.”

The Office of the Attorney General has appealed Gamble’s decision, Paige Willey, the director of communications for the Office, said.

“While the judge declared HB 2127 unconstitutional, she did not enjoin enforcement of the law by Texans who are harmed by local ordinances, which HB 2127 preempts,” Willey wrote to Insider. “The Office of the Attorney General has also immediately appealed because the ruling is incorrect. This will stay the effect of the court’s declaration pending appeal. As a result, HB 2127 will go into effect on September 1.”

The Death Star Law also prohibited regulations that would have required requirements for things like water breaks for construction workers, earning it the moniker “the law that kills.” Construction workers and their friends protested in Texas, claiming that eliminating local water break regulations would lead to an increase in cases of heat-related illness and fatalities.​

“This is a HUGE win for the working people of Texas, local govs, and communities across our state,” the Texas AFL-CIO posted in response to the decision. “While we expect an appeal, it remains clear this law is an unacceptable infringement on the rights of Texans and cities.”

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