Commissioner Ellis Condemns Legislation Targeting Texas Working Families

16 May, 23

Adds his voice to worker rights groups condemning state’s effort to roll back county advancements.
Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis on Tuesday condemned further efforts by Texas leadership to overturn tremendous progress for Harris County’s working families. He denounced House Bill 2127, which was passed by both chambers of the Texas Legislature, that would “preempt” progressive and innovative local policies to ensure hard working Texans are adequately compensated and recognized for their role in driving the state’s economy.
“The Texas Legislature has stooped to a new low in its obsession to extend state government overreach to nearly every aspect of local control,” Commissioner Ellis said.  “After years of respecting and honoring the decisions of voters to guide their own cities and counties, the state has sadly veered far out of its lane, seeking to micromanage Texans’ lives.”
HB 2127, if signed into law, would preempt local ordinances, rules and orders by clogging the courts with civil lawsuits challenging local control over labor protections, environmental controls and other health and public safety initiatives.  During Senate debate on May 15, it was apparent the full impact of the legislation may not be known for some time as legislators struggled to understand how local governments may now be legally libel for actions previously taken within a broad swath of law, including the Labor, Occupations, Business & Commerce, Natural Resources, Finance, Insurance and Agriculture Codes.
Recently, Commissioner Ellis and Harris County Commissioners Court have led a Workers Rights effort to secure good-paying jobs and worker protections; foster career pipelines through job training and labor apprenticeships; and provide incentives to promote fair and inclusive local economic policies that benefit our communities, businesses owned by women and people of color, and small businesses and entrepreneurs.  
“A part-time Legislature has always depended on a partnership with local-elected officials to administer and enact programs that are responsive to the people they serve in their communities,” stated Ellis.  “If this legislation becomes law, it will greatly erode this partnership and result in a takeover of local government responsibilities by a centralized and politicized state-run bureaucracy.  This trend to overturn the will of the voters is only the latest attempt by Texas leadership to intrude on local policies on everything from school districts to local budgets to tree regulations.  Sadly, the ultimate victims of this legislation will be the working families who are the backbone of the Texas economy.”