Texas local electeds are not giving up their fight for local democracy

We all agree that effective local government is critical for building thriving communities. That’s why local leaders in Texas are not backing down in their fight to protect local democracy.

Just yesterday, nearly 60 local electeds from across the state banded together to once again tell the courts that they will NOT stand for the Death Star Law or any of the Texas Legislature’s efforts to undermine local democracy.

In an amicus brief filed on February 7, the group emphasized that, “In enacting HB 2127, the Legislature seeks to effectively repeal Texas cities’ constitutionally protected Home Rule authority and eviscerate localities’ ability to effectively govern on behalf of their constituents.” As an official submission to the court, the amicus brief shares an expert opinion that can help inform the judge of all the perspectives that must be taken into consideration in the case.

Governor Greg Abbott signed HB 2127 – commonly known as the “Death Star Law” – into law this past summer. The law completely guts local governments ability to respond to their communities’ needs. The City of Houston quickly filed litigation against the state to overturn the law – arguing that it violates the Home Rule provision of the Texas State Constitution.

On August 30, 2023, Judge Maya Guerra Gamble from the 459th District Court in Travis County ruled in agreement with the City of Houston that the Death Star law was unconstitutional, void, and unenforceable – a huge win for local democracy. Not surprisingly, the State of Texas quickly appealed the ruling, thus prolonging the legal battle to protect localities’ right to legislate effectively.

As the case moves on to the Texas Third Court of Appeals – expected sometime this Spring – Texas local electeds are continuing to fight for the power to respond to their communities’ needs because when local democracy is stifled, all our voices are silenced.

Photo credit: Douglas Sweet Jr. for The Texas Tribune