San Antonio sues Texas saying house bill is an over reach of power

SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) — Following the lead of Houston, San Antonio today filed suit against the state of Texas over house bill they say will do away with the right of home rule.

Author of the bill State Representative Dustin Burrows explains the legislation as “[prohibiting] its provisions from being construed to prohibit a municipality or county from building or maintaining a road, imposing a tax, or carrying out any authority expressly authorized by statute or to prohibit a home-rule municipality from providing the same services and imposing the same regulations that a general-law municipality is authorized to provide or impose.”

To Nirenberg and City Attorney Andy Segovia, the bill is a way to snatch power from home rule cities (like San Antonio) and put certain actions under the rule of the state.

“That up ends the entire process,” says Mayor Nirenberg.  “We’re talking about not just labor code, we’re talking about property code, we’re talking about several different areas of city council authority now that are stripped away.”

Further, the City argues that its local elected officials best represent their constituents. If an elected city councilmember acts contrary to the will of the citizens, that councilmember is not reelected.

City officials interact with city residents every day, spend countless hours reviewing city budgets and policies, and are personally familiar with the priorities of the neighborhoods they represent.

In short, city officials are in a far superior position to determine the appropriate ordinances to serve their cities than are the politicians in the legislature.

“There are remedies for specific ordinances that are challenged and quite often we that being the case,” Nirenberg says. “Where a specific ordinance goes through a process, legally, to find out if it’s valid, this up ends the entire process all together.”

Governor Abbott signed the bill June 15th.  The bill is scheduled to become law September 1.


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