Senate advances pro-business bill that could hinder Texas city and county regulations

On Monday, a pro-business bill was introduced by the Senate that would prevent cities and counties in Texas from passing ordinances on a variety of subjects, except for zoning, noise, and nuisance ordinances. The bill, if passed, would restrict local government’s ability to regulate agriculture and real estate unless explicitly permitted by state law through Texas’ eight codes. Critics believe the bill will hamper new regulations aimed at the “predatory lending” industry and prevent tenants from having a chance to “cure” the problem. Business groups, such as the Texas Apartment Association and National Federation of Independent Businesses, argue that the new bill will prevent a patchwork of regulations. Senator Brandon Clayton, the writer of the bill said that there are already areas regulated by the state, where local government regulation is allowed. Supporters of local regulation and affordable housing advocates have expressed concerns that the bill could cause a myriad of lawsuits. Companies that cannot win contracts with local authorities may sue, and the bill would also allow individuals to bring lawsuits. Cities and counties have been involved in ordinances that they claim violate state laws on various subject areas like commerce, insurance, labor, and property. The bill will now have to go back to the House of Representatives for their approval of proposed changes made by the Senate.

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