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A bill to outlaw cities

That would appear to be the effect of this.

Sen. Don Huffines

Sen. Don Huffines, a Republican from Dallas, has filed a bill that would prohibit cities from enforcing LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances.

Huffines’ Senate Bill 343, introduced Friday, is a sweeping proposal that would bar local governments from implementing ordinances that are more stringent than state law on the same subject, unless otherwise authorized by statute.

Since Texas law doesn’t prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, cities couldn’t do so, either.

[…]

Although in line with some of Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s recent statements, Huffines’ proposal seems extraordinarily broad and would block cities from implementing an array of local laws.

You can say that again. Here’s SB343, and here’s the relevant bit from the text:

Sec. 1.006. CONFORMITY WITH STATE LAW. (a) Where the state has passed a general statute or rule regulating a subject, a local government shall restrict its jurisdiction and the passage of its ordinances, rules, and regulations to and in conformity with the state statute or rule on the same subject, unless the local government is otherwise expressly authorized by statute.
(b) Unless expressly authorized by state statute, a local government shall not implement an ordinance, rule, or regulation that conflicts with or is more stringent than a state statute or rule regardless of when the state statute or rule takes effect.

I’m not a lawyer, but even I can recognize that “stringent” isn’t exactly a well-defined legal term. As noted by Jay Aiyer on Kris Banks’ Facebook page, this would effectively end all local control by cities and would contradict the Home rule provisions that already exist in state law, thus making cities more or less like counties. The entire Eagle Ford Shale formation isn’t big enough for this can of worms. You have to hate gay people really hard to come up with something as demented as this. I doubt this will get any traction, but it does put Huffines in the running for worst bill of the session (Cecil Bell remains in the pole position for that) and clearly establishes his bona fides for the Texas Monthly Ten Worst list later on. Kudos to you for that, Don.

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