ODESSA, Texas — A Texas bill that will limit local governments has recently sparked some questions regarding how much. As the 88th legislative session nears a conclusion, it could become a reality by the first of September.
The bill is not expected to really impact the local governments in Midland, Odessa or elsewhere around the Permian Basin. However, with the transient nature of the area, it should be a benefit to travelers.
“I don’t think that there would be a single city in West Texas that would be impacted by this, but those of us who live in West Texas who are going to be traveling…if you want to go to a Rangers game in Arlington, we want to make sure that we have a uniform set of laws that apply all the way from Odessa to Arlington, and we don’t want you to have to have a thousand different laws on the way there," said Brooks Landgraf, State Representative for Odessa and a Republican in House District 81.
House Bill 2127, or the 'Regulatory Consistency Act', looks to create alignment and consistency in the State of Texas.
“It’s designed to make sure that we have uniform laws that apply all across the state, and we don’t have individual cities that are kind of going off on a limb and creating a patchwork of different regulations all throughout the state, so we want to have – for the most part – one set of rules that apply all across Texas," said Landgraf.
Landgraf said this bill will mainly affect the cities that are going outside the balance of their normal role, with Midland and Odessa not in that category.
“Cities like Odessa, Midland, Monahans, other cities in our area haven’t really been getting out ahead of their skis on any of these issues," said Landgraf. "We have seen other cities, like Austin for example, the City of Dallas, that are trying to perform a state function at the local level and that’s creating a patchwork. So, really if cities that were just kind of doing their jobs in the first place, this really won’t have an impact on them. It’s the ones who were getting outside of their lane that I think are the ones who are going to see an impact.”
Landgraf noted that local governments will still have plenty of responsibility. In addition to travel benefits, it is also expected to help business.
“It’s also good for business, because a business can operate in our state [and] job creators can operate in our state knowing that there’s going to be a uniform set of rules that applies, regardless of what city you’re in," said Landgraf. "So, I think this is good for consistency, it’s good for business and it’s good for the traveling public.”
Landgraf stated that this bill will reign in the type of local government that restricts freedom and liberty. He also mentioned that the bill has passed both the Texas Senate and the Texas House, and he expects it to be signed by Texas Governor Greg Abbott soon.