Texas Blocks Local Labor Laws

Author: Michael Cardman, XpertHR Senior Legal Editor

UPDATE - August 30, 2023: A Texas district court ruled that the Texas Regulatory Consistency Act is unconstitutional. The Texas Office of the Attorney General has appealed the ruling.

July 25, 2023

Effective September 1, the Texas Regulatory Consistency Act will prohibit municipalities and counties from adopting new ordinances or enforcing existing ordinances involving business, commerce, finance, labor and several other fields of regulation.

As a result, a number of local laws in Texas are on the chopping block, including:

  • Enjoined paid sick leave ordinances in Austin, Dallas and San Antonio;
  • Anti-discrimination ordinances in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth and San Antonio;
  • Heat illness-prevention ordinances in Austin and Dallas; and
  • A scheduling ordinance in Euless.

The City of Houston has filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the new law on the grounds it effectively repeals Texas constitutional home rule.

If it survives this challenge, the Texas Regulatory Consistency Act will become the latest in a line of state preemption laws that prohibit municipalities from adopting ordinances or regulations on a specific area of the law.

Meanwhile, Florida also has passed a preemption law, although its law is more limited in scope than the one in Texas. Effective October 1, SB 170 requires localities to, among other things:

  • Suspend enforcement of any ordinances that are subject to a legal challenge on the grounds they are preempted by state law, arbitrary or unreasonable; and
  • Produce a "business impact estimate" before passing ordinances.