skip to main content

Saturday, June 10, 2023

play newscast audioPlay

Former President Donald J. Trump first ever to face federal charges in 7 count indictment; the Supreme Court strikes down Alabama's Congressional Maps; Canadian wildfires affect the health of humans and wildlife.

play newscast audioPlay

The Supreme Court upholds a key provision of the Voting Rights Act over Alabama redistricting, smoky skies could spell EPA trouble for some states, and President Biden calls on Congress to pass LGBTQ+ protections.

play newscast audioPlay

Rural communities launch projects with funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, a study says rural transgender adults feel less supported than those in urban areas, and a summer road trip could mean majestic scenic byways or a sprinkling of donut shops.

TX Lawmakers Consider Legislation to Prevent Cities from Self-Governance

play audio
Play

Tuesday, March 21, 2023   

Texas' GOP-dominated legislature is considering bills to flip the script on powers traditionally afforded home-rule cities, instead forcing them to abide by state regulations. Two bills have been introduced this session to curb local laws governing safety, the environment and discrimination.

Rick Levy, president of the AFL-CIO Texas branch, said the proposed legislation is extremely far-reaching, and would force the hand of cities across the state.

"Under the current system, home-rule cities have the ability to do anything they're not prohibited from doing. This would make them basically seek permission from the state to do anything," he said.

The Republican bill sponsors say regulatory powers should be returned to the state so small businesses can operate under consistent regulations. Unions represented by the AFL-CIO and other labor groups say the proposals could undo hard-fought measures to protect workers.

As written, Levy said the bills also would affect non-discrimination ordinances - including those that cover gay, lesbian and trans people.

"To the extent that those differ at all from state law, or federal law, in terms of the clarity of their protections for lesbian and gay folks or anything that goes beyond that would be immediately pre-empted - so it's a pretty draconian effort," he said.

After Alaska, Texas is the second largest state geographically and Levy said he has always been impressed that lawmakers come together to represent such diverse interests. He does not believe they should dictate what elected officials in various cities are allowed to do.

"And just to kind of impose the will of a very small sector of the population on every community in the state - in their zeal to crush any kind of dissent or any kind of diversity they're really stepping on what it means to be Texan," he said.

The proposed legislation comes after Austin, known for its progressive policies, lost the ability to enforce a ban on plastic bags after it was challenged and the Texas Supreme Court ruled it violated state law.

Disclosure: Carnegie Corporation of New York contributes to our fund for reporting on Civic Engagement. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


get more stories like this via email
Guns to Gardens volunteers in New Hampshire are working against what are considered among the weakest gun laws in the country. State law does not require background checks on all gun sales, or limit access to firearms by people in crisis. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

play sound

Community volunteers in New Hampshire are turning unwanted firearms into garden tools as part of a nationwide effort to reduce gun violence. Under …


Social Issues

play sound

Parents and educators in the Houston Independent School District said they are all for improving schools but do not believe a state takeover by an une…

Social Issues

play sound

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld a lower-court ruling on a 5-to-4 vote Thursday, deciding Alabama's 2022 congressional maps violated the Voting Rights …


Alaska has more than 322 million acres of public lands, more than three times the acreage of the entire state of California. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

play sound

The Bureau of Land Management has announced a $161 million investment in habitat and wildland restoration projects in 11 western states. Alaska is …

Environment

play sound

As smoke from Canadian wildfires blankets New York and much of the East Coast, it's causing a wide range of health effects - and not just for people…

Connexus Energy operates a 'solar meadow' at its headquarters in Ramsey, Minn. (Photo courtesy of Fresh Energy)

Environment

play sound

By Elizabeth Hewitt for Reasons to be Cheerful.Broadcast version by Mike Moen for Minnesota News Connection reporting for the Solutions Journalism Net…

Social Issues

play sound

To fight such pressing issues as housing shortages and increasing crime rates in cities across the country, many of the nation's mayors are taking …

Health and Wellness

play sound

As part of Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month, mental-health advocates in Iowa are sharing information about Alzheimer's and say two new drugs …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021