SHRM cited the Workforce Bulletin blog post, “Legislative Update: Texas Limits Local Governments’ Authority to Regulate and Passes the CROWN Act,” co-authored by Greta Ravitsky and Mason Gardner, attorneys in the Employment, Labor, and Workforce Management practice, in “State Law Will Pre-Empt Local Ordinances in Florida and Texas,” by Leah Shepherd.

Following is an excerpt:

Florida and Texas recently enacted laws to ensure that state law pre-empts city and county ordinances, including minimum wage and workplace health and safety rules. This will make it easier for employers and individuals to challenge local ordinances in court.

For example, in Dallas and Austin, Texas, construction workers are entitled to a 10-minute rest break for every four hours worked in order to prevent heat illness. Austin also has a local law including gender identity among classes protected from discrimination. St. Petersburg, Fla., and Pinellas County, Fla., have ordinances to prevent wage theft. …

Texas Law

On June 14, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed the Texas Regulatory Consistency Act, HB 2127, which precludes municipalities and counties from adopting or enforcing an ordinance in certain fields, unless explicitly authorized by law. The fields include labor, occupations, finance, insurance, agriculture, natural resources and civil remedies. The new law is scheduled to take effect on Sept. 1.

On July 3, the city of Houston sued Texas, claiming the new law violates the state constitution. The new law would "repeal Texas constitutional home rule, impermissibly expand the scope of state pre-emption of local law, and improperly shift the burden of disproving pre-emption to cities," the lawsuit states. …

There may be some leeway for counties and cities to pass rules outside of the fields listed in HB 2127.

"Given its broad language, it is difficult to predict which local ordinances [HB 2127] will invalidate when it takes effect. In the short term, local governments may be less inclined to pass ordinances, fearing the act's pre-emptive effect," Greta Ravitsky and Mason Gardner, attorneys with Epstein Becker Green in Houston, wrote in an analysis.

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