AUSTIN (KXAN) — In most legislative sessions, there are bills filed at the state level that subtly, or not so subtly, take aim at legislation passed by local progressive-leaning Austin lawmakers.
This session is no different from previous ones – there are several bills filed by Texas lawmakers that range from reducing initiatives already passed to getting rid of Austin City Council and the Austin mayor altogether.
House Bill 714 and House Joint Resolution 50, filed by Rep. Richard Patterson (R- Frisco)
If successful, this bill would eliminate the power of the Austin City Council and Mayor and supplant them with a governing body chosen by the Texas legislature. Further, Austin would no longer be considered the “City of Austin” but the “District of Austin.”
“Elected officials in Austin have failed their city. Record high taxes and crime are pushing folks out of the city, and their San Francisco wannabe policies force the state to come over the top on legislation each session,” Patterson said Wednesday in a tweet.
“I filed HB 714 & HJR 50 to create the District of Austin to give the elected representatives of the State of Texas an opportunity to better manage a Capitol District, reduce taxes, enforce our laws, and defend Texas values,” he continued.
Legal scholars said the chances of this passing are exceedingly unlikely.
House Bill 61, filed by Rep. Candy Noble (R-Lucas)
Austin City Council in July passed the GRACE Act that, among other things, directs the city manager to review and make recommendations on benefits for city employees to support access to reproductive health services that aren’t lawfully available in Texas anymore.
Rep. Noble filed a bill that would ban any Texas government entity from using funds to provide logistical support to women getting an abortion. The bill defines logistical support as offering childcare, transportation, accommodation, food, counseling that encourages abortion, and any other service that facilitates abortions.
Senate Bill 8 went into effect in September 2021 and banned abortions after “the detection of embryonic cardiac activity,” at nearly six weeks of gestation. The bill is restrictive in that it bans nearly all abortions, but research has shown Texans continue to have abortions even though they are illegal.
House Bill 553, filed by Rep. Ellen Troxclair (R-Fredericksberg)
Troxclair filed a bill to prohibit local governments from providing universal basic income, which the bill defines as “unconditional cash grants of equal amounts issued to individual residents of a political subdivision.”
In May, Austin City Council agreed to provide $1,000 per month to 85 recipients a year. Troxclair had Austin’s initiative in mind when filing the bill. If it is passed by the Texas House and Senate, it will prevent other Texas cities from following suit and providing citizens with this type of income support.
Will DuPree contributed to this report.