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False narratives on Texas Regulatory Consistency Act ignore the realities Texas businesses face

This column by TAB CEO Glenn Hamer was published by El Paso Matters.

Critics of the business community’s support for HB 2127 are misinformed. A recent commentary by El Paso County Commissioner David Stout failed to recognize the true purpose of this bill, which is beneficial to both job creators and voters across the state.

At its core, HB 2127 is a thoughtfully crafted response to the complex regulatory landscape that has, for years, frustrated Texas businesses large and small. Regulatory inconsistencies hinder business operations in various Texas cities and convolutes the operational process for employers that have locations in different regions across the Lone Star State.

Our state is really a country, economically. We have a $2.3 trillion economy that, if measured against other countries, would make us the world’s eighth largest. We have 254 counties and more than 1,200 municipalities. Simply put, some cities are getting out of their lane and creating unnecessary obstacles that could harm our state’s prosperity.

The legislation protects job creators and provides a level playing field for all enterprises, regardless of location. By providing clear regulatory parameters, HB 2127 will streamline operations, cultivate growth, and bolster our state’s economy.

The narrative repeated by the bill’s critics that it will “ban water breaks” for workers is false and insulting. No business in Texas committed to operating ethically and keeping its employees safe would ever deprive its workers of the fundamental necessity of staying hydrated. The notion that any of our businesses would even consider doing so is a direct affront to El Paso employers and the broader Texas business community. It suggests that companies operating in our state have no inherent regard for the health and well-being of their employees, which is a harmful false narrative that undermines our ability as civic leaders to attract top talent to the Lone Star State.

Business owners care about their workers’ safety, and it’s always in their interest to ensure that employees can do their job safely, particularly at a time when workers are in high demand and have choices. Moreover, the new legislation does not go into effect until Sept. 1, which means that those claiming that Texas has “banned workers from taking water breaks” during this summer’s heat are flat out wrong.

Perhaps more troubling is the article’s attempt to cast the bill as an instrument of “voter suppression.” HB 2127 has no effect whatsoever on any Texan’s right to vote. Rather, it prevents local governments from unilaterally establishing top-down, bureaucratic mandates on how businesses conduct their operations. Texas voters can still engage in efforts to put the propositions of their choice on the ballot.

However, just like any proposition, the proposed ordinance in question must be consistent with state law.

It’s also imperative to recognize that HB 2127 does not strip cities of their authority, but rather provides a balanced framework. Cities retain the ability to lead in areas within their domain such as public safety, fire, zoning, art and culture, and challenging areas such as addressing homelessness. Businesses can focus on generating high-paying jobs and quality goods and services, which in turn generate more tax revenue for local entities to provide valued services.

For those keeping score at home, that’s called a win-win.

Small business owners across Texas, in particular, have shed light on the challenges they face when met with a patchwork of city-specific regulations. As one small business owner in Austin put it, the current framework is a “tangled web between all these separate cities, which have no consistency or streamline to those regulations.”

Our state’s businesses have long been battling a slew of obstacles, including the pandemic and its aftermath, to supply chain disruptions and inflation. Regulatory inconsistencies exacerbate these challenges, making it increasingly difficult for these companies to keep their heads above water. The need for stability is even more pronounced due to the economic uncertainties we face today. This important legislation will create a more secure regulatory environment for all Texas enterprises – a key pillar of the Texas Miracle that HB 2127 preserves and enhances.

Instead of painting false narratives about its impending effects, leaders across the state should embrace these reforms and focus on how we can work together to further improve Texas’ outstanding business climate, which is the best in the world.


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