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The 85th Legislature will finally put to test several theories on what role the state can constitutionally play in policy disputes with localities, which could potentially impact Austin’s ride-hailing regulations and transgender bathroom ordinance, according to state lawmakers Saturday.
As part of the 2016 Texas Tribune Festival, two separate panels of state senators and representatives previewed the upcoming session of the Legislature, which reconvenes in January.
Both panels heavily focused on the issue of local control and whether the state can overturn city council policies through statewide legislation.
Legislators briefly touched on the issue with a bill overturning Denton’s hydraulic fracturing ban last session that was signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott.
“There is no 10th Amendment for cities,” said state Sen. Konni Burton, R-Colleyville, at the Senate Agenda panel, citing the state’s protection against intrusion from the federal government. “We created the cities, the state did, so we have every right to say ‘you are overreaching.’”
In May, Austin voters sided with city officials by reaffirming ride-hailing regulations — primarily mandatory fingerprint-based background checks — through an initiative at the ballot, and ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft ceased services as they had promised after Austinites voted to keep the regulations.