Why TX Republicans’ attack on 'local decision-making' is 'not good governance': NYT editorial board
Texas Governor Greg Abbott is one of many GOP leaders proving "Republicans dislike local control if they are not in charge of it," The New York Times' editorial board write in an op-ed published Saturday.
The board argues much of the "legislative power plays" in states like Texas, Ohio, Kentucky and Mississippi, "follow the ideological patterns of the hard-right MAGA core within the Republican Party, which is often more visible at the state than the national level."
Per The Times, one of Abbott's most recent bills "would strip cities of the ability to set standards for local workplaces, to ensure civil rights, and to improve their environments, trampling on the rights of voters who elected local officials to do just that."
Furthermore, "Dozens of other bills have been introduced to restrict election reforms by Texas cities and counties, including one that would let an official, most likely a Republican, overturn election results in a single place: largely Democratic Harris County, which includes Houston," according to the board.
With that, "the will of the people in these cities is being silenced," the board writes, adding, "They and their representatives will have to use every legal means available to be heard."
By reducing the right of localities to make their own decisions, Texas has joined dozens of other states that have asserted their dominance over cities in recent years through a practice known as state pre-emption. One watchdog group has counted more than 650 pre-emption bills in state legislatures this year; the large majority have been introduced by Republican lawmakers to curb policymaking in cities run by Democrats.
Additionally, the board concludes conservative tactics enforcing these types of laws fall under a list of "categories," including, democracy and voting; law enforcement and courts; guns and discrimination.
Some of the GOP efforts, per the board, include "trying to make it harder for citizens to enact laws or constitutional changes through the referendum process"; trying "to usurp the role of local election boards and officials, restricting attempts to expand voting and making it more difficult for voters in urban areas, who are often people of color, to cast a ballot"; and even trying to "prohibit cities from enacting anti-discrimination protections for L.G.B.T.Q. people."
National League of Cities Chief Executive Clarence Anthony commented, "We are seeing a real increase in the pre-emption of local authority. Local officials are elected by citizens to represent them, and they’re the ones who know what their citizens need the most. But we’ve been seeing state legislators trying to have control over local communities, and that's not good governance at all."
The New York Times' editorial board's full analysis is available at this link (subscription required).
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