City of San Antonio files suit against House Bill 2127

Published on July 24, 2023

Communications and Engagement Department     

SAN ANTONIO (July 24, 2023) – This morning the City of San Antonio filed a lawsuit against the State of Texas to challenge the validity of House Bill 2127, which has been referred to as the Super Preemption Bill. The City filed the suit as an intervener in the City of Houston’s suit to underscore solidarity with other Texas cities who are also facing the confusion and uncertainty created by this bill.  

“The Texas Constitution gives home-rule cities the ability to create local ordinances, and lawmakers have overstepped their authority with House Bill 2127. We do not intend to meekly surrender our community’s right to self-govern,” said Mayor Ron Nirenberg. “City Council members—chosen by local voters—work with residents in their neighborhoods and understand their community’s needs and issues far more than lawmakers in Austin.”

In the suit, the City of San Antonio challenges House Bill 2127 because it is an improper attempt by the Texas Legislature to rewrite the Texas Constitution and because it has other constitutional flaws. The City of San Antonio is a home-rule city. The Texas Constitution gives home-rule cities, such as the City of San Antonio, broad authority—with specific restrictions—to adopt ordinances to meet the unique needs of our residents. General-law cities, in contrast, operate only within specific powers granted by the Texas Constitution or Texas law. 

“The unconstitutionally vague language in HB 2127 purports to strip the power of self-government from home-rule cities. It essentially delegates any home-rule city’s power, in relation to multiple subject matters, to the courts,” said City Attorney Andy Segovia. “House Bill 2127’s vague language poses many more questions for cities than it answers. Its language makes it impossible to understand which specific city ordinances may conflict with state statutes amended by the bill.”

The City also argues that House Bill 2127 leaves all cities open to legal challenges. Ultimately, City taxpayers would bear the brunt of those unanswered questions through litigation and uncertainty.

Further, the City argues that its local elected officials best represent their constituents. If an elected city councilmember acts contrary to the will of the citizens, that councilmember is not reelected. City officials interact with city residents every day, spend countless hours reviewing city budgets and policies, and are personally familiar with the priorities of the neighborhoods they represent. In short, city officials are in a far superior position to determine the appropriate ordinances to serve their cities than are the politicians in the legislature.