American States War on Cities: Texas Soon Becomes Ground Zero
The state of Texas is currently embroiled in a dispute over the allocation of power between state and local authorities.
Specifically, district attorneys in the state's major cities, who are mostly Democrats, have declared that they will not pursue criminal cases against women who seek abortions or families who obtain gender-affirming health care for their children.
In response, conservative lawmakers in Austin have filed several bills seeking to limit the power of district attorneys.
According to a report by KUT, this conflict is part of a broader debate over local control, which could have significant implications for health, environmental, and law enforcement policies in cities, counties, and school districts across the state.
Similar power struggles are playing out in other parts of the country.
In Mississippi, for example, Republican state lawmakers have proposed the establishment of a separate court system and police force for a portion of Jackson, a predominantly Black city that is controlled by Democrats.
In Illinois, Governor J.B. Pritzker has threatened to fire county sheriffs who fail to enforce a new requirement that owners of semi-automatic rifles register them with the state.
These conflicts are part of a larger trend of state and local battles over issues such as mask mandates, vaccines, and the minimum wage.
The outcome of the dispute in Texas will depend on how the state's disaster law is interpreted by the Texas Supreme Court, which is set to hear an appeal from the City of San Antonio and others who sued the state over Governor Greg Abbott's ban on mask mandates.
The broader debate over local control could have far-reaching implications for the balance of power between conservative officials and their Democratic counterparts across the Lone Star State.
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