The 84th legislative session ended on June 1, 2015. See the bills that have become law.

The fight over local control

Curated by Patrick Svitek and Terri Langford

With the new governor's nod of approval, the Legislature saw an influx of bills that sought to keep cities in check as they passed ordinances that some lawmakers saw as out of step with Texas values. 

Gov. Greg Abbott gave the cause a boost shortly before he took office, criticizing the “patchwork quilt” of local rules and regulations that could turn Texas into California, speaking against bans on plastic bag bans and fracking.

Abbott signed into law a bill outlawing fracking bans, such as the one voters in Denton passed into law in November 2014. Another bill passed by lawmakers would prevent cities from forcing landlords to accept federal housing vouchers. 

Other proposals did not gain traction. One would have prohibited cities from implementing any laws that are “more stringent” than state statute.

The lawmakers behind the proposals said they were simply looking to enforce certainty and conformity. Their critics, however, cried hypocrisy, pointing out many Republicans campaigned on reducing the influence of Austin in citizens' lives, not increasing it. 

Updated: June 1, 2015

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The Texas Legislative Guide was designed and developed by Becca Aaronson, Emily Albracht, Daniel Craigmile, Annie Daniel, Ben Hasson and Ryan Murphy for The Texas Tribune. The Tribune is a nonpartisan, nonprofit media organization that promotes civic engagement and discourse on public policy, politics, government and other matters of statewide concern.