In a week when parts of the state are getting triple-digit temperatures and weather officials urge Texans to stay cool and hydrated, Gov. Greg Abbott gave final approval to a law that will eliminate local rules mandating water breaks for construction workers.
House Bill 2127 was passed by the Texas Legislature during this year’s regular legislative session. Abbott signed it Tuesday. It will go into effect on Sept. 1.
Supporters of the law have said it will eliminate a patchwork of local ordinances across the state that bog down businesses. The law’s scope is broad but ordinances that establish minimum breaks in the workplace are one of the explicit targets. The law will nullify ordinances enacted by Austin in 2010 and Dallas in 2015 that established 10-minute breaks every four hours so that construction workers can drink water and protect themselves from the sun. It also prevents other cities from passing such rules in the future. San Antonio has been considering a similar ordinance.
Texas is the state where the most workers die from high temperatures, government data shows. At least 42 workers died in Texas between 2011 and 2021 from environmental heat exposure, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Workers’ unions claim this data doesn’t fully reflect the magnitude of the problem because heat-related deaths are often recorded under a different primary cause of injury.
Having passed laws forcing women to carry pregnancies to term, pro-life [extreme sic] Republicans are now pivoting to, er, “let them eat heatstroke.”
Speaking of Abbott, he’s lucky DeSantis became a media darling among reporters who got tired of hearing about COVID, because among absolutely brutal competition there may not be a more monstrous person currently serving as a governor in 2023:
Gov. Greg Abbott on Saturday vetoed a bipartisan bill that would have expanded vote-by-mail access for people with disabilities — specifically people who are blind or paralyzed and need assistance marking their ballot.
Advocates say Abbott’s veto of House Bill 3159 is a blow for voters with disabilities who have for years called for the Legislature to grant them a way to mark their mail-in ballots without having to rely on anyone else.
Co-authored by state Rep. Jeff Leach, R-Plano, and state Rep. John H. Bucy III, D-Austin, the bill would have allowed voters who need help casting a ballot, such as people who are visually impaired or are paralyzed, to do so “privately and securely” by requesting an electronic ballot and using a computer to mark their choices. The bill still would have required those voters to print out, sign and return their ballots by mail.
I won’t try to top this punchline: