A new Texas bill signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott has raised concerns among Harris County leaders as it eliminates local rules that mandate water breaks for construction workers, KHOU News reported.
New Texas Bill Calls Harris County Leaders’ Attention
House Bill 2127, which imposes broad restrictions on local regulations, has drawn criticism from Judge Lina Hidalgo, who believes it poses a threat to workers. Texas already has one of the highest rates of heat-related deaths for workers, making this bill particularly concerning.
Judge Hidalgo has called on construction workers to organize and resist the bill, which she sees as a blow to their safety and rights. She argues that instead of protecting workers who contribute significantly to the economy, state leaders have made the work environment even more dangerous. Hidalgo points to a history of the state encroaching on workers’ rights and safety.
In response, a spokesperson for Governor Abbott defended the bill, stating that it aligns with the standards set by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and will not hinder individuals from taking water breaks.
New Texas Bill
The spokesperson emphasized that ensuring the safety of Texans remains a top priority, especially during the high summer heat.
Hidalgo highlights the alarming statistics, noting that between 2011 and 2021, at least 42 workers in Texas died from heat exposure. Supporters of the bill argue that it reduces bureaucratic obstacles for businesses and prevents them from being overwhelmed by excessive regulation.
The new law is set to take effect on September 1st. As the date approaches, the concerns and criticisms surrounding the bill continue to echo among Harris County leaders and workers’ rights advocates, who fear its potential impact on worker safety in the scorching Texas heat.