OAN’s Brooke Mallory
12:34 PM – Sunday, July 30, 2023
According to recent weather reports in Texas, the Lone Star State is experiencing a record-breaking heatwave, with temperatures reaching 120 degrees in certain regions. San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg is now claiming that the state’s legislature has made issues much worse for Texans.
Despite identifying as an independent and running for office as a nonpartisan candidate, Nirenberg has been generally regarded as ideologically progressive, leaning center-left.
In 2019, Nirenberg supported and defended the removal of a Chick-fil-A establishment from the San Antonio International Airport concessions contract, citing a conflict with the company’s opposition to LGBTQ+ rights and that the company’s Sunday closure, done on religious grounds, hurts revenue.
“We’re certainly grateful for a president now that’s treating this heatwave with the urgency that I think is necessary. Especially given the fact that one of the challenges that we have is, cities in Texas are fighting our legislature and our state government for local control,” Nirenberg said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “We’re trying to protect residents and workers, and they are doing everything they can to prevent that from happening.”
Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed legislation in June prohibiting cities and counties from enacting laws that are harsher than state requirements, thereby overriding municipal ordinances such as those requiring water and rest breaks for construction workers.
If the cities of Houston and San Antonio prevail in their case, the legislation will reportedly go into effect in September. San Antonio authorities had been exploring an ordinance mandating water breaks until the state law was enacted.
The city now says it is trying to “make sure that there’s a backstop to prevent the most vulnerable members, the workers in our community who deserve those basic things,” Nirenberg maintained, as the city deals with weather conditions that has resulted in a significant increase in emergency calls for heat-related illness and record demands.
President Joe Biden announced his administration’s efforts on Thursday to protect workers from excessive heat that has afflicted many regions of the country in recent weeks, including a new “heat alert” system that would advise companies and employees about how to avoid “dangerous conditions.”
“What the announcement from President Biden will do is make sure that employers and employees know their rights, that there are protections in place also to ramp up enforcement activities through OSHA,” Nirenberg claimed. “But the reality of the legislation I mentioned is the fact that [House Bill] 2127, which was passed by the legislature, upends 70-plus years of local authorities that have been adopted through city constitution, city charters, in cities all across the state.”
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