On September 1, 2023, Texas House Bill No. 2127, known as the "Texas Regulatory Consistency Act", will officially come into effect. The bill, touted as pro-business, prevents municipalities from setting certain regulatory standards in regard to the following codes:

  • Section 1.004, Agriculture Code
  • Section 1.004, Finance Code
  • Section 30.005, Insurance Code
  • Section 1.005, Labor Code
  • Section 1.003, Natural Resources Code
  • Section 1.004, Occupations Code

Austin's champions of small-scale autonomy have, in essence, forbidden municipalities from regulating on a local level. In their conservative quest to shrink and decentralize government, the state legislature has put regulatory power firmly in their own hands.

One key aspect of this legislation for real estate professionals regards construction labor: cities such as Dallas and Austin will no longer be able to enforce their requirement for workers to receive regular water breaks.

Texas' extreme heat necessitates water breaks as a health concernSource: Weather.Gov

The extreme Texas heat necessitates water breaks for anyone working outside, especially in a labor-intensive job such as construction. While no longer required, water breaks should not be a question whatsoever. The past two months have scarcely seen daytime temperatures outside of the triple-digit range. Beyond the obvious quality-of-life concerns, there is an extreme health risk if outdoor workers do not get adequate breaks.

Even the most cutthroat, Scrooge McDuck-esque capitalists should see the value in offering water breaks to workers for a number of reasons. In today's tight labor markets, employees may simply refuse to work on a site so oppressive it doesn't allow water breaks. Additionally, the quality and efficiency of work lost through hardship would almost certainly outweigh the time-savings of forbidding water breaks. Lastly, the threat to workers' health is, beyond ethics, both a major threat to employers' public image and potential for liability. 

In theory, standardizing regulations across all municipalities should make Texas an ideal working environment. Similarly, an ideal free market will dictate the need for water breaks on construction sites without the need for legislation. However, history has shown Adam's Smith's invisible hand does not always show up before people get hurt. Real Estate investors should seriously consider evaluating their contractors' policies before signing on and running the risk of delays, shoddy craftsmanship, and PR nightmares.