AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Republicans have found their footing with a new strategy: advance so many outrageous, egregious bills that we legitimately start to lose track. With Senate Bill 14, the latest contender in Republicans’ garbage legislation Olympics, the GOP is trying to outlaw mandatory water breaks for heat-affected workers in Texas. That’s right, folks — in the height of the summer heat in one of the hottest states in the country, Texas Republicans want to strip workers of their right to drink water every four hours.
By refusing to fix the state’s disaster-prone power grid, Republicans are already putting Texans in the way of weather-related health risks — from losing AC in a heatwave to losing heat in a winter storm. Now, Republicans are finding a new way to subject Texans to weather-related health risks. In the United States today, more workers than ever are dying of heat-related causes on the job — especially as the climate crisis drives up temperatures across the country. If passed, Senate Bill 14 would jeopardize the health and safety of workers across Texas, and labor groups are sounding the alarm on this attack on workers’ most basic protections. The legislation joins a host of anti-worker bills put forward by Republicans — from attempts to cut working Texans off from the ballot box, to Greg Abbott’s refusal to allow mask rules that keep teachers and service workers safe from COVID-19.
Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa issued the following statement:
“Republicans’ SB 14 is criminal. This is a bill that would ban mandatory water breaks for Texans — meaning that folks out farming or working construction would not have the right to take a break to drink water in the heat of the day. This legislation is cruel, pointless, and will almost certainly kill Texans. And sadly, it’s not the only piece of Republican legislation that’s putting Texas lives in danger right now.
“Texas Republicans are mounting an all-out assault on working people. They’re trying to take away our healthcare, get us sick with COVID-19, and stop us from voting so we’re stuck with their pathetic excuse for leadership. There is no way in hell that Texas Democrats are going to let that happen. We are the Party of working people in Texas and we are fighting every single day to stop these attacks on our communities. Whether in the legislature, in the courts, or at the ballot box, we will take this fight as far as we must to stand up for the rights of Texans.”