A Houston judge has ruled that Prop B is “unconstitutional and void in its entirety because it violates” the Texas Constitution. That means the city won’t have to lay off employees, says Mayor Sylvester Turner.
“The immediate effect of that ruling is that the City will rescind the layoff notices given to 220 firefighters and 47 municipal workers. The 67 Fire Department cadets can be re-instated. And as the Fire Chief proceeds with his realignment of the Fire Department, no demotions will be required,” Turner said.
The Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association said the court’s ruling on Prop B is a “disappointment,” but they will continue to fight for what’s right.
“Two courts have ruled on the constitutionality of Prop B – one for, one against. We certainly will appeal this ruling. We will continue to strive to force Sylvester Turner to respect the will of 298,000 Prop B voters who sent a strong message that Houston should equally value its police and fire personnel,” the union tweeted. “The mayor’s vindictive, taxpayer-funded campaign against Houston firefighter families continues. While this fight goes on, we will continue to deliver excellent service, be good stewards of city resources, and give back to the communities we serve.”
In November 2018, the police union filed a lawsuit against Prop B, saying that it was unconstitutional because it conflicts with the state’s government code, and is beyond what the Legislature intended when it enacted the Fire and Police Employment Relations Act (FPERA).
Turner had said since Prop B did not come with a funding source, the city would’ve been forced to lay off employees. He does want to give firefighters raises and says he is committed to working to find an increase that the City can afford while balancing its budget.
“This ruling is positive for the City of Houston and an opportunity to re-set the conversation. We will be able to move forward keeping the City on a solid financial footing while giving firefighters a pay raise,” Turner said.