By Emily RatajkowskiTexas legislators have approved a bill that would protect Texans against federal antitrust laws.
The bill was introduced by state Rep. Don Huffman, D-Houston, who introduced the measure last week in the statehouse.
The bill was not subject to a public hearing.
“It is a common sense measure that would prevent states from using their antitrust laws to target Texans and their businesses,” Huffman said in a statement.
“It would also give Texans and businesses in Texas an additional level of protection from federal government attempts to target them.”
State regulators have been trying to expand antitrust protections since 2015 when Texas and 17 other states sued the federal government over its attempts to use the federal antitrust law to block new AT&T mobile phone contracts.
The case is one of the most high-profile antitrust cases against the Obama administration.
The new legislation would not apply to federal law enforcement or enforcement activities by federal contractors, and would not extend to federal antitrust issues involving state and local governments.
The Texas bill was filed in the Texas House of Representatives by Rep. Dan Boren, R-Lubbock, and Rep. Jimmie Duncan, R.T. Duncan, the chairman of the House Committee on Commerce, Education and Labor, said in an email.
The measure also would allow Texas to waive the state’s antitrust laws, Duncan said.
The federal antitrust act was enacted in 1930 to protect U.S. businesses from foreign competition.
It prohibits state governments from passing antitrust laws that interfere with federal monopolies, protect competitors from unfair competition or unfairly discriminate.
Federal agencies are required to abide by the law.
In the U.K., it’s known as the European Union (EEU) antitrust laws and it was first enacted in 1992.
It is a broad-based law that covers any kind of trade, including interstate commerce, in the EU, and applies to businesses, industries, government agencies and individuals in the EEU.