GOVERNOR ADDS ADDITIONAL EMERGENCY ITEMS
On the first day of a legislative session that will feature a record state budget deficit, the governor declared two emergency items, both of which could affect cities: (1) protecting private property rights/addressing eminent domain issues; and (2) abolishing “sanctuary cities” for undocumented immigrants in Texas.
Last week, he added more emergency items to the legislature’s agenda: (1) requiring voters to present proof of identification when voting; (2) seeking federal legislation to provide for a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution; and (3) requiring a sonogram before a woman elects to have an abortion.
Numerous bills relating to a voter identification requirement have been filed (and summarized in this and previous issues of the Legislative Update). Debate on S.B. 14 by Senator Troy Fraser began on January 25, and the bill passed the Senate after much debate on the evening of January 26. (See Significant Floor Actions, below.)
With regard to seeking a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the Texas Legislature has no authority to introduce or enact any binding legislation in that arena.