Numerous Detrimental Bills Set for Hearing
The Legislative session is kicking into high gear. Several bills that would erode city authority or impose an unfunded mandate have been set for hearing next week:
- Revenue Caps: S.B. 102 (Patrick) would lower the property tax rollback rate from eight percent to five percent, and would require a mandatory ratification election of the citizens before the city could exceed the lowered rollback rate. S.B. 144 (Williams) would lower the rollback rate from eight to five percent, and allow the council to raise it back to eight percent during certain disasters or upon a finding that a higher rollback rate is necessary to protect health or safety. Hearing in Fiscal Matters Subcommittee of the Senate Finance Committee set for 9:00 a.m. on March 25 in E1.036.
- Internet Broadcast of Meetings: H.B. 889 (Fallon) would require a city with a population of more than 50,000 to broadcast each regularly-scheduled open meeting over the Internet and make archived video and audio of those meetings available. Hearing in House Technology set for 2:00 p.m. or adjournment of the House on March 25 in E2.010.
- Regulation of Oil and Gas Wells: H.B. 1496 (Taylor) would essentially render a city’s ordinance regulating oil and gas wells unenforceable. Hearing in House Land and Resource Management set for 2:00 p.m. or adjournment of the House on March 25 in E2.016.
- Disannexation: H.B. 1477 (Callegari) would make it easier for a landowner to require a city to disannex property for services-related issues. Hearing in House Land and Resource Management set for 2:00 p.m. or adjournment of the House on March 25 in E2.016.
- Tree Removal: H.B. 1858 (Workman) would provide that the owner of a tree who believes that the tree poses a fire risk can cut it down, and that a city ordinance prohibiting the cutting is unenforceable. Hearing in House Business and Industry set for 1:30 p.m. or adjournment of the House on March 26 in E2.014.
City officials with concerns on any of the above bills should contact their legislators and members of the committee that will be hearing the bill. Information related to the bills, committee members, and more is available online at www.capitol.state.tx.us.