NEW LAW CHANGES CITY GRAFFITI REMOVAL ORDINANCES
Late in the 2009 legislative session, unfavorable graffiti provisions were added to House Bill 2086, a bill relating to gangs. The new graffiti provisions require a city to have specific provisions in any graffiti removal ordinance, including language that provides that a city may require removal of graffiti by a property owner only if the city has first offered to remove the graffiti free of charge, and the owner has refused to allow the city to remove the graffiti. Then, if the city has offered to remove the graffiti for free and the owner has rejected that offer, a city can remove the graffiti and charge the expenses to the property owner. Many cities have ordinances that require property owners to remove graffiti at their own expense, and these ordinances will be preempted by the new law. These new provisions take effect on September 1, 2009. The bill can be found at http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/tlodocs/81R/billtext/doc/HB02086F.doc.
These unfortunate provisions, which will probably have the effect of reducing graffiti abatement across the state, were added to a House bill during the Senate floor debate on the bill. The provisions had not been considered by either the House or the Senate until that moment, and had never been the subject of a public hearing.
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