July 13, 2018, Number 21
Download the full July 13, 2018, Number 21 (PDF).
Texas Attorney General Doesn’t Appear to Like Cities, at All
On July 7, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton penned an op-ed in the Austin American-Statesman. The following is an excerpt from it:
Commentary: Cities should end their assault on liberty and rule of law
By Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton
…Liberal politician Adlai Stevenson once said that “a hypocrite is the kind of politician who would cut down a redwood tree, then mount the stump and make a speech for conservation.” The city of Austin - and several cities with similar laws - seems to embody that label today.
Although hypocrisy may just elicit an eye roll and a chuckle, these policies reflect a much deeper problem - the increasing disdain of local governments for the rule of law.
My office receives complaints regularly that cities, counties, school districts and other local governments in Texas are defying state statutes prohibiting sanctuary-city policies, protecting the right to keep and bear arms, setting the minimum wage, preventing electioneering on the taxpayer’s dime and violating transparency of government meetings. Regardless of where one falls on the political spectrum, those complaints should raise a great deal of concern for anyone who enjoys living in a state that is both safe and free.
As a former legislator, I understand the need to fight hard for policies that comport with your principles. As a law enforcement officer, I understand the discomfort of standing up and enforcing a law that may go against your own political beliefs. Most importantly, as a Texan who enjoys the blessings of liberty that are so central to our state’s values, I understand that neither liberals nor conservatives benefit when public officials think they are above the law.
The people of Texas will not allow the rule of law to be subordinated to the political ambitions of city officials eager to score a few points with their base…
…As the person who has the privilege of being attorney general, I call on the city of Austin and other cities in Texas to put an end to their pattern of disrespect for the rule of law and to afford due deference to the liberty state law affords Texans.
And there you have it.
The League has begun its legislative policy development process (PDF) for the 2019 legislative session. As one component of that process, Texas Municipal Leagues (TML) Constitution states that resolutions relating to legislative initiatives for consideration at the Annual Conference must be submitted to the TML headquarters 45 calendar days prior to the first day of the Annual Conference. For 2018, this provision means that resolutions from any member city, TML region, or TML affiliate must arrive at the TML headquarters no later than 5 p.m. on August 27, 2018.
The TML Board of Directors has adopted several procedures governing the resolutions process. Please review the following items carefully and thoroughly.
1. No resolution may be considered by the TML Resolutions Committee unless it has prior approval of: (a) the governing body of a TML member city; (b) the governing body or membership of a TML affiliate; or (c) the membership of a TML region at a regional meeting.
2. TML member cities, regions, and affiliates that wish to submit a resolution must complete a resolution cover sheet. The cover sheet (DOC) is available. The cover sheet must be attached to the resolution throughout each step of the resolutions process.
3. It is recommended that any resolution state one of four categories to better direct League staff. Those categories are:
- Seek Introduction and Passage means that the League will attempt to find a sponsor, will provide testimony, and will otherwise actively pursue passage. Bills in this category are known as “TML bills.”
- Support means the League will attempt to obtain passage of the initiative if it is introduced by a city or some other entity.
- Take No Position.
4. Resolutions submitted will be thoroughly discussed at the TML Annual Conference. The Resolutions Committee is appointed by the TML President and is made up of city officials from TML member cities across the state.
5. The city, region, or affiliate that submits a resolution is encouraged to send a representative to the Resolutions Committee meeting to explain the resolution. The Resolutions Committee will meet at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 11, 2018, at the Fort Worth Convention Center.
If the procedures described above are not followed for any given resolution, that resolution is likely to be referred to some other TML committee for further study. In that case, the resolution would not be adopted during the 2018 conference.
Under the TML Constitution, resolutions received after the deadline of August 27, 2018, must not only have the attached cover sheet, but also must “state the reason precluding timely submission.” These late resolutions may be considered by the TML Resolutions Committee at the Annual Conference only if two-thirds of the Committee members present and voting agree to suspend the submission rule and consider the resolution.
Resolutions may be submitted by mail, fax, or by email to Scott Houston, Deputy Executive Director and General Counsel, at:
1821 Rutherford Lane, Suite 400
Austin, Texas 78754
If you have any questions or would like any assistance, please call 512-231-7400 at any time.
TML member cities may use the material herein for any purpose. No other person or entity may reproduce, duplicate, or distribute any part of this document without the written authorization of the Texas Municipal League.