May 22, 2020, Number 21
Download the full .pdf version here: TML Legislative Update 21
FCC Plans Vote on Preemptive Wireless Siting Rules
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced Tuesday that it intends to vote on a declaratory ruling and notice of proposed rulemaking to further limit local oversight of certain wireless facility modifications. The vote is planned for its Open Commission Meeting on June 9. The declaratory ruling and NPRM would, among many other things, impose 60-day shot clocks for so-called “6409(a)” structures, which are generally existing poles to which industry wishes to add facilities.
The National League of Cities continues to oppose the initiative, both on the grounds of our previous argument that the regulatory changes are unneeded, and additionally because of the timing of the vote while cities are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
2020 City Tax and Budget Deadline Memos Now Available
Every year, TML posts a memo containing the annual calendar deadlines for the budget adoption and tax rate setting process. Following the passage of Senate Bill 2 in 2019, the process for 2020 has changed significantly.
Because the tax rate adoption procedure now varies depending on the size of the city, two memos are available this year: one for cities under 30,000 population, and the other for cities with 30,000 population or more. Further, within each document, there are two sets of deadlines depending on whether the city’s adopted tax rate will exceed the voter-approval tax rate or not.
Whatever the case may be, the deadlines in the document represent the last possible dates for a city to take certain actions related to the budget or tax rate in 2020. Cities should act well in advance of the deadlines in the calendar, if possible.
For more detailed information about S.B. 2, city officials are encouraged to read the S.B. 2 Explanatory Q&A posted on the TML website. Those with questions about S.B. 2 or the budget and tax rate setting process can purchase a previously-recorded webinar on the bill and are encouraged to contact Bill Longley, TML Legislative Counsel, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Working from Home?
Knock out Your Mandated Cybersecurity Training
Update: DIR Online Compliance Form Now Available
As promised, the Texas Municipal League Intergovernmental Risk Pool (TML IRP) has released a free cybersecurity training program, including an online video. TML IRP did so in response to a new state law mandating that most city officials and employees complete cybersecurity training by June 14, 2020, and annually thereafter.
The Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) has also certified other programs, with more information available on the agency’s cybersecurity awareness training certification web page.
DIR has launched an online tool called Texas by Texas (TxT) to help local governments track compliance. By using TxT, city employees can self-report their training compliance, and DIR will later send a detailed report from the TxT application to each city verifying their compliance. Cities that wish to use TxT for employee self-reporting must fill out the TxT Self Reporting Form.
If the city chooses not to use TxT, DIR has created an acknowledgement form to document compliance. Cities are not required to use either application and can track their compliance in any method they chose. Cities will not submit training records or employee certificates of completion to DIR. Cities also do not have to report their audits to DIR. Cities should retain documentation with their training and auditing records.
City officials and employees who have completed the training requirement can also individually certify their training compliance here. The compliance form can be submitted by whomever the local government authorizes. The authorized individual submitting the form will need access to their email account as they will be required to enter a confirmation code to finalize submission. The form is due by June 15, 2020.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates
The Texas Municipal League is open for business. The building is closed to all but essential personnel and most staff is working remotely, but the League remains open for business and is fully ready to serve. Cities are encouraged to call or email for legal assistance, help with ordinances, or for general advice or assistance. Let us know how we can assist you and your city.
Call TML staff at 512-231-7400, or email Scott Houston for legal assistance at SHouston@tml.org; Rachael Pitts for membership support at RPitts@tml.org; and the training team for questions about conferences and workshops at email@example.com.
The League has prepared a coronavirus clearinghouse web page to keep cities updated. In addition, everyone who receives the Legislative Update should receive a daily email update each afternoon with information on new developments. The daily email updates will be our primary means of communication during the pandemic. Those emails are being archived chronologically as well as by subject matter.
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.