July 8, 2022, Number 27
Download the full .pdf version here: TML Legislative Update Number 27
legislative budget board releases budget instructions for state agencies
The Legislative Budget Board (LBB), along with the governor's budget office, issued instructions to state agencies this week directing them to submit their Legislative Appropriations Request (LAR) for the 2024-2025 budget year with a base funding amount equal to the 2022-2023 budget. The instructions do not require a reduction to baseline funding amounts, and funding requests that exceed the baseline spending level may be submitted as exceptional items.
Due to a sustained period of historically high revenues, Comptroller Glenn Hegar will provide an update later this month to the Certification Revenue Estimate published in November 2021. It is expected the update will result in a significant increase in estimated revenue available for the 2022-2023 biennium.
u.s. census count questions resolution operation
The U.S. Census Bureau opened the 2020 Census Count Question Resolution operation (CQR) to all governmental units on January 3, 2022. The CQR provides cities an opportunity to request that the Census Bureau review their boundaries and/or housing count to correct any potential errors that may have occurred while processing the 2020 Census counts. Any interested city must submit their case to the U.S. Census Bureau by June 30, 2023.
Any corrections made will not impact the apportionment counts, redistricting data, or any other 2020 Census data products. However, they would be used in the Census Bureau’s Population Estimates and other future programs that use 2020 Census data. The Census Bureau sent an introductory letter on the operation to all eligible governmental units late last year.
sunset advisory commission releases decisions on texas water development board
The Sunset Advisory Commission released its decisions on staff recommendations for the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) and the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT) Advisory Committee this week. The Sunset Advisory Commission is tasked with reviewing state agencies functions and making recommendations to the legislature to streamline and improve the agency’s operations.
The full report, including staff recommendations and the commission’s final decisions, can be found here.
governor abbott announces economic impact of military installations
On Wednesday, Governor Abbott announced the results of a study that estimated military installations contribute at least $114.1 billion to the state economy and supports more than 622,790 jobs in communities across the state. The study was completed by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts at the request of the Texas Military Preparedness Commission. There are 15 military installations and the U.S. Army Futures Command in Texas. The full study can be found here.
federal infrastructure bill update
In November 2021, the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) was signed into law. The IIJA is altogether a $1.2 trillion bill that will invest in the nation’s core infrastructure priorities including roads, bridges, rail, transit, airports, ports, energy transmission, water systems, and broadband.
The League will monitor state and federal agencies and work with the National League of Cities (NLC) to access the latest information relating to the IIJA. We will be providing periodic updates in the Legislative Update on resources for Texas cities on how to access IIJA funding for local infrastructure projects.
U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)
DOT released a Notice of Funding Opportunity for the Reconnecting Communities Pilot Discretionary Grant Program, which makes available $195 million in funding to support “projects that reconnect communities by removing, retrofitting, or mitigating highways or other transportation facilities that create barriers to community connectivity, including to mobility, access, or economic development.” Of the $195 million, $50 million is available for eligible public engagement, feasibility studies, and other planning activities and these planning grants may range from $100,000 to $2 million. $145 million is available in capital construction grants for eligible construction activities necessary to carry out a project to remove, retrofit, or mitigate an existing eligible facility with a new facility that reconnects communities, and these capital construction grants may range from $5 million to $100 million. Cities are eligible applicants for both types of grants. Applications are due October 13. More on the Reconnecting Communities Pilot Discretionary Grant Program here, including a registration link to a webinar on the program to be held on Thursday, July 14, from 11AM to 12:30 PM CST.
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced the availability of over $573 million in grant funding for the competitive Railroad Crossing Elimination Program, which “will help improve safety, eliminate lengthy delays at railroad crossings in communities across the country, and ultimately lower the costs of transporting goods, making them more affordable for American families.” At least 20% of funding will go to rural and Tribal areas and political subdivisions, including cities, are eligible applicants. Interested city officials can access a fact sheet on the grant program and the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO). Applications will be due 90 days after the publication of the NOFO in the Federal Register, which hasn’t happened as of the printing of this update. The FRA will hold a webinar on the program on Thursday, July 14 from 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM, CST. Interested city officials can register here.
National League of Cities (NLC)
NLC and the U.S. Conference of Mayors is hosting a series of webinars on the IIJA. The next webinar titled “Local Infrastructure Hub: Kickoff Session Featuring Mike Bloomberg and Mitch Landrieu” will be held on July 12 at 1:00 PM CST. Registration. The webinar will focus on how the Local Infrastructure Hub will help cities create infrastructure programs that transform communities.
don't forget: resolutions for 2022 annual conference due august 22
Resolutions for consideration at the Annual Conference are due no later than 5:00 p.m. on August 22, 2022. The TML Constitution provides that resolutions must be submitted by any member city, TML region, or TML affiliate to the TML headquarters 45 calendar days prior to the first day of the Annual Conference.
The League’s advocacy efforts are based on a legislative program that is developed by member city officials in two ways.
First, a member city, TML region, or TML affiliate may submit a resolution for consideration at the business meeting of each year’s Annual Conference. Each city is asked to provide one delegate to serve as its liaison at the meeting. The representatives will be briefed on the content of the resolutions and given a chance to discuss and vote on whether they merit inclusion in the legislative program. The resolutions form the basis of a fixed legislative program, under which – each session – modifications to the program will be made only if needed.
Second, member city officials can participate in the League’s Municipal Policy Summit during the summer of 2022. The report of the Summit takes the form of a resolution that is submitted to the Annual Conference in interim years. The summit participants have been appointed by the TML President based on volunteers and others chosen to balance the demographics of the TML membership at large.
Details on the submission process can be found here.
house and senate committee interim hearings
The Texas House and Senate Committees are underway studying interim charges outlined by Speaker Phelan and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick.
Below is a full list of committee hearings set to hear certain city-related charges. All hearings will be held at the Texas Capitol unless otherwise indicated. If a committee has newly posted notice and was not included in last week’s edition of the Legislative Update, it is indicated as such.
Senate Finance Committee
The committee will meet on Monday, July 11 at 10:00 a.m. to hear invited and public testimony on the following interim charges:
Federal Funds: Report on the state use of federal COVID-19 relief funds provided under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, the American Rescue Plan Act, Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Acts, and similar federal legislation. Examine local use of federal relief funding, including funding provided to school districts through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund. Evaluate the overall fiscal impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on state agencies, including costs incurred due to federal mandates. Identify barriers to the effective utilization of funds and make recommendations on the expenditure of unappropriated funds. In addition, evaluate and report on the spending by state agencies that have been utilizing "one-time" federal funding (temporary enhancements, e.g. FMAP and ESSER) sources, where federal funding will likely be significantly reduced in future biennia.
Information on the hearing, including how to register and testify at the committee hearing, can be found here.
*NEW* House Committee on Urban Affairs
The committee will meet on Thursday, July 14 at 11:00 a.m. at the City of Houston Council Chamber to hear public and invited testimony to consider the following interim charges:
Evaluate the availability of workforce housing to support the dynamic economic growth of the state. study the use of public-private partnerships and other tools to incentivize the development of housing that meets Texas’ expanding workforce demands. Develop and include measures to ensure accountability and transparency associated with these tools.
Review the Municipal Management District Legislative Template with respect to representation and accountability. Make recommendations for improving the template.
Information on the hearing, including how to register and submit electronic comments, can be found here.
TML member cities may use the materials 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.