September 30, 2022, Number 39

Download the full .pdf version here: TML Legislative Update Number 39

next week: resolutions to be considered at 2022 annual conference and your city delegate

Next week at the 2022 TML Annual Conference in San Antonio, several resolutions will be considered by the membership for inclusion in the TML Legislative Program. The topics relate, among other things, to:

  1. Policy Summit Report
  2. Ballot Propositions
  3. Hotel Occupancy Taxes
  4. Zoning/Super Majority Requirements
  5. Municipal Utility Districts (MUDs)
  6. Competitive Procurement
  7. Emergency Service Districts (ESDs)
  8. Affordable Housing

The full resolutions packet can be found here. The resolutions will be debated at the TML Business Meeting on October 6 at 3:30 p.m. Additional resolutions relating to member service fees and meeting procedures under the TML Constitution may be added to the packet after a Tuesday TML Board meeting at the Conference.

Each city is entitled to one voting delegate at the business meeting. The delegate is not required to have any expertise, and an elected official delegate is encouraged but not required. The delegate can sign up electronically here prior to the meeting or sign up in person at a table outside of the meeting room. Cities are encouraged to sign up their delegate early using the link above.

All city officials are welcome to attend the meeting, whether or not they are a voting delegate.

comptroller issues proposed rules for broadband development office

This month, the comptroller released proposed rules governing the Broadband Development Office (BDO) and its programs necessary to implement the new office, created by the passage of H.B.5. The proposed rules can be found here. The rules cover program eligibility and requirements, application requirements, and set up a process for petitioning a designated area classification, among other things. Comments on the proposed rules may be submitted to Greg Conte, Director, Broadband Development Office, at or at P.O. Box 13528, Austin, Texas 78711-3528. Comments must be received no later than October 23rd.

fcc opens the broadband data challenge process

On September 12, the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) opened the Broadband Data Bulk Challenge Process for the Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric (BSL Fabric) to local governments and other eligible entities. The BSL Fabric is the common dataset of all locations in the United States where fixed broadband internet service is available or can be installed. Local governments can now file challenges to the available data to either correct or supplement the available data released.

The challenge process is a crucial step in the FCC’s broadband data collection effort. Broadband funds in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will be allocated by a formula determined by this data, so the need for accurate data relating to broadband access is of the upmost importance. The National League of Cities has published an article that provides in-depth coverage of the challenge process.  

reminder: public hearing on october 17 on local sales tax sourcing

Last week, the League reported that the comptroller has re-proposed changes to Sec. 3.334 and will hold a public hearing on Monday, October 17, 2022 to receive comments on the revised rule. The new rule comes after a district judge sided with six cities who challenged the sales tax sourcing rule on internet orders adopted by the comptroller in 2020. The entire rule proposal, including background information, can be found here.

The October 17 hearing will take place at 9:00 a.m. in Room 170 of the Stephen F. Austin Building, 1700 Congress Ave., Austin, Texas 78701. Interested city officials may sign up to testify beginning at 8:30 a.m. on the day of the hearing, and testimony will be heard on a first come, first served basis. Everyone wishing to testify will have ten minutes to present their testimony and are required to also provide their testimony in writing prior to their oral testimony.

In addition, interested city officials may submit comments to Jennifer Burleson, Director, Tax Policy Division, P.O. Box 13528, Austin, Texas 78711-3528 or to the email address: Comments must be received no later than 30 days from the date of publication of the proposal in the Texas Register, which means the comment deadline falls on Sunday, October 23, 2022.

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 recently announced the availability of grants under two IIJA-funded programs that use technology to improve transportation infrastructure.

First, DOT announced $100 million for the Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation (SMART) discretionary grant program. SMART grants were established to fund projects focused on advanced smart city or community technologies that will improve transportation efficiency and safety. Grant funding is designed to be used for projects that demonstrate at least one of the following: (1) coordinated automation; (2) connected vehicles; (3) sensors; (4) systems integration; (5) delivery/logistics; (6) innovative aviation; (7) smart grid; and (8) traffic signals. The deadline to apply for this round of SMART grants is November 18, 2022, at 4:00 PM CST. DOT expects to award 30-50 Stage 1 Planning and Prototyping grants of up to $2 million each. Cities are eligible applicants for the funding, and no cost-sharing is required. The Notice of Funding Availability can be found here.  

Additionally, DOT announced the availability of $60 million under the Advanced Transportation Technology and Innovation (ATTAIN) program. The ATTAIN program is designed to promote advanced technologies to improve safety and reduce travel times for drivers and transit riders. Under the IIJA, the FHWA will evaluate applications for ATTAIN funding based on how the project considers climate change and environmental justice impacts, as well as their economic impact and ability to create jobs. The application deadline for this round of ATTAIN funding is also November 18, 2022. The Notice of Funding Availability can be found here.   

The Federal Railroad Administration extended the application submittal period for the Railroad Crossing Elimination Grant Program from October 4 to October 11. The program is designed to “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.

National League of Cities (NLC)

NLC has recently posted articles on the following topics related to programs funded under the IIJA:

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.

*NEW* House Committee on Energy Resources

The committee will meet on Tuesday, October 4 at 9:00 a.m. in Midland to hear the following interim charges:

Monitor the agencies and programs under the Committee’s jurisdiction and oversee the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 87th Legislature. Conduct active oversight of all associated rulemaking and other governmental actions taken to ensure the intended legislative outcome of all legislation including the following:

  • H.B. 1520, relating to extraordinary costs incurred by gas utilities relating to Winter Storm Uri and the authority to issue bonds and impose fees and assessments; and
  • H.B. 3648, which requires the designation of certain natural gas facilities as critical customers or critical gas suppliers during energy emergencies.

Examine ways to increase the production of oil and gas within the state. Review state and local regulations that could directly impact the exploration or production of oil and gas and make recommendations for increasing Teas’ energy independence.

 Information on the hearing, including how to submit electronic comment, can be found here.

House Committee on Transportation

The committee will meet on Thursday, October 6 at 9:00 a.m. in Corpus Christi to hear the following interim charge:

Study the impacts that increased federal funding, formula changes, and new programs authorized in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will have on state transportation projects. Evaluate strategies to ensure Texas communities can maximize receipt of federal grant funds.

Information on the hearing, including how to submit electronic comment, can be found here.

*NEW* House Interim Study on Criminal Justice Reform

The committee will meet on Wednesday, October 12 at 1:00 p.m. hear the following interim charges:

  • Examine policies and penalties relating to drug offenses.
  • Examine the civil asset forfeiture process.

Information on the hearing, including how to submit electronic comment, can be found here.

The committee will meet again on Thursday, October 13 at 9:00 a.m. to hear the following interim charges:

  • Examine policing, including training, use of force, arrest procedures, and alternative responses to nonviolent and noncriminal issues.
  • Examine the use of prosecutorial discretion.
  • Examine the use and conditions of detention and incarceration.

Information on the hearing, including how to submit electronic comment, can be found here.


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.