October 14, 2022, Number 40
Download the full .pdf version here: TML Legislative Update Number 40
resolutions approved by the membership at annual conference
Last week during the TML Annual Conference and Exhibition, delegates assembled at the business meeting and approved nine resolutions, including the report of the Municipal Policy Summit and other topics to be included in the legislative program. The approved resolutions can be found here.
reminder: comment period open for sales tax sourcing rules and broadband development office
As the League previously reported, the comptroller has released re-proposed local sales tax sourcing rule changes and will hold a public hearing on Monday, October 17, 2022 to receive comments on the revised rule. Interested city officials can attend the hearing at 9:00 a.m. in Room 170 of the Stephen F. Austin Building, 1700 Congress Ave., Austin, Texas 78701. 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, comments on the revised rules are due October 23 and may be submitted to Jennifer Burleson, Director, Tax Policy Division, P.O. Box 13528, Austin, Texas 78711-3528 or to email@example.com.
The comptroller has also released proposed rules governing the Broadband Development Office. The proposed rules can be found here. Comments on the rules are due October 23 and must be submitted to Greg Conte, Director, Broadband Development Office, at firstname.lastname@example.org or at P.O. Box 13528, Austin, Texas 78711-3528.
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, through the Federal Aviation Administration, announced the second round of funding for the Airport Terminals Program, which is designed to fund projects that will improve airfield safety through terminal relocation, replacing aging facilities, increasing capacity, encouraging competition, improving energy efficiency, and improving access for passengers with disabilities and historically disadvantaged populations. The second round of funding will award up to $1 billion for Fiscal Year 2023, which is subject to the following allocation limitations: (1) not more than 55 percent may be for large hub airports; (2) not more than 15 percent may be for medium hub airports; (3) not more than 20 percent may be for small hub airports; and (4) not less than 10 percent shall be for nonhub and nonprimary airports. A 20 percent match is required for large and medium hub airports, and a five percent match is required for all other eligible airports. The Notice of Funding Opportunity can be found here, and applications are due October 24.
DOT recently announced its approval of over $1.5 billion of funding under the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program for all 50 states. All approved state plans, including Texas’s plan, are available on the Federal Highway Administration’s website.
National League of Cities (NLC)
The Local Infrastructure Hub, sponsored by NLC and the U.S. Conference of Mayors, among others, is designed to help city officials navigate the funding programs made available by the IIJA. Interested city officials can sign up for the mailing list, attend virtual learning events, and access articles and other resources on some of the key IIJA funding opportunities.
Upcoming events on the Local Infrastructure Hub include:
- October 25, 2022 – Revolutionizing Transportation: The Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation (SMART) Program
NLC has recently posted articles on the following topics related to programs funded under the IIJA:
- What Cities Should Know About the State and Local Cybersecurity Grant Program
- Navigating Federal Transportation Programs and New Technical Assistance
reminder: mandated cybersecurity training and reporting
Cybersecurity training is mandated by Texas Government Code Section 2054.5191 for city employees, elected officials, and appointed officials who have access to a local government computer system or database and use a computer to perform at least 25 percent of their duties. The training must be certified by the Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR). DIR has reported only 49% of cities have submitted their compliance certification so far this year. Cities must certify their compliance by using the Cybersecurity Training Certification for State and Local Governments form.
The Texas Municipal League Intergovernmental Risk Pool (TML IRP) has three DIR-certified options available free of charge. TML IRP’s free cybersecurity training program can be assessed here. Other DIR-certified training programs are listed on the agency’s website.
DIR has developed an optional tool, Texas by Texas (TxT), for cities to track compliance of individual employees and officials training compliance. For any city using TxT, employees will report their training completion, and DIR will send reporting from the TxT application to each city to verify training compliance. Interested cities must submit the Texas by Texas Self Reporting Form.
texas cybersecurity information sharing and analysis organization available to cities
In 2019, the Texas Department of Information Resources created the Texas Information Sharing and Analysis Organization (TX-ISAO). The TX-ISAO is free to join for Texas cities as well as, school districts, state agencies, and the private sector. Cities that join the TX-ISAO can engage with the Texas cybercommunity, gain insight into emerging threats, and prepare to respond. TX-ISAO members have access to intelligence and educational opportunities that can help improve the city’s cybersecurity posture. Along with implementing a strong cybersecurity program that includes performing security assessments and developing an incident response plan, participating in community information sharing through the TX-ISAO is one way to protect your city from cybersecurity threats.
Cybersecurity attacks against Texas cities are growing in numbers and sophistication. The cyber criminals threatening the state can’t be fought by one organization alone. The TX-ISAO creates an avenue to thwart malicious actors through sharing threat intelligence and collaborating on cybersecurity best practices. Cities can join the TX-ISAO by clicking here.
tml legislative advocacy toolkit
The League has prepared an advocacy toolkit to provide the resources, tools, and training to help city officials successfully advocate at the Capitol. The toolkit contains information on:
- The Texas legislative process;
- Tips for grassroots involvement;
- A guide to writing an effective advocacy letter or email;
- Tips for testifying at the Capitol; and
- Various legislative resources.
The League is nothing without the voices of city officials. The most effective legislative communication comes directly from mayors, councilmembers, and other city officials to their legislators. The toolkit will empower city officials whether they are a seasoned veteran, new to advocating, or new to city government.
The toolkit 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.