How much can Texas cities expect to receive under the federal
Last week, the president signed into law the Coronavirus Aid,
Relief, and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”), a bill providing over $2
trillion in emergency relief funds to help mitigate the financial harm caused
by the coronavirus pandemic across the country.
At this stage, it is not clear exactly how much federal funding
will be made available to Texas cities across the board. As part of the
legislation, Congress directly allocated roughly $11.24 billion through the
Coronavirus Relief Fund to Texas for use by the state and local governments.
Texas cities with populations over 500,000 are eligible for direct financial
assistance under this fund. Other Texas cities will presumably need to apply
for pass-through grants from the remaining allocation amounts through a
yet-to-be-determined process at the state agency level.
The CARES Act includes other opportunities for funding critical
city services as well. The National League of Cities has prepared this document, which details
these funding opportunities for cities nationwide.
Has there been litigation relating to how conflicts between city
and county emergency orders are resolved?
Yes. For example, the County Judge in the North Texas
County of Collin issued a social distancing order that appeared to be lax in
its directives. The Mayor of the City of McKinney, located in Collin
County, issued a more stringent order. Shortly thereafter, a local realtor
sued the city, claiming that the county order – even though less stringent –
controls over any city order.
A district court judge will consider whether to impose a
temporary restraining order prohibiting enforcement of the mayor’s order on
Tuesday, March 31, pending further proceedings on the merits. The League
has previously shared the relevant conflicts provisions from the Texas Disaster
Act. Here they are again.
Texas Government Code Section 418.103 resolves many conflicts in
relation to emergency management orders:
"(a) The governor shall determine which municipal
corporations need emergency management programs of their own and shall
recommend that they be established and maintained. The governor shall make the
determinations on the basis of the municipality's disaster vulnerability and
capability of response related to population size and concentration.
(b) The emergency management program of a county must be
coordinated with the emergency management programs of municipalities situated
in the county but does not apply in a municipality having its own emergency
In some case, however, the more specific provisions of Section
418.108 may control:
"(f) The county judge or the mayor of a municipality may
order the evacuation of all or part of the population from a stricken or
threatened area under the jurisdiction and authority of the county judge or
mayor if the county judge or mayor considers the action necessary for the
preservation of life or other disaster mitigation, response, or recovery.
(g) The county judge or the mayor of a municipality may control
ingress to and egress from a disaster area under the jurisdiction and authority
of the county judge or mayor and control the movement of persons and the
occupancy of premises in that area.
(h) For purposes of Subsections (f) and (g): (1) the
jurisdiction and authority of the county judge includes the incorporated and
unincorporated areas of the county; and (2) to the extent of a conflict between
decisions of the county judge and the mayor, the decision of the county judge
The interplay between the provisions above and other law should
also be an issue in the lawsuit. For example, the Health and Safety Code
Sec. 122.005. POWERS OF TYPE A GENERAL-LAW
(a) The governing body of a Type A general-law municipality
may take any action necessary or expedient to promote health or suppress
disease, including actions to:
(1) prevent the introduction of a communicable disease into
the municipality, including stopping, detaining, and examining a person coming
from a place that is infected or believed to be infected with a communicable
(2) establish, maintain, and regulate hospitals in the
municipality or in any area within five miles of the municipal limits; or
(3) abate any nuisance that is or may become injurious to
the public health.
(b) The governing body of a Type A general-law municipality
may adopt rules:
(1) necessary or expedient to promote health or suppress
(2) to prevent the introduction of a communicable disease
into the municipality, including quarantine rules, and may enforce those rules
in the municipality and in any area within 10 miles of the municipality.
(c) The governing body of a Type A general-law municipality
may fine a person who fails or refuses to observe the orders and rules of the
Sec. 122.006. POWERS OF HOME-RULE MUNICIPALITIES. A
home-rule municipality may:
(1) adopt rules to protect the health of persons in the
municipality, including quarantine rules to protect the residents against
communicable disease; and
(2) provide for the establishment of quarantine stations,
emergency hospitals, and other hospitals.
The League will report on further developments in the
case. In the meantime, each city should consult with its attorney about
the interaction between city and county orders.
Has the federal government issued additional guidance with
respect to which jobs are classified as “critical infrastructure?”
Yes. The White House issued the following information last
Saturday (March 28):
“Functioning critical infrastructure is imperative during the
response to the COVID-19 emergency
for both public health and safety, as well as community well-being. Certain
critical infrastructure industries have a special responsibility in these times
to continue operations. On Saturday, March 28, the Department of Homeland
Security (DHS) – Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) –
released updated guidance on the essential
critical infrastructure workforce (see Memorandum on Identification of
Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19 Response).
The guidance and accompanying list are
intended to support state, local, and industry partners in identifying
the critical infrastructure sectors and the essential workers needed
to maintain the services and functions Americans depend on daily and need to be
able to operate resiliently during the COVID-19 pandemic response.
State, local, tribal, and territorial governments are
responsible for implementing and executing response activities, including
decisions about access and reentry, in their communities, while the Federal
Government is in a supporting role. Officials should use their own judgment in
issuing implementation directives and guidance.”
Since his order on March 26, 2020 (GA-11), has Governor Abbott
taken any additional action imposing quarantine on individuals traveling by
plane into Texas from other states?
Yes. On March 29, 2020, Governor Abbott issued an additional executive order
requiring individuals traveling by plane with a point of last departure in the
State of California; State of Louisiana; State of Washington; City of Atlanta,
Georgia; City of Chicago, Illinois; City of Detroit, Michigan; and City of Miami,
Florida to self-quarantine. This order is effective at noon on March 30th.
We reported on the requirements of the quarantine in a previous Q&A, which
apply to these locations as well.
Has Governor Abbott issued an order that applies to people
driving into the state from a designated point of origin?
Yes. On March 29, 2020, Governor Abbott issued an executive order
requiring individuals traveling from any location in Louisiana to
self-quarantine for 14 days. The order is effective at noon on March 30th. The
requirements for quarantine, including the criminal penalties, are the same as
for individuals traveling by plane, which the League reported in a previous Q&A.
Who will enforce the order requiring people driving in from
Louisiana to self-quarantine?
The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) shall enforce this
executive order along the Texas-Louisiana border.
Has the Department of Labor issued further guidance on the
Families First Coronavirus Response Act?
Yes. Yesterday (Sunday, March 29), the Department of Labor
issued its third round of guidance on the Families
First Coronavirus Response Act (see questions 38-59 within the guidance). Go to
the guidance document for the questions and answers.
Where can I find archived issues of the TML Coronavirus Updates?
TML Coronavirus Updates are archived
chronologically here and by subject here.