May our mayor ask the state to provide legal counsel regarding
the statewide mask mandate in Executive Order GA-29, or other
Yes. The Texas Disaster Act of 1975 provides that a mayor may
request the attorney general to provide legal counsel to a city subject to a
declared state of disaster "on issues related to disaster mitigation,
preparedness, response, and recovery applicable to the area subject to the
disaster declaration" during the declared state of disaster and the
90-day period following expiration or termination of the disaster
declaration. Tex. Gov’t Code § 418.193.
Mayors can email the attorney general’s disaster counsel using
What do recent polls say about local government responses to
COVID-19 in Texas?
According to June polling data released today by the University of Texas
and the Texas Politics Project, Texans trust local governments to respond to
the pandemic more than any other level of government. Though the overall
approval numbers for all levels of government have decreased as the pandemic
continues, local governments have maintained the highest level of approval
throughout. As stated in a University of Texas blog post accompanying the
release of the new polls: “Texans’ approval of governments’ handling of the pandemic decreased for
all levels of government – federal, state, and local – though Texans overall
still give the most positive ratings to local governments, as they did in
April. State government saw the largest decrease in net approval in part due
to a 15-point increase in those who disapproved.”
This data reinforces what city officials already knew – that
Texans in communities all across this state are looking primarily to their
local leaders for guidance during these difficult times. City officials
should feel encouraged to continue to provide pragmatic and collaborative
solutions to help guide the state’s recovery. The League will continue to do
all that we can to assist in those efforts.
Is a local government operating under a local disaster
declaration authorized to issue orders or adopt ordinances impacting the
Senator Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe) recently requested an attorney general opinion to answer this
question. Specifically, Senator Creighton submitted the following question:
“[W]hether orders and ordinances adopted by local governmental entities
pursuant to emergency declarations that have the effect of prohibiting,
delaying, or restricting the eviction process as set forth in Chapter 24 of
the Texas Property Code and the 500-510 rules of the Texas Rules of Civil
Procedure are valid under Texas law.”
Cities interested in submitting briefs on the opinion request
may do so electronically by emailing briefs to email@example.com.
Because Senator Creighton requested an expedited response, briefs should be
submitted by no later than July 17, 2020.
Where can I find archived issues of the TML Coronavirus
TML Coronavirus Updates are archived by date here and by subject here.