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Aug 05

Texas City Leaders Meet to Determine Legislative Priorities for 87th Texas Legislature

Posted to Press Release by TML Staff

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Jennifer Stevens
                    512-236-1001
                     Jennifer@jhlcompany.com


Texas City Leaders Meet to Determine Legislative Priorities for 87th Texas Legislature

The League’s members recommended supporting issues such as local options and pay as you go financing for critical infrastructure projects, bridging the digital divide and increasing rural broadband connectivity, and the importance of community advocacy before the legislature.

Leaders from cities across Texas gathered virtually this week to discuss legislative priorities for the 87th Texas Legislative Session. The Texas Municipal League (TML) Policy Summit met for two full days to discuss priorities for cities which included preserving the tools to meet the needs of Texas taxpayers, bridging the digital divide and increasing rural broadband connectivity, pay as you go financing options for critical infrastructure projects, and the importance of community advocacy before the legislature.

“This is the time of year when all of our members come together and tell us what they want TML to be focused on,” said Bennett Sandlin, executive director of TML. “Our goal is to help city leaders better serve the diverse communities they represent. The League is looking forward to advocating on behalf of our members and working with the legislature during the session as we continue positioning our great state for success moving forward.”

Robin Mouton, chair of the TML Municipal Policy Summit and councilwoman from Beaumont said, “I was proud to chair this two-day policy conversation with leaders representing Texas cities of all sizes. It is encouraging to see that no matter the size of city, our members, from small communities like Daisetta to large metropolitan areas like Dallas, all have an equal voice in this process. This is an important statewide conversation and each city has an equal vote in creating the agenda that TML will help us advance during the next legislative session.”

“Each of the League’s 1,160 member cities get to vote on TML priorities and it is encouraging to see a unified and pro-recovery focus as we lead into this important session year. Issues such as broadband connectivity, support for critical infrastructure, and lessened reliance on debt issuance will assist in each city’s ability to aid in overall state recovery. With TML’s legislative agenda, it is evident that city leaders are looking forward to helping restart and continue the Texas miracle,” said TML President-Elect Karen Hunt, mayor of Coppell. “Texans elect local leaders to represent them on the issues that impact their daily lives. In addition to the work in our communities, locally elected officials have a responsibility to remain an active part of the state and federal legislative process and must work with experts to advance the issues important to the individual needs of their community."

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The Texas Municipal League is a voluntary, non-profit association of 1,160 member cities founded in 1913 to help city leaders better serve Texans who live in cities.





Sep 24

September 24, 2020 TML Coronavirus Update #127

Posted to TML Coronavirus Update by TML Staff

Urgent Updates

 

Will there be an update tomorrow?

 

In recent weeks, we’ve tried to avoid sending Coronavirus Update emails on Fridays, if at all possible. Unless something major pops up, we’ll stick with our new custom tomorrow.

 

What are the details of the most recent election lawsuit filed with the Texas Supreme Court?

 

If you didn’t already know it was election season, the growing number of election-related lawsuits should be a dead giveaway. Add a global pandemic to highly contentious state house elections (and a somewhat high-profile presidential election), and you’ve got a recipe for lots of litigation.

 

Yesterday, several Republican state officials—including the chairman of the state party, the sitting agriculture commissioner, and multiple state senators and representatives—filed a lawsuit with the Texas Supreme Court claiming that Governor Abbott lacks the authority to expand the early voting period and the window for a voter to deliver a ballot voted by mail. (Note: At the time this update is being published, it appears as though the Texas Supreme Court rejected the plaintiffs’ petition because it was improperly filed. The petition’s deficiencies will presumably be remedied in the near future.) Remember that back in July, Governor Abbott issued a proclamation pursuant to his disaster authority that both extended the early voting period by a week and expanded the period in which marked mail-in ballots may be delivered in person to the early voting clerk’s office to allow for delivery before Election Day. The stated purpose of those extensions was to give Texas voters “greater flexibility to cast their ballots, while at the same time protecting themselves and others from COVID-19.”

 

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit argue that Governor Abbott must consult the Texas Legislature in order to make changes to the early voting process: “If ever a special session was justified, now is the time. Abbott’s Executive Orders are unprecedented and have had life and death implications, destroyed small businesses and family’s livelihoods, have had a crippling effect on every single community, and now have the ability to impact local, state and national elections.”

 

As always, the League will monitor the litigation and provide updates as they become available.

 

Further Updates

 

How should cities treat COVID-19 health screening records?

 

Luckily, the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) is here to help with the answer. Earlier this week, TSLAC posted on their blog, The Texas Record, some helpful guidance on how cities handle COVID-19 screening records.

 

Where can I access a summary of the key topics you’ve covered in these Updates?

 

TML staff launched these Coronavirus Updates in mid-March when our cities started feeling the effects of COVID-19. Since then, we’ve produced more than 350 pages of archived information.

 

We know it’s hard to digest it all, so we’re offering a comprehensive update at the TML Virtual Annual Conference and Exhibition on October 14 at 1:30 p.m. Scott Houston, TML Deputy Executive Director and General Counsel, will lead the discussion, and will be joined by Assistant General Counsels Christy Drake-Adams, Amber McKeon-Mueller, and Evelyn Njuguna. Register here to listen in on this update, and view more than 30 other conference sessions related to disaster recovery and resilience.

 

Where can I find archived issues of the TML Coronavirus Updates?

 

TML Coronavirus Updates are archived by date here and by subject here.