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Posts Tagged ‘Texas Municipal League’

Senate proposes to make our tax system more broken

That’s what this will surely do. The Texas Senate on Tuesday approved a controversial bill that seeks to curb the growth in property taxes that local government agencies like cities and counties levy on landowners. Senate Bill 2, which passed in an 18-12 vote, could require taxing entities to hold an election if the amount […]

Senate committee hears rideshare bills

One of these, in some form, is likely to become law. Senate Bill 176, by state Sen. Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown, and Senate Bill 361 by state Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville, received a joint hearing after [Senate Business & Commerce Committee] chairman Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, noted their similarities. Both bills establish a statewide framework […]

Laredo plastic bag ban overturned

Ugh. The Fourth Court of Appeals on Wednesday sided with merchants and free-market groups who argued that Laredo’s ban on single-use bags is illegal because it is pre-empted by state law regulating solid waste disposal. The 2-1 ruling overturned a lower court’s decision, the latest setback for environmentalists and advocates of local control in Texas. […]

Plastic bag litigation update

This could be a big deal. Is a plastic bag a container? Does the definition of “solid waste management” include litter control? If a state appeals court answers yes to both of those questions, regulations on plastic bags in several Texas cities — including Austin, Fort Stockton, and Port Aransas, which ban the bags, and […]

Three bad bills

Bad bill #1: State Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, has been trying for months to pass legislation that would make it tougher for local entities to bring in more tax revenue by taking advantage of rising property values. On Thursday, he managed to add language to a bill from state Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, that could […]

Bill to ban anti-fracking ordinances likely to go forward

Disappointing. Despite vociferous opposition from local elected officials, environmentalists and citizens, many Democrats in the Texas Legislature are supporting controversial legislation that would strip local governments of the power to regulate or ban fracking. House Bill 40, by Rep. Drew Darby (R-San Angelo), is one of 11 measures in the Legislature filed in response to […]

Somewhat watered down fracking bill advances in House

By “fracking bill”, I mean a bill to limit how cities can regulate fracking, because that’s how things are these days. In a 10-1 vote, the House Committee on Energy Resources approved an updated version of House Bill 40, among the most prominent of nearly a dozen bills filed in the aftermath of Denton’s vote […]

Local control deathwatch: Environment

Unsurprisingly, the Denton fracking ban has provoked a strong reaction. As policy dilemmas go, the one triggered when Denton voters decided last fall to ban hydraulic fracturing in their city looked like a whopper: The oil and gas industry versus local control — two things Texas holds dear — in intractable opposition. There seemed little […]

Cities and counties push back on state meddling attempts

They’ve got their work cut out for them. The mayors of Texas’ largest cities on Monday pushed back against an initiative by state lawmakers to place new revenue caps on local communities as a way to answer conservatives’ demands to cut property taxes. As the city CEOs who represent a third of Texas’ population threw […]

Appraisal caps back on the agenda

The idea will never die, unfortunately. No matter what the effects are. Local officials in the Houston area say they are concerned that incoming state leaders will push for tax relief measures that could limit their ability to meet the needs of fast-growing urban and suburban areas. Gov.-elect Greg Abbott has spoken of “looking at […]

No notary needed

Seems reasonable. Many Houston business owners are celebrating a new ordinance that drops the need for a notary when applying for hundreds of permits and allows the city to offer more applications online. The Houston City Council lauded the change as business friendly and tech savvy. “So many of the permits require you to notarize […]

Less is more, local legislative edition

Harris County and the city of Houston generally play more defense than offense when the Legislature is in session, so as a rule the fewer bills that get passed that affect them, the better. County and city lobbyists said their efforts to scuttle unfunded mandates and bills that would have handcuffed local governments’ powers largely […]