The legislative effort to prohibit local governments from using public money to advocate for their interests has garnered the most attention at each of this session's Tuesday Morning Breakfasts. Attention was doubly focused on the issue this week, with the House State Affairs Committee hearing House Bill 749 on Thursday, March 25. HB 749, filed by state Rep. Mayes Middleton (R-Wallisville), is the House's version of the effort to limit local governments from having a say at the Legislature. A hearing on the Senate version, Senate Bill 10, filed by state Sen. Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston), has yet to be scheduled.
Several of the 130 or so county officials joining this week's virtual breakfast meeting announced their intention to testify in-person against HB 749. Describing HB 749 as "a retribution bill aimed at local governments," Jim Allison, general counsel for the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas, encouraged breakfast participants who couldn't make it to Austin for Thursday's hearing to submit written comments or email members of the House State Affairs Committee to register their opposition to HB 749.
The Senate State Affairs Committee, chaired by Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola), had planned to hold a hearing on five election bills Monday, but five other senators turned to the chamber's rulebook to "tag" the bills and postpone their consideration until today, March 26. TAC Legislative Consultant Nanette Forbes gave a brief rundown of the parliamentary maneuvering. She and Chambers County District Clerk Patti Henry noted that several election bills and other proposals of concern to county and district clerks would come with hefty, state-mandated price tags for Texas counties.
Speaking of unfunded mandates, TAC's 2020 Unfunded Mandates Survey is now available online. Printed copies will soon be on their way.
What happens at the Texas Capitol affects Texas counties. Stay up to date by joining TAC's virtual Tuesday Morning Breakfasts each week at 7:30 a.m.
Please register for the next breakfast on Tuesday, March 30, by 5 p.m. Monday, March 29. Login instructions will be sent with confirmation of your registration.
Please contact Amy Ruedas at AmyR@county.org or (800) 456-5974 with any questions about the breakfast meetings. And stay up to date with the latest from TAC Legislative Services by visiting www.county.org/legislative.