Friday, August 18, 2017

Texas legislators let citizens vote on whether cities in large counties can annex rural areas

Gov. Greg Abbott speaks to the special session.
(USA Today photo by John Moritz)
The Texas state legislature ended an almost month-long special session on Aug. 15. For Gov. Greg Abbott, it was a mixed bag. He said the session was necessary because some state agencies would be forced to close unless the legislature passed certain laws. But Abbott had also included a 20-item agenda with a wide-ranging list of issues. His signature property tax reform bill did not pass, along with the transgender bathroom bill, the private school voucher bill, and the bill to defund Planned Parenthood. "The list of achievements included the must-pass "sunset" bills that will keep some state agencies from closing as well as proposals to crack down on mail-in ballot fraud, extend the life of maternal mortality task force, reform the municipal annexation process, limit local ordinance regulating trees and impose new restrictions on abortion," Morgan Smith and Patrick Svitek report for The Texas Tribune.

One controversial item that passed would allow Texans to vote on "whether cities in large counties can annex areas outside of their limits, Alex Samuels and Shannon Najmabadi report for the Tribune. Many opponents of the bill believe the state government is trying to force state control of issues that should be left to local communities.

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