Skip Navigation
Legislative Update

County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas

2021 Resolutions

     The following resolutions were passed by the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas representing 254 counties in the State of Texas on October 13, 2021, during the Association’s Annual Business Meeting.

 

1. Thanks to the Host Court

     WHEREAS, the Annual Conference of the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas was conducted in Williamson County, Texas, on Oct. 11-14, 2021; and

     WHEREAS, the Honorable Commissioners Court of Williamson County has hosted the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas in the most entertaining and excellent manner;

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas expresses its wholehearted thanks and deep appreciation to the Honorable Court of Williamson County for its courteous and warm hospitality extended to each of us.

 

2. Thanks to the Conference Sponsors and Exhibitors

     WHEREAS, the Annual Conference of the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas was conducted in Williamson County, Texas, on Oct. 11-14, 2021; and

     WHEREAS, the many sponsors and exhibitors provide significant financial support for the conference and the Association; and

     WHEREAS, the sponsors and exhibitors provide valuable information to our members;

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas expresses its deep appreciation to our generous conference sponsors and exhibitors.

 

3. Thanks to State and Local Associations and Friends of County Government

    WHEREAS, the Annual Conference of the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas was conducted in Williamson County, Texas, on Oct. 11-14, 2021; and

    WHEREAS, the members of the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas wish to acknowledge the expertise of and thank the staff of: James Allison of Allison, Bass & Magee, LLP; the Texas Association of Counties and Executive Director Susan Redford; the Texas Association of Regional Councils and Executive Director Ginny Lewis Ford; the V.G. Young Institute of County Government, a part of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, and Executive Director Peter McGuill, Ph.D.; the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agents’ professional associations; County Progress Magazine and Editor Julie Anderson; and the many other state and local associations and people who have all been so helpful to county government;

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that this Association thanks all of these individuals and their staffs for their past, present, and future help on behalf of county government.

 

4. Memorial to Deceased Officials and Special Friends

     WHEREAS, the following highly regarded members and friends of the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas are deceased; and

     WHEREAS, the Association desires to pay appropriate respect to these members and friends; and

     WHEREAS, since our last conference, the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas has mourned the passing of:

West Texas

Former Howard County Commissioner Donnie Baker

Former Hutchinson County Commissioner John Bayless

Former Shackelford County Commissioner Jimmy Brooks Sr.

Baylor County Commissioner Larry Dale Burnett

Former Reeves County Commissioner Ismael Valdez Dutchover

Former Scurry County Judge Ricky Fritz

Former Ector County Judge Gerald Kendall Fugit

Howard County Commissioner Oscar Garcia

Former Wichita County Commissioner Ray Gonzalez

Former Wichita County Commissioner Gordon Griffith

Wheeler County Judge Jerry Dan Hefley

Hutchinson County Commissioner Dale Herbst

Randall County Judge Ernie Houdashell

Former Bailey County Commissioner Joey Kindle

Former Howard County Judge Ben Lockhart

Former Hall County Commissioner Buddy Logsdon

Former Hall County Commissioner Larry Don “Shorty” Maddox

Former Garza County  Commissioner Gary L. McDaniel

Former Wise County Judge L.B. McDonald

Culberson County Commissioner Javier Mendoza

Collingsworth County Commissioner Eddie Orr

Former Moore County Judge Rayford Allen Ratliff

Former Archer County  Commissioner Leonard G. Schenk

Former Moore County Judge Billie Faye Schumacher

Former McCulloch County Judge Bill Spiller

Former Reagan County Commissioner Thomas Strube

Former Bailey County Commissioner Floyd “Butch” Vandiver

Former Comanche County Judge John Mack Weaver

Former Young County Commissioner Sam Whittenburg

Loving County Commissioner William Wilkinson

 

South Texas

Zavala County Commissioner Mike Acosta

Former Webb County Judge C.Y. Benavides Jr.

Former Hays County Judge William “Bud” Burnett

Former Medina County Judge Donald Erwin “Butch” Campsey Sr.

Former Hays County Judge Albert “Burt” Cobb, M.D.

Former Travis County Commissioner Ron Davis

Former Goliad County Judge Harold Francis Gleinser

Former Lee County Commissioner Lee Groce

Former Travis County Commissioner Bob Honts

Former Colorado County Judge Alfred “Al” Jamison

Willacy County Commissioner Oscar De Luna

Kleberg County Commissioner Zaragoza “Shorty” Salinas

Former Victoria County Commissioner Frank J. Tragic

Former Webb County Commissioner Jerry Vasquez

 

North & East Texas

Former Cass County Commissioner Robert Buzbee

Former Shelby County Judge Rick Campbell

Former Montgomery County Judge R.A. “Mickey” Deison

Former Franklin County Judge Paul Lovier

Rockwall County Commissioner David Magness

Former Wood County Judge Royce Dean McCoy Jr.

Marion County Commissioner Joe McKnight

Former Madison County Judge Cecil Neely

Former Marion County Commissioner Eugene Robinson

Former Harrison County Judge Don Edwin Stokes

Rains County Judge Wayne Wolfe

Former Johnson County Commissioner Jimmie W. York

 

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas members pause for a moment of silence and meditation to honor the memory of these respected individuals.

                                                                                    

5. Opposition to Unfunded Mandates

     WHEREAS, Texas counties are responsible for the operation and management of many and various governmental programs as required or authorized by state law; and

     WHEREAS, some county government programs are fully or partially supported with funds disbursed by the State of Texas pursuant to the state appropriations process; and

     WHEREAS, the State of Texas, acting through the Texas Legislature or through a state agency or executive order, may enact laws or promulgate rules that have the effect of imposing mandatory financial obligations upon Texas counties; and

     WHEREAS, the State of Texas, through the Texas Legislature or through a state agency or executive order, mandates that counties implement certain governmental programs or perform certain duties and obligations including financial commitments by a county to expend county funds in connection therewith; and

     WHEREAS, every unfunded mandate results in a mandatory increase in property taxes; and

      WHEREAS, during each regular session of the Texas Legislature, all state funds that support county programs are reviewed through the state appropriation process and by other state budgetary review systems; and

     WHEREAS, the aforementioned review process may result in a reduction, or cessation, of state financial support of county government programs causing an unforeseeable disruption and reduction of the county budget and operations; and 

     WHEREAS, Texas counties cannot achieve reliable financial planning and the necessary bond ratings sufficient to support county-related obligations when the state mandates a new program that is not fully funded or under conditions where the state reduces or fully withdraws prior funding and disbursement for county government programs;

     NOW, THEREFORE, the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas and its current member counties do hereby resolve that for the foregoing reasons, it is in the best interests of Texas counties and their taxpayers to support and favor the passage of legislation in the form of an amendment to the Constitution of the State of Texas that would expressly prohibit the imposition of a mandatory governmental program on Texas counties, whether by an act of the Texas Legislature or a state agency or by executive order, unless the State of Texas has fully funded and disbursed all necessary funds to enable Texas counties to operate said governmental program.

 

6. Support for Local Decision-Making and Opposition to Revenue Caps

     WHEREAS, 52 percent of the average taxpayer’s property tax burden is due to school taxes while only 16 percent is due to county taxes; and

     WHEREAS, revenue caps diminish local decision-making and tie the hands of county officials and limit their ability to provide essential services to address the needs and emergencies of their citizens; and

     WHEREAS, county government is already struggling to meet the demands of under-funded and unfunded state mandates such as emergency management programs, appointed attorneys in CPS cases, indigent health care and indigent defense, and federal mandates such as the Help America Vote Act and the Clean Air Act; and

     WHEREAS, the demands on county budgets continue to increase including health care, motor fuel, road materials, and all other products and services purchased by counties; and

     WHEREAS, artificial revenue caps result in a shift of taxes from fluctuating properties, such as volatile mineral values, to those remaining relatively stable in value, such as residential properties; and

     WHEREAS, revenue caps will result in a severe impact on county services; and 

     WHEREAS, it is inequitable for the Texas Legislature to impose additional revenue caps on local governments without alternative funding sources and unfunded mandate relief;

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas does hereby express its opposition to limits to local decision-making and does hereby oppose any further unreasonable revenue caps upon Texas counties, and the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas expresses its deep appreciation to all legislators who oppose these unsound measures.

 

7. County Local Option Revenue Sources

     WHEREAS, county revenue sources are extremely limited; and

     WHEREAS, under current statutes, counties are forced to rely upon property taxes to fund necessary services; and

     WHEREAS, county taxpayers should have the option to adopt a local sales tax, a local severance tax, a local motor fuel tax, an increase in local vehicle registration fees, and other revenue sources to reduce property taxes;

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas requests that the Legislature amend the tax statutes to allow the adoption of a county local option sales tax, a local option severance tax, a local option motor fuel tax, an increase in local vehicle registration fees, and other revenue sources for the reduction of property taxes without imposing any additional revenue caps.

 

8. Indigent Health Care

     WHEREAS, revisions have been proposed regarding the Texas system of indigent health care; and

      WHEREAS, some revisions propose an assessment upon counties to support a regional indigent health care system; and

      WHEREAS, such assessment would constitute an unfunded mandate, requiring property tax increases in those counties; and

     WHEREAS, such regional systems would not be efficient or responsive to local taxpayers; and

     WHEREAS, the present Section 1115 Waiver provides voluntary opportunities to participate in health care innovation projects;

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas opposes any attempt to impose a mandatory assessment upon Texas counties to fund a regional or statewide health care system and instead supports the continuation of the voluntary Section 1115 grants.

 

9. State Funds for Indigent Criminal Defense and Magistration Costs

     WHEREAS, the right to assistance by legal counsel is guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution; and

     WHEREAS, the State of Texas is required to implement this right and provide legal counsel to indigent criminal defendants; and

     WHEREAS, the Texas Fair Defense Act, adopted by the Texas Legislature in 2001, implements this right and requires certain procedures and attorney appointments; and

     WHEREAS, the Texas Legislature has failed to provide sufficient funding to offset the additional costs of the Fair Defense Act and has shifted this cost to county taxpayers; and

     WHEREAS, county expenditures for indigent criminal defense have increased over 200 percent since the adoption of the Fair Defense Act; and

     WHEREAS, the state funding is totally inadequate, providing approximately 12 percent of the indigent defense costs and none of the costs for criminal magistration; and

     WHEREAS, indigent criminal defense and criminal magistration are state responsibilities that should be adequately funded on a statewide basis, not a burden overwhelmingly borne by local property taxpayers; and

     WHEREAS, the recent passage of legislation to require additional bond proceedings will certainly increase the costs to local taxpayers without state funding;

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas does hereby request that the Texas Legislature fully fund the cost of indigent criminal defense, which has cost local taxpayers over $3.2 billion from 2001 through 2019, and fully fund any additional cost for criminal magistration imposed by the Special Session of the 87th Texas Legislature.

 

10. Juvenile Probation Funding

     WHEREAS, the supervision of juvenile offenders is a responsibility of the State of Texas; and

     WHEREAS, the Texas Legislature has consistently failed to appropriate sufficient funding to meet this responsibility; and

     WHEREAS, Texas counties have increasingly met this burden by funding juvenile probation services and facilities; and

     WHEREAS, Texas counties and their local taxpayers are now providing over 75 percent of the costs of juvenile probation; and

     WHEREAS, current state funding formulas will continue to shift additional costs to county taxpayers unless addressed by the State of Texas;

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas does hereby request that the Texas Legislature fully fund the costs of supervision of juvenile offenders, including the costs for juvenile probation services.

                               

11. Mental Health Patients 

     WHEREAS, Texas counties are being forced to hold mentally incompetent prisoners for up to six months while awaiting court-ordered transfer to a state mental facility for treatment; and

     WHEREAS, each of these pre-trial inmates costs the local taxpayer approximately $9,000 during this period of incarceration; and

     WHEREAS, the county jail is not an appropriate facility for the mentally ill, and these prisoners pose a high risk of injury to themselves, the jail staff, and other prisoners; and

     WHEREAS, a State District Court in Travis County ordered the Department of Health Services to receive these prisoners within 21 days of a judge’s order; and

     WHEREAS, instead of accepting its responsibility, the state appealed this order; and

     WHEREAS, this delay by the state is increasing the cost to our taxpayers and continuing this improper practice;

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas hereby requests that the State of Texas implement additional funding for mental health services and implement the state mental health plan to ensure the efficient and effective use of these resources, and accept all mentally incompetent inmates within 21 days of their court-ordered transfer.

 

12. Opposition to Diversion of Dedicated Funds

     WHEREAS, the Legislature has committed certain funds for dedicated purposes; and

     WHEREAS, unfortunately these funds have been improperly withheld from these needed functions and used to balance the general state budget; 

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas expresses its opposition to any state diversion of dedicated funds.

 

13. Emergency Services Program

     WHEREAS, citizens of Texas desire access to 9-1-1 emergency services in an efficient manner, as evidenced by approval of the monthly fee on business and residential phone bills; and

     WHEREAS, the 9-1-1 emergency services dispatch and response depend on equipment which must function reliably on a continuous basis; and

     WHEREAS, older equipment reaches a point of being high maintenance and becomes unreliable; and

     WHEREAS, technology continues to improve, necessitating upgrading hardware and software for reverse 9-1-1 services and other needs;

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas urges our state legislators to provide full funding to the Emergency 9-1-1 Services Program for maintenance and improvement; and

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that funds generated by the 9-1-1 surcharge will not be used by the Legislature as money set aside to balance the state budget; and

     BE IT ALSO RESOLVED that any such funds set aside be fully appropriated for the Emergency 9-1-1 Services Program.

 

14. Opposition to Granting Powers to Municipal Utility Districts and Special Utility Districts

     WHEREAS, Texas is one of the fastest-growing states in the Union; and

     WHEREAS, city government and county government should have appropriate authority to regulate growth in their respective counties and cities; and

     WHEREAS, special water districts and private water corporations have the means to furnish water and provide for growth in rural areas of the counties; and

     WHEREAS, municipal utility districts and special utility districts have been improperly used by certain developers to avoid compliance with county and city infrastructure plans;

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas opposes the granting of additional powers to municipal utility districts, special utility districts, and any special districts, and requests that the approval of the county be required before any further districts are created.

 

15. Support for County Road Grant Fund

     WHEREAS, constitutional amendments have been approved by the voters to increase dedicated funding for public roadways; and

     WHEREAS, these constitutional amendments provide additional funding to be used only for constructing, maintaining, and acquiring right of way for public roadways other than toll roads; and

     WHEREAS, these constitutional amendments provide needed support for public highways without increasing taxes; and

     WHEREAS, the county road system is eligible for assistance from this funding; and

     WHEREAS, county roads are being devastated by overweight trucks to enhance the production of oil and gas; and

     WHEREAS, the oil and gas severance tax should be equitably shared with counties to repair this damage; and

     WHEREAS, the Economic Stabilization (Rainy Day) Fund has reached record levels through deposits from the oil and gas severance tax; and

     WHEREAS, the appropriations from this Fund can be utilized to fund the repair and rehabilitation of county roads;

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas does hereby express appreciation for the additional funding appropriated to support the county road grant program and requests continued support for the county road system.

                                     

16. Uranium Mining Regulation

     WHEREAS, uranium mining creates a special hazard for local groundwater; and

     WHEREAS, uranium mining places a high demand upon local groundwater resources; and

     WHEREAS, groundwater pollution by uranium mining cannot be recovered or rehabilitated and creates a permanent loss of groundwater; and

     WHEREAS, county and groundwater conservation districts have very limited power to regulate uranium mining under current law;

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas requests that state law be amended to require a due process permit proceeding and approval by the local Commissioners Court and groundwater conservation district before any permit is granted for uranium mining.

 

17. Sludge Waste and Biosolid Disposal

     WHEREAS, human waste and other toxic materials are contained in municipal, domestic, and commercial sludge and biosolids; and

     WHEREAS, this sludge and biosolid waste contains harmful bacteria, viruses, and chemicals that may contaminate local water supplies; and

     WHEREAS, the current rules of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality are inadequate to protect the water supply and adjacent landowners from the improper disposal of sludge and biosolid waste; and

     WHEREAS, disposal of these materials should be a matter of local regulation;

      NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas hereby requests that no permits be issued for the disposal of sludge and biosolid waste without the approval of the Commissioners Court and that the Texas Legislature clearly authorize local control of all sludge and biosolid waste permits.

 

18. Fireworks Regulations

     WHEREAS, counties currently have limited authority to regulate fireworks; and

     WHEREAS, due to the continued danger of drought and the concern for public safety, such regulations are necessary to protect life and property;

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas is opposed to any legislative action that would remove or limit current county authority to regulate fireworks.

 

19. Oil and Gas Waste Disposal Facilities

     WHEREAS, the Texas oil and gas industry is a vital part of our economy; and

     WHEREAS, this industry requires the use of disposal facilities, such as waste injection wells, to operate in an efficient manner; and

     WHEREAS, the operation of these disposal facilities can pose a substantial risk to the groundwater supply; and

     WHEREAS, protection of the groundwater is also essential to the economy and health and safety of Texas citizens; and

     WHEREAS, adequate information should be provided to Texas counties and their citizens to ensure the safe operation of oil and gas waste facilities and protection of the groundwater;

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas does hereby request that the Texas Legislature and the Texas Railroad Commission require that Texas counties, their citizens, and groundwater conservation districts be provided all available information concerning proposed oil and gas waste facilities in their area and a full opportunity to participate in the evaluation of any application for additional facilities; and

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Texas Railroad Commission be required to evaluate and consider the full local infrastructure impact and effect on local communities before voting on any such permit.

 

20. Rural Public Transit

     WHEREAS, 37 Rural Transit Districts serve all the counties throughout Texas; and

     WHEREAS, Rural Transit Districts provide access to needed goods and services, jobs, and medical services throughout the rural counties of Texas; and

     WHEREAS, Rural Transit Districts traveled 36,056,467 miles and provided 4,624,135 one-way trips to the citizens of rural Texas in 2018; and

    WHEREAS, on average, bus fleets for Rural Transit Districts are at 130 percent of their established lifecycle; and

     WHEREAS, funding opportunities for large federal and state grants have historically left qualified rural projects underfunded; and

     WHEREAS, without increased funding, in order to meet increasing service demands and costs in rural areas, services to those most in need in rural Texas will suffer;

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas expresses its support for a meaningful increase in funding for Rural Transit Districts.

 

21. Support for Proposition 2 for County Transportation Projects

     WHEREAS, on November 2, 2021, the voters will have an opportunity to approve Proposition 2, a constitutional amendment authorizing county financing for transportation projects; and

     WHEREAS, Proposition 2 will enable counties to participate in needed transportation projects without increasing property taxes; and

     WHEREAS, under Proposition 2, counties will be authorized to pledge the revenues from increased values of properties that benefit from a transportation project to fund the cost of the project; and

     WHEREAS, this financing method will equitably allocate the cost of such projects to the improved properties, rather than all county taxpayers; and

     WHEREAS, this financing method has been successfully implemented by Texas cities to finance essential transportation improvements;

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas does hereby support the passage of Proposition 2 to authorize county financing for transportation projects and requests the approval of Proposition 2 by Texas voters on November 2, 2021.

 

22. Full Funding of DPS Labs

     WHEREAS, the State of Texas through the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) provides for the testing of controlled and illegal substances for criminal cases; and

     WHEREAS, while the service is valuable to the prosecutorial process, it is not timely as most tests require six-nine months before results are rendered; and

     WHEREAS, many alleged and formerly convicted violators must be released after 90 days with the high probability that they will reoffend and further endanger the public and further burden law enforcement; and

     WHEREAS, the recent reduction in state funding will reduce the effectiveness of the DPS labs and result in further delays in the administration of justice;

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas requests full funding, staffing, and equipping of the DPS labs to return results in the required legal time to serve justice.

 

23. County Homestead Exemption

     WHEREAS, the current constitutional provisions limit the ability of counties to a percentage of the appraised value of homesteads; and

     WHEREAS, the current limitations prevent the adoption of a homestead exemption to provide greater benefit to lower-priced properties; and

     WHEREAS, additional discretion should be granted to counties to determine the homestead exemption;

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas requests that a constitutional amendment be adopted to allow counties to grant discretionary homestead exemptions based upon a dollar amount of the taxable value of the property.

 

24. Texas Department of Criminal Justice Inmates

     WHEREAS, currently counties are required to hold inmates who have been committed to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) for up to 45 days; and

     WHEREAS, TDCJ has failed to timely accept its inmates during the COVID-19 epidemic, forcing this additional expense on county taxpayers; and

     WHEREAS, counties are required to hold parolees who are awaiting a revocation hearing before the TDCJ Parole Board; and

     WHEREAS, TDCJ does not provide adequate transportation of its inmates from county jails to its facilities; and

     WHEREAS, the cost to county taxpayers for the failure of the State of Texas to meet its responsibilities for state inmates is over $100 million per year;

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas requests that the State of Texas fully reimburse counties for all costs incurred for the confinement and transport of TDCJ inmates.

 

25. Optional County Road and Bridge Fee

     WHEREAS, the current maximum county optional road and bridge fee has been frozen at $10 since 1991; and

     WHEREAS, the cost of construction and maintenance of the county road system has increased tremendously in recent years; and

     WHEREAS, as the population of Texas continues to grow, the need for efficient county transportation systems will increase;

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas requests that the maximum county optional road and bridge fee be raised to $20 per vehicle.

 

26. Voting Machine Costs

     WHEREAS, the Federal Help America Vote Act requires that counties provide an electronic voting system at each voting location; and

     WHEREAS, the current voting systems have serious security and maintenance issues; and

     WHEREAS, replacement of these systems will require a great expenditure of public funds; and

     WHEREAS, the purchase, programming of, and maintenance of these systems are state and federal responsibilities; and

      WHEREAS, the legislature has now required that all voting machines produce an auditable “paper trail” but appropriated insufficient funds for this cost;

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas requests full funding from the federal and state government for the replacement of all voting systems, programming, and maintenance.

 

27. Limitations on Registered Sex Offenders in Counties

     WHEREAS, home rule municipalities have the authority by ordinance to provide for the public safety of their citizens to restrict a registered sex offender from going in, on, or within a specified distance of a child safety zone in the municipality; and  

     WHEREAS, general law municipalities now have the authority with the passage of H.B. 1111, enacted by the 85th Texas Legislature, effective September 1, 2017, to provide for the public safety of their citizens to restrict a registered sex offender from going in, on, or within a specified distance of a child safety zone in the municipality; and

     WHEREAS, Texas counties should also be able to provide for the public safety of their citizens living outside the boundaries of any municipality by restricting a registered sex offender from going in, on, or within a specified distance of a child safety zone in the county; and

     WHEREAS, no current statute authorizes a Texas county to enact an ordinance or order establishing a “Child Safety Zone” and restricting a registered sex offender from going in, on, or within a specified distance of a child safety zone in the county; and 

     WHEREAS, legislation is necessary to authorize counties to enact an ordinance or order to provide public safety for its citizens by placing limitations on registered sex offenders in the county;

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas respectfully requests that the Texas Legislature pass legislation providing Texas counties the authority to enact an ordinance or order regarding limitations on registered sex offenders in counties.

 

28. Opposition to Efforts to Prohibit County Legislative Communications

     WHEREAS, certain legislative proposals would prohibit the use of county funds to retain lobbyists to influence legislation, pay dues to associations that influence legislation, and to reimburse county officials for influencing legislation; and

     WHEREAS, any bills which would prohibit the use of county funds would effectively silence the voice of local officials and prevent effective communication and representation of their citizens and taxpayers; and

     WHEREAS, county officials require the ability to collectively express their positions and information through associations; and

     WHEREAS, the inability to retain experienced representation before the federal and state legislative bodies and agencies would place our communities at a distinct disadvantage in efforts to obtain and retain federal and state projects and military bases; and

     WHEREAS, smaller counties especially need to be able to combine their resources to efficiently and effectively present their unique issues to state and federal government; and

     WHEREAS, requiring elected officials to personally expend personal resources to present the views of their citizens would impose an extreme hardship upon these public servants; and

     WHEREAS, such prohibition would stifle the basic tenets of democracy and open government;

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas does hereby express its opposition to any legislation that attempts to silence the combined voices of the county officials of this state.

 

29. Damage to County Roads by Oil and Gas Activity

      WHEREAS, counties impacted by oil and gas activity experience significant and costly damages to the county road system; and

      WHEREAS, the Texas Legislature has created the County Transportation Infrastructure Fund (CTIF) which has received two appropriations from the state revenues; and

     WHEREAS, local tax revenue must be appropriated to repair the damages when the CTIF grant appropriation is insufficient; and

     WHEREAS, the 86th Texas Legislature enacted Senate Bill 2 which restricts property tax revenue growth and provides for a local referendum on property tax increases; and

     WHEREAS, the needs of the oil and gas industry may not be met and public safety may deteriorate if local elections for tax revenue increases are vetoed by local taxpayers;

      NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas hereby requests that the Texas Legislature relieve local taxpayers of the burden of repairing county roads damaged by oil and gas activity by enacting a permanent statewide funding solution for repairing the damage to county roads caused by oil and gas activity.

 

County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas

2021 Resolutions Committee

 

Johnson County Judge Roger Harmon, Chair

Chambers County Judge Jimmy Sylvia

Cherokee County Commissioner Kelly Traylor

Hutchinson County Judge Cindy Irwin

Kleberg County Judge Rudy Madrid

Parmer County Commissioner Kirk Frye

    

In addition to the above-adopted resolutions, the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas Resolutions Committee requests that the following items be recommended for future study and consideration.

  1. State funding to meet county cost of transport, autopsy, and disposition of dead bodies.

  2. Maintain local control and recovery of cost of reproduction of clerk’s digitized records and e-filing.

 

  1. Require vehicles to reduce speed and/or yield a traffic lane to county road and bridge vehicles and equipment.
  2. Require Commissioners Court representation on Regional Water Planning Groups.
  3. Request legislation to require state reimbursement for court-appointed attorneys in child protective services cases.
  4. Restore full funding for the Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Grant Program.
  5. State funding for all state special elections.
  6. Additional funding for sales tax support on fireworks dedicated for local use.
  7. More local authority on the regulation of fireworks.
  8. Additional county authority over vehicle inspection and licensing procedures.
  9. Local retention of asset forfeiture funds.
  10. Prohibit abuse of the Public Information Act by excessive and burdensome requests.
  11. Support and restore county authority to regulate all county buildings and property.
  12. Support an exemption from state motor fuel taxes for county equipment and vehicles.
  13. Support full state funding for lost revenue from disabled veterans and surviving spouses exemption.
  14. Review of the equity of ad valorem tax exemptions, tax rate calculation, and the property appraisal process to facilitate a more equitable tax system.
  15. Allow the county to retain the child protection and family preservation fees for distribution to family and child agencies unless the city requests its distribution.
  16. Allow for the return of the 2 percent fireworks sales tax to the county to distribute to its volunteer fire departments.
  17. Broaden the use of the Texas Forest Service insurance fund to assist Volunteer Fire Departments with equipment and buildings.
  18. Prohibit the inclusion of optional road and bridge and other elective taxes and interest and sinking fund taxes in Tax Increment Financing agreements and projects.
  19. Redistribute the cost for special probate judge appointments to assess the cost against the estate when feasible.
  20. Reimburse the county for the actual transport expense of female prisoners to TDCJ facilities.

 

 

Final County Legislation

During the 86th Regular Session, the Texas legislature introduced over 7,500 bills and passed over 1,500 bills and proposed constitutional amendments. Many of these bills will affect county government. Detailed presentations on these matters will be included in the CJCAT State Conference in October. Below is a list of some significant bills that were adopted.

HB 5

Phelan, Dade(R) Kolkhorst, Lois(R)

Relating to debris management and other disaster recovery efforts.

Remarks: Models

 

HB 6

Morrison, Geanie(R) Kolkhorst, Lois(R)

Relating to developing a disaster recovery task force to assist with long-term disaster recovery.

Remarks: TDEM Disaster Recovery

 

HB 7

Morrison, Geanie(R)

Huffman, Joan(R)

Relating to disaster preparation for state agencies and political subdivisions.

Remarks: TDEM assistance

 

HB 81

Canales, Terry(D) Hinojosa, Chuy(D)

Relating to the disclosure under the public information law of certain information related to parades, concerts, or other entertainment events open to the general public that are paid for with public funds.

 

HB 440

Murphy, Jim(R) Lucio, Eddie(D)

Relating to general obligation bonds issued by political subdivisions.

Remarks: Additional limitations and requirements for GO bonds.

 

HB 477

Murphy, Jim(R)

Bettencourt, Paul(R)

Relating to the notice required before the issuance of certain debt obligations by political subdivisions.

Remarks: Additional ballot and posting requirements.

 

HB 492

Shine, Hugh(R)

Taylor, Larry(R)

Relating to a temporary local option exemption from ad valorem taxation of a portion of the appraised value of certain property damaged by a disaster.

Remarks: No State Participation.

 

HB 601

Price, Four(R)

Zaffirini, Judith(D)

Relating to procedures and reporting requirements regarding criminal defendants who are or may be persons with a mental illness or an intellectual disability.

Remarks: Mandates county payment for inmate assessment.

 

HB 651

Springer, Drew(R)

Kolkhorst, Lois(R)

Relating to the creation and operations of health care provider participation programs in counties not served by a hospital district or a public hospital.

Remarks: Allows commissioners court to mandate.

 

HB 892

Kuempel, John(R)

Hughes, Bryan(R)

Relating to county regulation of game rooms.

Remarks: Removes limits to designated counties.

 

HB 1307

Hinojosa, Gina(D)

Huffman, Joan(R)

Relating to the creation of a disaster case management system by the Texas Division of Emergency Management.

 

HB 1495

Toth, Steve(R)

Creighton, Brandon(R)

Relating to authorization for the creation of a county ethics commission in certain counties.

Remarks: Requires budget item on legislative activities. Adds Montgomery and Chambers to Chapter 161 ethics commission.

 

HB 2048

Zerwas, John(R)

Huffman, Joan(R)

Relating to the repeal of the driver responsibility program and the amount and allocation of state traffic fine funds.

Remarks: DRP Repeal.

 

HB 2305

Morrison, Geanie(R)

Kolkhorst, Lois(R)

Relating to a work group on enhancing the training and credentialing of emergency management personnel.

Remarks: TDEM Workgroup.

 

HB 2320

Paul, Dennis(R)

Taylor, Larry(R)

Relating to services provided during and following a disaster.

 

 

HB 2325

Metcalf, Will(R)

Hancock, Kelly(R)

Relating to providing information and communication regarding and during a disaster.

 

HB 2330

Walle, Armando(D)

Lucio, Eddie(D)

Relating to a study of an intake system and state case management system for state and federal disaster assistance.

 

HB 2340

Dominguez, Alex (F)(D)

Johnson, Nathan (F)(D)

Relating to emergency and disaster management, response, and recovery.

 

HB 2384

Leach, Jeff(R)

Huffman, Joan(R)

Relating to judicial compensation and the contributions to, benefits from, membership in, and administration of the Judicial Retirement System of Texas Plan One and Plan Two.

Remarks: Creates longevity pay for state judges, CCL judges, and prosecutors.

 

HB 2439

Phelan, Dade(R)

Buckingham, Dawn(R)

Relating to certain regulations adopted by governmental entities for the building products, materials, or methods used in the construction of residential or commercial structures.

Remarks: No departure from national codes.

 

HB 2755

Price, Four(R)

Alvarado, Carol (F)(D)

Relating to the amount of certain county and public health district fees.

Remarks: Fee increase.

 

HB 2794

Morrison, Geanie(R)

Kolkhorst, Lois(R)

Relating to the administration of emergency management in this state.

 

 

HB 2826

Bonnen, Greg(R)

Huffman, Joan(R)

Relating to procurement of a contingent fee contract for legal services by a state agency or political subdivision.

Remarks: Restricts contingent fee contracts.

 

HB 2840

Canales, Terry(D)

Hughes, Bryan(R)

Relating to the right of a member of the public to address the governing body of a political subdivision at an open meeting of the body.

Remarks: Mandates public participation.

 

HB 2856

Morrison, Geanie(R)

Kolkhorst, Lois(R)

Relating to restrictions under disaster remediation contracts.

 

 

HB 3022

Miller, Rick(R) Kolkhorst, Lois(R)

Relating to emergency warning systems operated by municipalities and counties.

Remarks: Voluntary.

 

HB 3143

Murphy, Jim(R)

West, Royce(D)

Relating to the Property Redevelopment and Tax Abatement Act.

Remarks: Extends for 10 years; adds additional notice.

 

HB 3167

Oliverson, Tom(R)

Hughes, Bryan(R)

Relating to the procedure for approval of certain land development applications by a political subdivision.

Remarks: 30 day deadline.

 

HB 3834

Capriglione, Giovanni(R) Paxton, Angela(F)(R)

Relating to the requirement that certain state and local government employees and state contractors complete a cybersecurity training program certified by the state cybersecurity coordinator.

Remarks: Mandates training.

 

HB 4280

Morrison, Geanie(R)

Flores, Pete(R)

Relating to funding for counties for transportation infrastructure projects located in areas of the state affected by increased oil and gas production.

Remarks: Changes distribution formula.

 

HB 4468

Coleman, Garnet(D)

Whitmire, John(D)

Relating to county criminal justice reform.

Remarks: Sandra Bland cleanup and jailer training.

 

 

 

 

 

HJR 34

Shine, Hugh(R)

Bettencourt, Paul(R)

Proposing a constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for a temporary local option exemption from ad valorem taxation of a portion of the appraised value of certain property damaged by a disaster.

Remarks: No state reimbursement.

 

SB 2

Bettencourt, Paul(R) Burrows, Dustin(R)

Relating to ad valorem taxation.

Remarks: 3.5% revenue caps with mandatory elections beginning in 2020.

 

SB 6

Kolkhorst, Lois(R)

Morrison, Geanie(R)

Relating to emergency and disaster management, response, and recovery.

 

SB 7

Creighton, Brandon(R) Phelan, Dade(R)

Relating to flood control planning and the funding of flood planning, mitigation, and infrastructure projects.

 

SB 8

Perry, Charles(R)

Larson, Lyle(R)

Relating to state and regional flood planning.

 

 

SB 22

Campbell, Donna(R)

Noble, Candy (F)(R)

Relating to prohibiting certain transactions between a governmental entity and an abortion provider or affiliate of the provider.

 

SB 30

Birdwell, Brian(R)

Phelan, Dade(R)

Relating to ballot language requirements for a proposition seeking voter approval for the issuance of bonds.

 

SB 289

Lucio, Eddie(D)

Morrison, Geanie(R)

Relating to natural disaster housing recovery.

Remarks: Develop disaster housing recovery plans.

 

SB 354

Lucio, Eddie(D)

Guillen, Ryan(D)

Relating to authority of certain officers of certain counties to disburse or direct payment of county funds for salaries or expenses.

Remarks: Payroll fund for under 190,000.

SB 494

Huffman, Joan(R)

Walle, Armando(D)

Relating to certain procedures applicable to meetings under the open meetings law and the disclosure of public information under the public information law in the event of an emergency, urgent public necessity, or catastrophic eve.

Remarks: 1 hours emergency notice; suspend PIA for 7 days.

 

SB 496

Perry, Charles(R)

Murr, Andrew(R)

Relating to factors the Texas Historical Commission considers in reviewing an application for a grant or loan through the historic courthouse preservation program.

Remarks: Adds taxable value.

 

SB 560

Kolkhorst, Lois(R)

Smithee, John(R)

Relating to a plan and report on court­ ordered representation for certain suits affecting the parent-child relationship.

Remarks: Judicial council adopts plan for CPS representation; counties report expenditures.

 

SB 583

Hinojosa, Chuy(D)

Rose, Toni(D)

Relating to the appointment of a local public defender's office to represent indigent defendants in criminal cases.

Remarks: Requires use of public defender's office or written findings by judge.

 

SB 633

Kolkhorst, Lois(R) Lambert, Stan(R)

 

 

Relating to an initiative to increase the capacity of local mental health authorities to provide access to mental health services in certain counties.

Remarks: Develop LMHA mental health plan for all counties under 250,000.

 

SB 658

Zaffirini, Judith(D)

Clardy, Travis(R)

Relating to making permanent the former temporary increases in records archive fees and records management and preservation fees charged by district and county clerks.

Remarks: Increases fee from $5 to $10 and removes expiration.

 

SB 891

Huffman, Joan(R)

Leach, Jeff(R)

Relating to the operation and administration of and practice in courts in the judicial branch of state government.

Remarks: Repeals Collection Improvement Program.

 

SB 943

Watson, Kirk(D)

Capriglione, Giovanni(R)

Relating to the disclosure of certain contracting information under the public information law.

Remarks: Includes contracts with private parties.

 

SB 944

Watson, Kirk(D)

Capriglione, Giovanni(R)

Relating to the public information law.

Remarks: Includes private devices.

 

SB 986

Kolkhorst, Lois(R)

Phelan, Dade(R)

Relating to contract management standards and information for contracts related to emergency management.

 

SB 988

Watson, Kirk(D)

Capriglione, Giovanni(R)

Relating to the assessment of litigation costs and attorney's fees in certain actions under the public information law.

Remarks: Allows attorney fees against government for groundless defense.

 

SB 1640

Watson, Kirk(D)

Phelan, Dade(R)

Relating to changing the criminal offense of conspiracy to circumvent the open meetings law.

Remarks: Prohibits series of communications.

 

SB 1840

Hinojosa, Chuy(D)

Murr, Andrew(R)

Relating to the assistance and technology fund and use of money in the fund.

Remarks: Expands use of fund to training and constables.

 

SB 2342

Creighton, Brandon(R)

Leach, Jeff(R)

Relating to the jurisdiction of, and practices and procedures in civil cases before, justice courts, county courts, statutory county courts, and district courts.

Remarks: Increases jurisdiction.

© {{YEAR}} County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas

powered by ezTaskTitanium TM