Featured, front row, from left: Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg; Edinburg Mayor Richard Molina; Rep. R.D. “Bobby” Guerra, D-McAllen; Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen; Alex Ríos, then-Director, District Office of Rep. Canales; and Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday, March 11, 2019, at the Texas Capitol.
Photograph Courtesy CITY OF EDINBURG
Edinburg City Manager to recommend priorities for 87th Texas Legislature during City Council workshop at noon Thursday at Edinburg City Hall
By DAVID A. DÍAZ
City Manager Ron Garza will lay out what he believes should be the city’s priorities before the 87th Texas Legislature when the Edinburg City Council meets on Thursday, January 28, 2021, for a public workshop set to begin at noon at Edinburg City Hall.
The agenda item, titled “Presentation and Discussion regarding the City of Edinburg’s Legislative Agenda for the 87th State Legislature”, is the only item set for review during the meeting, which will take place in the first-floor Council Chamber.
Although the gathering is open to the public, state restrictions will be enforced on the number of people allowed in the room at one time, the requirement for every attendee to use a face mask, social distancing, and other recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control regarding public health protections as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
However, individuals who wish to have their voices heard during the meeting, but are unable to attend the gathering may call the City Secretary’s Office before noon on Thursday, January 28, 2021, so they may provide their comments or ideas. The City Secretary’s Office may be reached at 956/388-8204 for further instructions.
The meeting will be broadcast live to Edinburg residents who have Spectrum Cable 1300, and to anyone who has access to the Internet by logging onto the city’s website at http://www.CityofEdinburg.com.
To see the meeting live through the Internet, go to the “Government” section of the city’s website and click the category titled “Live ECN 12 Television Stream”.
To see the videotaped version of the meeting, go to the following link on the city’s website:
On Tuesday, January 19, 2021, during the city council’s regular meeting, Garza said he and other key staff were developing the city’s state legislative agenda. He also encouraged residents to submit their ideas to his office.
“I want to remind everybody that our Texas Legislature convened (gathered) for the regular session Tuesday, January 12,” Garza noted during his city manager’s report, which he delivered to the mayor and city council during the session.
“Obviously, their (state lawmakers’) priorities have been reshaped with the response and recovery from COVID-19, so we are monitoring that very closely,” Garza said. “The city is currently still preparing our legislative priorities. I definitely invite continued input from the councilmembers and the mayor. If there is something specific, we can have individual conversations, and the public as well.”
He said the city council could vote on the legislative agenda a few days after the upcoming Thursday, January 28, 2021 city council workshop.
“I do know that in February, most likely the first meeting in February, is when the final draft with the resolution of support will be presented,” he said. “I know a lot of the fundamental priorities of the city still remain the same: infrastructure, mitigation (relief) for flooding, continued recovery from COVID, things like that.”
In 2019, during the 140-day regular session of the 86th Texas Legislature, the city government laid out an ambitious and successful legislative agenda that focused on higher education, economic development, environmental issues, transportation, and health care.
City leaders came away with increasing the ability to use the Hotel Occupancy Tax for more jobs in the community, and well as helping protect or secure state funding for:
• The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and its School of Medicine;
• A Level 1 Trauma Center;
• A cervical dysplasia and center clinic and cancer immunology program; and
• The South Texas International Airport at Edinburg.
Miriam Cepeda, Governmental Relations Liaison for the City of Edinburg, Elvia López Caballero, Legislative Consultant for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, and Edinburg City Attorney Omar Ochoa in 2019 worked on the city’s measures with key state lawmakers, the mayor, the four city councilmembers, and the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors.
As was the case during the 86th Texas Legislature in 2019, the City of Edinburg for the ongoing 87th Texas Legislature is being represented by Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, and Rep. R.D. “Bobby” Guerra, D-McAllen.
So far, those three lawmakers have introduced measures dealing with a wide range of subjects, some of which would directly affect the city government.
Those bills, which follow, are identified by the name of the author of the legislation, the bill number, and the bill caption.
A caption is a statement that gives the Legislature and the public reasonable notice of the subject of a bill or resolution. For bills and joint resolutions, the caption consists of the first sentence of the text that summarizes the contents of the bill or resolution. For other types of resolutions, the caption consists of a brief description of the contents of the resolution.
LEGISLATION FILED SO FAR BY EDINBURG’S STATE LAWMAKERS
Since all lawmakers have until early March 2021 to file legislation, the number of bills for Canales, Guerra, and Hinojosa will grow, and in some cases, increase substantially.
For more information on any of their bills, an individual should call the lawmaker’s telephone number and ask their staff members to email a summary which includes the need and goals of the legislation, along with the name of the legislative staff member who is assigned to the bill or bills of interest.
That staff member will most likely serve as the contact person to provide all updates on specific legislation of interest to inquiring individuals.
Also, the Texas Legislature maintains a comprehensive website, titled Texas Legislature Online, that allows the public to closely monitor all legislative activities. That website is accessible online at https://capitol.texas.gov.
It is recommended that individuals who contact their lawmakers ask the legislative staff to help guide them on the effective use of the website Texas Legislature Online.
REP. TERRY CANALES
HOUSE DISTRICT 40
HOUSE BILL 34
Relating to presumptive coverage for first responders that contract COVID-19.
HOUSE BILL 47
Relating to the exemption of disinfectant cleaning supplies and certain face masks and disposable gloves from sales and use taxes for a limited period.
HOUSE BILL 109
Relating to the expunction of arrest records and files relating to certain criminal offenses.
HOUSE BILL 132
Relating to criminal asset forfeiture proceedings.
HOUSE BILL 174
Relating to the exemption of textbooks purchased, used, or consumer by university and college students from sales and use taxes for limited periods.
HOUSE BILL 189
Relating to severance payments to a superintendent or administrator serving as an educational leader and chief executive officer of an open-enrollment charter school.
HOUSE BILL 212
Relating to the inclusion of a magistrate’s name on certain signed orders.
HOUSE BILL 267
Relating to the creation and promulgation of certain standard forms for statewide use in criminal actions.
HOUSE BILL 278
Relating to the appointment of an individual to a school district board of managers by the commissioner of education.
HOUSE BILL 344
Relating to the payment of gratuities to certain employees.
HOUSE BILL 439
Relating to the criminal penalties for possession or delivery of marihuana and marihuana concentrate.
HOUSE BILL 637
Relating to certain claims for benefits, compensation, or assistance by certain public safety employees and survivors of certain public safety employees.
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION 13
Proposing a constitutional amendment to authorize and regulate the possession, cultivation, and sale of cannabis.
A joint resolution is a type of legislative measure that requires adoption by both chambers of the legislature but does not require action by the governor. A joint resolution is used to propose amendments to the Texas Constitution, ratify amendments to the U.S. Constitution, or request a constitutional convention to propose amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Before becoming effective, the provisions of joint resolutions proposing amendments to the Texas Constitution must be approved by the voters of Texas.
A constitutional amendment is a change to the state constitution. A constitutional amendment is proposed by the legislature in the form of a joint resolution that must be adopted by both chambers of the legislature by a two-thirds vote and be approved by a majority of the voters to become effective.
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION 18
Proposing a constitutional amendment authorizing certain judges to become candidates for another office without automatically resigning from the office already held.
REP. R.D. “BOBBY” GUERRA
HOUSE DISTRICT 41
HOUSE BILL 724
Relating to voter registration application forms in high schools.
HOUSE BILL 745
Relating to the establishment of telehealth programs by public schools.
HOUSE BILL 784
Relating to a local agreement with the Department of State Health Services to improve laboratory capabilities in border counties.
HOUSE BILL 881
Relating to the duration of laboratory support for testing of vector-borne infectious diseases in border counties.
SEN. JUAN “CHUY” HINOJOSA
SENATE DISTRICT 20
PH: (512) 463-0120
SENATE BILL 273
Relating to the expiration of the health care provider participation program administered and operated by the Nueces County Hospital District.
SENATE BILL 274
Relating to state recognition of the Lipan Apache Tribe of Texas.
SENATE BILL 275
Relating to the use of an entity name that falsely implies governmental affiliation.
SENATE BILL 276
Relating to the notice of an infectious disease occurring in an animal shelter and the quarantine of certain infectious animals at the shelter.
SENATE BILL 277
Relating to health benefit plan coverage of epinephrine auto-injectors for certain individuals.
SENATE BILL 278
Relating to the administration of navigation districts.
SENATE BILL 279
Relating to the inclusion of suicide prevention information on certain student identification cards issued by a public school or public institution of higher education.
SENATE BILL 280
Relating to the composition and duties of the capital and forensic writs committee.
SENATE BILL 281
Relating to the use of hypnotically induced testimony in a criminal trial.
SENATE BILL 299
Relating to the determination of prescription drug reimbursement amounts under the Medicaid vendor drug program.
SENATE BILL 300
Relating to the eligibility for the exemption from ad valorem taxation of the residence homestead of the surviving spouse of certain first responders.
SENATE BILL 301
Relating to requiring the corroboration of certain testimony in a criminal case involved a controlled substance.
SENATE BILL 302
Relating to the administration of the Jobs and Education for Texans (JET) Grant Program.
EDINBURG AND THE TEXAS MUNICIPAL LEAGUE
The Texas Municipal League, of which the City of Edinburg is a member, is a government sector lobbying association in Texas, according to Ballotpedia. The Texas Municipal League was founded in 1913 and its mission is “to serve the needs and advocate the interests of its members”. It is a 501(c)(4)organization.
However, the Texas Municipal League does not lobby on legislation that is specifically designed for one city, which leaves local governments statewide to work on their own issues – including matters that compete against the self-interests of other communities.
Edinburg, McAllen, Mission, Pharr, Harlingen, and Brownsville usually develop their own state legislative agendas.
What follows is a published explanation by the leadership of the Texas Municipal League are the views of the organization’s leadership on the first series of proposed state laws that could directly affect its more than 1,650 members.
Updates on key city-related bills and their fate during the regular session are available here.
H.B. 749 (Middleton) – Community Advocacy
House Bill (H.B.) 744 would:
• Prohibit a political subdivision from spending public funds to hire an individual required to register as a lobbyist for the purpose of lobbying a member of the Texas Legislature, or pay a nonprofit state association or organization that primarily represents political subdivisions; and hires or contracts with an individual required to register as a lobbyist;
• Provide that if a political subdivision engages in activity prohibited by above, a taxpayer or resident of the political subdivision is entitled to injunctive relief to prevent any further prohibited activity or any further payments of public funds; and
• Provide that a taxpayer or resident who prevails in an action under above is entitled to recover reasonable attorney’s fees and costs from the political subdivision. (Companion bill is Senate Bill 234 by Hall.)
A companion bill is a bill filed in one chamber that is identical or very similar to a bill filed in the opposite chamber.
A chamber is the place in which the Senate or House of Representatives meets.
Companion bills are used to expedite passage, as they provide a means for committee consideration of a measure to occur in both chambers simultaneously. A companion bill that has passed one chamber can then be substituted for the companion bill in the opposite chamber.
H.B. 233 (Murr) – Building Materials and Methods
House Bill (H.B.) 233 would provide that the prohibition on city regulation of building products, materials, or methods passed by House Bill 2439 in 2019 does not apply to a city with a population of less than 25,000.
H.B. 425 (K. King) – Rural Broadband
House Bill (H.B.) 435would, among other things:
• Create a rural broadband service program; and
• Require the Public Utility Commission to provide financial assistance from the universal service fund for broadband service providers who elect to participate in the rural broadband service program for the purpose of offering retail broadband service in underserved rural areas of the state at rates comparable to the benchmark rates established by the Federal Communications Commission.
S.B. 154 (Perry) – Broadband Office
Senate Bill (S.B.) 154 would, among other things:
• Establish the broadband office within the Texas Public Utility Commission to:
• Facilitate and coordinate the efforts of state agencies and local units of government, including regional planning commissions, in connection with the planning and deployment of broadband projects;
• Develop broadband investment and deployment strategies for rural communities and other areas of this state that are underserved and unserved with respect to broadband;
• Promote and coordinate public sector and private sector broadband solutions in support of statewide broadband development goals;
• Assist and promote local and regional broadband planning;
• Pursue and obtain federal sources of broadband funding;
• Develop a framework to measure broadband access in and designate areas of this state that are underserved and unserved with respect to broadband;
• Develop statewide goals for broadband deployment in rural communities and other underserved and unserved areas;
• Manage and award funds allocated to the broadband office for broadband projects;
• Serve as an information clearinghouse in relation to federal programs providing assistance to local entities with respect to broadband; and
• Provide that the broadband office shall establish a program to provide grants to private sector broadband providers for projects to provide broadband service in an unserved area.
REP. JARED PATTERSON, R-FRISCO, TO SERVE AS A BOARD MEMBER FOR THE TEXAS CONSERVATIVE COALITION
Rep. Jared Patterson, R-Frisco, has been elected to serve as a board member for a two-year term for the Texas Conservative Coalition (TCC), an organization committed to the implementation of conservative public policies in state government. Patterson was recognized as a Courageous Conservative by the TCC following the 86th Texas Legislature.
As a successful, state-based think tank, TCC constructs their conservative policies upon four principles: limited government, individual liberty, free enterprise, and traditional values. TCC is dedicated to providing research-based evidence proving the effectiveness of conservative policies, and in doing so, is also committed to educating and engaging with state leaders through research reports, task forces, and policy summits.
“TCC has proven to be instrumental to state government and legislators since its inception in 1985. Like many of my colleagues, I am a staunch believer in their foundational principles and utilize their expertise when making policy decisions. As a 2019 TCC Courageous Conservative Award recipient due to my work in the 86th Legislative Session,” Patterson said. “I am honored to have been elected to serve in this capacity and am looking forward to joining other elected officials, private sector experts, and various stakeholders as a member of TCC’s Board of Directors.”
Patterson represents House District 106, which encompasses the eastern portion of Denton County.
During the 86th Legislative Session in 2019, Patterson authored and passed initiatives in policy areas such as transportation, education, property taxes, as well as eliminated unnecessary and burdensome government regulations.
For the current 87th Texas Legislative Session, Patterson serves on the House Committees on Business & Industry, Urban Affairs, and Resolutions Calendars. He also serves on the House Interim Study Committee on Aggregate Production Operations, and the Texas Cybersecurity Council.
His family resides in Frisco.
(For more on this and other Texas legislative news stories which affect the Rio Grande Valley metropolitan region, please log on to Titans of the Texas Legislature (TitansoftheTexasLegislature.com)