A Bill Quietly Moving Through The Texas Legislature Would Affect City Growth

“This would be a major change to state laws as to how cities could grow,” San Antonio Express-News Reporter Vianna Davila says.

By Laura RiceMay 18, 2017 1:11 pm

Each legislative session, there are bills that grab the spotlight and then those that move through far more quietly, but still have the potential to affect a lot of lives. That may be the case this session for Senate Bill 715.

In fact, one Austin newspaper calls it the “biggest threat” to that city. So why isn’t this bill getting more attention? Well, it’s topic isn’t what most would consider stimulating. It’s about how cities broaden their limits using annexation.

One of the Texas cities that could be most affected is San Antonio. Vianna Davila covers city government and growth for the San Antonio Express-News.

She says the bill would essentially reform the annexation laws that are already in place.

“What it would do is end involuntary annexation,” Davila says. “And what that allows is large cities like San Antonio, like Austin, to do these pretty massive annexations of unincorporated parts of the county. And they can basically do that without the consent of  the residents that live in those places. There are various steps that cities have to take before they can do that – I don’t want to make it sound like it can happen overnight — but what this would basically say is residents in those areas would have a say.”

Many Texas city officials and the Texas Municipal League are against the bill.

“They’re basically saying, ‘this is an economic tool that allows cities to ensure their financial well-being and manage growth,'” Davila says.