Tomorrow, the House Committee on Land & Resource Management will meet to discuss a slew of different bills, including two important disannexation bills—HBs 2561 and 3053.
For those who may not know, disannexation refers to a community’s right to separate from a city government when it is no longer being well-served. And if the hearing in the House goes well tomorrow, then people’s ability to exercise that right will become more robust.
In support of tomorrow’s bills, the Texas Public Policy Foundation has just published a new policy paper exploring the disannexation concept and how it might be reimagined to benefit different communities. Without going too much in-depth, the paper recommends making several changes but the main one is this: Let people hold an election on the question of disannexation, if they meet certain criteria.
This idea is predicated on the principle of self-determination. That is, that political power is inherent in the people and, as such, citizens have the right to determine their own political status. In furtherance of this, policymakers should rework the municipal disannexation process to better allow citizens to hold a referendum on whether to continue being governed by a particular city or whether to break free. In the case of the bills mentioned above, this opportunity would be extended to select communities—specifically those unfairly captured by involuntary annexation just prior to the legislature ending the practice in 2019.
The time is right for disannexation reform. It’s a long overdue change needed to help right the wrongs of the past and strengthen people’s right to choose who governs them. Let’s hope the Texas House feels the same tomorrow.