In April, TPPF’s James Quintero testified before the Senate Committee on Local Government in support of Senate Bill 1168, a bill to prohibit cities from imposing fees and fines in the extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ) of an area that has either dis-annexed  or rejected an annexation attempt at the ballot box. The bill has been approved by the full Texas Senate and sent to the Texas House.

Below are Quintero’s prepared remarks delivered orally to the committee.

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee—

My name is James Quintero and I represent the Texas Public Policy Foundation. I rise to support Senate Bill 1168.

In 2017, the Texas Legislature began to right a terrible wrong by eliminating forced annexation in large urban counties. In 2019, the Legislature ended the practice entirely, thereby wiping away a policy that enabled a type of taxation without representation.

Today, I want to encourage lawmakers to take the next step and address regulation without representation.

Right now, we have a system in place that allows cities to impose regulations and assess fines on residents of the ETJ without their consent. Worse, the system permits these infringements even when voters have made it known that they don’t want to be a part of the city.

This is wrong and it’s inconsistent with our foundational documents.

Included in our U.S. and Texas Constitutions are citizen guarantees to a Republican form of government. In fact, part of the promise from the Texas Constitution is even inscribed on the exterior of the building right next door. It reads:

All political is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority, and instituted for their benefit.

I want to implore the body today to make municipal regulation in the ETJ more consistent with this guarantee and pass SB 1168.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to answering any questions that you may have.