May 8, 2020, Number 19
Download full .pdf version here: TML Legislative Update 19
Volunteer to Develop the TML Legislative Program
Texas Municipal League (TML) advocacy efforts are based on a “legislative program” that is developed by member city officials. The program is essential to the legitimacy of the League’s advocacy efforts. To develop the program, city officials provide input in primarily two ways.
First, a member city, TML region, or TML affiliate may submit a resolution for consideration at the League’s annual conference. At the 2020 annual conference, those resolutions will be considered at the League’s annual business meeting. The business meeting consists of one representative from each city, designated by that city prior to the meeting.
Second, member city officials can participate in a policy committee process during each interim. This year, recommendations will come from the participants in the League’s “Municipal Policy Summit.” The Summit will meet virtually through Zoom videoconference on August 3-4, 2020. It will be an intensive, two-day workshop during which League staff will brief the participants on the myriad legislative issues faced by cities. If a delegate has suggested changes to the League’s legislative program, the summit membership will make recommendations on those. The Summit’s recommendations will be in the form of a resolution that is submitted for consideration at the 2020 business meeting mentioned above.
The process is about to start in earnest, and TML President Eddie Daffern, Mayor of the City of Staples, is seeking volunteers to provide input. No particular expertise is needed. Volunteers need only have a willingness to learn and the ability to participate in the Municipal Policy Summit using Zoom.
If you have questions or would like to volunteer for service on a legislative committee, please email JJ Rocha, TML Legislative and Grassroots Manager, no later than May 14, 2020.
Due to technical and other considerations, not all those who apply will be appointed to a committee, but will certainly be considered for future volunteer opportunities.
2020 City Tax and Budget Deadline Memos Now Available
Every year, TML posts a memo containing the annual calendar deadlines for the budget adoption and tax rate setting process. Following the passage of Senate Bill 2 in 2019, the process for 2020 has changed significantly.
Because the tax rate adoption procedure now varies depending on the size of the city, two memos are available this year: one for cities under 30,000 population, and the other for cities with 30,000 population or more. Further, within each document, there are two sets of deadlines depending on whether the city’s adopted tax rate will exceed the voter-approval tax rate or not.
Whatever the case may be, the deadlines in the document represent the last possible dates for a city to take certain actions related to the budget or tax rate in 2020. Cities should act well in advance of the deadlines in the calendar, if possible.
For more detailed information about S.B. 2, city officials are encouraged to read the S.B. 2 Explanatory Q&A posted on the TML website. Those with questions about S.B. 2 or the budget and tax rate setting process can purchase a previously-recorded webinar on the bill and are encouraged to contact Bill Longley, TML Legislative Counsel, at email@example.com.
Texas Department of Information Resources:
What You Need to Know about CyberSecurity Training
The Texas Department of Information Resources asked that the League share the following information:
The 86th Legislature passed House Bill 3834, which requires state and local government employees to annually complete a certified cybersecurity training and to report compliance to DIR. Join us for a virtual presentation at 10:00 a.m. on May 15, 2020, where we will review the requirements for state and local government organizations and answer any questions.
This webinar/virtual town hall is geared toward Texas state and local government organizations, including municipalities, school districts, junior colleges and public universities.
DIR is continually updating our H.B. 3834 web page with information and FAQs.
City officials with questions should contact DIR at TxTrainingCert@dir.texas.gov.
Working from Home?
Knock out Your Mandated Cybersecurity Training
Update: DIR Online Compliance Form Now Available
As promised, the Texas Municipal League Intergovernmental Risk Pool (TML IRP) has released a free cybersecurity training program, including an online video. TML IRP did so in response to a new state law mandating that most city officials and employees complete cybersecurity training by June 14, 2020, and annually thereafter.
The Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) has also certified other programs, with more information available on the agency’s cybersecurity awareness training certification web page.
DIR has launched an online tool called Texas by Texas (TxT) to help local governments track compliance. By using TxT, city employees can self-report their training compliance, and DIR will later send a detailed report from the TxT application to each city verifying their compliance. Cities that wish to use TxT for employee self-reporting must fill out the TxT Self Reporting Form.
If the city chooses not to use TxT, DIR has created an acknowledgement form to document compliance. Cities are not required to use either application and can track their compliance in any method they chose. Cities will not submit training records or employee certificates of completion to DIR. Cities also do not have to report their audits to DIR. Cities should retain documentation with their training and auditing records.
City officials and employees who have completed the training requirement can also individually certify their training compliance here. The compliance form can be submitted by whomever the local government authorizes. The authorized individual submitting the form will need access to their email account as they will be required to enter a confirmation code to finalize submission. The form is due by June 15, 2020.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates
The Texas Municipal League is open for business. The building is closed to all but essential personnel and most staff is working remotely, but the League remains open for business and is fully ready to serve. Cities are encouraged to call or email for legal assistance, help with ordinances, or for general advice or assistance. Let us know how we can assist you and your city.
Call TML staff at 512-231-7400, or email Scott Houston for legal assistance at SHouston@tml.org; Rachael Pitts for membership support at RPitts@tml.org; and the training team for questions about conferences and workshops at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The League has prepared a coronavirus clearinghouse web page to keep cities updated. In addition, everyone who receives the Legislative Update should receive a daily email update each afternoon with information on new developments. The daily email updates will be our primary means of communication during the pandemic. Those emails are being archived chronologically as well as by subject matter.
TML member cities may use the material herein for any purpose. No other person or entity may reproduce, duplicate, or distribute any part of this document without the written authorization of the Texas Municipal League.