In May, you surveyed whether mayors “believe that Fourth of
July celebrations (e.g., parades, fireworks shows, etc.) should be allowed
with appropriate virus-prevention protocols.” With COVID-19 cases on the
rise, and a change in the governor’s executive order and guidance giving
cities more authority over outdoor gatherings, will you do another survey to
help us decide how to handle the 4th?”
Absolutely. Again, this survey is for mayors only: Please
take this revised survey (consisting of four “yes or no”
This survey will be open for a very limited time: Until
1:00 p.m. tomorrow (July 1). We will report the results in
When we compiled survey results in May, 95 mayors responded
(the League has 1,161 member cities), from cities with a population ranging
from 192-118,000. Seventy-seven percent voted in favor of allowing
Fourth of July celebrations, with appropriate virus-prevention
protocols. Of course, conditions in some areas of the state are now much
In response to the surge in cases, the governor, in Executive Order GA-28 and his Open Texas guidance, prohibits outdoor gatherings in
excess of 100 people. However, a mayor can approve a larger gathering in a
city’s limits, and such approval can be made subject to certain conditions or
restrictions. (The conditions can include a face mask requirement, but
no penalty can be imposed on an individual for not wearing one.) That’s
why we are doing another survey.
Did the governor hold a press conference in North Texas
yesterday (June 29)?
League staff had heard a rumor that he might be doing so, but
it was actually just a brief interview on the local Austin NBC
What are the results of TML’s mid-year Fiscal Conditions
Each year, TML conducts a fiscal conditions survey of its
member cities. With an unexpected public health crisis and an economic
recession, most cities will have to make difficult decisions over the next
coming months. This is why TML created a special-edition, mid-year fiscal
conditions survey to help cities navigate the upcoming budget planning
process. With 552 cities responding, the survey demonstrates that the
Coronavirus pandemic has impacted cities significantly.
The survey reinforces the notion that no two Texas cities are
identical, especially in a crisis. Cities may respond differently to
economic conditions and public health emergencies, and that is why the
legislature should not impose one-size-fits-all mandates or revenue
restrictions on cities. City officials are engaged with residents every day
and are the most familiar with local issues. They must have the flexibility
to respond to fluctuations in revenue sources and to the different levels of
services that city taxpayers demand.
The full results are on the TML website at https://www.tml.org/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/172.
What is the status of the next round of federal stimulus?
The Senate Finance Committee is currently preparing the next
federal stimulus package for workers, businesses, states, and local
governments, and the Senate is expected to consider the measure after
Congress returns from break on July 20. Interested city officials should use
the time to continue visiting with Senators Cornyn and Cruz about the unique
circumstances in your city. Based on conversations and negotiations happening
at the federal level, you may want to emphasize that cities need the
-additional federal aid for essential critical services,
planned capital expenditures, and keeping workforce employed;
-fair and direct funding allocations to each and every local
government regardless of population size;
-equal funding overall for municipal governments and county
-maximum flexibility in both new funds and CARES Act funds to
address lost revenue and budget consequences of the pandemic.
Public and private sector employers and associations recently
sent a letter urging Congress to provide additional revenue to
state and cities for pandemic recovery purposes.
What’s the latest on the lawsuit brought by bars against the
governor and TABC for shutting them down?
The Texas Bar and Nightclub Alliance coordinated a lawsuit by
several bars against the governor and the Texas Alcoholic Beverage
Commission. Regardless of one’s position on the issue, the league
obtained a copy of the pleadings, and they are pretty
lame. Why? One of the primary claims is this:
“Defendants are Violating Article XI, § 5 of the Texas
Article XI, § 5 of the Texas Constitution provides that: [N]o
charter or any ordinance passed under said charter shall contain any
provision inconsistent with the Constitution of the State, or of the general
laws enacted by the Legislature of this State. Tex. Const. article XI, § 5.
Governor Abbott’s Order attempts to shut down Plaintiffs’ businesses making
it inconsistent with the “Constitution of the State.” TEX. CONST. article XI,
The lawsuit is against the governor and TABC. The
provision above is related to the authority of a home rule city. It has
nothing to do with what the governor or a state agency has done.
Has another virus-related attorney general opinion been
Yes, this one (RQ-0360-KP) asks about the authority of the Metropolitan
Transit Authority of Harris County to prohibit service and access to its transit
authority system to a person who refuses to comply with a rule requiring
facial coverings. The League will report on the outcome when the opinion
Where can I find archived issues of the TML Coronavirus
TML Coronavirus Updates are archived by date here and by subject here.