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Jun 30

June 30, 2020 TML Coronavirus Update #75

Posted on June 30, 2020 at 4:55 PM by TML Staff

Urgent Updates


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” questions).


This survey will be open for a very limited time: Until 1:00 p.m. tomorrow (July 1). We will report the results in tomorrow’s update.


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 different. 


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.



Further Updates


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 affiliate. 


What are the results of TML’s mid-year Fiscal Conditions Survey?


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


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 following:


-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 governments; and 

-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 Constitution

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, § 5.”


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 requested?


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 is issued.


Where can I find archived issues of the TML Coronavirus Updates?


TML Coronavirus Updates are archived by date here and by subject here.