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Jul 06

July 6, 2020 TML Coronavirus Update #78

Posted on July 6, 2020 at 3:28 PM by TML Staff

Urgent Updates


May our mayor ask the state to provide legal counsel regarding the statewide mask mandate in Executive Order GA-29, or other disaster-related questions?


Yes. The Texas Disaster Act of 1975 provides that a mayor may request the attorney general to provide legal counsel to a city subject to a declared state of disaster "on issues related to disaster mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery applicable to the area subject to the disaster declaration" during the declared state of disaster and the 90-day period following expiration or termination of the disaster declaration. Tex. Gov’t Code § 418.193.


Mayors can email the attorney general’s disaster counsel using this webpage.


What do recent polls say about local government responses to COVID-19 in Texas?


According to June polling data released today by the University of Texas and the Texas Politics Project, Texans trust local governments to respond to the pandemic more than any other level of government. Though the overall approval numbers for all levels of government have decreased as the pandemic continues, local governments have maintained the highest level of approval throughout. As stated in a University of Texas blog post accompanying the release of the new polls: “Texans’ approval of governments’ handling of the pandemic decreased for all levels of government – federal, state, and local – though Texans overall still give the most positive ratings to local governments, as they did in April. State government saw the largest decrease in net approval in part due to a 15-point increase in those who disapproved.”


This data reinforces what city officials already knew – that Texans in communities all across this state are looking primarily to their local leaders for guidance during these difficult times. City officials should feel encouraged to continue to provide pragmatic and collaborative solutions to help guide the state’s recovery. The League will continue to do all that we can to assist in those efforts.


Is a local government operating under a local disaster declaration authorized to issue orders or adopt ordinances impacting the eviction process?


Senator Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe) recently requested an attorney general opinion to answer this question. Specifically, Senator Creighton submitted the following question: “[W]hether orders and ordinances adopted by local governmental entities pursuant to emergency declarations that have the effect of prohibiting, delaying, or restricting the eviction process as set forth in Chapter 24 of the Texas Property Code and the 500-510 rules of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure are valid under Texas law.”


Cities interested in submitting briefs on the opinion request may do so electronically by emailing briefs to Because Senator Creighton requested an expedited response, briefs should be submitted by no later than July 17, 2020.


Further Updates


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


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