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A Bill Quietly Moving Through The Texas Legislature Would Affect City Growth

From Texas Standard:

Each legislative session, there are bills that grab the spotlight and then those that move through far more quietly, but still have the potential to affect a lot of lives. That may be the case this session for Senate Bill 715.


In fact, one Austin newspaper calls it the "biggest threat" to that city. So why isn't this bill getting more attention? Well, it's a topic that most wouldn't consider stimulating. It's about how cities grow through annexation.

One of the Texas cities that could be most affected is San Antonio. Vianna Davila, who covers city government and growth for the San Antonio Express-News, says the bill would essentially reform the annexation laws that are already in place.

"What it would do is end involuntary annexation," Davila says. "And what that allows is large cities like San Antonio, like Austin, to do these pretty massive annexations of unincorporated parts of the county. And they can basically do that without the consent of  the residents that live in those places. There are various steps that cities have to take before they can do that – I don't want to make it sound like it can happen overnight -- but what this would basically say is residents in those areas would have a say."

Many Texas city officials and the Texas Municipal League are against the bill.

"They're basically saying, 'This is an economic tool that allows cities to ensure their financial well-being and manage growth,'" Davila says.

Laura first joined the KUT team in April 2012. She now works for the statewide program Texas Standard as a reporter and producer. Laura came to KUT from the world of television news. She has worn many different hats as an anchor, reporter and producer at TV stations in Austin, Amarillo and Toledo, OH. Laura is a proud graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, a triathlete and enjoys travel, film and a good beer. She enjoys spending time with her husband and pets.
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