Legislators in both chambers of the Texas Legislature have refiled bills from last session that would prohibit local governments and school districts from advocating for community interests, from hiring consultants to represent them when local officials aren’t present and from joining organizations that hire lobbyists:
Irving officials have a long history of working in partnership with state government. Legislation that prohibits the city or its advocates from engaging the legislature or state agencies would allow many issues to be decided in Austin without input from the community.
The City of Irving operates a legislative program intended to enhance services provided to Irving residents and to create efficiencies in city programs. Recently, that effort has frequently involved resisting efforts by state legislators that would pre-empt the ability of the City Council to decide what measures are in the best interests of Irving residents and businesses.
Testimony by council members or city staff at committee meetings, conversations with legislators and legislative staff to explain issues are important to explain the impact of legislative proposals and agency rules on local government.
Those efforts are aided by consultants who have significant contacts with legislative leaders outside of North Texas – a critical link, as legislation filed by representatives from other areas still affect the City of Irving. Assistance also comes from trade organizations, such as the Texas Municipal League, which monitors and analyzes proposed laws and agency rules for their impact on local government.
Over the years, the city and its lobby team has worked with legislators and agencies on a variety of issues that affect Irving residents. These include:
Despite efforts, 2019 was a year in which several bills passed that affect city development in a negative way. One dictated that city officials have minimal ability to maintain neighborhood appearance when it comes to construction materials used in buildings. Another constricted development processes by limiting the time allowed to review development proposals, including notifying developers of potential defects in their plans and requiring corrections.
Read the letter, signed by Irving Mayor Rick Stopfer and several other Texas mayors, to the Senate State Affairs Committee shortly before an interim committee hearing in November.
To comment on this legislation, contact the Irving Legislative Delegation: