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How New Bills Will Affect Cities

By: Amanda Humes
By: Amanda Humes

Thousands of bills shuffled through the Texas Legislative session and city officials tried to keep a close eye on the ones that would impact local government.

" This was an aggressive session. There were around 400 bills that were potentially damaging to cities," said Don Fazzino, College Station's manager of special projects and legislative affairs.

He says one bill that would have taken away money from the city is Senate Bill 408. An amendment on that bill called for the elimination of local cable franchises and transferring cable control and money to the state.

" It would have had a devastating impact on us. Not only financially, but lack of control over what took place in our own rights of way," said Mary Lynne Stratta, Bryan's city secretary. She has years of experience with legislative bills.

Governor Perry is expected to sign the bill without the amendment which keeps control in the hands of cities.

Stratta says one new legislative change will hit you in your wallet when you're hit with a ticket.

" There's some legislation that did pass that adds on more fines and charges to tickets. When people are issued citations in the city and you go to municipal court, all that revenue is going to the state," said Stratta.

There are also lots of election related bills that passed.

" They took away the February and September dates. We'll be restricted to holding all of our elections to May and November and moving it to the second Saturday in May from the first Saturday in May," said Stratta.

But with all the changes, both Bryan and College Station officials say Texas cities didn't get too much of a scare this legislative session.

" Overall this session was very difficult for the cities, but we faired very well when it was over and I think it was a session that we can all live with," said Fazzino.


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