AUSTIN – State Senator Donna Campbell filed Senate Bill 715 on Thursday, also known as the Texas Annexation Reform Act. The bill protects property owners from involuntary annexation and proposes needed reforms to the municipal annexation process in Texas. SB 715 is joint authored by Senators Birdwell, Bettencourt, Creighton, Schwertner, and Buckingham.
“It is simply wrong to force citizens who live outside the jurisdiction of a city to be absorbed as an exercise in government expansion designed to increase a city’s tax base,” Senator Campbell stated. “The Texas Annexation Reform Act protects property owners from forced annexation and gives residents a greater say in what should be a more collaborative process.”
The Texas Annexation Reform Act makes the municipal annexation process more democratic by requiring the consent of the majority of registered voters in a proposed area for annexation and promoting greater communication between cities and residents to emphasize full stakeholder involvement. It also streamlines the process for land owners requesting to be annexed, cutting costs and eliminating bureaucratic red tape.
Key provisions of SB 715 include:
- Ends involuntary annexation so that residents living in the Extraterritorial Jurisdiction of a city have a greater say in the annexation process.
- Requires consent of the majority of property owners – by petition if the population is under 200 or by an election if the population is over 200 – in order for a city or municipality to have the authority to annex the area.
- Streamlines the voluntary annexation process to a matter of weeks when owners and municipalities can agree in writing on the provision of services.
- Repeals limited purpose annexation, whereby regulations are imposed on residents of the ETJ without representation and without receiving any city services.
“Under current law, some cities are annexing areas simply to boost their tax base while ignoring poorer areas in desperate need of services. Other areas are annexed for limited purposes, meaning residents must adhere to ordinances and regulations despite living outside the city and having no elected representation. This bill prevents such abuses of power,” said Sen. Campbell.