Misleading the public with the message that tax dollars are being wasted on associations and the hiring of legal representation.
Some legislators and private interest lobbyists are going to attempt to pass laws to silence local officials during the next session. Most of our large cities hire lobbyists to keep them informed on the effects of proposed bills on local decision-making. Our counties and smaller cities are represented by nonprofit associations and are being caught up in the mix. The legislative interests of the large cities have been, and always will be, greater than rural Texas, but the needs of other citizens must also be met. Simply put, the proposed legislation does not single out lobbyists for large cities, as this would be viewed unfair and too controversial – a fight that cannot be won. Thus, the private interests lump all local governments into the proposed legislation.
Therefore, it is of utmost urgency that we county officials, especially rural, visit with our state representatives and senators to let them know that the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas hires legal counsel to analyze and advise on how decisions made in Austin will impact counties. The Texas Association of Counties analyzes, monitors, and serves all county officials using the knowledge collected by hired representation, as do the Texas Municipal League, the Texas Association of School Boards, the Conference of Urban Counties, and other associations that serve not only cities, schools, and counties, but also elected state officials. The irony of this proposed silencing legislation is that it would impose a double standard, limiting only local governments and continuing the payments to the lobbyists in Washington, D.C., who work for our state governor and state agencies, and are funded by tax dollars.
There must be a solution that preserves the ability of local officials to represent the views and needs of their local citizens.
Work collectively with your local representation to get this message out.