FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 04/08/2019
State Representative Wray Supports King's HB 347 to Stop Forced Annexation in Texas
(Austin, TX) - State Representative John Wray (Waxahachie) Co-authored and voted "yea" on HB 347. The bill, filed by Representative Phil King (Weatherford) would eliminate the "tiered" annexation system for Texas counties, making all counties equal for purposes of municipal annexation law.
"Legislating takes teamwork, and I am happy to support a great bill by my colleague, Representative King. Annexation is a major topic in Ellis County, and this bill directly addresses that," said Wray.
Currently, counties are divided into "Tier 1" and "Tier 2" status. Tier 2 counties (over 500,000) require an election before a municipality can annex an unincorporated area. Tier 1 counties (under 500,000) do not, unless the county holds an election to move to Tier 2.
HB 347 would make all counties in Texas the same for purposes of annexation. The effect would be that before a municipality in Texas can annex an area, they must hold an election and the area to be annexed is given the opportunity to choose whether or not to be annexed.
"The bill gives those living in the County a say in what taxes they are willing to pay, what land use restrictions they are willing to live under, and what government is going to be over them. These are the choices they made when the decided to live there, and this bill will make sure that their choice is respected," said Wray.
Under the current law, a tier 1 county may hold an election to change to tier 2 status. Ellis County plans to hold an election for this purpose on May 4. "It is still very important that the citizens in Ellis County head to the polls and cast their vote. While HB 347 has cleared a major hurdle, anything can happen in the legislative session, and it would be disastrous if folks skipped the election, and something happened that HB 347 didn't pass. So it is important that their voice is heard on May 4," said Wray.
HB 347 now heads to the Texas Senate. Upon passing the upper chamber, it will be sent to the Governor's desk for a signature before becoming law.
Contact: Benjamin Williams