Senator Bettencourt passes historical disannexation bill; No Regulation without Representation!
SB 2038 heads to Governor’s desk and allows residents and property owners to remove themselves from an ETJ through letter, petition, and election procedures
Austin, TX – Senator Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston) lauds passage of his bill out of the Texas Senate on Monday, May 8, 2023, and commends House Authors Representative Cecil Bell Jr. (R-Magnolia), Mike Schofield (R-Katy), et all, for the passage of SB 2038 through the Texas House on May 3, 2023. SB 2038 creates a universal disannexation process. It allows residents to exit municipal government ETJs through letter, petition, and election procedures. “No Regulation without Representation!” Stated Senator Bettencourt. “No government should be able to impose rules and regulations on your property when you have no say on the rules or regulations, no say on who’s creating the rules and regulations, and no pathway to remove yourself from it until today!” he added.
Originally, the State of Texas expanded the power of municipalities to enforce municipal rules and regulations “to promote and protect the general health, safety, and welfare of persons residing in and adjacent to the municipalities.” However, municipalities were given such broad authority to accomplish its original objective it opened a door for abuse. This culminated with involuntary annexation, a practice where a municipality would annex land around it without consent from the annexed residents. Residents would have to follow the rules and regulations of that municipality without the ability to vote on the rules, regulations, or elected officials making them.
Recently the Texas Legislature has made significant annexation reforms. In 2019, HB 347 was passed into law which eliminated forced annexation in Texas altogether. Now, if a municipality wants to annex land, they need voter approval.
“I worked on these issues with House Sponsor of SB 2038, Rep. Cecil Bell for years” said Joint Author of the companion House Bill 5217, Rep. Mike Schofield. “I echo the call of No Regulation without Representation!” He emphasized.
However, under current law there’s no straightforward process that empowers Texas residents to simply remove themselves from a municipality’s ETJ that they no longer believe serves them.
“SB 2038 empowers residents and property owners by allowing them to remove themselves from a municipality’s ETJ. SB 2038 will give residents and property owners a simple path to disannexation through letter, petition, and election procedures.” Senator Bettencourt stated.
“For a long time, property owners had ‘no way out’ but that ends now!” Concluded Senator Bettencourt. SB 2038 now heads to Governor Greg Abbott for his signature review. This is the first major piece of legislation passed by Senator Bettencourt in both chambers in 2023.