A Texas State Representative recently testified against a city’s plan to steamroll the property rights of ninety-eight North Texas landowners.
State Rep. Pat Fallon (R-Little Elm) called the City of McKinney’s land grab a move that undermines Texans’ property rights. It also would be illegal under a new law passed by Fallon and other state lawmakers – Senate Bill 6 – a measure that does not go into effect until December 1, 2017.
Current law allows cities to forcibly expand their borders, and impose regulations and taxes on the newly annexed landowners, even if they object. SB 6 would require some cities to first obtain the property owners’ approval. Fallon respectfully called out city officials for pushing forward with forced annexation proceedings before the new law takes effect in December. He stated:
“The decision you are making tonight is about property rights. And nothing is more sacrosanct to an American than property rights. Life, liberty, and property: These are rights that citizens have.”
Fallon rejected the false notion that state lawmakers intended to allow cities time to initiate land grabs before the new law takes effect. He explained that, according to House rules, new laws do not take immediate effect unless they garner support from two-thirds of House members.
Laws that do not, such as SB 6, don’t become law until 91 days after lawmakers adjourn. City officials ignored the plea of Fallon and a crowded room of angry citizens, voting 4-3 to move forward with forced annexation proceedings.
If the plans are fully executed, the newly annexed property owners who currently reside outside the city’s boundaries – known as the extra-territorial jurisdiction (ETJ) – would be forced to follow the city’s regulations and pay its taxes. While SB 6 does not provide protections to every landowner in the Lone Star State, it would apply to McKinney’s land grab, and is a critical first step towards the full restoration of Texans’ property rights.
Newly elected Mayor George Fuller joined councilmembers Rainey Rogers, La’Shadion Shemwell, and Tracy Rath in support of the land grab. Charlie Philips, Chuck Branch, and Scott Elliott opposed the measure.