TCAA, in conjunction with the Texas Municipal League, files amicus briefs and comments in support of cities on many issues. To keep up to date on the status of these issues, go to http://www.tml.org/p/amicusBriefUpdate_011517.pdf.
Plastic Bag Ban: City of Laredo v. Laredo Merchants Assoc., No. 16-0748, in the Texas Supreme Court. In an opinion issued August 2016, the Fourth Court of Appeals struck down the City of Laredo’s plastic bag ban ordinance, concluding that it is preempted by state law. The city filed a petition for review with the Texas Supreme Court. Texas Municipal League (TML) and Texas City Attorneys Association (TCAA) urged the Court to grant the city’s petition arguing that the intermediate appellate court misapplied state preemption law and explaining the policy and other consequences of judicial preemption. TML and TCAA also argued that the lower court’s opinion fails to acknowledge the legislature’s express authorization for some local control in the statute at issue (Section 361.0961, Texas Health & Safety Code). Finally, TML and TCAA explained that controversy over the scope and meaning of Section 361.0961 has been raised by plaintiffs in a context other than plastic bag regulation. The brief was filed on December 30, 2016.
Electric Transmission Line Routing: Application of LCRA Transmission Services Corporation to Amend its Certificate of Convenience and Necessity for the Proposed Leander to Round Rock 138-Kv Transmission Line in Williamson County; PUC Docket No. 45866. This application relates to the location of a major electric transmission line. The Texas Municipal League submitted comments on what constitutes “community values.” TML argued that the Public Utility Commission need not make the determination largely on questionnaires and emails sent only to those directly in the path of proposed transmission lines. Those people can’t be representative of an entire city and its extraterritorial jurisdiction. Rather, the Commission should rely on the comprehensive planning processes of the affected cities. The cities of Cedar Park, Leander, and Round Rock have pre-prepared explanations of community values in the form of their comprehensive plans, and those plans should form the basis of the Commission’s decisions. The comment was filed on December 19, 2016.