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 https://www.tml.org/p/AmicusBriefUpdate_101617.pdf.
Governmental Immunity: City of Waco v. Citizens to Save Lake Waco, No. 10-17-00202-CV, in the Tenth Court of Appeals of Texas. TML and TCAA filed an amicus brief in support of the City of Waco. Citizens to Save Lake Waco filed suit against the City of Waco for breaching a settlement agreement regarding the placement of a city landfill. The city filed a plea to the jurisdiction on the basis that it is immune from suit under the doctrine of governmental immunity. The district court denied the city’s plea, and the city filed this appeal. Our brief argued that the City of Waco is immune from the breach of contract claim. Specifically, (1) failure for the city to raise the issue of immunity during the trial proceeding before entering into the settlement agreement does not waive a city’s governmental immunity; and (2) filing a permit application with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality does not waive a city’s governmental immunity. The brief was filed October 9, 2017.
Billboard Height: Texas Department of Transportation Proposed Commercial Sign Rules – Section 21.189, Billboard Height. TML filed comments in this proposed rulemaking due to concerns with a specific provision that is being enacted pursuant to Senate Bill 312, the 2017 Texas Department of Transportation “sunset bill.” The proposed rules and explanations can be read to allow all billboards in existence on March 1, 2017, to be raised as high as 85 feet in height. As Senators Nichols and Watson state in their comment letter, that was not their intent with the passage of S.B. 312. In fact, they discussed the issue on the Senate floor and entered that discussion into the Senate journal as a statement of intent. The League opposes any language that could be read to increase the height of an existing sign without appropriate regulatory oversight and suggests a new subsection to clarify that a city ordinance can impose more stringent provisions than the rules within that city or its extraterritorial jurisdiction. The comments were submitted on September 24, 2017.