Gov. Abbott today signed the bill reforming the state's municipal annexation laws, and ending the tradition of 'annexation without representation,' News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
The bill will require that cities first obtain the approval of people who live in an area with more than 200 residents before that area is annexed into the city.
"In Texas, of all places, property rights matter," the Governor said in his signing statement. "Residents from across the state that have expressed their concerns about feeling abused by the annexation process have had their voices heard."
The bill ends the ability of a City Council to order areas in a city's Extra Territorial Jurisdiction to be annexed into the city simply by Council vote.
"I'm proud to sign legislation ending forced annexation practices, which is nothing more than a form of taxation without representation, and I thank the Legislature for their attention to this important issue during the special session."
Supporters of the bill say when residents have no say whether to be annexed into a city, it forces them to pay taxes they had no voice in setting and be governed by people they didn't elect, which is antithetical to democracy.
The City of San Antonio argued that the current system is representation without taxation, pointing out that the vast majority of people who live in areas that are marked for annexation work, shop, and attend recreational events in the City, but don't pay the property taxes needed to fund the municipal services they use.
The compromise bill, which was passed by the Legislature Sunday night, does allow the City of San Antonio to regulate municipal development within a five mile 'buffer zone' around military bases, to make sure development does not threaten the mission of the facility.
PHOTO COURTESY: OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR