Perhaps the most significant step to finally creating much needed transparency for local government and in keeping with our moder times, S.B. 943 has been the law in Texas since enactment in September of 2023. However, TMHA still hears from members who are unaware of this valuable resource that they should all be using.
The new law requires all local notices to be delivered to the Texas Press Association. These are all local government notices ranging from zoning changes, land use variances, massive overhauls of land use policies, eminent domain, nonconforming use/grandfathering, foreclosure sales notices, and much more.
Then the TPA publishes the local notices online, at no cost to the public, updates with new notices, and posts them in “searchable and sortable” formats.
The new system also offers an e-mail notification service where people can subscribe and then receive e-mail notifications of the notices they are interested in based on specific subject matters, key words, and only in those geographical areas they care about.
By way of a quick example, recent TMHA searches generated notices this week alone from sources such as the Rockdale Reporter, Corpus Christi Caller-Times, Houston Chronicle, Odess American, Laredo Morning Times, Austin American-Statesman, The Facts (Brazoria), Sugar Land Sun, Globe-News (Potter County) and the Katy Rancher, just to name a few.
Wherever you have business interests in Texas, you need to set up an account and receive local alerts when there is possible local government action that impacts your life and your livelihood.
Too often and for too long, much of the previous opaque process of changes in local policy happened to us; without effective notice, input, or opportunity to impact the proposed change prior to passage. Now there is no excuse as these notices should hit your inbox before they can be passed and imposed on you.
Please be aware that the notice timelines are still relatively short for much of proposed local government action. So, once you have subscribed and the notices hit your inbox you could be looking at mere days to mobilize and intercede at your respective local levels. But this new system at least gives you the chance to participate in the local government process rather than having local government happen to you.