Cedar Creek Lake

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New annexation law favors Henderson County


David Webb is a veteran journalist who has written for the mainstream and alternative media for three decades. He is now a freelancer who lives in the Cedar Creek Lake area.

Some Kaufman County residents in the Cedar Creek Lake area said a new law governing annexations by cities disappointed them.

The special session of the Texas Legislature saw the passage of the Municipal Annexation Right to Vote Act passed with an amendment by Rep. Lance Gooden including Henderson County in the bill.

The measure requires consent by residents being annexed into a municipality through an election or petition process when the city is in a county with a population of 500,000 or more.

Gooden's amendment added “any county in the state with a Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center operated by Texas Parks and Wildlife.” Henderson County is the only county in Texas with such a center.

In such a case, if there are over 200 registered voters in the area to be annex, there must be an election. If there are under 200, there must be consent by a petition.

Gooden said some people prefer to live outside the city limits and should have a say in any annexation process that might affect them.

Gooden said he was unable to get Kaufman County included in the measure.

“I wanted the entire state into the bill, but when I realized that wasn't going to happen, I was able to get creative with an amendment to include Henderson County in a way that made it unique and allowable as a stand-alone amendment that would survive a point-of-order. This was a huge victory for Henderson County that should be celebrated, as only 5 out of 27 amendments survived passage in the House.

“Kaufman County was included in another amendment, but unfortunately it failed to gain enough votes. Its larger size and border with Dallas County made it harder to distinguish in the way I was able to with Henderson County. Had my Henderson County amendment failed, along with the other 22 amendments that went down that day, I suspect there wouldn't even be a news story about this bill. It's important to note this win was the result of us having an effective House member that understands the parliamentary process and is able to deliver a win on difficult roll call votes.

“What's not been well-reported is that all counties that aren't currently included in the bill have the opportunity to be included if ten percent of registered voters sign a petition ordering the commissioners court of the county to put the measure on the ballot that opts them into the bill. It's a higher bar than those counties, such as Henderson, have to overcome; nonetheless, Kaufman County does have an option. I suspect the entire state will be under this new law in the coming years, as it's not fair that property owners in only 10 counties benefit.”

The new law goes in effect Dec. 1, 2017.






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