Sugar Land City Hall

Rumor versus Fact

Rumor versus Fact: Keep up to date on the latest information that aims to dispel inaccurate information about recent City initiatives and community concerns.

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Feb 04

The City of Sugar Land is seeking to STOP CITIZENS’ RIGHTS TO PETITION!

Posted on February 4, 2016 at 9:30 a.m. by Doug Adolph

A Charter Review Committee comprised of five citizens met in 2013 and made recommendations to City Council in the spring of 2014. The committee made eight recommendations.

One recommendation seeks to clarify language and consider petition percentages that are equal for initiative, referendum and recall. The citizens’ recommended that petitions be signed by at least 15 percent of the registered voters in the City as of the initial petition date for initiative, referendum and at-large council member and mayor recall elections and that the petition be signed by at least 15 percent of the registered voters residing in the district as of the initial petition date for single-member district council member recall elections.

Petition requirements in the current charter set a minimum standard of 30 percent of the voters who voted in the last election for initiative, 25 percent of total registered voters for mayor/at large recall and 20 percent of registered district voters for single-member district recall.

Charter members said initiative petition standards shouldn’t be predicated on a single election that could have very few participants. They added that convincing 1.5 of 10 people is a fair amount to bring an initiative petition to the city. The citizens serving on the commission recommended including the items on the May 2016 election; they reasoned that at-large and mayor elections would ensure the largest possible turnout.

Voters will ultimately decide whether to approve the commission’s recommendations. Watch the complete presentation at http://vs.sugarlandtx.gov/010516cc/6a.mp4. The following chart provides a comparison of current Charter requirements to the commission’s proposed changes.

Petitions
Click to enlarge chart >>

About the Charter
In 1981, Sugar Land citizens voted to adopt the City’s first home-rule charter. By converting from a general-law city to a home-rule city, citizens chose to exercise their right under the Texas Constitution to make local laws to govern their own affairs. The charter is the City’s ‘constitution’ and cannot be amended except by approval of the voters and not more than every two years.

The charter is a document that establishes the form of government for Sugar Land. This includes provisions for a council-manager form of government, legislative authority of City Council, general elections provisions, finance provisions and several other areas outlining the governance of Sugar Land. The charter is available online at www.sugarlandtx.gov/index.aspx?NID=483.

The charter review commission is a vital part of city government. The commission is appointed by City Council and composed of qualified, dependable and effective individuals who reflect the diversity of the community. Members of the commission are expected to have a background knowledge and expertise that recognizes and understands the legal complexities of the government structure. They are expected to be representatives who will bring forth neutral perspectives that promote and support the goal of effective local government.