- Definition (Sec. 4.01)
Electors can propose any ordinance which the City can legally enact except one appropriating money or authorizing the levy of taxes. Electors can adopt or reject the proposed ordinance at the polls.
- Initial Time Frame (Sec. 4.02 and Sec. 277.02 of Texas Election Code)
All signatures must be obtained and filed within 180 days of first person who signs. All signatures earlier than the 180th day before the petition is filed will be invalidated.
- Petition & Signatures (Sec. 4.01 & 4.04)
Initiative ordinance is by petition filed with City Secretary. Petition signed by qualified voters of the City equaling at least 25% of the votes cast in the last regular municipal election may be submitted to the City Council.
- Text (Sec. 4.03)
Petitions must have full text of proposed ordinance.
- Petition Form (Sec. 4.03 and Sec. 277.02 of Tesas Election Code)
- Signatures are to be in ink or indelible pencil. Signer’s signature only information required to be in signer’s own handwriting.
- Must have printed name, signature, residence address, and signer’s date of birth or voter registration number, and date of signing. Address must include street address or address at which mail is received if residence has no address.
- Each petition needs names and addresses of same 5 electors (the committee of petitioners) who are responsible for circulation and filing of petition.
- Each separate petition paper or page must have an affidavit of the circulator attached which states (sample attached):
- That he and only he personally circulated that paper,
- That it bears a stated number of signatures,
- All signatures were signed in his presence, and
- Circulator believes signatures are genuine signatures
- Affidavit must be signed before a notary public or other officer authorized to administer oaths.
- More than 5 persons can circulate the petition, but all circulators must make the affidavit.
- Filing Petitions (Sec. 4.04)
Must be filed as one instrument.
- Certification of Petitions (Sec. 4.03 & 4.04)
Within 20 days after filed, City Secretary determines:
- Each petition contains the names and addresses of 5 electors who circulated the petition.
- Each petition has required affidavit of the circulator.
- Petition is signed by a sufficient number of voters. (25% or more of votes cast in last regular election.)
- After examination:
- City Secretary certifies results to Council at its next regular meeting if petition is sufficient.
- If insufficient, certificate of City Secretary must state reasons why defective and must notify petitioners at once.
- Amendment of Petition (Sec. 4.05)
- May be amended within 10 days after notification of insufficiency has been sent.
- Must file a supplementary petition with same requirements as original petition.
- After amendment is filed, City Secretary has 5 days to examine the amended petition. If still insufficient, a certificate of City Secretary is filed to that effect, the committee is notified of findings, and no further action is taken on that petition.
- New petition for the same purpose can be filed and the finding of an insufficient petition has no bearing on new petition.
- Effect of Certification (Sec. 4.06)
- Consideration by Council (Sec. 4.07)
- Council must proceed to consider at once.
- The proposed initiative ordinance is read.
- Provisions made for a public hearing.
- Council must take final action within 60 days after certification to Council by City Secretary.
- Submission to Electors (Sec. 4.08) (Sec. 26.042 Texas Local Gov’t. Code; Sec. 41.001 Texas Election Code)
- Sent to voters if:
- Council does not pass initiative ordinance,
- Council passes ordinance in a different form from petition.
- Submitted to voters not less than 30 or more than 60 days after final Council vote.
- Must have special election if not within period of regular election.
- Must wait until next uniform election date if none falls within period.
- Sent to voters if:
- Form of Ballot (Sec. 4.09)
- Submitted by ballot title prepared by City Attorney.
- Ballot title may be different from legal title.
- Must be clear, concise statement without argument or prejudice; descriptive of the substance.
- With voting machines - ballot title shall have below it the proposition of "FOR THE ORDINANCE," "AGAINST THE ORDINANCE," - one above the other in that order.
- Results of Election (Sec. 4.10)
If a majority votes in favor, it will become an ordinance.
- Publication (Sec. 4.10)
Shall be published.
- Amend/Repeal (Sec. 4.10)
Can be amended or repealed by Council in same manner as any other ordinance.