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Census Population Updates to Affect County Laws

By Nanette Forbes
TAC Legislative Staff

Since population updates from the U.S. Census were released Feb. 17, counties that have shifted into another population bracket may find themselves faced with additional statutory responsibilities, or conversely, they may find certain statutory provisions no longer applicable.

During the 2011 Legislative Session, the Texas Legislative Council will draft legislation to amend specific statutes, effectively updating population bracketed laws so that they will continue to apply to the same political subdivisions as originally intended. This process is completed after every decennial census.

In the 2001 Legislative Session, opponents to HB 2810, which was drafted to adjust specific statutory population figures to conform to the 2000 Census, argued that the process of updating population brackets was not all-inclusive. In 2001, the standard used for determining which statutes would be revised by the bill was whether five or fewer political subdivisions would be affected by the population definition in the statute. The Legislative Council is expected to use the same standard for this year’s process.

During the 77th Legislative Session (2001), the Legislature extended the acceptance date of the federal census data to Sept. 1 of the following calendar year to allow political subdivisions an opportunity to receive the census data and determine whether the population limits are necessary (TEX. GOV’T CODE, §2058.001.).

Accordingly, the recognition of population changes in statutory provisions will not become effective until Sept. 1, 2011. TAC will continue to monitor this matter and will release an update when legislation updating population bracketed laws has been filed.

For more information, contact Nanette Forbes, legislative liaison, at or (800) 456-5974.