Featured Publication

Financing Drainage Projects

PDF

Presented at the 2017 EPA Region 6 Stormwater Conference

Attorney David Méndez offers an overview of financing options available to cities and special
districts interested in the construction of drainage systems to redirect stormwater.

Featured Publication

Funding County Government

PDF

Attorneys David Mendez and Tom Pollan originally presented this presentation during the North and East Texas County Judges and Commissioners Association Conference in Mt. Pleasant. Their presentation outlines a county’s potential use of tax notes to finance certain routine recurring capital expenditures.

Featured Publication

Paxton v. City of Dallas Summary

PDF

Featured Publication

Evenwel v. Abbott: Redistricting and the Meaning of Political Representation

PDF

In Evenwel v. Abbott the Supreme Court had to address the question of whom our democratic institutions are designed to represent.  Is it everyone or only persons eligible to vote?  In a decision that drew on the history of the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment and that chose a more inclusive view of our democracy, the unanimous Court rejected the request that it limit the apportionment base to eligible voters.

 

Featured Publication

Public Finance Handbook for Texas Counties 2016

PDF

The new edition of the Public Finance Handbook for Texas Counties, prepared by Tom Pollan and published by the Texas Association of Counties (TAC), is designed to explain the bond issuance process, especially for counties that do not issue bonds on a frequent basis. Among other topics, it addresses the ways in which a county can finance projects, the roles of the financial advisor and bond counsel, the documents used in a county bond issue, bond elections, and public finance for economic development.

Avoiding, Identifying, and Resolving Ethical Issues in Land and Water Transactions

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Paxton v. City of Dallas – Summary of Opening Arguments

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This Public Information Act suit involves the issue of whether the City of Dallas acted within its legal right by relying on the attorney-client privilege as a “compelling reason” for withholding information in response to a PIA request past the required 10 day time frame for requesting an open records determination.

The case has made its way to the Supreme Court of Texas – with opening oral arguments taking place earlier this month. Associate Kimberly Grinnan was able to attend the opening oral arguments, and we’d like to share some of what she heard.

A Look into New Texas Conduct and Disclosure Requirements

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Texas Water Law and Developing Innovative Water Supplies

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The attached presentation was presented by Emily Rogers at the North American Surface Water Quality Conference and Expo in Austin, Texas on August 2-6, 2015.  Presentation highlights include information on obtaining water rights, water development and state assistance, innovative water supply projects, and evolving issues in water law.

Legislative Update 2015: Water Law

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This presentation is part of a TexasBarCLE program, which you can register for here:  CLE

Emily and co-presenters provide a “discussion of bills enacted in the 2015 Regular Session of the Texas Legislature, issues that may be revisited in coming legislative sessions, and a preview of the legislative interim.” 

 

Case Law Update

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This case law update (and presentation that follows) was presented at the 2015 UTCLE Texas Water Law Institute.  Purchase of the full CLE program is available here: CLE.  The update provides information about litigation that has occurred or is occurring around the state and before the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC).  These cases cover topics related to surface and groundwater rights, water and sewer utility matters, ratemaking proceedings, water quality permitting matters, questions of standing, issues regarding flooding, and open meetings and open records. 

Purchasing Law Basics for Texas Counties

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This paper explores the purchasing law basics for counties, and includes an overview of competitive procurement requirements and regulations in Texas.  It was presented as a Continuing Legal Education Course through Lorman Education Services on Februray 21, 2014 (updated on 1/12/16).

Purchasing law is a complex area, and the purpose of this paper is to provide an introduction to the obligations of counties in procuring goods and services.

2015 Texas Association of School Boards / Texas Association of Community College Attorneys Post-Legislative Seminar for Community Colleges and their Attorneys

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On August 7, 2015, David Mendez presented a 2015 TASB/TACCA Post-Legislative Seminar for Community Colleges and their Attorneys. The attached handout includes the full presentation along with additional space for notes. The topics covered in this presentation include taxation and elections.

The Constitutional Avoidance Canon of Statutory Construction

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Attorney Gunnar P. Seaquist authored a paper on the Constitutional Avoidance Canon of Statutory Construction for the State Bar of Texas Litigation Section Report, The Advocate, Vol. 71, Summer 2015. In the paper, Mr. Seaquist discusses the foundation of the canon, the substantive provisions of the constitutional avoidance doctrine, and the application and practice criticisms of the avoidance doctrine.

Alternative Construction Delivery Methods for Government Entities

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Presented to Texas Public Purchasing Association on May 20, 2014 (updated 1/12/16). This paper discusses alternative construction methods, specifically when government entities can use particular construction methods and their requirements.

Employment Law Update: Drug Testing Employees, Applicants

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This article discusses the legal standards for suspicionless drug testing of employees and job applicants of local government positions. This article was originally published in the Texas County Progress Magazine’s July 2014 issue.

Shelby County v. Holder and the Demise of Section 5: What’s Left of the Voting Rights Act?

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On June 25, 2013, in the last days of its 2012 term, the United States Supreme Court decided Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder, ___ U.S. ____; 133 S.Ct. 2612 (2013), and effectively invalidated section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. This paper discusses the results of the Supreme Court’s decision and explains the Voting Rights Act’s remaining provisions and powers.

Presented at 2014 Texas Municipal League Annual Conference on Thursday, October 2, 2014.

Public Finance Handbook for Texas Counties 2014

PDF

The new edition of the Public Finance Handbook for Texas Counties, prepared by Tom Pollan and published by the Texas Association of Counties (TAC), is designed to explain the bond issuance process, especially for counties that do not issue bonds on a frequent basis. Among other topics, it addresses the ways in which a county can finance projects, the roles of the financial advisor and bond counsel, the documents used in a county bond issue, bond elections, and public finance for economic development.

Regulating Takings: The Intersection of Takings and Property Rights

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Presented at the Changing Face of Water Rights course in San Antonio on February 27, 2014, this paper examines the Bragg and Day cases and what they signal for both groundwater owners and groundwater conservation districts.  Going forward, what permitting actions of a groundwater district might constitute a regulatory taking of private property rights?

Texas Water Issues: Groundwater Conservation Districts’ Rules and Regulations and Other Legal Obstacles Awaiting Unsuspecting Landowners

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Paper presented at the 2014 Changing Face of Water Rights CLE, February 27-28, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. 

This paper focuses on rules, regulations, and other legal obstacles facing landowners.

Consumer Privacy: The New FTC Proposal

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Our February newsletter focuses on the Federal Trade Commission’s preliminary report and framework for balancing consumer privacy with the commercial innovation made possible through widespread collection of consumer information. The FTC views current privacy self-regulation as not adequately protecting consumers and believes legislative remedies will be necessary if companies do not modify consumer data collection practices to adhere more closely to new FTC guidelines.

Texas Water Law Overview

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The topic “Water Rights and Water Development” covers a broad area. Interwoven in this discussion are the major revisions to Texas water law brought about by Senate Bill 1 (S.B. 1) and Senate Bill 2 (S.B. 2), legislation that overhauled Texas’ systems for water resource planning, management, and development. The chapter also addresses significant legal developments regarding Texas groundwater ownership, management, and regulation.

Public Finance Handbook for Texas Counties

PDF

The new edition of the Public Finance Handbook for Texas Counties, prepared by Tom Pollan and published by the Texas Association of Counties (TAC), is designed to explain the bond issuance process, especially for counties that do not issue bonds on a frequent basis. Among other topics, it addresses the ways in which a county can finance projects, the roles of the financial advisor and bond counsel, the documents used in a county bond issue, bond elections, and public finance for economic development.

Current Issues Involving Surface Water and Cities

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Paper presented at the Texas City Attorney’s Association 2012 Summer Conference, June 6-8, 2012

Water for Your Project: A Walkthrough

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Paper presented at the 2012 Texas Water Law Institute, October 31 – November 2, 2012

Alternative Methods of Managing and Securing Water for Municipalities

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Historically, cities have secured water from fresh water sources such as surface water (lakes, reservoirs, and rivers) or groundwater (wells). Population growth and repeated droughts have increased demand for alternative sources of fresh water and novel solutions to the problem of scarce water. Several potential alternatives for managing and securing water for municipalities include export/transport of water, water conservation and reuse, and desalination. Each of these approaches and their attendant challenges will be discussed briefly below. No single solution is likely to be sufficient-there is no magic bullet. Instead, municipal water security will depend on attacking the problem of supply from multiple fronts and confronting the challenging legal issues that arise.

Case Law Update: The Changing Face of Water Rights 2011

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Attorneys Joshua Katz and Emily Rogers wrote this article for the State Bar of Texas “The Changing Face of Water Rights 2011” course book.

Trade Secrets: Protecting Your Information

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Our March/April newsletter focuses on the steps businesses can take to protect secret formulas, methods, designs, or information that provide them an economic advantage over their competitors. Non-competition agreements, the fiduciary duty employees owe to their employers, and judicially developed employer protections are specifically considered.

Update: TCEQ and the Texas Water Development Board

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The 82nd Legislature passed a number of bills with implications for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB). Most notably, the legislature passed the two agencies’ sunset bills (HB 2694 and SB 660, respectively), which renew the agencies until 2023. This paper discusses significant changes made by the sunset bills to TCEQ’s and TWDB’s authority.

Groundwater Ownership/Regulation: Where We’ve Been and Where We May Be Going

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The character of groundwater ownership has received more attention in the last 18 months than in the previous 100 years. The ownership issue is pending before the Texas Supreme Court in Edwards Aquifer Authority v. Day and the Texas Legislature addressed ownership in amendments to Chapter 36 of the Texas Water Code. This paper reviews groundwater district permitting in the context of changes made by the 82nd Legislature and what a takings claim might look like post EAA v Day.

Litigation Holds, Part 2: Trigger Events

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Our December/January newsletter contains part two of the series on litigation holds, which are internal procedures to preserve relevant information when suit is anticipated or filed. The second installment focuses on recognizing and analyzing events that may trigger a litigation hold.

2010 Case Law Update of Interest to Cities

PDF

AMERICAN PLANNING ASSOCIATION
Texas Chapter Annual Conference
October 8, 2010

By: Cindy J. Crosby Joshua D. Katz
BICKERSTAFF HEATH DELGADO ACOSTA LLP

Recent State Cases of Interest to Cities

PDF

AMERICAN PLANNING ASSOCIATION
Texas Chapter Annual Conference
October 8, 2010

By: Cindy J. Crosby Joshua D. Katz
BICKERSTAFF HEATH DELGADO ACOSTA LLP

The Impact of Social Networking on Cities

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“Social media is everywhere. From Facebook, Twitter to YouTube what are the legal implications on your city? This paper will address issues that arise due to the use of social media websites such as open records, open meetings, records retention and employment issues.”

Choice of Law-Significant Relationships and the Party Autonomy Rule

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This article was originally published in LEANews on the Lease Enforcement Attorney Network website http://www.leasecollect.com/index.shtml LEAN is a nonprofit organization of law firms who pride themselves on their ability to represent clients needing assistance in the enforcement of lease obligations.

Oncor Electric Delivery Company LLC against Dallas Area Rapid Transit (“DART”) and Fort Worth Transportation Authority (“The T”)

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On July 29, 2010, the Dallas Court of Appeals issued an opinion finding that an eminent domain proceeding filed by Oncor Electric Delivery Company LLC against Dallas Area Rapid Transit (“DART”) and Fort Worth Transportation Authority (“The T”) was barred by governmental immunity.

Featured Publication

Financing Drainage Projects

PDF

Presented at the 2017 EPA Region 6 Stormwater Conference

Attorney David Méndez offers an overview of financing options available to cities and special
districts interested in the construction of drainage systems to redirect stormwater.

Featured Publication

Funding County Government

PDF

Attorneys David Mendez and Tom Pollan originally presented this presentation during the North and East Texas County Judges and Commissioners Association Conference in Mt. Pleasant. Their presentation outlines a county’s potential use of tax notes to finance certain routine recurring capital expenditures.

Featured Publication

Paxton v. City of Dallas Summary

PDF

Featured Publication

Evenwel v. Abbott: Redistricting and the Meaning of Political Representation

PDF

In Evenwel v. Abbott the Supreme Court had to address the question of whom our democratic institutions are designed to represent.  Is it everyone or only persons eligible to vote?  In a decision that drew on the history of the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment and that chose a more inclusive view of our democracy, the unanimous Court rejected the request that it limit the apportionment base to eligible voters.

 

Featured Publication

Public Finance Handbook for Texas Counties 2016

PDF

The new edition of the Public Finance Handbook for Texas Counties, prepared by Tom Pollan and published by the Texas Association of Counties (TAC), is designed to explain the bond issuance process, especially for counties that do not issue bonds on a frequent basis. Among other topics, it addresses the ways in which a county can finance projects, the roles of the financial advisor and bond counsel, the documents used in a county bond issue, bond elections, and public finance for economic development.