305 East Maxan
Port Isabel, Texas 78578
(956) 943-2029 Facsimile
PSA : City of Port Isabel
For: Immediate Release
Contact: Edward Meza (956 )943-2682
House Bill 3552 Dies at Senate Floor
The City of Port Isabel was informed Wednesday night that House Bill 3552 was removed from the local and uncontested agenda by Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst’s office and was placed on the intent calendar on the 11th hour. By doing this maneuver House Bill 3552 was not recognized on the Senate Floor and died. House Bill 3552 would have resolved the boundary issues between Port Isabel and Brownsville. Since 2009, the City of Port Isabel and the City of Brownsville have been in dispute as to where their respective ETJ (extraterritorial jurisdiction) legal boundaries are located.
After trying to schedule meetings and negotiate with Brownsville’s Mayor and staff for close to 4 years, the City of Port Isabel had no choice but to seek the legislative system to resolve this issue.
EVERY MEMBER OF THE CAMERON COUNTY LEGISLATIVE DELEGATION SUPPORTED AND VOTED FOR THIS LAW. THE CAMERON COUNTY COMMISSIONERS COURT VOTED UNANIMOUSLY IN FAVOR OF THIS BILL.
House Bill 3552, sponsored by our Representative Oliveira and by our Senator Lucio, was designed to roll back the unlawful land annexation made by the City of Brownsville, for property that is 15 miles from Brownsville and for which it provides no services. One such land grab is part of Long Island, a community located across the swing bridge from Port Isabel. This law was intended to resolve that issue.
The Texas Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Intergovernmental Affairs BOTH unanimously voted for and approved this legislation. In fact, after Mayor Martinez of Brownsville objected to the bill in both Committee hearings, the entire Texas House of Representatives voted for and approved the bill!
In the face of that unanimous approval by our State House and Senate, and instead of simply making a reasonable agreement, Brownsville chose to spend tens of thousands of its taxpayer?s dollars on hiring lobbyists to persuade those senators and representatives to go against the bill. Even after Senator Lucio met with both cities to come up with an agreement, Brownsville never came back with a written agreement even though in that meeting Brownsville agreed to let the law be passed with a substitute language agreed upon by both parties. Instead the City of Brownsville continued maneuvers through their hired lobbyist to accomplish what they wanted to do – kill the bill so the Legislature would not be allowed to pass it.
It is unfortunate that Brownsville chose the route of hiring lobbyists to persuade committee members and use bullying tactics to persuade neighboring communities to succumb to what they wanted- more land. Port Isabel will continue to assert and will vigorously defend our City boundaries.