What are some of the distinctions between a General Law Town and Home Rule Town?

There are numerous distinctions between a Home Rule Town and a General Law Town, and the following are just a few of the distinctions that tend to receive the most attention amongst towns considering the transition:

  • Home Rule is self-governance in its ultimate form. The Charter, which defines the local government, is written by citizens and adopted by citizens of the Home Rule community via the election process. The community prepares its Charter based on community norms, values, and priorities. Unlike, the General Laws of the state, which must address a multitude of conditions faced in many Texas communities, Home Rule communities are able to define for themselves how they want to be governed.
  • Home Rule communities have a variety of tools available to manage the affairs of town government. The Charter provides a local response to the form of government desired by citizens; defines the structure of town government; establishes controls over town finances; and limitations on the powers of town government.
  • The initiative, Referendum, Recall are important tools that are reserved for use by local voters to remedy unusual situations. The proposed Providence Village Home Rule Charter permits local citizens to define under what circumstances and requirements a citizen or group of citizens may initiate legislative action, repeal laws, and recall its elected officials.
  • As communities grow, they must deal with ever-increasing complex issues. They must have flexibility in addressing those issues. The Home Rule Charter provides the flexibility to address the complexity of local government. It is no coincidence that the vast majority of Texas cities that have reached the 5,000 population threshold have elected to pursue their own Home Rule Charter as opposed to continuing to remain a General Law city.
  • Once a Charter has been adopted, the citizens retain control over the Charter through the amendment process. This ensures the citizens are always in a position to determine the form, power, and authority of their town government.

Show All Answers

1. What are some of the distinctions between a General Law Town and Home Rule Town?
2. What is a Town Charter?
3. What is Home Rule?