City Council members in Flower Mound have expressed concern about proposed bills being considered in Austin during this legislative session, especially those they say will strip cities of their oversight.

During a legislative update at the May 1 council meeting, Mayor Derek France asked council for ideas on how they should respond.

Council Member Ann Martin didn’t think passivity was the answer, as she said “more affirmative action” is necessary, explaining residents would be upset if they knew what was in two particular bills: one involving size and density requirements for residential lots in certain municipalities and authorizing a fee, and the other regarding regulation of accessory dwelling units by political subdivisions. France said the public needs to be informed about the bills.

“The community needs to know—and they don’t,” he said.

Martin suggested people could go to Austin to let lawmakers know their views. Council Member Sandeep Sharma suggested a social media campaign to inform the public. Town Manager James Childers told council the town itself has to understand its role in not being an advocate one way or the other and remain “down the middle and talk factual” about bills.

This week, staff can post information to the public on social media, Childers told council, and the town can provide informational updates with language explaining how these bills may affect local government authority, without any precedent being set in advocating for or against bills.

Martin said she was afraid that the town’s master plan could become void if bills passed. Town counsel Gerald Pruitt said no one knows yet what any of the final bills will look like, and his firm could draft an opinion about the impact of any of the bills. Childers said he will see whether city managers from other cities could come together to unify their voices and concerns. France said he wanted some advice from staff and legal counsel on how council can present its opinions.

At the April 20 work session, council approved a resolution against House Bill 2127 and sent a letter to three state representatives—Benjamin Bumgarner, Giovanni Capriglione and Kronda Thimesch—and one senator, Tan Parker, to air its concerns. The letter said Flower’s Mound primary concern at this point was HB 2127, which leaders said would strip the town’s regulation of “all matters” covered in several state codes, including but not limited to the Business and Commerce Code, Finance Code and Property Code.

A letter also was sent concerning Senate Bill 814, which also is a companion preemption bill. J.P. Walton, strategic services manager for the town, discussed and gave an update on the current session bills at the May 1 meeting. The current legislative session ends May 29.

“These codes constitute 17,490 pages of regulations and the bill provides no clarity on which of these regulations would be affected,” the letter to state leaders stated. “Towns, cities and counties around the state are scrambling to figure out the impacts of this bill, and our request is to have the bill specifically outline which regulations the state wants to preempt and how they will be preempted.”

The letter added that because of the way the bill was written, the “confusing nature” of the bill could affect future local development and regulations, among other factors. The April 20 meeting also included council resolutions against six other House bills, one of which centers on size and density requirements for residential lots in certain municipalities, and the other relating to the issuance of certificates of obligation by local governments.