Sunday, May 13, 2012

Texas: Forest Hills adopts two very unusual provisions for recall laws

Forest Hill, the source of yesterday's lawsuit, passed two ballot propositions, one designed to prevent ousted by recall council members from simply regaining the seat in the next election, and the other dealing with the problem of council members stopping verified recalls from getting to the ballot.

Both of these ballot laws are unusual. I have to look, but I can't think of another jurisdiction that has similar laws.

1) A council member who has been removed from office in a recall election shall not be eligible to run for city office or sit in an appointed city position for two calendar years from the date of the recall election.

Apparently, recalled council members would run in the next election and refill (or be appointed to the seat). There was a six month time limit on holding the office before.

2) Provide that failure of a Council member to vote affirmatively to place on the ballot a petition for recall that meets all requirements of law shall be guilty of malfeasance in office and subject to the penalties contained in Section 13.06, entitled “Violation of Charter Provisions or Laws of the State of Texas, of the Charter of the City of Forest Hill.”

Here's the relevant section:
Section 13.06. - Violation of Charter Provision or Laws of the State of Texas.

Any willful violation of the provisions of this Charter or of the laws of the State of Texas relating to home rule cities shall constitute malfeasance in office, and any officer or employee of the city guilty thereof shall immediately forfeit his office or position, and said office or position shall be deemed vacant.

So, failing to approve a recall election once the signatures have been verified (which happens in many other jurisdictions) results in automatically tossing the official out of office. From yesterday's story, it sounds like this was a big problem in Forest Hills. However, I wonder if this is constitutionally acceptable and if any other jurisdiction has such a law.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.