Local NewsTaxes & SpendingFort Worth Adopts Legislative Agenda, Will Ask Legislature to Prohibit Discrimination Based on ‘Gender Identity’

Fort Worth will use taxpayer money to lobby for expanded broadband, early childhood education, and laws protecting people based on their sexual orientation.
November 30, 2022
The Fort Worth City Council unanimously adopted its legislative agenda for the upcoming session that convenes in January.

It includes priorities for seeking state appropriations for many city programs, including training for law enforcement, mental health services for the homeless, broadband expansion, and transportation.

Fort Worth plans to seek expansion of early childhood education and school resource officer funding, as well as pass laws that would “prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.”

It also hopes to add three events held in the city to the state’s Major Event Reimbursements Program to make them eligible for funding: Bassmaster Classic, Professional Bull Riders World Finals, and Fédération Equestre Internationale World Cup. Only events listed in the provisions of the law are eligible for state funds.

The city’s legislative affairs committee provided a recommended list of priorities to the city council for its approval.

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In setting its agenda, the city considers what it believes are issues that will drive the actions of the Legislature in the upcoming session.

The city believes this year that some of the drivers include a large budget surplus and Rainy Day Fund, school safety issues, and property appraisals.

“As a general policy, the City of Fort Worth seeks to Preserve its authority to responsibly govern the City, its citizens, and its property.”

The city used lobbyists Karen Kennard and Demetrius McDaniel from the firm of Greenberg Traurig in 2022.

In Fiscal Years 2021 and 2022, the city spent $339,500 of taxpayer funding on lobbyists to influence legislation.

The Texas Local Government Code requires that local governments disclose the expenditure.

In 2021, state Rep. Mayes Middleton (R-Wallisville) proposed a bill to end taxpayer-funded lobbying at the state Capitol; however, the bill died in committee. Meanwhile the Senate version authored by Sen. Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston) was killed by fellow Republican Rep. Chris Paddie (R-Marshall) on the House floor.

Middleton, who was elected in November to serve in the Texas Senate, filed Senate Bill 175 to prohibit the expenditure of public funds on lobbyists. It allows a taxpayer to seek an injunction to stop the lobbying activity and allows said taxpayer to recover the attorney’s fees and costs for bringing the legal action.

Legislation imposing additional transparency requirements for taxpayer-funded lobbying was filed by Rep. David Spiller (R-Gainesville).


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Kim Roberts

Kim Roberts is a regional reporter for the Texan in the DFW metroplex area where she has lived for over twenty years. She has a Juris Doctor from Baylor University Law School and a Bachelor's in government from Angelo State University. In her free time, Kim home schools her daughter and coaches high school extemporaneous speaking and apologetics. She has been happily married to her husband for 23 years, has three wonderful children, and two dogs.

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