City of Sweeny, Texas

CITY CHARTER

 

ARTICLE IV. INITIATIVE, REFERENDUM, AND RECALL

Sec. 4.01. Power of Initiative.

The people of the City reserve the power of direct legislation by initiative, and in the exercise of such power may propose any ordinance, except zoning ordinances and ordinances appropriating money or levying taxes, or ordinances repealing zoning ordinances and ordinances appropriating money or levying taxes, not in conflict with this Charter or the Constitution or Laws of the State of Texas. Any initiated ordinance may be submitted to the City Council by a petition signed by the qualified voters of the City equal in number to at least twenty percent (20%) of the qualified voters of the City.

Sec. 4.02. Power of Referendum.

The people reserve the power to approve or reject at the polls any legislation enacted by the City Council which is subject to the initiative process under this Charter, except that ordinances authorizing the issuance of either tax or revenue bonds, whether original or refunding bonds, shall not be subject to such referendum. Prior to or within thirty (30) days after the effective date of any ordinance which is subject to referendum, a petition signed by qualified voters of the City equal in number to at least twenty percent (20%) of the qualified voters of the City may be filed with the City Secretary requesting that any such ordinance be either repealed or submitted to a vote of the people. When such a petition has been certified as sufficient by the City Secretary, the ordinance specified in the petition shall not go into effect, or further action thereon shall be suspended if it shall have gone into effect, until and unless it is approved by the voters as herein provided.

Sec. 4.03. Form of Petitions.

Initiative petition papers shall contain the full text of the proposed legislation in the form of an ordinance, including a descriptive caption. Referendum petition papers shall contain a sufficient description of the ordinance sought to be referred to identify it, or if the ordinance has been passed by the City Council, the full text of the ordinance sought to be referred shall be included in such papers. The signatures to the initiative or referendum petitions need not be all appended to one paper, but each signatory shall sign his or her name in ink or indelible pencil, together with a notation showing such signatory's residence address and the precinct number and serial number that appear on his or her voter registration certificate or such other document as shall be prescribed by the Laws of the State of Texas to identify qualified voters under any future legislation. No signature shall be counted where there is reason to believe it is not the actual signature of the purported signatory or that it is a duplication either of the name or of handwriting used in any other signature on the petition, and no signature shall be counted unless the residence address of the signatory is shown, or unless it is signed exactly as the name of the voter appears on the official copy of the current poll list or such other document as may be prescribed by the Laws of the State of Texas to identify qualified voters under any future legislation, or unless the precinct number and serial number that appear on the signatory's voter registration certificate or such other document as may be prescribed by state Law to identify qualified voters under any future legislation are noted as above required. Before the signatures on any petition paper may be counted, one of the persons signing such petition paper, a qualified voter, shall make oath before the City Secretary or other officer competent to administer oaths that the statements made therein are true, that each signature to the paper appended is a genuine signature of the person whose name purports to be signed thereto, and that such signatures were placed thereon in his or her presence.

Sec. 4.04. Filing, Examination, and Certification of Petitions.

Within thirty (30) days after an initiative or referendum petition is filed, the City Secretary shall determine whether the same is properly signed by the requisite number of qualified voters. The City Secretary shall declare void any petition paper which does not have an affidavit attached thereto as required in Section 4.03 of this Article. In examining the petition, the City Secretary shall write the letters "D.V." (declared void) in red ink opposite the names of signatories found not qualified. After completing examination of the petition, the City Secretary shall certify the results thereof to the City Council at its next regular meeting. If the certificate of the City Secretary shall show an initiative or referendum petition to be insufficient, the City Secretary shall notify the person filing the petition, and it may be amended within ten days from the date of such notice by filing a supplementary petition upon additional papers signed and filed as provided for in the original petition. Within thirty (30) days after such amendment is filed, the City Secretary shall examine the amended petition and certify as to its sufficiency. If the amended petition is then found to be insufficient, no further proceedings shall be had with regard to it.

Sec. 4.05. City Council Consideration and Submission to Voters.

When the City Council receives an authorized initiative petition certified by the City Secretary to be sufficient, the City Council shall either: (a) pass the initiated ordinance without amendment within thirty (30) days after the date of the certification to the City Council; or (b) submit said initiated ordinance, without amendments, to a vote of the qualified voters of the City at d regular or special election to be held not later than the first uniform election date after the expiration of forty-five (45) days after the date of the certification to the City Council; or (c) at such election submit to a vote of the qualified voters of the City said initiated ordinance without amendment, and an alternative ordinance on the same subject proposed by the City Council. In such event, should both such ordinances be approved by a majority of the votes cast at such election, the ordinance receiving the highest number of votes shall be effective as an ordinance of the City, and the other ordinance shall be deemed rejected and shall not be effective.

When the City Council receives an authorized referendum petition certified by the City Secretary to be sufficient, the City Council shall reconsider the referred ordinance and, if upon such reconsideration such ordinance is not repealed within thirty (30) days, it shall be submitted to the qualified voters of the City at a regular or special election to be held not later than the first uniform election date after the expiration of forty-five (45) days after the date of the certification to the City Council.

Special elections on initiated or referred ordinances shall not be held more frequently than once each six months. No ordinance on the same subject as an initiated ordinance which has been defeated or on the same subject as a referred ordinance which has been approved at any election may be initiated by the voters within two years from the date of such election.

Sec. 4.06. Results of Election.

Any number of ordinances may be voted on at the same election in accordance with the provisions of this Article. If a majority of the legal. votes cast is in favor of an initiated ordinance, it shall thereupon be effective as an ordinance of the City. An ordinance thus adopted may be repealed or amended at any time after the expiration of one year by a vote of two-thirds of the City Council members qualified and serving. A referred ordinance which is rejected by a majority of the legal votes cast in a referendum election shall be deemed thereupon repealed. An ordinance thus rejected may be reenacted at any time after the expiration of one year by a vote of two-thirds of the City Council members qualified and serving.

Sec. 4.07. Power of Recall.

The people of the City reserve the power to recall any elected officer of the City and may exercise such power by filing with the City Secretary a petition, signed by qualified voters of the City equal in number to at least thirty percent (30%) of the qualified voters of the City, demanding the removal of such elected officers. The petition shall be signed and verified in the mariner required for an initiative petition.

Sec. 4.08. Recall Election.

The provisions regulating examination, certification, and amendment of initiative petitions shall apply to recall petitions. If the petition is certified by the City Secretary to be sufficient, the City Council shall order and hold an election to determine whether such officer shall be recalled in the same manner as provided for the holding of an election on an initiative petition.

Sec. 4.09. Results of Recall Election.

If the majority of the legal votes cast at a recall election be for the recall of the officer named on the ballot, the City Council shall immediately declare such office vacant. An officer thus removed shall not be eligible to hold office again in the City for a period of two years from the date of his or her recall.

Sec. 4.10. Limitation on Recall.

No recall petition shall be filed against an officer within six months after such officer takes office, and no officer shall be subjected to more than one recall election during such term of office.