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TipSheet: Travis County, 5.9.2017

Tuesday, May 9, 2017 by Caleb Pritchard

The Travis County Commissioners Court meets at 9 a.m. Tuesday. In the interest of space, we’ve decided not to post the entire agenda here. The County Clerk’s office hosts a copy at its website.

8. Consider and take appropriate action regarding the sale of fireworks by retail fireworks permit holders during the Memorial Day fireworks season beginning the Wednesday before the last Monday in May and ending at midnight on the last Monday in May. (Commissioners Travillion & Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: The Texas Legislature in 2015 put its money where its freedom-talking mouth is by expanding the number of opportunities that residents can legally blow stuff up for fun. The new law gives counties the choice to let fireworks vendors sell before Texas Independence Day, San Jacinto Day and Memorial Day. It seems this year, the Commissioners Court just might make it so that we can all go solemnly launch bottle rockets and twirl sparklers as we remember the nation’s fallen soldiers.

9. Consider and take appropriate action regarding authorizing the Fire Marshal to develop and implement an annual fire inspection program for mobile food vendors, including implementation of a fee for performing fire inspection services. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: Your favorite food truck could be a ticking time bomb and the Travis County Fire Marshal’s Office is potentially here to help, thanks to the city of Austin’s Public Health Department. According to a memo from Fire Marshal Tony Callaway, the city agency has formally requested that his office set up a safety inspection program for food trailers that parallels the city’s. Since hundreds of businesses could be affected, don’t be surprised to see Commissioner Gerald Daugherty stand athwart this item with some conservative skepticism.

14. Consider and take appropriate action on recommendations regarding grant programs previously funded by the Office of the Governor. (Commissioner Gómez)

Monitor’s Take: The various county justice programs whose very existence were put in question thanks to Gov. Greg Abbott’s nixing of grant funding earlier this year have a new lease on life. Thanks to some scrubbing and buffing (and charitable donations), county staff has apparently found a way to keep the programs running mostly intact through November. How to keep them going after that is a bridge the court will cross this fall.

24. Receive update regarding “Sanctuary City” policies at the state and federal levels, and take appropriate action. (Judge Eckhardt)

Monitor’s Take: The reason behind Gov. Abbott’s aforementioned grant cuts was tied up in Sheriff Sally Hernandez’s decision to reduce her office’s participation with federal immigration detainer requests. Now that the legislature has passed Senate Bill 4 and Abbott has affixed his signature to the document, the topography has somewhat shifted. Opponents of the bill – including City Council Member Greg Casar – are defiantly promising to continue fighting it, and Attorney General Ken Paxton has readily accepted the challenge by suing City Council in order to seek a determination on its constitutionality. Naturally, these latest happenings and others will very likely be discussed by the commissioners on Tuesday, either in open court or behind doors in executive session.

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Key Players & Topics In This Article

Travis County Commissioners Court: The legislative body for Travis County. It includes representatives from the four Travis County Precincts, as well as the County Judge. The County Judge serves as the chair of the Court.

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