Strip annexation legal battle continues

Special to the PRESS

Continuing the fight over aggressive annexation practices by the City of Brownsville, the smaller municipalities of Laguna Vista and Port Isabel received a favorable judgment in district court recently.

On Aug. 16, Brownsville had requested Judge Janet Leal’s 103 district court void the smaller cities claims that Brownville’s annexation methods in 2001 and 2002 were illegal. Their motion for summary judgment was declined.

The City of Brownsvillehad filed suit against the twosmaller cities in District Court, seeking a declaratory judgment over recent legislation designed to prevent Brownville from its strip annexation practices.

A jury trial will be scheduled at a conference with the court on Sept. 20.  The trial is expected to be set next year.

Attorneys representing Brownsville sought to have state legislation enacted by House Bill 4059 invalidated, attorney Jim Hunter who is representing Laguna Vista in the lawsuit said earlier.

At issue is HB 4059 which waspassed by the Texas Legislature last year, designed to halt the City of Brownsville’s strip annexation practices and protect unincorporated communities in Cameron County from future land-grabs. The measure which won both Texas House and Senate approval, was sponsored by Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. and Rep. Rene Oliveira.

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