Charter Amendment Petitions
A charter amendment petition is direct lawmaking by local voters to request to make changes to the City Charter. A charter amendment petition form can be obtained here. The Plano City Charter is the constitution of the City that sets out legislation regarding the form of government, administration of the City, and other issues such as elections, finances, and powers of the City. The City Charter was adopted by the voters of the City and can only be changed by an election upon a majority of the qualified voters of the City authorizing an amendment to the City Charter. It cannot be changed by legislative action of the City Council.
Charter Amendments are addressed in the Texas Constitution, Article XI, Section 5 as follows:
(a) Cities having more than five thousand (5000) inhabitants may, by a majority vote of the qualified voters of said city, at an election held for that purpose, adopt or amend their charters.
(b) Furthermore, no city charter shall be altered, amended or repealed more often than every two years.
Charter amendments are also addressed in Chapter 9 of the Texas Local Government Code. Under Section 94 of the Texas Local Government Code, citizens can compel the City Council to call an election on a proposed charter amendment. The process required is submission of a valid petition signed by 5% of the qualified (registered) voters of the city or 20,000, whichever number is less. For more information regarding how many signatures are needed for a charter amendment petition, please contact the Plano City Secretary’s Office.
A signature on a charter amendment petition is invalid if the signer signed the petition earlier than the 180th day before the date the petition is filed (Texas Election Code Section 2772(e)).
Subject to a valid charter amendment petition being submitted to the City, Texas Local Government Code, Section 94(b) provides that an election on a proposed charter amendment be held on the first authorized uniform election date or on the earlier of the date of the next municipal general election or presidential general election. That section also mandates that a proposed amendment not contain more than one subject. In order for a proposed amendment to be included on the ballot for a particular election, a petition must be submitted in sufficient time for the signatures to be verified, for the City Council to consider it, and for the election to be called sufficiently in advance of the election date to meet all the requirements of the Election Code.