ORDINANCE NO. 2021-08

 

AN ORDINANCE AMENDING CHAPTER 8 OFFENSES AND NUISANCES BY ADDING ARTICLE 8.07 ELECTIONEERING ON CITY OWNED OR CONTROLLED POLLING PLACE; PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE; PROVIDING FOR PUBLICATION; PROVIDING FOR CODIFICATION; PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY; PROVIDING FOR A REPEALER CLAUSE; AND ORDAINING OTHER PROVISIONS RELATED TO THE SUBJECT MATTER HEREOF.

 

WHEREAS, the Texas Election Code requires an entity that controls or owns a public building being used as a polling place to allow electioneering during the early voting period and election day on the premises outside of the 100-foot statutory electioneering limit,subject to reasonable regulations on time, place, and manner; and

 

WHEREAS, pursuant to the Texas Elections Code, electioneering includes the posting, use or distribution of political signs or literature; and

 

WHEREAS, the City Commission recognizes the importance of a citizen's rights guaranteed by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution; and

 

WHEREAS, during local, state and federal elections, City-owned or City-controlled facilities in San Juan are utilized as voting poll places; and

 

WHEREAS, these facilities are simultaneously used by the City for various other public purposes for which adequate, safe parking and access thereto must be maintained in order for those facilities to operate in a safe and effective manner; and

 

WHEREAS, during an election period, the City of San Juan desires to continue to allow electioneering at polling places owned or controlled by the City; provided that reasonable regulations are implemented to ensure the public is able to access the City owned or controlled property for its ordinary operations in a safe and effective manner; and

 

WHEREAS, the City Commission desires to amend the Chapter 8 Offenses and Nuisances by adding Article 8.07 Electioneering on City Owned or Controlled Polling Place to allow for electioneering with reasonable regulations as to the time, place and manner.

 

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED BY THE CITY COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF SAN JUAN, TEXAS THAT:

 

SECTION I. The City Commission hereby amends Chapter 8 Offenses and Nuisances by adding Article 8.07 titled Electioneering on City Owned or Controlled Polling Place and shall read in its entirety as follows:

 

ARTICLE 8.07 ELECTIONEERING ON CITY OWNED OR CONTROLLED POLLING PLACE

 

Sec. 8.07.001 Definitions


The following words, terms and phrases, when used under this Article shall have the following meanings, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:

 

(a)      Electioneering shall mean the posting, use, or distribution of political signs or literature, including but not limited to the use of trailers, chairs, booths, tables, tents, and canopies or other furniture, structures, vehicles or devises to post, use or distribute political signs or literature.

(b)     Polling Place shall mean any property. building and grounds, wherein federal. state, or local election officials are conducting voting under the Texas Election Code and/or Home Rule Charter.

(c)      Voting Period shall mean the advertised time certain when polls open until the polls close, or the last voter has voted, whichever is later, on Election Day, the Early Voting Period, and any Election Runoff period or day.

 

Sec. 8.07.002 Purpose

 

The purpose of this ordinance is to provide reasonable regulations for electioneering on City owned or controlled public property when such property is used as an election polling place. The regulations herein are to mitigate against any safety concerns, prevent damage to public property, and ensure that the property is sufficiently available for its patrons who use the facilities for activities other than election purposes.

 

Sec. 8.07.003 Electioneering at City Owned or Controlled Polling Place

 

(a)   The regulations under this Section apply to electioneering on the premises of City owned or City controlled property used as a polling place during the voting period.

(b)   It is an offense for any person to engage in electioneering on the driveways, parking areas, on medians within parking areas, or right-of-ways or easements on the premises of a polling place.

(c)   This Section shall not apply to stand alone or staked electioneering signs that are lawfully place or erected pursuant to Section 3.05.017 of the City's Code of Ordinances and electioneering signs lawfully attached to vehicles that are lawfully parked at the premises of a polling place.

(d)  The City Manager shall be authorized to identify the areas to which these regulations apply during elections.

 

Sec. 8.07.004 Penalties

 

Any person, firm. corporation or entity violating this Article shall be subject to a fine not to exceed

$500.00 per occurrence.

 

SECTION IV. Effective Date. This ordinance shall take effect after a second reading, where it is read, considered and adopted by the City Commission and until fifteen (15) days has passed after its first reading and upon the placement of the appropriate signs by the Texas Department of Transportation.


SECTION V. Publication. The City Secretary of the City of San Juan is hereby authorized and directed to cause the caption of this ordinance to be published in a newspaper having general circulation in San Juan, Texas and in accordance with the applicable laws of this State.

 

SECTION VI. Codification. The City Secretary is hereby directed to cause this Ordinance to be codified in the Code of Ordinances of the City of San Juan, Texas.

 

SECTION VII. Severability. If any section, part, or provision of this Ordinance is declared unconstitutional or invalid, by a court of competent jurisdiction, then, in that event, it is expressly provided, and it is the intention of the City Commission in passing this Ordinance that its parts shall be severable and all other parts of this Ordinance shall not be affected thereby and they shall remain in full force and effect.

 

SECTION VIII. Repealer Clause. This Ordinance shall be cumulative of all other ordinances dealing with the same subject and any provision of any ordinance in direct conflict with any provision of this Ordinance is hereby repealed and the provisions of this Ordinance shall supersede any provisions in conflict herewith; all provisions of any other ordinance not in conflict herewith shall remain in full force and effect.

 

READ, PASSED AND APPROVED ON FIRST READING at a regular meeting of the City Commission of the City of San Juan, Texas, at which a quorum was present and which was held in accordance with Vernon's Texas Codes Annotated, Government Code, Section 551.041 on the 26 day of January, 2021.

 

READ, PASSED AND APPROVED IN SECOND READING at a regular meeting of the City Commission of the City of San Juan, Texas, at which a quorum was present and which was held in accordance with Vernon's Texas Codes Annotated, Government Code, Section 551.041 on the 9th day of February 2021.

 

Diana Cavazos, City Secretary

Mario Garza, Mayor

City Attorney