Home Rule Charter

Steps to Becoming Home Rule

  1. Residents in the City Limits apply to serve on the Home Rule Charter Commission by June 5, 2023.
  2. Council appoints 15 commissioners.
  3. Commissioners meet monthly from July 2023 – October 2024 to review example charters from other cities and draft proposed charter for Liberty Hill.
  4. Council calls a special election for voter approval.
  5. In the November 2024 election, voters choose to remain General Law or adopt the charter to become Home Rule.

What is Home Rule?

Home Rule is the privilege of citizens at the grass roots level to manage their own affairs with minimal interference from the State. Home Rule assumes that government issues should be solved at the level closest to the people. 

The City of Liberty Hill is currently a General Law City governed by the laws of the State of Texas. Because the City has grown to over 5,000 in population, the Texas Constitution allows the City to establish its own rules for municipal government by adopting a Home Rule Charter.

Home Rule cities are required to write and adopt a charter that specifically enumerates the structure, power, duties and authorities the people of the community wish to grant their local government.

What is the difference between “General Law” and “Home Rule?”

Texas cities operate under two categories of local government: 1) General Law and 2) Home Rule. 

GENERAL LAW

Cities whose powers are limited by the specific authority granted by Texas statutes. General Law cities are restricted to doing what state statutes direct or permit them to do. A specific grant of authority or permission must be provided in the state statutes to initiate a particular action. If a General Law city is not granted the express or implied power by the State to initiate a particular action, none can be taken. General Law cities are generally smaller and most often under 5,000 in population. 

HOME RULE

Cities with a population over 5,000 in which the citizens have adopted a home rule charter to define the structure, power, duties, and authority of their local government. The legal position of Home Rule cities is the reverse of General Law cities. Rather than looking to state statutes to determine what they may do, as General Law cities must do, Home Rule cities look to their local Charters to determine what they may do. A Home Rule city may generally take any action that is not prohibited by the Texas Constitution or statutes as long as the authority is granted in the Charter of the city. Home Rule cities have the full power of self-government and may take any action in the interest of the citizens' health, safety and welfare that is not contrary to the Texas and U.S. Constitutions or federal or state laws.