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.
Steps to Becoming Home Rule
- Residents in the City Limits apply to serve on the Home Rule Charter Commission by June 5th. Click to Apply
- Council appoints 15 commissioners.
- Commissioners meet monthly from July 2023 – February 2024 to review example charters from other cities and draft proposed charter for Liberty Hill.
- Council calls a special election for voter approval.
- In the May 2024 election, voters choose to remain General Law or adopt the charter to become Home Rule.
- Must be 18+ and have resided in the Liberty Hill City Limits at least 30 days prior to appointment.
- Must be eligible to register to vote.
- Must attend monthly 2-hour meetings from July 2023 to February 2024.
Apply to Be a Commissioner
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
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.
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.
What are some typical matters included in a Home Rule Charter?
The Charter may establish various rights, responsibilities and privileges for the city government and its citizens that are not superseded by State or Federal laws.
To list just a few:
- number of Councilmembers, their qualifications, terms and how they are elected;
- duties of the Mayor, Council and specific staff members;
- the type of government utilized;
- citizens’ right to initiative, recall and/or referendum;
- City’s right to annex, tax and provide safety for its citizens;
- procedures and ethics; and
- method that information is provided to citizens.
Which neighboring cities are Home Rule?
- Cedar Park
- Round Rock
Apply to Be a Commissioner
Fill out application by June 5, 2023.