For literally years I’ve been ranting about Texas Municipal Code Chapter 334, the one that deals with sports venues. Most recently I invoked it to impugn the El Paso Times’ ability to render an unbiased editorial opinion on what’s good for El Paso.

My reading of the law concluded that the City couldn’t build a ballpark without the approval of the citizens, expressed through an election.

This weekend I got schooled. On the website El Paso Speak (, a commenter Carlos pointed out Section 334.0082

Sec. 334.0082. VENUE PROJECTS IN CERTAIN MUNICIPALITIES. (a) This section applies only to a municipality that:
(1) has a population of at least 176,000 that borders the Rio Grande, and that approved a sports and community venue project before January 1, 2009; or
(2) is located in a county adjacent to the Texas-Mexico border if:
(A) the county has a population of at least 500,000;
(B) the county does not have a city located within it that has a population of at least 500,000; and
(C) the municipality is the largest municipality in the county described by this subdivision.
(b) Notwithstanding any other law, including Section 334.089, after complying with Section 334.022, a municipality to which this section applies may hold an election under Section 334.024 on the question of approving and implementing a resolution to:
(1) authorize the municipality to plan, acquire, establish, develop, construct, or renovate a convention center and related infrastructure in the city limits of the municipality as part of an existing or previously approved sports and community venue project, regardless of whether the convention center is located on the premises of the existing or previously approved venue project;
(2) impose a tax under Subchapter H at a rate not to exceed two percent of the cost of a room; and
(3) authorize the municipality to finance, operate, and maintain the venue project described by Subdivision (1), including the convention center, using the revenue from any taxes imposed by the municipality under this chapter, including taxes previously approved in relation to the existing or previously approved venue project.
(c) If the resolution is approved by a majority of the votes cast in the election, the municipality may implement the resolution.

This raises a whole new set of questions, but I won’t get into those here, now. For now, let me apologize to any readers I may have led astray.


  1. It’s difficult for lawyers to understand this code; even more difficult for the rest of us. What the code does not explicitly say is what happens if the resolution is not approved by a majority of voters. For example, if voters had not approved HOT, would City Hall have been demolished and a ballpark built anyway? I think voters were lead to believe it would happen anyway, so a vote for the HOT increase was the choice most made.

  2. I can’t find where we created a “sports and community venue project” before January 1, 2009.

    Personally, I believe that the wording on the recent ballot made the construction of the ball park legal (once we approved it):
    Authorizing the City of El Paso to designate and develop the Stadium
    Project as a sports and community venue project within the City of the type
    described and defined in Section 334.001(4)(A) of and permitted by Chapter 334, …”

    1. Interesting thought. The Municipal Code does define venue as “sports AND community.” If the old City Hall/Insights location was not used for both those purposes before, you’re saying the HOT vote defined it as that.

  3. elrichiboy,

    I forgot to thank you for your good work on the blog and for your sense of decency.


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