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The City Charter gives citizens the right to petition for an initiative by proposing an ordinance that does not conflict with any laws, the Constitution of the State of Texas, or the Charter. The proposed ordinance may not appropriate money or authorize the levying of a tax. An ordinance proposed by the people may be submitted to the Council by petition. The petition should be signed by at least 10% of the qualified voters in the City of Victoria.
The City Charter states the “initiative petition papers shall contain the full text of the proposed legislation in the form of an ordinance with a descriptive caption.” Each person signing the petition must sign his or her name in ink or indelible pencil. To be a valid petition signature, the petition must also contain the signer’s printed name, voter registration number, residence address, and date of signing. Each page of the petition shall contain an affidavit stating that the affiant circulated the petition personally and that each signature on the petition was made in his or her presence and is the genuine signature of the person whose name it claims to show.
Within twenty days of being filed, the City Secretary shall examine the petition and determine whether it contains the required number of valid signatures. The Charter stated that the “City Secretary need not examine, and shall declare void, any petition paper which does not have attached thereto the affidavit of the person who circulated it as required” (see question above). After completing the examination of the petition, the City Secretary shall certify the result of the examination to the Council at the next regular meeting and state the number of signers found on the petition to be qualified to vote and the number found to not be qualified to vote. If the petition for initiative is insufficient, the “City Secretary shall notify the person filing the petition, and the petition may be amended within ten days from date of such notice by filing a supplementary petition upon additional papers signed and filed as provided for an original petition,” as stated in the Charter. The City Secretary shall examine the amendment within ten days and certify the amended petition as to its sufficiency. The Charter states “if the amended petition is found insufficient, the City Secretary shall return the petitions to the person who filed them, without prejudice to the filing of a new petition for the same purpose.”
After receiving the an authorized initiative petition certified by the City Secretary to be sufficient, the City Council shall pass the initiated ordinance without amendment within sixty days after the date of certification to the Council; submit the initiated ordinance without amendment to a vote of the qualified voters of the City at a regular or special election to be held on the next uniform election date which occurs not less than 60 days after the date of certification of the petition to the City Council; or submit to a vote of the qualified voters of the City at such election the initiated ordinance without amendment, and in the alternative an ordinance on the same subject proposed by the City Council.