Category Archives: Be Informed!

Texas A&M Webinar Series takes some confusion out of legal matters after the CARES Act expires

By Stacey Doud

The Texas A&M School of Law hosted a webinar on July 16, which provided information and answers about legal options regarding landlord-tenant law, mortgage and housing law when the US government’s CARES Act expired on July 31, though its original expiration date was set for July 25.

This Webinar is part of a series of free presentations on topics that the CARES Act covers, but may or may not be useful after its expiration date. Other topics included in this series are: Business bankruptcy; employment issues; legal ethics; private equity concerns; Human Rights at the Border; and Changing Technology in Immigration Court during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For information on future Webinars and their topics, visit the Texas A&M School of Law’s website.

The presenters, who are all considered to be experts in their individual law specialties, addressed these concerns and answered some popular pre-submitted questions.

The CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act was created as an economic stimulus bill, which was signed into law In March by President Trump. This law allocated $2.2 trillion in response to the financial and economic hardships that the COVID-19 pandemic caused in the US.

Part of the CARES Act temporarily suspended the process of foreclosures, which was called a foreclosure moratorium, for 60 days (from March 18 until May 18). This part of the CARES Act protected residents with federally backed mortgages from losing their homes to foreclosure. Some entities that qualified for federally backed mortgages were: Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs), such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac; Federal Housing Administration (FHA); US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD); Veterans Administration (VA); and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

“As the moratorium expired on May 18, homeowners with federally-backed mortgages could request, from their lenders, a forbearance of 108 days, and then they could ask for an extension for up to 360 days,” explained Lisa Alexander, who is a Professor of Law at Texas A&M, as well as the Co-Director for the Program of Real Estate and Community Development Law.

“The eviction moratorium was another thing the CARES Act provided for renters. So, for 120 days, from March 27 to July 31, renters cannot not be evicted from their homes. So, that protection is basically going to end on July 31. There are local and state moratoria on eviction, but this was the federal moratorium, and it’s going to be ending in a few days. What’s true is that landlords of covered properties, without 30 days’ notice, may not evict tenants after the moratorium period expires,” Alexander said.

To qualify as a “covered property,” one of the following conditions must be met: Participation in a covered housing program as defined by the Violence Against Women Act; participation in the rural housing voucher program under section 542 of the Housing Act of 1949; the mortgage loan is federally backed; or the mortgage terms fall under a federally backed multifamily mortgage loan.

“In Dallas County, the eviction moratorium ended on May 18, but they extended it to June 15,” said Stuart Campbell, who represented Legal Aid of Northwest Texas. Unfortunately, they started allowing eviction hearings to start in June and they were heard up until the beginning of July. Though now, on a county level, there are no new hearings scheduled, and there won’t be until after August 5.

“That’s a lot of weird dates with a bunch of sliding scales. But basically, what’s going on is that the ones that were filed during the moratorium are going to be heard by the courts as usual cases. The new filings as of this month are going to be postponed until after August. So, if you’re in that window between June 15 and the beginning of July, unfortunately your eviction hearing is most likely to be heard.

“On a city level in Dallas, City Council passed their Emergency Eviction Ordinance, which only affects folks in the city limits of Dallas, but not the whole of Dallas County. It is for non-payment of rent evictions only and it requires that the landlord give a 21-day notice of proposed evictions, which gives the tenant some time to respond,” Campbell explained.

Even though the CARES Act expired on July 31, renters and mortgagees still have options to keep them away from eviction or foreclosure.

SH 35 Corridor Open House April 25


PEDC and the City of Pearland will be hosting an open house and presentation of findings associated with a strategy to revitalize the State Highway 35 Corridor on April 25th at the UHCL Pearland Conference Center.

The Open House is scheduled from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. A short overview presentation of the strategy will take place at 5:00 p.m.


Pearland Candidate Forum April 13


League City Regional Chamber of Commerce presents ‘The New Normal: Life in a Threatening World’


Screen Shot 2016-03-02 at 11.15.32 AMIn our lifetimes, the world has changed tremendously, and not all changes have been positive. Mankind’s treatment of one another has deteriorated to include ideological attacks on individuals for the sake of terror alone.

While not new in other countries, U.S. citizens have been primarily spared until recent years. Individuals now need to make a conscious effort to develop mindsets in how to protect themselves and their families, much as they do for natural disasters.

Nobel Laureate, best-selling author, highly decorated Retired Army Colonel and Counterterrorism Expert Robert Sholly will be the guest speaker on Thursday (Mar. 10) from 8:30am – 9:30am at the Hampton Inn & Suites, located at 2320 Gulf Freeway South in Houston.

To RSVP for this free event, email

Pearland Police Officer’s Assn hosts Candidate Forum

Save the Date!

Candidate Forum – for City Council and PISD Board Candidates

Wednesday, April 13, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. at Berry Miller Junior High, located at 3301 Manvel Rd.

Questions? Comments? Email Det. John DeSpain at


What Citizens Need to Know about Open Carry

By Cpl. Bryan Proctor, Cleburne Police Department, Cleburne, Texas

The Texas Concealed Handgun Law passed in 1996. As of December 31, 2014 there were 825,957 active license holders in Texas.

Prior to January 1, 2016, all license holders were Concealed Handgun License Holders (CHL), meaning handguns must be carried in a concealed manner. After December 31, 2015 the Concealed Handgun License is changing to the License to Carry (LTC), meaning license holders may carry concealed or unconcealed (Open Carry). If a licensee is openly carrying a handgun, the handgun MUST be secured in a belt or shoulder holster.

Effective January 1, 2016, the Texas Penal Code, Chapter 46 will be amended. HB 910, passed by the 84th Texas Legislature, will allow persons licensed to carry a handgun, under Subchapter H, Chapter 411, Texas Government Code, to openly carry a handgun in the same places that allow the licensed carrying of a concealed handgun with some exceptions, provided the handgun is carried in a shoulder or belt holster. That means that Texas license holders can carry openly or concealed in any place not expressly prohibited by law. License holders may be subject to criminal charges for carrying a handgun in plain view unless carried in a shoulder or belt holster.

Examples of belt and shoulder holsters

Generally, What Places Can a License Holder NOT Carry a Handgun?

  • The physical premises of a school or educational institution, any grounds or building on which an activity sponsored by a school or educational institution is being conducted. Includes school bus, or school passenger transportation.
  • The premises of a government court or court offices utilized by the court.
  • A secured area of an airport
  • Open Carry Only – Anywhere there is a 30.07 sign posted
  • Concealed Carry Only – Anywhere there is a 30.06 sign posted

30.06 Sign

A 30.06 sign prohibits concealed carry by a license holder onto the premises of an establishment posting the sign. The sign must meet the following standards:


  • 1-inch block lettering
  • Alternate, contrasting colors
  • Exact wording specified in code
  • English and Spanish
  • Posted prominently at every entrance of the premises

30.07 Sign

A 30.07 sign prohibits unconcealed carry by a license holder onto the premises of an establishment posting the sign. The sign must meet the same standards as a 30.06 sign.


In a nutshell: Those persons that are licensed to carry a concealed handgun, may carry that handgun openly in a belt or shoulder holster starting January 1, 2016.

Can law enforcement stop and request license? Yes

  • Currently there is case law on both sides of the issue and the legislature chose not to address it. Future case law will address any issues arising from law enforcement.

Do I call 911 if I see someone with a handgun? It depends…

  • Does the person have it unholstered?
  • Is the person intoxicated?
  • Can you articulate the person is acting in a threatening manner?
  • Is the person violating the law in some way?
  • If in doubt, call 911 and give details. Police will respond if necessary.

For more information, visit


Thank you to Cpl. Proctor for sharing this information. He is the Problem Solving Team Supervisor and head of the Sex Offender Compliance Unit in Cleburne, TX. He is also a firearms training instructor in North Texas.

School bond election strategy aims to target parent voters

Pearland ISD officials recently began working on two critical planning steps to advance plans for a November bond election: strategic planning and facilities planning.

Trustees recently approved two consulting contracts designed to help guide the district through bond election strategy and the planning process. A $27,000 contract was approved with Engage, a firm that specializes in strategic planning and a $20,000 contract with Scott Milder, who works as an elections strategist for Stantec, a construction and architecture company.

Milder described his approach to election strategy in “Targeting voters in a school bond election”, an article published online by the School Superintendents Association.

Using special software, Milder can merge the voting history for a school district with with student directory information to create a list of likely registered voter parents by campus. According to the article, that data can then be merged with lists of local civic club memberships, booster clubs and an employee directory.

“Many registered voters never or rarely vote. Identifying those most likely to vote allows a targeted, one-to-one approach with those voters most likely to impact the outcome of your election,” Milder writes.

Using the targeted list, school administrators and staff members are then encouraged to start making phone calls.

“A voter who receives a call directly from the superintendent reminding them to vote and asking whether they have any questions is inspired to vote… and vote yes,” Milder writes.

But before focusing efforts toward a list of targeted voters, Milder recommends organizing a 45-50 person committee of community members and district staff to review the district’s goals and needs and make bond recommendations to the board.

“In many cases, the members of this committee create a political action committee to get out the ‘vote yes’ message, so it is important they have a positive experience.” Milder writes.

According to agenda documents, Milder’s $20,000 consulting fee will be reimbursed to the district via any future construction contracts awarded to his employer, Stantec.

Stantec and KBR

Stantec and the Houston-based architectural firm KBR were picked by trustees to provide architectural services on an “as-needed” basis at the Dec. 8 Board of Trustees meeting.

Trustees reviewed a list of 14 firms who submitted a statement of qualifications for the position including Stantec, KBR, CRE8 Architects, DLR Group, Corgan Architecture, Fanning Howey + House Partners, Huckabee, IBI Group, Kirksey Architecture, Pfluger Architects, Harrison Kornberg Architects, Powers Brown Architecture, SBWV Architects and VLK Architects.

Four Pearland ISD administrators and the City of Pearland Director of Engineering met and ranked each firm using six evaluation criteria measures: background and experience, previous experience with PISD and other districts, pre-bond planning, coordination and public relations, key project personnel, corporate financial qualifications and project management plan.

Of the 14 firms, KBR was awarded a perfect score. Stantec was ranked second and SBWV Architects was ranked third.

Trustees voted to approve the committee’s recommendation to hire KBR and Stantec.

According to agenda documents, the contracts with each firm will be negotiated at a later date once the details of future bond projects are known.

Council approves first reading of annexation

The first reading of the controversial annexation of 242 acres of land, located north of Bailey Rd., south of Arnold Dr., east of Kennedy Dr. and west of Manvel Rd. passed by a vote of 5-0. The second reading will take place on November 23.

Residents opposed to the annexation stepped forward with concerns about the annexation.


“This is not a money issue,” resident Debbie Kirby said. “It’s a quality of life issue. My grandkids won’t be able to come ride four-wheelers like they love to do. We won’t be able to burn. And the city won’t be able to provide water until 2022,” she added.

Resident Jessica Roe agreed.

“My kids are in 4H and won’t be able to participate anymore. Basically, our taxes plus the TIP funding that the city is getting is paying for the Bailey Rd. expansion. It’s the most fiscally irresponsible thing I’ve heard in my life,” Roe said.

The Kirbys and Roes are only two of the families that live on the annexable 242 acres that will be affected. They both expressed disappointment in the lack of representation from the other residents at Public Hearings and City Council meetings.

“Basically, there’s nothing we can do about it,” said Roe. “It’s frustrating.”

Councilman Greg Hill said that there has been some miscommunication or misunderstanding.

“This area will begin receiving city services the moment they are annexed,” he said. “All of the existing residents have water wells and sewage on their property and they won’t be asked to change that. The City will be at ‘capacity’ after the surface water plant is finished in 2022, and new residents will be asked to use the city’s water lines.”

“No one is being asked not to burn, unless there is a county-wide burn ban. As far as I know, there are no restrictions on the use of four-wheelers or golf carts either.” Hill added. “Yes, property taxes will go up. No one wants that, but there’s no way around it.”

“It just seems like a money grab,” said Kirby. Our taxes will go up but we won’t have any benefits.”

In the Council meeting, City Manager Clay Pearson indicated that the area may be rezoned at a later date from the existing Suburban District zoning and that property owners will be able to request rezoning if they wish.

It was also mentioned that Agricultural Exemptions are available for residents who raise livestock for organizations such as 4H.

Residents are encouraged to communicate with the City through the website at or by calling City Hall.

Pearland Drink Local Seeking Volunteers for Block Walking Event

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 7.44.51 PMThis Saturday, we will have our first Block Walking Event.  We will be walking the western-most part of Shadow Creek Ranch.  We will meet at Wilder Elementary parking lot at 9:30 where we will break into teams and go over the details/sales pitch.  We plan to walk from 10:00am until 1:00pm (3 hours), so please wear comfortable shoes and bring some water.
Block Walking
When: Saturday, Nov 14th. 9:30 am
Where: Wilder Elementary – Parking Lot, 2225 Kingsley Dr., Pearland, TX 77584
We will be walking Precinct 50, which is bordered on North buy Shadow Creek Pkwy, South by Broadway, East by Kingsley Dr., and West by Fort Bend County Line. We plan to hit the following neighborhoods:
  • North Meadow Trails
  • South Meadow Trails
  • Nicole Terrace
  • Silver leaf Glen
  • Creek side Meadows
  • Regents Glen
  • Biscayne Bay
  • North Briarwood
  • South Briarwood
  • Trinity Shores
  • Brook glen
  • Riverside Place
  • Copper Creek
  • Village Green
  • Harvest Grove
  • Sagecrest Point
We really need a headcount of who plans to attend, so PLEASE RSVP to if you will be coming.
Thanks again for your support and we hope to see you Saturday for block-walking.
Seth Thompson
Pearland Citizens for Economic Freedom

Pearland Citizens for Economic Freedom is a organized movement to remove the alcohol-sales restriction on businesses in Pearland.

Currently, only businesses that have a Food & Beverage Permit can sell alcohol in Pearland.  To get a Food & Beverage Permit, 51% or more of gross sales must come from food.  This requirement discourages businesses such as pubs, wine bars, liquor stores, and some higher-end restaurants from operating within Pearland city limits.

To remove the restrictions, we are petitioning to get a local-option election on the ballot in May 2016. The local-option is to allow the legal sale of all alcohol, including mixed beverages, within the city limits. We believe passing this measure will bring more entertainment, commerce, and tax revenue to Pearland.

To learn more, click HERE.

Proposed constitutional amendments on Nov. 3 ballot

The 2015 General Election will take place on November 3, with early voting being held October 19 through October 30. For information about where and when to vote, visit

Proposed state constitutional amendments are introduced during the legislative session, which occurs only in odd-numbered years. If approved by two-thirds of each chamber, the proposal must then be approved by voters, usually during the uniform election in November of that year. Since the Constitution was adopted in 1876, Texas voters have approved 484 amendments to the lengthy document. This year, seven proposed amendments will be on the ballot for consideration of voters at the general election on Tuesday, November 3.

Proposition 1: Increasing the homestead property tax exemption

Proposition 1 would amend Texas Constitution, Art. 8, sec. 1-b(c) to increase the mandatory homestead exemption from $15,000 to $25,000. When the Legislature convened in January of this year, they set out to develop a plan to provide tax relief to Texas home and business owners. Senate Bill 1, the amendment’s enabling legislation, would increase the homestead exemption for school property tax from $15,000 to $25,000 beginning with the 2015 tax year, effectively returning $1.24 billion to Texas taxpayers. SB 1 will take effect only if voters approve the constitutional amendment proposed by SJR 1.

Proposition 2: Surviving Spouses of 100% Disabled Veterans

This would exempt property taxes for the surviving spouses of the totally disabled veterans who died prior to the law authorizing a residence homestead exemption for such a veteran took effect. This is allowed if: The surviving spouse has not remarried since the death of the disabled veteran; and the property was the residence homestead of the surviving spouse when the disabled veteran died, and the property remains the surviving spouse’s residence homestead.

Proposition 3: Austin Residence for Statewide Elected Officials

Proposition 3 removes the requirement that statewide elected officials (comptroller of public accounts, commissioner of the General Land Office, attorney general, commissioner of agriculture, and railroad commissioners) have to reside in Austin. The residence of the governor is addressed in a different section of the Texas Constitution and is not affected by this proposed amendment. Proposition 3 would allow these officials to maintain a residency at a location in Texas other than Austin.

Proposition 4: Charitable Raffles

Proposition 4 authorizes the legislature to allow a professional sports team charitable foundation to conduct charitable raffles under the terms and conditions imposed by the law and to use raffle proceeds to pay reasonable advertising, promotional, and administrative expenses.

As far back as 1876, the Texas Constitution prohibited all lotteries and gift enterprises, and this was interpreted to mean that the state cannot allow most forms of gambling. However, in 1980, it was changed to allow the regulation of bingo games if the bingo proceeds are used for charitable purposes.

In 1989, it was again changed to allow the regulation of charitable raffles if the raffle proceeds are spent for the organization’s charitable purposes and its members conduct the raffles. In 1991, it was again changed to allow the state to operate lotteries or to contract with legal entities to operate lotteries for the state.

Proposition 4 would change the Constitution again to allow charitable raffles conducted by professional sports team charitable foundations under the terms and conditions imposed by law.

Prop 5: Rural Counties and their private roads

Currently, rural counties with population less than 5,000 citizens can construct and maintain private roads. Proposition 5 would increase that population threshold to allow counties with 7,500 people or less to perform private road construction and maintenance. The population of Brazoria County is about 330,000, so this wouldn’t apply locally.

Proposition 6: Hunting and Fishing

Proposition 6 establishes an individual’s right to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife in Texas.  This would support the state’s hunting heritage, promote outdoor recreation and would prevent anti-hunting and fishing groups from imposing stricter limitations on hunting and fishing in Texas. This would not modify any provision of law relating to trespass, property rights, or eminent domain, and does not affect TPWD’s ability to collect hunting and fishing license fees.

There are more than 2.7 million people that hunt or fish in Texas. In total, they spend $4.1 billion annually, which is a business nearly twice the size of Texas’ second largest commodity. Over 65,000 jobs in Texas are supported by hunting and fishing. This number is more than Dell, The University of Texas-Austin, and MD Anderson Cancer Center combined. Furthermore, $415 million in state and local taxes are generated from hunting and fishing in Texas, which is enough money to support the average salaries of 8,100 police officers.

Proposition 7: Dedicating a portion of sales tax revenue to the state highway fund

Two years ago, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) indicated that it needs $5 billion more per year to maintain the current condition of the state’s roads and keep congestion from getting worse. The Legislature identified funding for transportation projects without raising taxes or fees.

Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) 5 proposes a constitutional amendment  that would dedicate a portion of general sales tax revenue to the State Highway Fund. If approved by voters in November, SJR 5 will dedicate up to $2.5 billion annually to the State Highway Fund. SJR 5 provides a stable revenue source to address the state’s transportation needs without raising taxes or fees and cannot be used for toll roads.

Thank you to Rep. Ed Thompson for the information!