State representative files bill that would create 'District of Austin'

A state representative from Frisco has filed a bill to create the "District of Austin."

"There are a number of issues where the state of Texas is having to come in and fix problems for the City of Austin," said Rep. Jared Patterson, a Republican from Frisco. 

"House Bill 714 is basically an idea based on the structure of Washington, D.C., where there is congressional oversight," said Rep. Patterson. "We would have the state legislature have oversight, kind of a 'checks and balances' for the Capitol district in this case."

While Rep. Patterson does not represent the Austin area, he said Austin policies make themselves relevant to the state.

"When Austin passes some far-left policies like defunding the police, we have to bring DPS troopers from around the state to help protect Austin and our State Capitol, and that removes resources from other areas of the state," said Rep. Patterson. "You have to certainly respect folks in Austin who want to keep it weird, but we just want to make sure that it's not too weird that it affects the rest of the state from a public safety standpoint."

Austin is a home-rule city which means its city charter acts as its constitution. 

"In a state of 254 counties across two time zones, not every decision can be made in Austin (at the Capitol)," said Scott Braddock, political analyst and editor of "The local governments are political subdivisions of the state of Texas, but there's a reason you have political subdivisions, because the people who are in those neighborhoods and in those cities, they have local concerns…lawmakers in Austin don't need to be answering those calls."

Ultimately, Braddock said there is no chance the bill passes.

In order to move forward, the House would need to approve the bill, and the House and Senate would need to approve a separate, joint resolution that proposes a constitutional amendment. It would need a two-thirds vote in each chamber to pass which would require favorable votes from multiple democrats. 

"This is an unserious proposal from an unserious legislator who is grandstanding," said Braddock. 

If the constitutional amendment moved forward, voters would then have to ratify it.

Last legislative session, Rep. Briscoe Cain filed similar legislation. It did not make it out of committee. 

In 2020, Governor Abbott proposed transferring control of the Austin Police Department to the Texas Department of Public Safety.