What is the extraterritorial jurisdiction and why was it created?
The extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ) is an “unincorporated area that is contiguous to the corporate boundaries” of a city. TEX. LOC. GOV’T CODE § 42.021. The ETJ, a concept created by the Texas Legislature in 1963, is said to be established in order “to promote and protect the general health, safety, and welfare of persons residing in and adjacent to” cities, a sort of buffer zone outside of a city’s corporate limits. Id. § 42.001. Despite this, cities have been granted relatively little authority to address health and safety issues in the ETJ. Thus, some argue that the real purpose of the ETJ is to limit the geographic area in which a city may annex.

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1. What is the extraterritorial jurisdiction and why was it created?
2. How much territory is encompassed in a city’s ETJ?
3. Why does my city’s ETJ encompass a different amount of territory than provided in state law?
4. What happens to the ETJ when a city annexes property?
5. Should a city have a map showing the boundaries of its ETJ?
6. May cities swap ETJ?
7. May a city apply its ordinances in the ETJ?
8. Do city taxes apply in the ETJ?
9. May qualified voters residing in the ETJ ever vote in a city election?
10. Do city police officers have any authority to make arrests in the ETJ?
11. Do municipal courts have jurisdiction over cases that arise in the ETJ?