CITY-RELATED BILLS FILED
H.B. 3133 (Gallego) – Property Tax: would alter the charitable organization property tax exemption as follows: (1) provide that exempt charities must provide support to certain beneficiaries without regard to ability to pay; and (2) allow the exemption for charities that include training and employment in the production of commodities and charities that assist the blind. (Companion bill is S.B. 2442 by Uresti.)
H.B. 3484 (Coleman) – Special Districts: would, among other things, provide that: (1) a county commissioners court has oversight authority over virtually every type of special purpose district created or operating inside the county’s boundaries (including those created by a city and located within the city’s boundaries); (2) a special purpose district may not be created inside a county’s boundaries without giving the commissioners court notice and express oversight of the district; (3) the boundaries of a special purpose district may not be altered inside a county’s boundaries without giving the commissioners court notice of the intention to alter the boundaries and an opportunity to comment on the alteration; and (4) bonds to be issued by or on behalf of a special purpose district or internal district are subject to the approval of a county commissioners court.
H.B. 3581 (Gallego) – Foreign Nationals: would: (1) provide that a magistrate who knows or suspects that a person brought before him/her is a foreign national must inform the person that the person has a right to communicate with an official from the appropriate consulate; (2) require the magistrate to notify the consulate when the person arrested is a national of Canada or Mexico; and (3) require related training for persons applying for new or intermediate licenses from the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education (TCLEOSE).
H.B. 3583 (Gallego) – Police Lineups: would: (1) create a new, more detailed set of requirements for photograph and live lineup identification procedures; (2) direct TCLEOSE to develop a model policy and associated training materials to assist law enforcement agencies in compliance; and (3) require local law enforcement agencies to adopt a detailed written policy regarding live and photograph lineup identification procedures. (Companion bill is S.B. 117 by Ellis.)
H.B. 3585 (Gallego) – Deferred Disposition: would create an optional special expense fee to be imposed upon a deferred disposition in municipal court, to be collected at any time during the deferral period, and to be credited toward the fines.
H.B. 3594 (McReynolds) – Evidence: would require a police department in a county of less than 100,000 population to ensure the preservation of evidence that was used in certain criminal convictions by delivering the evidence to the Texas Department of Public Safety for storage according to regulations adopted by the department.
H.B. 3600 (Ortiz) – Elections: would require the secretary of state to: (1) establish rules for counties to eliminate county election precincts; and (2) establish countywide voting centers for certain elections, including each city election that is held jointly with the county. (This bill is identical to H.B. 4354 by T. Smith.)
H.B. 3607 (Truitt) – Public Funds Investment: would amend the Public Funds Investment Act as follows: (1) require that a city’s investment policy include procedures to monitor rating changes in investments as well as procedures relating to liquidation of the investments; (2) permit investments in any obligations that are fully guaranteed or insured by the F.D.I.C or by the full faith and credit of the United States; (3) permit investment in brokered certificates of deposit; (4) prohibit investments in commercial paper that are exempt from federal registration requirements; (5) permit investment pools to invest in certain money market mutual funds; and (6) permit the investment of proceeds from oil, gas, and mineral leases in any investment instrument permitted under the Texas Trust Code.
H.B. 3611 (Otto) – Property Tax: would permit two or more adjoining appraisal districts to consolidate operations.
H.B. 3612 (Otto) – Property Tax: would create a three-year pilot program that allows taxpayer appeals from appraisal review board determinations to be heard by the State Office of Administrative Hearings in the following counties: Bexar, Dallas, El Paso, Harris, Tarrant, and Travis.
H.B. 3613 (Otto) – Property Tax: would require that an appraisal of a residence homestead be based on its use as a residence only, regardless of the “highest and best use” of the property.
H.B. 3641 (D. Miller) – Public Information Act: would: (1) allow a city to sue an abusive open records requestor in Travis County district court to prevent that individual from submitting any further requests under the Public Information Act; (2) provide that a court’s order declaring an individual an abusive requestor may not remain effective for more than five years; and (3) provide that if the court does not find that probable cause exists at a preliminary hearing, then the action must be dismissed and the requestor must be awarded reasonable costs and attorney’s fees.
H.B. 3668 (Hopson) – Purchasing: would provide that, if a contract is made without compliance with competitive procurement laws, it is void, and the performance of the contract, including the payment of any money under the contract, may be enjoined by any property-tax-paying resident of the city or a person or entity that placed a bid on the project, regardless of whether the bidder is a resident of the city.
H.B. 3675 (Heflin) – Elections: would provide that for elections other than those in which a federal office appears on the ballot, a political subdivision with a population of less than 5,000 is exempt from certain electronic voting machine requirements.
H.B. 3677 (P. King) – City Officers: would allow a type A general law city with a population of 1,000 or less to adopt an ordinance that allows a person who is a resident of either the city or the extraterritorial jurisdiction of the city to be an eligible candidate for an elected or appointed city office.
H.B. 3679 (Riddle) – Elections: would: (1) provide that an election officer serving at a polling place during the early voting period or on election day is a deputy voter registrar with the same authority as a regular deputy voter registrar; and (2) allow certain active and discharged military personnel to register to vote on election day.
H.B. 3690 (Jackson) – Sales Tax: would include elective plastic surgery and bottled water in the sales tax base.
H.B. 3699 (Isett) – Property Tax: would alter the “Prop 2” pollution control property tax exemption as follows: (1) provide that the exemption is available for certain carbon dioxide equipment necessary to comply with state or local rules, as opposed to current law which addresses only federal rules; and (2) provide that the exemption is available for carbon dioxide transport equipment, as opposed to current law which addresses only carbon dioxide capture equipment.
H.B. 3727 (Burnam) – Sovereign Immunity: would make a city liable for any injury to an individual or to property in the same manner that a private individual would be liable.
H.B. 3736 (Coleman) – Cell Phone Ban: would: (1) prohibit the use of a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle, subject to certain exceptions; and (2) require a city to send 50 percent of the fines collected under the new law to the state comptroller at the end of the fiscal year.
H.B. 3743 (S. Turner) – Electric Generation Capacity: would prohibit a power generation company or an affiliated entity from owning or controlling more than fifteen percent of the retail provider market in a power region.
H.B. 3748 (Coleman) – Police Training: would require four hours of police education and training on crisis intervention techniques to assist in interaction with persons with mental impairments.
H.B. 3759 (Smithee) – Construction Insurance: would: (1) authorize the use of a “consolidated insurance program” under which a principal provides insurance on a construction project for several contractors; and (2) provide specific procedures that must be followed to use such a program.
H.B. 3770 (Fletcher) – Law Enforcement Training: would: (1) require each law enforcement officer to receive training in the laws of this state and of the United States, including recent changes; and (2) require each law enforcement officer seeking an intermediate proficiency certificate to receive training in investigative topics, civil rights, racial sensitivity, and cultural diversity.
H.B. 3779 (C. Howard) – Property Tax: would provide that the “market value” of land for property tax appraisal purposes is frozen at the 2009 appraised value until the land is sold or new construction takes place. (Note: please see H.J.R. 121, below.)
H.B. 3782 (Gallego) – Financial Services Firms: would require cities over 150,000 in population to periodically disclose to the state comptroller whether any of the financial services firms assisting the city with bonds are historically underutilized businesses as defined by state law.
H.B. 3788 (Rodriguez) – Fire Departments: would authorize a firefighter to close a highway or other roadway as necessary to protect the safety of persons or property, provided the firefighter uses an official fire department vehicle and visual signals that meet state law requirements.
H.B. 3891 (Vaught) – Health Benefits Mandate: would require health benefit plans, including plans issued by an intergovernmental risk pool, to provide coverage for bilateral cochlear implants for minors.
H.B. 3893 (Oliveira) – Sales Tax: would: (1) add direct broadcast satellite service to the state and city sales tax base; and (2) impose an additional state sales tax on the sale of direct broadcast satellite service in an incorporated area at rate of seven percent of the sales price of the service.
H.B. 3895 (Oliveira) – Sales Tax: would exempt from sales taxes the repair and maintenance of certain computer programs.
H.B. 3901 (Heflin) – Elections: would: (1) provide that an election judge or clerk must be paid at least $10 per hour for services rendered at a polling place; and (2) require the secretary of state to reimburse the county for the difference between the federal minimum wage and the hourly rate.
H.B. 3902 (Heflin) – Elections: would: (1) provide that a voter accepted for provisional voting because the voter does not meet the identification requirements, or an interested person on behalf of the voter, may present proof of identification to the voter registrar within ten business days of the election; (2) require an election officer to enter “special identification provisional vote” on the poll list next to the name of each voter who is accepted for voting but does not have an acceptable form of identification; (3) require an election officer to inform an individual voting by provisional ballot because he/she does not meet the identification requirement of the ten-day window for providing identification to the voter registrar; and (4) require election officials to make a reasonable effort to determine if the provisional voter is a qualified voter before the election is canvassed.
H.B. 3905 (England) – Fire/Police Civil Service: would provide the following in cities covered by Chapter 143 of the Local Government Code (fire/police civil service): (1) entrance exams may be held at a testing site in Texas or elsewhere and need not be held in the presence of other applicants; (2) a vacancy in a beginning position shall be filled by the person having the highest grade on the exam unless the department’s chief executive has a valid reason not to appoint that person; (3) the prohibition on filling a beginning position in a police department with someone who is 45 years old or older is repealed; and (4) the prohibition on an applicant taking an entrance exam for any given eligibility list more than once is repealed
H.B. 3906 (Madden) – Fire/Police Civil Service: would provide that in a city covered by Chapter 143 of the Local Government Code (fire/police civil service) the chief of police may appoint deputy chiefs as follows: in a department with fewer than 300 officers, one deputy chief; in a department with 300-600 officers, two deputy chiefs; and in a department with more than 600 officers, three deputy chiefs. (Note: this bill would loosen restrictions adopted in 1983.)
H.B. 3913 (Madden) – Construction Contracts: would provide that: (1) a dispute arising under a construction contract for non-residential construction may be referred to a “dispute board” if the contract provides for such a referral; (2) each construction contract entered into by a governmental entity that does not provide for submission of disputes to a dispute board must contain a provision stating that the provision was actively considered and rejected; (3) a dispute board consists of one, three, or a greater odd number of persons selected by the parties through a nomination process, and one person selected by the parties’ chosen members; (4) each member of the dispute board must meet certain qualifications related to the construction industry and meet certain training requirements; (5) a project owner (e.g., a governmental entity) shall provide a dispute board with all documents necessary to the board’s work, including conference facilities for meetings; (6) a dispute board may act in an advisory or formal decision-making capacity, as agreed by the parties; and (7) the meetings of a dispute board and its records are confidential.
H.B. 3917 (W. Smith) – Transportation: would create the Texas Local Participation Transportation Program to encourage “local project sponsors” (e.g., a city, county, regional mobility authority, or regional tollway authority) to participate in pass-through toll transportation projects. Specifically, the bill would provide that: (1) the Texas local participation transportation fund is created as a dedicated account in the state’s general revenue fund; (2) the fund is composed of money transferred to the fund at the direction of the legislature, gifts and grants contributed to the fund, interest and earnings received from investments of money in the fund, and money repaid by a local project sponsor under a loan made under the bill, (3) the state comptroller shall administer a program to encourage local project sponsors to participate in the delivery of eligible projects by providing the sponsors disbursements from the fund; (4) the comptroller shall develop a process for certifying the eligibility of transportation projects nominated by local project sponsors for disbursements from the fund; (5) a local project sponsor must submit a proposed plan for funding a project that, among other things, specifically identifies the contribution of local sources to the total project cost; (6) an eligible project may not receive more than 50 percent of the total project cost from the fund; and (7) for purposes of determining the amount contributed by local sources to the total project cost, a local project sponsor may include funds on hand, ad valorem taxes, local option taxes or fees dedicated to the project, economic development grants, other project-specific gifts and grants, and, if the project is planned as a toll facility, toll revenues. (Companion bill is S.B. 1383 by Carona.)
H.B. 3924 (Pena) – Ethics: would permit, but not require, a city, city officer, or candidate for city office to use Texas Ethics Commission software and other resources to file certain campaign reports, financial disclosure statements, conflict disclosure statements, and lobbying expenditure reports.
H.B. 3948 (T. Smith) – Elections: would: (1) require the secretary of state to establish procedures to implement an efficient provisional voting system for certain voters who do not meet the applicable identification requirements; (2) require the identification requirements for voting to be provided to voters on documents during the registration process, on the websites of the secretary of state and county voter registrars who maintain websites, and on a posting outside each polling location; (3) require information on identification requirements to be included in the training standards for election officers and in training programs provided by local election officials; and (4) provide that the Department of Public Safety may not collect a fee for a personal identification certificate if the person is a voter or applicant for voter registration and is obtaining the certificate to comply with the identification requirements.
H.B. 3949 (Solomons) – Immigration: would provide that: (1) "license" means a license that an individual must obtain to engage in a particular business, occupation, or profession; (2) "licensing authority" means a department, commission, board, office, or other agency of this state or a political subdivision of this state that issues a license; (3) an applicant for a license must establish employment eligibility if the applicant is applying for an original license or renewing a license and the applicant has not previously established employment eligibility; (4) a licensing authority may not issue a license to an applicant or renew an applicant's license unless the applicant establishes employment eligibility through a document that the licensing authority examines on its face for validity; (5) certain listed documents are acceptable proof of employment eligibility; and (6) an applicant whose occupation requires a license from both a state and a political subdivision licensing authority shall provide documents to prove employment eligibility to the state licensing authority only.
H.B. 3963 (Bolton) – Retiree Health Coverage: would give an early retiree in a city over 25,000 in population the right to purchase health coverage through any of various coverage alternatives.
H.B. 3997 (Paxton) – Municipal Taxes and Fees: would provide that whenever a city wishes to impose a new tax or fee or increase an existing tax or fee: (1) the city must hold an election; (2) at least 25 percent of the city’s registered voters must participate in the election; and (3) a majority of the voters must approve the proposal.
H.B. 4033 (McCall) – Ethics: would: (1) permit any city official who must file a “conflicts disclosure statement” to use Texas Ethics Commission electronic services and software; and (2) permit certain vendors who currently file disclosure statements with a city the option to file a lobbying report with the Texas Ethics Commission whenever the vendor makes expenditures in relation to lobbying the city. (Note: this bill is very similar to H.B. 3188, also by McCall.)
H.B. 4041 (Villarreal) – Property Tax: would change the property appraisal arbitration process as follows: (1) permit arbitration to address any issue, not just market value as current law provides; and (2) permit “expedited arbitration” of some challenges, whereby both sides have only one hour to present their cases and a smaller deposit is required.
H.B. 4045 (T. Smith) – Elections: would change the May uniform election date from the second Saturday in May to the third Saturday in May.
H.B. 4070 (Gonzalez Toureilles) – Property Tax: would exempt from property taxes certain airplanes and helicopters used exclusively in agricultural operations.
H.B. 4074 (Chavez) – Notice Publication: would require cities with more than 50-percent Hispanic-origin population to publish its notices in a Spanish-language newspaper of general circulation in the county.
H.B. 4077 (C. Howard) – Sales Tax: would change the laws relating to reallocation of city sales taxes due to mistake as follows: (1) make it an offense to file a false sales tax report relating to allocation of city sales taxes; (2) reduce from four years to one year the statute of limitations (also known as the “look back” provision) for the reallocation of city sales taxes; and (3) provide a notice, hearing, and appeal procedure for reallocations in excess of $100,000.
H.B. 4078 (C. Howard) – Sales Tax: would change the laws relating to reallocation of city sales taxes due to mistake as follows: (1) reduce from four years to one year the statute of limitations (also known as the “look back” provision) for the reallocation of city sales taxes; and (2) provide a notice, hearing, and appeal procedure for reallocations in excess of $100,000.
H.B. 4084 (Farrar) – Solid Waste: would prohibit a landfill operator from knowingly accepting for disposal used equipment that is eligible for collection under a manufacturer’s recovery plan.
H.B. 4086 (Farrar) – Energy Codes: would, among other things, provide that: (1) the energy efficiency chapter of the International Residential Code (IRC), as it existed on January 1, 2009, is adopted as the energy code in Texas for single-family residential construction; (2) the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), as it existed on January 1, 2009, is adopted as the energy code for use in Texas for all other residential, commercial, and industrial construction; (3) the State Energy Conservation Office (SECO) shall, in cooperation with interested persons, identify a list of energy code improvements anticipated to be contained in new editions of the energy codes and develop market transformation programs to train builders, architects, and tradesmen to meet the anticipated code improvements; and (4) if SECO determines, based on written recommendations from the Energy Systems Laboratory, that the latest published edition of the IRC energy efficiency provisions or the latest published edition of the IECC will result in residential or commercial energy efficiency and air quality that is equivalent to or better than the energy efficiency and air quality achievable under the 2009 editions, SECO shall by rule adopt the equivalent or more stringent editions and substitute them for those energy codes.
H.B. 4096 (Eiland) – Legal Services Contracts: would allow a city to enter into a contingent fee legal services contract without approval by the state comptroller.
H.B. 4112 (Martinez Fischer) – Driver Education: would authorize a municipal court to order a defendant who is a repeat traffic offender to complete a driver education course.
H.B. 4113 (Martinez Fischer) – Recycling: would require a city to create and report to the state comptroller a program for recycling solid waste produced by the city.
H.B. 4116 (Pitts) – Eminent Domain: would provide that: (1) the Texas comptroller shall adopt uniform rules regarding the purchase and acquisition of property by and for the state or a political subdivision or for the use of residents of this state, including the acquisition of property through the use of eminent domain; (2) the policy shall reflect that those purchases and acquisitions are: (a) efficient, effective, and appropriate for the purposes of the state and the residents of this state; and (b) uniformly performed, regulated, and managed by state agencies, local governments, and other entities on behalf of this state or for the benefit of residents of this state; (3) "public use" means a use of property that allows the state, a political subdivision of the state, or the general public of the state to possess, occupy, and enjoy the property; (4) a governmental or private entity may not take private property through the use of eminent domain if the taking is not for a public use; and (5) all common carrier pipelines are exempted from the limitations in current law relating to the use of eminent domain for economic development purposes.
H.B. 4127 (Hartnett) – Playground Safety Standards: would provide that public funds may not be used to purchase playground equipment or surfacing for the area under and around playground equipment if the equipment and/or surfacing does not substantially comply with certain safety standards.
H.B. 4134 (Anchia) – Public Information Act: would make the following changes regarding the confidential nature of certain personal information about city officers or employees: (1) automatically make certain personal information confidential, instead of requiring an affirmative election by each officer or employee; (2) include an officer or employee's date of birth and shift assignment among the confidential information; and (3) permit each officer or employee to make personal information public. (Companion bill is S.B. 280 by Nelson.)
H.B. 4135 (S. Turner) – Expunctions: would expand the situations under which a person may request an expunction of all arrest records. (Companion bill is S.B. 1454 by West.)
H.B. 4140 (Homer) – Public Information Act: would: (1) provide that a governmental body is not required to produce information in response to a bulk data request in any medium other than that in which the information is maintained; (2) provide that a governmental body is not required to produce a document responsive to a bulk data request in the requested format if it is maintained in the same medium as the medium requested by the requestor; and (3) allow a governmental body to charge an amount not to exceed 20 cents per page for providing a copy of information responsive to a bulk data request.
H.B. 4144 (Gattis) – Zoning: would provide that: (1) the governing body of a city shall adopt by resolution or ordinance a comprehensive plan that details current and future land uses and serves as a basis for making planning or zoning decisions of the city; (2) the governing body shall review its comprehensive plan not less often than every three years; (3) the governing body shall appoint an advisory committee to make recommendations regarding the adoption, amendment, and review of its comprehensive plan; (4) the advisory committee is composed of at least five members appointed by a majority vote of the governing body, and at least 40 percent of the membership of the advisory committee must be representatives of the real estate, development, or building industries who are not employees or officials of a political subdivision or governmental entity; (5) the advisory committee shall issue a written report to the governing body detailing its findings and recommendations regarding the comprehensive plan; (6) the governing body may not adopt or amend the comprehensive plan until it conducts at least one public hearing on the recommendations made by the advisory committee, and may not amend or adopt the comprehensive plan before the 30th day after the date the governing body receives the advisory committee's report, unless each of the landowners affected by the plan or amendment consents to the plan or amendment; (7) at the public hearing, a landowner may object to any land use applied to the landowner's tract by the comprehensive plan; (8) a landowner may petition the county commissioners court to appoint three disinterested persons, who reside in the county, as special commissioners to assess the reasonableness of a land use applied to the landowner's tract under the city’s comprehensive plan if the landowner objects in writing to the land use and has been unable to sell or develop the tract in conformity with the land use for a period of three years; (9) the special commissioners shall conduct their proceedings and shall have the same powers as special commissioners in an eminent domain proceeding; and (10) if a majority of the special commissioners determines that a land use applied to a landowner's tract by the comprehensive plan is unreasonable, a majority of the special commissioners may determine a reasonable land use for the tract and order that the comprehensive plan be amended to reflect that use.
H.B. 4147 (Rose) – Public Information Act: would exempt certain newspapers and magazines that are published on the Internet from the required prepayment of personnel costs incurred by a governmental body when the cumulative amount of personnel time spent complying with open records requests from the same requestor exceeds the limit established by the governmental body. (Companion bill is S.B. 1629 by Wentworth.)
H.B. 4168 (Madden) – Fire/Police Civil Service: would provide that in a city covered by Chapter 143 of the Local Government Code (fire/police civil service) the chief of police may appoint deputy chiefs as follows: in a department with fewer than 300 officers, one deputy chief; in a department with 300-600 officers, two deputy chiefs; and in a department with more than 600 officers, three deputy chiefs. (Note: this bill would loosen restrictions adopted in 1983.) (This bill is similar to H.B. 3906, above.) (Companion bill is S.B. 2156 by Shapiro.)
H.B. 4256 (Hilderbran) – Property Tax: would provide that if a purchaser of land voluntarily discloses the purchase price to the appraisal district, that price automatically becomes the appraised value as of January 1 of that tax year.
H.B. 4274 (C. Howard) – City Services: would require a city that sells a good or service that is “ordinarily offered by private business” to do the following: (1) provide a detailed public notice stating: (a) the operating costs associated with selling the good or service; (b) benefits received by the city that result in lower operating costs; and (c) an estimate of the “profits” to be realized from the sale of the good or service; (2) certify that generally accepted accounting principles were followed in providing the information in 1 above; and (3) in setting the city’s annual budget, specifically consider any profits realized from selling the good or service and lower taxes accordingly.
H.B. 4277 (Menendez) – Animal Control: would prohibit a local animal control authority from releasing an animal that hasn’t been neutered, except that the authority may: (1) issue an intact animal permit for each dog or cat a person keeps unsterilized for breeding purposes, if the person meets state law requirements for keeping an unsterilized animal; and (2) charge a fee for the issuance of a permit under this section in the amount of $300. (Companion bill is S.B. 1845 by Van de Putte).
H.B. 4289 (Hunter) – Health Benefit Plans: would generally prohibit health benefit plans, including plans issued by an intergovernmental risk pool, from disseminating information that ranks, classifies, compares, or rates a physician’s performance, efficiency, or quality of practice. (Companion bill is S.B. 1396 by Deuell.)
H.B. 4300 (Herrero) – Pipeline Safety: would modify the current law that provides that the Railroad Commission shall require natural gas pipeline operators or their designated representatives to communicate and conduct liaison activities with fire, police, and other appropriate public emergency response officials. Specifically, the bill would provide that if the operator or operator's representative cannot arrange a meeting with public emergency response officials in person, the operator or the operator's representative may conduct community liaison activities by holding a telephone conference with the appropriate officials or delivering the information required to be conveyed by certified mail, return receipt requested. (Companion bill is S.B. 2055 by Williams.)
H.B. 4301 (Legler) – Financial Information: would require a city with a population of 15,000 or more to: (1) maintain a transaction register for the city’s checking account in a searchable electronic spreadsheet format, which would include the transaction amount, name of the payee, and statement of the purpose of the expenditure for each check written; (2) prominently post the electronic checking account transaction register at all times on the city’s Web site; (3) update the electronic checking account transaction register at least once a month and maintain each listing in the electronic checking account transaction register for two years; and (6) post on its Web site a statement of the city’s obligated and unobligated fund balances to also be updated each month and maintained on the Web site for two years. This bill would also prohibit a city with a population of 15,000 or more from including in the electronic account transaction register a check issued to a city employee to pay for salary, wages, or certain other benefits.
H.B. 4318 (Callegari) – Certificates of Convenience and Necessity: would provide that the owner of a tract of land that is at least 300 acres and that is located within the certificated area of a certificate holder may request that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality decertify the land if the certificate holder does not provide retail water and sewer service to the land, and the commission shall grant a landowner's request on receipt of the request.
H.B. 4319 (Veasey) – Alcoholic Beverages: would allow a city to enact an ordinance prohibiting the possession of an open container or the consumption of an alcoholic beverage on a public street, alley, or sidewalk within 1,000 feet of a plasma center that is not located in a central business district.
H.B. 4322 (W. Smith) – Amusement Devices: would: (1) permit a city to levy a fee on certain coin-operated amusement devices; and (2) allow a peace officer to confiscate certain amusement devices that have been cited for not paying proper fees at least three times. (This bill is substantially the same as S.B. 2184, below.)
H.B. 4350 (Chisum) – Solid Waste Facilities: would: (1) define “operator” as the person responsible for the overall operation of a solid waste facility; and (2) make certain corresponding changes in permit form requirements with regard to information included. (Companion bill is S.B. 2235 by Seliger.)
H.B. 4354 (T. Smith) – Elections: this bill is the same as H.B. 3600, above.
H.B. 4357 (Madden) – Juveniles: would authorize a municipal court to require certain juveniles and parents to attend special classes or programs when a child is convicted of offenses under the Texas Penal Code or Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code.
H.B. 4360 (Geren) – Venue Projects: would permit a city to deposit the following monies into a venue project fund: (1) revenue from oil and gas royalties; (2) fees imposed by a joint operating board; and (3) any other revenue the city by ordinance determines is appropriate for use in financing the venue project.
H.B. 4365 (Y. Davis) – Property Tax: would permit a property owner to recover attorneys fees following a successful arbitration of appraised value.
H.B. 4413 (Taylor) – Property Tax: would change the published notice of a property tax increase and related hearings as follows: (1) require published notice whenever the proposed rate exceeds the effective rate (Note: current law requires notice whenever the proposed rate exceeds the lower of the effective rate or the rollback rate; the effective rate exceeds the rollback rate only in rare circumstances when the city has acquired large amounts of new debt); (2) remove detailed information relating to average taxable value from the published notice; and (3) require the published notice to contain information about the balance of the city’s general fund and interest and sinking fund.
H.B. 4418 (Dunnam) – Elections: would: (1) provide that a voter registration certificate is the only form of identification that a voter must present to an election official in order to vote; (2) allow a voter to present the voter’s driver’s license in lieu of a voter registration certificate if the Department of Public Safety has encoded the voter’s driver’s license to indicate the voter’s status as a registered voter; (3) require each voter registrar to report all voter registration cancellations monthly to the secretary of state; and (4) require the secretary of state to report all voter registration cancellations monthly to certain state officials.
H.B. 4441 (Gonzalez Toureilles) – Gas Pipelines: would provide that: (1) the Texas Railroad Commission (the “commission”) has exclusive original jurisdiction to establish standards regarding the design, installation, operation, certain environmental controls, screening, noise suppression, and maintenance in connection with natural gas, liquid hydrocarbon, hazardous materials, and gathering pipelines and all facilities related to those pipelines; (2) when establishing standards governing gas pipelines, the commission shall: (a) encourage the use of public streets, roads, highways, and other public rights-of-way in connection with pipelines and related facilities if adequate space exists for an additional pipeline or related facility in the right-of-way and that use is practical and economically reasonable; and (b) require pipeline operators to minimize, to the extent practical and economically reasonable, the effect of their pipelines and related facilities on existing land use; (3) a state agency, county, or city with jurisdiction over public streets, roads, highways, or other public rights-of-way may not prohibit the use of those rights-of-way for pipelines or related facilities but may impose reasonable conditions on that use; (4) when establishing standards applicable to pipelines and related facilities located in the boundaries of cities, the commission shall request and consider the input of cities; and (5) the commission shall establish a procedure by which a city or pipeline operator may obtain a waiver of a standard established under the bill.
H.B. 4445 (Alvarado) – Court Interpreters: would require a licensed court interpreter appointed by a municipal court to hold a license that includes certain specified designations. (Companion bill is S.B. 1892 by Gallegos.)
H.B. 4473 (Callegari) – Subdivisions: would provide that, for any residential subdivision that requires construction of infrastructure improvements, the registered professional land surveyor shall set or have set under his/her direct supervision the required subdivision corners as follows: (1) all subdivision corners as noted on a plat that are required by current law prior to the recordation of the subdivision plat; or (2) the exterior/perimeter subdivision boundary corners as set prior to the commencement of infrastructure improvements, and within the earlier of one calendar year of recordation of the subdivision plat or six months of final acceptance of the infrastructure improvements by the approving authority, all of the required interior lot corners and all of the lost or destroyed exterior/perimeter subdivision boundary corners and right-of-way corners.
H.B. 4485 (C. Howard) – Law Enforcement: would require a law enforcement officer to: (1) verify the immigration status of an individual confined in a correctional facility while the individual is awaiting trial on certain intoxication offenses or a felony offense; (2) contact the United States Department of Homeland Security if the officer cannot verify the defendant’s immigration status; and (3) notify the magistrate or judge if the sheriff or officer determines that: (a) the defendant was not lawfully admitted to the United States; or (b) though lawfully admitted, the defendant's lawful status has expired.
H.B. 4486 (C. Howard) – Immigration: would require a city to: (1) participate in the federal immigration verification program (“e-verify”); and (2) verify that any city contractor participates in e-verify or else the city may not enter the contract.
H.B. 4487 (Howard) – Immigration: would: (1) prohibit a city from adopting a rule, policy or ordinance that limits or prohibits an official, employee, or police officer from communicating or cooperating with federal officials with regard to the immigration status of an individual; (2) prohibit a city from prohibiting or in any way restricting an official, employee, or police officer from maintaining and sharing such information with a governmental agency; and (3) allow any resident of the state to bring an action in district court to compel compliance with these requirements.
H.B. 4509 (Coleman) – Property Tax: would: (1) provide that applicants for a charitable hospital property tax exemption must reapply for the exemption each year; and (2) impose various other requirements on applicants for such hospital exemptions.
H.B. 4538 (Phillips) – Municipal Court: would permit a municipal court to render judgment and sentence in the absence of the defendant if: (1) the defendant is imprisoned in a penal institution; and (2) the defendant has made certain waivers, affirmations, requests and statements in writing before a court having jurisdiction in the county where the case is being heard.
H.B. 4560 (Naishtat) – Disease Presumption: would provide that a firefighter or emergency medial technician (EMT) who contracts methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) resulting in illness or death is presumed to have suffered the illness or death during the course and scope of employment – and is therefore covered by workers’ compensation – if, while on duty, the firefighter: (1) was exposed to a person with MRSA who received treatment from the firefighter or EMT, or (2) participated in training involving equipment contaminated or suspected to be contaminated with MRSA. (Note: MRSA is a staph infection that is resistant to conventional treatment.) (Companion bill is S.B. 1213 by Gallegos.)
H.B. 4572 (Zerwas) – Mandatory Health Benefits: would require that certain health benefit plans, including those offered by a governmental risk pool, provide coverage for devices that facilitate insulin therapy and enhance glucose control.
H.B. 4574 (Thompson) – Sales Tax: this bill is the same as H.B. 4077, above.
H.B. 4690 (D. Howard) – Elections: would, in an election for state and county officers (and any election held in conjunction with that election), allow a voter who has changed residence within the county to vote in the election precinct in which the voter is registered if the voter resides in one or more of the political subdivisions participating in the election at that precinct.
H.B. 4692 (Olivo) – Property Tax: would require a city to refund escrowed property taxes that are paid after a senior files an affidavit to defer payment of the taxes.
H.J.R. 3 (Ritter) – Property Tax: would amend the Texas Constitution to permit the legislature to exempt from property taxes real property sold to a person for use as a school.
H.J.R. 111 (T. Smith) – Transportation Funding: would amend the Texas Constitution to provide that: (1) the legislature by law may authorize the comptroller of public accounts to automatically adjust the rates of taxes imposed on motor fuels; (2) a law authorizing the comptroller of public accounts to automatically adjust the rates must prescribe the manner in which the comptroller may do so and may include a provision basing the adjustment wholly or partly on one or more price or cost indexes published by an agency of the United States; (3) revenue that is derived from taxes on motor fuels and lubricants used to propel motor vehicles over public highways shall be used only for acquiring rights-of-way and constructing and maintaining public roadways, with the exception that one-fourth of that net revenue shall be allocated to the available school fund.
H.J.R. 113 (Paxton) – Transportation Funding: would amend the Texas Constitution to provide that, subject to legislative appropriation, allocation, and direction: (1) three-fourths of the net revenue that is remaining after payment of all refunds allowed by law and expenses of collection that is derived from taxes on motor fuels and lubricants used to propel motor vehicles over public highways shall be used for the sole purpose of constructing and maintaining public highways; and (2) one-fourth of the net revenue shall be allocated to the available school fund.
H.J.R. 118 (Homer) – Elections: would amend the Texas Constitution to provide that a person who holds an elective office (other than a municipal office) with a term of two years or less must automatically vacate the office upon announcing a candidacy for another elective office when the unexpired portion of the person’s term exceeds one year.
H.J.R. 121 (C. Howard) – Property Tax: would amend the Texas Constitution to provide that the “market value” of land for property tax purposes is frozen at the 2009 appraised value until the land is sold or new construction takes place. (Note: please see H.B. 3779, above.)
H.J.R. 122 (Rodriguez) – Rail Funding: would provide that the state motor fuels tax may be used for the purpose of constructing, maintaining, and operating passenger rail, transit, and freight rail. (Companion bills are S.J.R. 24 by Carona and S.J.R. 52 by Davis.)
H.J.R. 133 (Christian) – Property Tax: would amend the Texas Constitution to abolish all city, county, and school district property taxes in Texas as of January 1, 2014.
H.J.R. 141 (Coleman) – Property Tax: would amend the Texas Constitution to exempt from property taxes the installation of solar panels.
S.B. 1788 (Wentworth) – Sales Tax: would create an August sales tax holiday for guns and ammunition.
S.B. 1845 (Van de Putte) – Animal Control: this bill is the same as H.B. 4277, above.
S.B. 1852 (Van de Putte) – Property Tax: would: (1) permit disabled veterans or their surviving spouses to transfer disabled veteran homestead property tax exemptions to a new property in the middle of a tax year; (2) permit such transferred exemptions to be back-dated to January 1 of the year of the transfer; and (3) prorate the exemption on the original homestead for the portion of the tax year before the exemption was transferred. (Companion bill is H.B. 1155 by McReynolds.)
S.B. 1860 (M. Jackson) – Animal Control: would add a civil penalty of between $100 and $500 for violations of the animal shelter regulations that apply to cities and city employees under Chapter 823 of the Health and Safety Code, and would provide that a city or county may enjoin violations of the animal shelter laws. (Companion bill is H.B. 3004 by Coleman).
S.B. 1874 (Zaffirini) – Debt: would: (1) require a city to publish notice of its intent to issue anticipation notes; and (2) permit citizens to petition the city to require an election prior to the issuance of anticipation notes (similar to the current-law procedure for issuing certificates of obligation).
S.B. 1890 (Gallegos) – Billboards: would allow the commissioner of insurance to suspend city ordinances dealing with on-premise billboards during a state declaration of disaster, if the commissioner finds that such a suspension would help the filing and processing of claims by persons affected by the disaster.
S.B. 1892 (Gallegos) – Court Interpreters: this bill is the same as H.B. 4445, above.
S.B. 1912 (Duncan) – Public Information Act: would: (1) allow a city to redact the date of birth of a current or former official or employee from any information the city publicly discloses without the necessity of requesting a decision from the attorney general; and (2) require the comptroller to perform an analysis of the amount and types of personally identifiable information collected by state governmental bodies.
S.B. 1928 (Watson) – Property Tax: would instruct the state comptroller to study the feasibility of a property tax “circuit breaker” law. (Circuit breakers are defined in the bill as limitations on a residential homestead property taxes based on the owner’s annual income.) (Companion bill is H.B. 866 by Villarreal.)
S.B. 1947 (West) – Tax Increment Finance: would permit adjoining cities to create a joint tax increment reinvestment zone. (Companion bill is H.B. 3222 by Hancock.)
S.B. 1957 (Hinojosa) – Law Enforcement: would require a police officer to make two electronic recordings of an interrogation for statements to be admissible in court, unless the officer shows that for good cause the interrogation was not recorded.
S.B. 1960 (Wentworth) – Special Districts: would, among other provisions, authorize a city to exercise exclusive and original jurisdiction over all rates, operations, and services provided by a water supply or sewer service corporation within the city’s limits. (Companion bill is H.B. 2166 by Rose.)
S.B. 1988 (Estes) – Texas Rural Investment Fund: would create a dedicated account in the state general revenue fund to be used to pay for grants or loans to public or private entities in cities under 50,000 population in order to stimulate the local economy in those areas. (Companion bill is H.B. 1911 by Isett.)
S.B. 1995 (Gallegos) – Building Codes: would: (1) provide that the various municipal building codes in current law are updated to the 2008 versions; (2) provide that a building-related code adopted by state statute, including an energy code adopted pursuant to the Texas Clean Air Act, prevails to the extent of any conflict with a city ordinance, including a local amendment to a code; and (3) adopt the International Residential Code and the National Electrical Code as the building codes in the unincorporated areas of certain counties near the Gulf of Mexico.
S.B. 2039 (Ellis) – Disaster Preparation: would: (1) require certain service stations to have an alternative electrical source for use during disaster-related power outages; (2) require that a city verify that a service station has an electrical generator before giving the station a certificate of occupancy; and (3) require certain retail public utilities, districts, or affected counties, that provide services to more than 1,000 customers to maintain an on-site alternative electrical power source to ensure the operation of the utility’s water and sewer systems for three days following an extended power outage caused by a major disaster.
S.B. 2055 (Williams) – Pipeline Safety: this bill is the same as H.B. 4300, above.
S.B. 2059 (Williams) – Utility Relocation: would provide that: (1) the Texas Transportation Commission or a county commissioners court may require a telephone or telegraph corporation to relocate, at the corporation's expense, a line of the corporation to allow for widening a right-of-way, changing a traffic lane, improving a road bed, or improving a drainage ditch located on a right-of-way; and (2) the authority of the commission or a county is limited to a line of a telephone or telegraph corporation that is not in the corporate limits of a city.
S.B. 2060 (Lucio) – School Bus Cameras: would: (1) allow a school district to enter into an agreement with a city to create a camera system to detect and penalize the illegal passing of a stopped school bus that is equipped with a camera for that purpose; and (2) provide that all civil penalty money collected will go to the school district, even upon an appeal to municipal court. (Companion bill is H.B. 4628 by Lucio.)
S.B. 2075 (Hinojosa) – Permitting: would prohibit a city from considering an order of community supervision or deferred adjudication community supervision that has resulted in a discharge and dismissal of charges for the purposes of determining the appropriate action to take regarding a certification, commission, license, or permit. The bill would also increase the number of cases in which a person is entitled to request an expunction. (Companion bill is H.B. 2213 by Farrar.)
S.B. 2085 (Davis) – Political Advertising: would amend the statute criminalizing certain political advertising on measures as follows: (1) require that certain violations be “knowing”; (2) provide that a city may factually describe the advantages or disadvantages of a measure without violating the statute, provided the communication does not expressly advocate passage or defeat; (3) provide that a city officer or employee does not violate the statute by hiring a person who violates the statute if the officer or employee did not have prior knowledge of the person’s intent to violate the chapter; (4) provide that it is an affirmative defense to a violation if the city relied on a written opinion by a court, the attorney general, the Texas Ethics Commission, or the city attorney; (5) provide that prosecution under the statute may not be brought during the pendency of a civil complaint before the Texas Ethics Commission; (6) provide that a civil penalty bars criminal prosecution; and (7) require the Texas Ethics Commission to prepare an advance written advisory opinion regarding a potential communication on a measure.
S.B. 2088 (Whitmire) – Municipal Court Fees: would: (1) require the Office of Court Administration to collect data and issue a report relating to the collection of local and state court costs; (2) require the office to issue standards for the imposition of state and local court costs; and (3) raise the consolidated state court cost on most municipal court offenses from $40 to $42.
S.B. 2098 (Wentworth) – Certificates of Convenience and Necessity (CCNs): would permit owners of certain tracts of land larger than three acres to petition for expedited release from a CCN if the CCN holder is unable or refuses to provide adequate water pressure for fire suppression. (Companion bill is H.B. 2658 by Kuempel.)
S.B. 2099 (Wentworth) – Fire Flow: would: (1) require a special utility district whose territory includes land in the corporate limits or ETJ of a city with a population of more than 10,000 to maintain and make available for fire protection a system that is capable of producing a certain water pressure sufficient for fire suppression; and (2) permit the TCEQ to revoke a certificate of convenience and necessity (CCN) from a special utility district if it does not provide water pressure sufficient for fire suppression to a city with a population of 10,000 or its ETJ. (Companion bill is H.B. 3609 by Miller.)
S.B. 2106 (Uresti) – Juvenile Records: would expand the number of situations in which a city police department could be ordered by a district court to seal records and files relating to a juvenile's arrest. (Companion bill is H.B. 2386 by Castro.)
S.B. 2140 (Wentworth) – Public Information Act: would: (1) include in the definition of “manipulation” the retrieval and transfer of e-mails or text messages into paper or other format that can be provided to an open records requestor; (2) provide that the process of a governmental body informing the requestor of estimated charges related to a request tolls the time deadlines imposed on a governmental body for requesting an attorney general’s decision beginning on the date the itemized statement is sent to the requestor by the governmental body and ending on the date the governmental body receives a response from the requestor; and (3) provide that if a governmental body requires a deposit or bond in order to provide information to a requestor, a request is considered received on either the date the governmental body receives the deposit or bond for payment, or the date it receives a modified request from the requestor.
S.B. 2145 (West) – Procurement: would provide that: (1) in a two-step procurement process, the time and place where the second-step bids, proposals, or responses will be received are not required to be published separately; (2) if a city maintains an Internet Web site, it may do the following in lieu of publishing notice twice in a newspaper: (a) publish notice in a newspaper once not later than the 14th day before the bid receipt deadline; and (b) post notice continuously on its Web site for at least 14 days immediately preceding the bid receipt deadline; and (3) the newspaper notice under number 2, above, must include the time and place at which the bids will be publicly opened and the Web site address for the procurement information.
S.B. 2156 (Shapiro) – Fire/Police Civil Service: this bill is the same as H.B. 4168, above.
S.B. 2161 (Ellis) – Common Nuisances: would provide that a person operating a sexually-oriented business without obtaining a license or permit from the city in which the business is located maintains a common nuisance. (Companion bill is H.B. 2683 by Alvarado).
S.B. 2175 (Shapleigh) – County Development Authority: would authorize border counties to regulate residential land development in the unincorporated area of the county, and would provide that a municipal ordinance prevails within a city’s jurisdiction to the extent of any conflict.
S.B. 2184 (Gallegos) – Amusement Devices: this bill is substantially the same as H.B. 4322, above.
S.B. 2194 (Whitmire) – Emergency Responders: would provide that a traffic accident involving a peace officer, firefighter, or EMT who is driving an official vehicle in the course of that person’s official duties shall not appear on that person’s driving record.
S.B. 2196 (Williams) – Law Enforcement: would apply to a police department that does not have collective bargaining and would provide that: (1) peace officers may be supervised only by other licensed peace officers; (2) the department may hire only necessary command staff that has been approved by the city's governing body; (3) the department must have certain policies and procedures relating to use of force, racial profiling, and much more; (4) the department must establish an objective hiring procedure that includes specific hiring criteria, a promotion procedure that includes certain criteria, and a disciplinary policy procedure that includes a complaint process and hearing procedure; (5) the department may place negative information in an officer's personnel file only if the information has been reviewed by the officer; (6) a suit may be brought by either the district or county attorney or the attorney general if the provisions of the bill are violated; and (7) the city must pay the costs of litigation if the officer prevails or if the officer reasonably relied on a court decision or attorney general opinion in bringing certain litigation. (Note: police chiefs should review this bill carefully.)
S.B. 2205 (Van de Putte) – Mandatory Health Benefits: would generally require a health benefit plan, including a plan issued by an intergovernmental risk pool, to provide coverage for amino acid-based elemental formulas (typically formulas for infants and children with food allergies). (Companion bill is H.B. 2000 by McCall.)
S.B. 2219 (Ellis) – Transportation: would allow a city to enact an ordinance that imposes a civil penalty on the owner of a motor vehicle that: (1) displays a Texas license plate; (2) is parked on a highway under the city’s jurisdiction; and (3) does not display a valid inspection certificate.
S.B. 2224 (West) – Juvenile Criminal Records: would provide that: (1) on conviction of a child for a misdemeanor offense punishable by fine only (with certain exceptions for certain types of delinquent conduct), the convicting court shall immediately issue an order prohibiting criminal justice agencies from disclosing to the public criminal history record information related to the offense; and (2) a criminal justice agency may disclose criminal history record information that is the subject of the order only to other criminal justice agencies for criminal justice or regulatory licensing purposes, to certain state agencies or entities, or to the person who is the subject of the order.
S.B. 2235 (Seliger) – Solid Waste Permits: this bill is the same as H.B. 4350, above.
S.B. 2242 (Zaffirini) – Ethics: would: (1) permit, but not require, a city or candidate for city office to use Texas Ethics Commission software and other resources to file certain campaign reports; and (2) permit the commission to assist local governments in adopting their own software for managing campaign disclosures.
S.B. 2265 (Gallegos) – Fire/Police Civil Service: would provide that in a city covered by Chapter 143 of the Local Government Code (fire/police civil service), a firefighter or police officer who has been recommended by the chief for demotion may appeal to the civil service commission or a third party hearing examiner, and may not be demoted unless the commission or the hearing examiner finds probable cause for the demotion.
S.B. 2301 (Williams) – Property Tax: would: (1) reduce the property tax rollback rate from 108 percent to 105 percent; and (2) permit an individual city to raise its rollback rate back to 108 percent if: (a) any part of the city is located in an area declared a disaster by the governor or president; or (b) the city council finds that the higher rate is necessary to protect the health, safety, or property of persons in the city, provided such finding is in the form of a resolution, includes a description of the expected harm, and is approved by a record vote of the council.
S.B. 2302 (Williams) – Property Tax: would permit certain small businesses (defined generally in the bill as businesses with less than $5 million in yearly gross receipts) that are located in a disaster area and were damaged by the disaster to pay property taxes in four equal installments over an eight-month period. (Companion bill is H.B. 1257 by Legler.)
S.B. 2305 (Williams) – Sales Tax: would exempt from sales taxes certain “occasional” sales made at charitable fundraisers. (Companion bill is H.B. 2319 by Eissler.)
S.B. 2314 (Averitt) – Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds: would provide that: (1) the Texas Water Development Board shall adopt rules specifying the manner in which any additional state revolving fund hereafter established by the board or any special capitalization grant (e.g., federal stimulus funds) under the state water pollution control revolving fund, the safe drinking water revolving fund, or other revolving fund may be used to provide financial assistance to eligible applicants for public works; and (2) if the board determines that rules necessary for compliance with the terms of any special capitalization grant or other federal funding must be adopted immediately, the board may proceed with the immediate adoption of rules by posting notice at least 72 hours before the meeting to adopt the rules.
S.B. 2315 (Averitt) – Water Audits: would provide that: (1) a retail public utility, including a municipally-owned utility, providing potable water shall perform and file with the Texas Water Development Board, every five years, a water audit computing the utility's most recent annual system water loss; and (2) a retail public utility shall perform and file with the board a water loss audit annually if the utility is receiving any financial assistance from the board.
S.B. 2316 (Averitt) – TCEQ Water Quality Fees: would increase the cap on the annual water quality fee imposed by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality from $75,000 to $200,000. (This bill is substantially the same as H.B. 1433, by Lucio.)
S.B. 2320 (Averitt) – Groundwater Conservation District Fees: would, among other things, provide that a water conservation district may charge up to 30 cents per 1,000 gallons payable annually for water used for any purpose other than agriculture.
S.B. 2362 (Ellis) – Property Tax: this bill is substantially the same as H.B. 4365, above.
S.B. 2369 (Uresti) – Road Construction: would, for bids submitted for road construction that requires paving, require a city to give preference to a bid that provides for using rubberized asphalt paving if the cost of the paving material does not exceed the cost of alternative paving materials for the same job by more than fifteen percent.
S.J.R. 52 (Davis) – Rail Funding: this bill is the same as H.J.R. 122, above. (Companion bills are H.J.R. 9 by Truitt and H.J.R. 122 by Rodriguez.)