CITY-RELATED BILLS FILED
H.B. 3078 (Deshotel) – Jury Formation: would: (1) authorize a party to request that a jury list that is not racially or ethnically representative of the community according to the most recent census be discarded or reorganized; and (2) require a court to make the information in a completed jury questionnaire available to the other party not later than three days before a trial starts.
H.B. 3212 (Edwards) – Expunction: would require a court to enter an order of expunction after 30 days in any case where the person is acquitted or pardoned or when charges are otherwise dismissed in a specific manner.
H.B. 3244 (Riddle) – Sex Offenders: would: (1) authorize a commissioners court in a county with a population greater than 100,000 to designate a city police chief's office as the mandatory centralized sex offender registration site for the entire county; and (2) require a department thus appointed to register all sex offenders in the county, regardless of specific residency, and then report that information back to the other cities in the county. (Companion bill is S.B. 2048 by Williams.)
H.B. 3290 (Chisum) – Elections: would: (1) require an election officer who determines not to accept a voter to provide the voter with a signed statement listing the reasons for not accepting the voter and the circumstances under which a voter may vote a provisional ballot; and (2) require the election officer to keep a copy of the signed statement to submit to the general custodian of election records.
H.B. 3310 (Gattis) – Property Tax: would repeal certain statutory caps on attorney’s fees that may be awarded to a property owner following judicial appeals of appraisal arbitration orders.
H.B. 3341 (Miklos) – Transportation: would provide that: (1) certain populous counties may create a “Transportation Development Corporation” that has the same authority as a city to operate a public transportation system and has the powers of a regional transportation authority; (2) the board of the corporation may call an election on the issue of authorizing a sales and use tax for one or more public transportation system projects; (3) an authorizing city may adopt a sales and use tax for the benefit of a corporation if the tax is approved by a majority of the voters of the city; (4) the rate of the tax imposed must be equal to one-eighth, one-fourth, three-eighths, one-half, five-eighths, three-fourths, or seven-eighths of one percent or one percent; (5) the rate of a sales and use tax imposed under the bill is not counted toward the two-percent cap in any area; (6) an authorizing city or corporation may also allow the voters to vote on a ballot proposition to limit the period for imposition of a sales and use tax; and (7) an authorizing city or merged corporation may also allow the voters to vote on a ballot proposition to limit the use of the sales and use tax to a specific project.
H.B. 3454 (Otto) – Property Tax: would: (1) provide that “all available evidence” relating to the value of property must be taken into account in appraising property; and (2) provide detailed requirements before an appraiser may consider comparable sales, including a requirement that a comparable sale must have been completed within 24 months of the date of the appraisal.
H.B. 3458 (Branch) – Charter Amendments: would require a city’s governing body to submit a proposed charter amendment to an election upon receipt of a petition signed by ten percent of the registered voters in the city. (Companion bill is S.B. 690 by Wentworth.)
H.B. 3460 (Bolton) – Mandatory Health Benefits: would require that health benefit plans provide coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of a serious mental illness under terms at least as favorable as those provided for the diagnosis and treatment of medical and surgical conditions.
H.B. 3462 (T. Smith) – Transportation Funding: would provide that: (1) on October 1 of each year, the rate of the state gasoline tax and the state diesel tax shall be adjusted to reflect any change in the producer price index for the preceding fiscal year, and (2) money that must be used for public roadways under the Texas Constitution or federal law and that is deposited in the state treasury to the credit of the state highway fund may be used only: (a) to improve the state highway system; (b) to mitigate adverse environmental effects that result directly from construction or maintenance of a state highway; or (c) by the Department of Public Safety to administer state laws relating to traffic and safety on public roads.
H.B. 3475 (J. Davis) – Peace Officers: would require a local law enforcement agency to allow a retired peace officer of the agency, or a retired peace officer who resides in the jurisdiction of the agency, the opportunity to annually demonstrate his/her requisite level of proficiency in order to maintain a license to carry a concealed handgun.
H.B. 3481 (Veasey) – Expunction: would broaden the conditions under which a city police department must expunge arrest records to include the quashing of indictments or dismissal of certain cases. (Companion bill is S.B. 920 by Harris.)
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 within the city’s boundaries); (2) a special purpose district may not be created inside a county's boundaries unless the commissioners court of the county is given notice and express oversight of the district; (3) the boundaries of a special purpose district may not be altered inside a county's boundaries unless the commissioners court of the county is given 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. 3509 (Dunnam) – Commercial Driver’s Licenses: would provide that a person who holds a commercial driver's license is disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle for a certain period of time if convicted of certain traffic offenses, but only if the convictions are for offenses committee while driving a commercial vehicle.
H.B. 3522 (Ortiz) – Public Information Act: would: (1) require a governmental body to send to an open records requestor a copy of any written comments submitted to the attorney general within fifteen business days of receiving a written request for information; and (2) provide that a suit by a governmental body challenging the determination of the attorney general must be filed in a Travis County district court.
H.B. 3550 (T. King) – Water and Sewer Utilities: would: (1) require the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to allow a city to pay a penalty in installments; (2) authorize the executive director of the TCEQ to set interim rates during a contested rate case before the TCEQ; (3) authorize a city to provide sewer service without a certificate of convenience and necessity (CCN) in certain limited cases; and (4) authorize many types of special districts to convert to municipal utility districts (MUDs) without a hearing.
H.B. 3609 (D. Miller) – 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 water pressure sufficient for fire suppression; and (2) permit the TCEQ to revoke a CCN held by a special utility district that does not provide water pressure sufficient for fire suppression to a city with a population of 10,000 or its ETJ. (Companion bill is S.B. 2099 by Wentworth.)
H.B. 3636 (Hughes) – Elections: would prohibit the use of an electronic voting machine in an election unless the machine: (1) has been certified or otherwise approved by means of qualification testing by a nationally recognized test laboratory; (2) meets certain voluntary standards developed and adopted by the Federal Election Commission, the Election Assistance Commission, or the National Institute of Standards and Technology; and (3) creates a contemporaneous auditable paper record copy of each electronic ballot that allows a voter to confirm the choices the voter made through both a visual and a non-visual method. Additionally, the bill would require an election authority using electronic voting machines to: (1) submit, at the request of the secretary of state, complete documentation relating to all hardware, software, and firmware components for the system, as well as all documents relating to the federal qualification process; (2) submit a physical security plan for the system to the secretary of state not later than the 90th day before a system using electronic voting machines will be used in an election; (3) submit a list of all changes and modifications to the system, a training plan, and a communication plan explaining how election officers at each polling place will communicate on election day to the secretary of state not later than the 46th day before a system using electronic voting machines will be used in an election; and (4) provide notice of the penalties for tampering with an electronic voting machine in each language used at a polling place at which an electronic voting machine is used for voting.
H.B. 3731 (Coleman) – Sales Tax: would permit a county commissioners court to adopt a county assistance district sales tax without an election of the residents of the county. (Companion bill is S.B. 1996 by Gallegos.)
H.B. 3735 (Coleman) – County Ordinance Authority: would provide that: (1) the commissioners court of a county may enact ordinances to protect the public health, safety, or welfare in the unincorporated area of the county; and (2) if an ordinance adopted under the bill conflicts with a municipal ordinance, the municipal ordinance prevails within the city's jurisdiction to the extent of the conflict.
H.B. 3756 (D. Howard) – Texas State Library and Archives Commission: would: (1) allow a major resource system of libraries to expand its membership to include non-public libraries that are operated by a unit of local government; (2) allow a library operated by a unit of local government to become a member of a regional library system; (3) make records retention schedules apply to records relating to the conduct of official business from periods before Texas was a state; and (4) abolish the local government records committee, which currently reviews and approves any changes made to local government records retention schedules. (Companion bill is S.B. 2042 by Ellis.)
H.B. 3783 (Gattis) – Court Fees: would increase the current municipal court jury fee from $3 to $10 and eliminate the jury request withdrawal fee.
H.B. 3874 (Phillips) – Crime Laboratories and Forensic Evidence: would provide that: (1) the Texas Forensic Science Commission shall adopt standards for all postconviction forensic DNA testing; (2) the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) by rule shall establish an accreditation process for crime laboratories and other entities conducting forensic analyses of physical evidence for use in criminal proceedings; and (3) in consultation with the Texas Forensic Science Commission, the DSHS shall establish a DNA laboratory audit program to conduct periodic unannounced audits of DNA laboratories that conduct forensic analyses of physical evidence for use in criminal proceedings.
H.B. 3881 (Alonzo) – Expunction: would expand the conditions under which a city police department could be ordered by a district court to expunge records and files relating to a certain arrest.
H.B. 3904 (Paxton) – Public Information Act: would require a person who has a special right of access to certain information to provide evidence to a city’s officer for public information that the person has such a special right of access.
H.B. 3912 (Madden) – Red Light Cameras: would authorize the attorney general to enforce the state statute regulating the minimum change interval for a yellow light in an intersection where a photographic traffic monitoring system is in place.
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 many 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. 3956 (C. Turner) – Economic Development Corporations: would permit the expenditure of 4A economic development sales tax revenue on certain college scholarships and job training.
H.B. 3965 (Dunnam) – Property Tax: would amend the community housing development organization (CHDO) property tax exemption by automatically granting the exemption for certain equipment installed under a contract with a governmental entity for the capture and conversion of certain waste, including gas, on or from public property.
H.B. 3966 (Dunnam) – Property Tax: would allow for the granting and proration of homestead property tax exemptions during the same year the owner qualifies for the exemption.
H.B. 3970 (Dunnam) – Cable Franchises: would provide that: (1) beginning September 1, 2009, a cable service provider or a video service provider that currently has or had previously received a municipal franchise to provide cable service or video service may elect to terminate that municipal franchise and seek a state-issued certificate of franchise authority by providing written notice to the Public Utility Commission and the affected city before January 1, 2010, and that the municipal franchise is terminated on the date the commission issues the state-issued certificate of franchise authority; (2) a cable service provider that elects to terminate an existing municipal franchise is responsible for remitting to the affected city any accrued but unpaid franchise fees due under the terminated franchise; (3) a cable service provider or video service provider that has been granted a state-issued certificate of franchise authority may not deny access to service to any group of potential residential subscribers in its video service area because of the race or income of the residents in the local area in which such group resides; (4) in a proceeding brought by an affected person, including a city, to enforce the requirements in number 3, above, the commission may not order enforcement of the requirements if the cable service provider or video service provider demonstrates that certain percentages of its subscribers are low income; and (5) at the end of the first, third, fifth, and tenth years after the issuance of a state-issued certificate of franchise authority, the holder of a state-issued certificate of franchise authority shall provide the commission with evidence certifying compliance with number 3, above.
H.B. 3975 (Hunter) – Waste Tire Recycling: would provide that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality by rule shall adopt and implement a waste tire recycling program to be operated and enforced in the same manner that the state's former waste tire recycling program was operated and enforced.
H.B. 4016 (Weber) – Higher Education Financing: would, among other things, provide that a home rule city with a population of 25,000 or more that has an institution of higher education located within its boundaries or has entered into an agreement with an institution of higher education relating to the provision of educational services within the city by the institution of higher education may issue public securities, including certificates of obligation, to acquire, construct, or improve land, buildings, or other permanent improvements for use by the institution of higher education. (Companion bill is S.B. 1952 by Jackson.)
H.B. 4062 (Gonzalez Toureilles) – Background Checks: would, among other things, authorize the operation of video lottery games by licensed horse and greyhound racetrack operators and certain Indian tribes. Of particular interest to cities, the bill would provide that the Department of Public Safety or any other state or local law enforcement agency in this state, at the State Lottery Commission's request and in accordance with an interagency agreement, shall perform a full criminal background investigation of a prospective racing deputy or investigator, and the commission shall reimburse the agency for the actual costs of an investigation.
H.B. 4092 (Farrar) – Homeland Security: would designate the Department of Public Safety as the only state agency that may determine the recipients of state and federal funds that concern homeland security or border operations.
H.B. 4118 (Bohac) – Sex Offenders: would require a registered sex offender who does not reside or intend to reside in a city in Texas but who is physically present in the city (or a registered sex offender who does not have a home address after release from a penal institution) to register with the city police department every fourteen days until the person establishes residency.
H.B. 4120 (Coleman) – Nuisances: would provide that an odor nuisance ordinance enacted by a city under the Texas Clean Air Act: (1) must be consistent with the Act and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality rules and orders; (2) may not make unlawful a condition or act approved or authorized under the Act or the commission's rules or orders; and (3) must establish objective, ascertainable, and measurable standards for any nuisance odor restrictions.
H.B. 4147 (Rose) – Public Information Act: would provide that a newspaper of general circulation that is published on the Internet by a news medium engaged in the business of disseminating news or information to the public, or a magazine that is published at least once a week or on the Internet by a news medium engaged in the business of disseminating news or information to the general public, is exempt from the required prepayment of personnel costs incurred by a governmental body in responding to certain requests that require large amounts of personnel time. (Companion bill is S.B. 1629 by Wentworth.)
H.B. 4177 (Christian) – Intoxication Offenses: would require that when a peace officer takes a driver’s license from a person suspected of an intoxication offense and issues and temporary permit, the officer shall make a photocopy of the driver’s license and attach it to the temporary driving permit.
H.B. 4184 (Christian) – Property Tax: would abolish all property taxes in Texas as of January 1, 2014.
H.B. 4188 (Rose) – Child Protective Services: would require an entity that receives a report of child abuse or neglect over the telephone to maintain an audio recording of each report.
H.B. 4190 (Gonzales) – Municipal Courthouse Security Fee: would raise the municipal courthouse security fee from $3 to $8.
H.B. 4193 (Herrero) – Joint Elections: would provide that an election for trustees of an independent school district shall be held on the same date as: (1) the election for the members of the governing body or other city-wide elected board of a municipality located in the school district; (2) the general election for state and county officers; or (3) the election for the members of the governing body of a hospital district in certain counties.
H.B. 4207 (Giddings) – 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. (Companion bill is S.B. 1912 by Duncan.)
H.B. 4212 (Callegari) – Groundwater Conservation Districts: would provide that: (1) a groundwater conservation district or a subsidence district may institute an action against any person (including a city) in a district court in the district for injunctive relief to restrain the person from continuing the violation or threat of violation, for an assessment and recovery of a civil penalty, or for both injunctive relief and civil penalties; (2) at the request of the district’s board, or the general manager if authorized by the board, the attorney general shall institute and conduct an action against any person in the name of the district for injunctive relief or to recover a civil penalty or both; and (3) in a suit to recover a civil penalty or a suit for injunctive relief and a civil penalty against a political subdivision of the state or any agency thereof, if the court finds that the political subdivision or agency has violated or is violating a provision of this chapter or a rule, permit, or order of the district, the court shall assess a civil penalty as provided by the bill. (Note: this bill attempts to overrule the recent appellate court decision of City of Aspermont v. Rolling Plains Groundwater Conservation District.)
H.B. 4218 (S. Turner) – Water Rates and Services: would provide that the attorney general or municipal attorney, as appropriate, shall represent a regulatory authority (including a city) in all water rate and service matters before the state courts and any court of the United States.
H.B. 4232 (Ritter) – Property Tax: would provide that the community housing development organization (CHDO) property tax exemption is not available for industrial equipment used for the production of goods or provision of services.
H.B. 4235 (Maldonado) – Electric Transmission Lines: would provide that: (1) the Public Utility Commission shall not grant a certificate for a transmission line if, among other things, the line is located within certain distances of a public school building or certain cities, depending on the voltage of the line; (2) for purposes of calculating transmission line route impact, the commission shall consider residential lots that do not contain residential units as if the lot had a residential unit and was occupied by residents if certain conditions are met; and (3) in selecting route alternatives for transmission line certificates, the commission shall give preference to route designs that place transmission structures adjacent to or within major highway corridor rights-of-way.
H.B. 4240 (Mallory Caraway) – Red Light Cameras: would prohibit a city from imposing a civil penalty under a photographic red light enforcement system on a vehicle that was turning right or left at an intersection and failed to stop at a stop line or before entering the crosswalk.
H.B. 4263 (S. Turner) – Texas Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board: would create the Texas Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board to oversee the expenditure of funds distributed to Texas through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
H.B. 4293 (Branch) – Litigation: would: (1) require a party or amicus curiae to an action, suit, or proceeding (not including the state, a state agency, or a state officer) to notify the attorney general if a challenge is asserted to the validity of a state statute or rule; and (2) allow the state to intervene in an action, suit, or proceeding to present evidence and argument on the question of the validity of the challenged statute or rule. (Companion bill is S.B. 1162 by Hegar).
H.B. 4299 (Rose) – Rainwater Harvesting: would: (1) “encourage” all cities to promote rainwater harvesting through incentives; (2) require a city to consider harvested rainwater as an on-site water supply source when considering exemptions or credits against the city’s impervious cover or density restrictions; (3) require members of certain cities’ permitting staffs to attend a rainwater harvesting seminar to be held by the Texas Water Development Board; and (4) prohibit a city from denying a building permit solely because a building will implement rainwater harvesting.
H.B. 4325 (Strama) – Texas Recovery and Reinvestment Fund: would create the Texas Recovery and Reinvestment Fund to be used to provide matching grants to entities that successfully receive competitive grants for investments in Texas through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
H.B. 4363 (Y. Davis) – Property Tax: would permit appeals of property value equity to appraisal review boards. (Companion bill is S.B. 2366 by Ellis.)
H.B. 4375 (Ritter) – Property Tax: would expand the list of equipment eligible to receive the heavy equipment inventory property tax exemption to include certain equipment weighing between 1,500 and 3,000 pounds. (Note: current law allows the exemption only for equipment weighing over 3,000 pounds.) (Companion bill is S.B. 1640 by Harris.)
H.B. 4396 (Deshotel) – Graffiti: would: (1) authorize the state to collect a 25-cent fee for each can of aerosol spray paint sold; and (2) use the money to help local jurisdictions with funding for values education, anti-graffiti law enforcement, graffiti abatement, and other directly related uses and to finance statewide efforts in graffiti prevention and prevention education.
H.B. 4402 (Martinez Fischer) – Mandatory Health Benefits: would prohibit a health benefit plan from: (1) removing a prescription drug from coverage if an insured is taking the drug; or (2) increasing the cost of a drug to the insured if the insured is already taking the drug.
H.B. 4411 (Taylor) – Drug Enforcement: would create a program requiring drug dealers to register with local law enforcement agencies, similar to the sex offender registration program.
H.B. 4496 (P. King) – Property Tax: would provide that portable oil drilling rigs are taxable at the site on which they are located on January 1 of a tax year. (Companion bill is S.B. 949 by Estes.)
H.B. 4514 (Coleman) – Toll Roads: would provide that, prior to proceeding with a toll highway project, the Texas Department of Transportation must demonstrate to the legislature's satisfaction that it has afforded meaningful involvement to, and given consideration to input from, local elected officials and the public, and that the selected toll project is the most cost-effective and least environmentally harmful alternative.
H.B. 4592 (Ritter) – Property Tax: would exempt from property taxes land that is leased to a person to be used as a school.
H.B. 4606 (Guillen) – Municipal Jails: would place a city jail that contracts to house or begins to house only federal prisoners under the jurisdiction of the Texas Commission on Jail Standards.
H.B. 4610 (Oliveira) – Electric Rates: would provide that, as an alternative to a rate case in which all costs and revenues are considered, a regulatory authority shall allow a transmission and distribution utility, at the transmission and distribution utility's option, to adjust its rates to ensure timely recovery of distribution investment and operations and maintenance expense related to distribution according to Public Utility Commission rules.
H.B. 4614 (Oliveira) – Community Land Trusts: would provide that the governing body of a city or county by ordinance or order may create or designate one or more community land trusts (CLTs), including a housing finance corporation or a land trust operated by a community housing development organization certified by the city or county, to operate in the city or county. (Note: A CLT is an affordable housing tool generally used in gentrifying areas in which the CLT acquires title to land, sells or leases housing units located on the land, and leases the land through ground leases with terms of at least 50 years.) Land in a CLT would be property-tax-exempt. (Companion is S.B. 1205 by West.)
H.J.R. 124 (Hilderbran) – Parks Funding: would amend the Texas Constitution to require that sporting goods sales taxes may be appropriated only for the funding of state and local parks.
S.B. 1018 (Deuell) – Law Enforcement: would: (1) require the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Education (TLCEOSE) to develop and establish rules for the electronic submission of forms; (2) require local law enforcement agencies to submit all required documents to TCLEOSE electronically; (3) require TLCEOSE to list the offenses for which placement on deferred adjudication community supervision would constitute grounds for TCLEOSE to suspend or revoke an officer’s license; and (4) require TCLEOSE to establish a comprehensive procedure for each phase of TCLEOSE’s complaint enforcement process. (Companion bill is H.B. 3389 by Harper-Brown).
S.B. 1611 (W. Davis) – Health Benefits: would: (1) restrict the instances under which a health benefit plan issuer could cancel a policy; (2) place additional procedural requirements on a health benefit plan issuer when it chooses to cancel a policy; (3) require a health benefit plan issuer to continue to pay claims while a cancellation is in dispute; and (4) require a health benefit plan issuer to pay for the costs involved in an independent review of a cancellation decision. (Companion bill is H.B. 1748 by T. Smith.)
S.B. 1629 (Wentworth) – Public Information Act: this bill is the same as H.B. 4147 by Rose, above.
S.B. 1714 (Hegar) – Groundwater Control Districts (GWCDs): would: (1) prohibit water in a GWCD from being transferred outside the district for municipal use except in specific situations; and (2) require "evidence of beneficial use" before a well could be approved by a district.
S.B. 1733 (West) – Mandatory Health Benefits: would require a health benefit plan issuer to provide coverage for: (1) a physical examination for the detection of prostate cancer; and (2) a prostate-specific antigen test used for the detection of prostate cancer for each male who is at least 40 years of age.
S.B. 1771 (Duncan) – Continuation of Health Coverage: would allow an individual whose coverage is cancelled for certain reasons to have: (1) 60 days to sign up for continuation coverage; (2) 30 days to pay the premium when a premium is due; and (3) continuation coverage for eighteen months.
S.B. 1828 (Averitt) – Truck Idling: would: (1) create a new TCEQ certification for optional idling emissions standards; and (2) exempt a truck meeting those standards from any idling restrictions, including city ordinances. (Companion bill is H.B. 3317 by Chisum.)
S.B. 1884 (Ellis) – Security Breach Notification: would: (1) require a city to promptly disclose a breach of system security to any individual whose personal information is believed to have been acquired as a result of the breach; (2) allow a city to delay notification at the request of a law enforcement agency that determines that notification will impede its investigation or jeopardize homeland security; and (3) provide for alternate forms of notice if the cost of providing notice would exceed $50,000 or the number of people affected exceeds 100,000. (Companion bill is H.B. 2004 by McCall).
S.B. 1911 (Carona) – Identify Theft: would require a person, including a city, that handles sensitive information of an individual to provide notice of a breach of the individual's data. The bill would require that the notice: (1) be clear and, if in writing, conspicuous; (2) include a general description of the incident; (3) describe the type of sensitive personal information accessed and acquired; (4) include a general description of the measures the business has taken to protect against a further breach of system security; (5) include a telephone number that the affected person may call for further information and assistance; and (6) include a statement advising the affected person to review account statements and access and monitor free credit reports available to the person. The bill would also require the city to inform a consumer reporting agency regarding the breach if more than 1,000 individuals' information is breached and would provide a private right of action for breach of the bill’s provisions.
S.B. 1924 (Watson) – Workers’ Compensation: would require a city or a risk pool to: (1) provide the same notice of workers’ compensation benefits as an insurance company, including network requirements; and (2) receive a written acknowledgement from each employee regarding the required notice. (Companion bill is H.B. 2198 by Solomons).
S.B. 1943 (West) – Affordable Housing: would provide, among other things, that each city shall administer municipal programs and activities relating to housing and urban development in a manner that affirmatively furthers the goals of fair housing. (Companion bill is H.B. 4094 by Y. Davis.)
S.B. 2018 (Watson) – Golf Carts: would allow a city to regulate golf carts on city streets in the same manner as it regulates neighborhood electric vehicles, including prohibiting them on certain streets if the city finds that prohibition is necessary for the purpose of safety.
S.B. 2042 (Ellis) – Texas State Library and Archives Commission: this bill is the same as H.B. 3756, above.
S.B. 2099 (Wentworth) – Certificates of Convenience and Necessity: this bill is the same as H.B. 3609, above.
S.B. 2137 (Wentworth) – Lobbying: would: (1) 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; and (2) permit cities to use Texas Ethics Commission electronic services and software.
S.B. 2147 (Patrick) – Property Tax: would provide that property tax liens that are transferred to third parties become inferior to other liens and encumbrances.
S.B. 2295 (Lucio) – Red Light Cameras: would require a traffic light at an intersection equipped with photographic red light enforcement to be set to the maximum allowable yellow change interval duration established in the Texas Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.
S.B. 2311 (Averitt) – Water Infrastructure Assistance: would provide that the Texas Water Development Board many not accept an application for a loan or grant of financial assistance from the water infrastructure fund, the state participation account of the water development fund, or the disadvantaged rural community water and wastewater financial assistance fund if the applicant has failed to satisfactorily complete a request by the executive administrator or a regional planning group for information relevant to the project.
S.B. 2332 (Duncan) – Health Benefits: would require a health benefit insurer to: (1) provide notice to its insureds when physicians at a preferred provider hospital change from in-network to out-of-network; and (2) reimburse the out-of-network physicians at a preferred provider hospital if certain conditions are met.
H.B. 2370 (Uresti) – Mandatory Health Benefits: would increase from 25 to 29 the mandatory age limit for dependants who may be covered under most health benefit plans.
S.B. 2372 (Ellis) – Evidence Technicians: would, among other things, provide that the state or a political subdivision of the state may not appoint or employ a person to act as an evidence technician and/or court clerk, unless the person has had at least eight hours of evidence technician training as determined by the state.
S.B. 2401 (Davis) – Gas Pipeline Safety: would provide that: (1) an operator of a gas distribution system shall promptly respond to any notification it receives of a gas leak or gas odor emanating from any of its pipeline facilities or damage to the facilities caused by excavators or other outside sources; (2) an operator must respond to a reported gas leak in a specified way; (3) if the leak is determined to be “Grade 1”, which is defined in the bill, the operator shall immediately take certain prescribed actions; (4) an operator shall submit to the Railroad Commission a list of all Grade 1 leaks, using the commission's online reporting system, by July 15 and January 15 of each calendar year; and (5) the commission shall report its findings in connection with the reporting under number 4, above, to the city councilmember and county commissioner who represent the area in which the Grade 1 leak is located and the operator of the pipeline facility where the leak occurred. (Note: Cities with gas utility systems should carefully review the provisions of this bill.)
S.B. 2433 (Davis) – Eminent Domain/Gas Pipelines: would provide that: (1) a pipeline operator with eminent domain authority who wants to acquire an easement for a public use on real property owned by a city shall provide notice to the city of the proposed placement of the pipeline; (2) not later than the 60th day after the date the pipeline operator notifies the city, the city shall consent to the pipeline placement or suggest a feasible alternative placement for the pipeline based on the city's comprehensive plan, corridor development and planning for the area, transit development and planning for the area, and economic development and planning for the area; (3) if a pipeline operator and a city are unable to agree on the placement of a pipeline, the pipeline operator may file a condemnation petition; (4) a city that has proposed an alternative placement for the pipeline may move that the court determine whether that proposed placement is more reasonable than the placement proposed by the pipeline operator; and (5) a city by ordinance may regulate the placement, inspections, construction materials, and maintenance of gas pipelines used as gathering lines, pumps, compressors, separators, dehydration units, and tank batteries within the city’s corporate boundaries.
S.B. 2442 (Uresti) – 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 H.B. 3133 by Gallego.)
S.B. 2482 (Harris) – Alcohol Sales: would provide specific instructions for measuring the distance between a place of business that sells alcohol and a church, school, hospital, day care center, or child-care facility.
S.J.R. 40 (Patrick) – Freedom of Conscience: would amend the Texas Constitution to provide that the right to act or refuse to act in a manner that is substantially motivated by a sincerely held religious belief may not be substantially burdened unless the government proves it has a compelling governmental interest in infringing on the specific act or refusal to act and has used the least restrictive means in furthering that interest. (Note: this bill could substantially impact city zoning and other authority.)
S.J.R. 42 (Duncan) – Eminent Domain: would amend the Takings Clause of the Texas Constitution to provide that a "public use" does not include the acquisition of a private property interest for the primary purpose of economic development when the acquired property interest is transferred to the benefit of a private person or entity.
S.J.R. 46 (Lucio) – Affordable Housing: would amend the Texas Constitution to provide that: (1) the legislature may authorize the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs or its successor to issue general obligation bonds of the State of Texas in an amount not to exceed $300 million and to enter into related bond enhancement agreements; and (2) the proceeds from the sale of the bonds shall be deposited to the credit of the housing trust fund or its successor fund and shall be used only to provide affordable housing in accordance with law.
S.J.R. 48 (Williams) – Property Tax: would amend the Texas Constitution to permit the legislature to provide that appraisals of residential homesteads shall be limited to the highest possible appraised value when used only as a homestead. (Note: current law can permit appraisal at the level of "highest and best use" of the property, which might include uses other than residential.) (Companion legislation is H.J.R. 36 by Otto.)
S.J.R. 49 (Williams) – Property Tax: would amend the Texas Constitution to permit the legislature to provide uniform standards and methodologies for appraising property.