SIGNIFICANT FLOOR ACTIONS
H.B. 268 (Hilderbran), Relating to the exemption from the sales and use tax for certain agricultural items. Passed the House. (Companion bill is S.B. 1602 by Seliger.)
H.B. 345 (Kleinschmidt), Relating to limitations on awards in an adjudication brought against a local governmental entity for breach of contract. Passed the House. (Companion bill is S.B. 1382 by Wentworth.)
H.B. 360 (J. Jackson), Relating to ballot language for a proposition to approve the imposition or increase of a tax or the issuance of bonds. Passed the House.
H.B. 470 (C. Anderson), Relating to the addition of Salvia divinorum and its derivatives and extracts to Penalty Group 3 of the Texas Controlled Substances Act.. Passed the House.
H.B. 478 (Orr), Relating to certain court costs associated with the offense of failing to secure a child passenger in a motor vehicle.
H.B. 563 (Pickett), Relating to the purposes and designation of a transportation reinvestment zone. Passed the House.
H.B. 564 (Craddick), Relating to inspection of portable fire extinguishers in government-owned vehicles in certain local governmental jurisdictions. Passed the House.
H.B. 725 (Callegari), Relating to the operation, powers, and duties of certain water districts. Passed the House.
H.B. 930 (Darby), Relating to the requirements for an application for a tax warrant authorizing the seizure of personal property for the payment of ad valorem taxes. (Companion bill is S.B.1061 by Harris.)
H.B. 984 (Truitt), Relating to agreements between contiguous municipalities regarding jurisdiction of cases in municipal courts. Passed the House.
H.B. 1083 (Elkins), Relating to the issuance of an identification card to certain honorably retired peace officers. Passed the House. As passed, the bill would require a city police department to issue an identification card to an honorably retired police officer who holds a proficiency certificate.
H.B. 1136 (Aycock), Relating to requiring an election authority to provide notice to certain county chairs regarding certain election activities. Passed the House.
H.B. 1137 (Darby), Relating to the transmission of records regarding over-the-counter sales of ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, and norpseudoephedrine and a person's civil liability for certain acts arising from the sale of those products. Passed the House.
H.B. 1147 (W. Smith), Relating to notice by a governmental entity regarding certain geospatial data products. Passed the House.
H.B. 1814 (Lucio), Relating to the provision of water and certain equipment by water supply or sewer service corporations for use in fire suppression and the liability of those corporations. Passed the House. (Companion bill is S.B. 1659 by Lucio.)
H.B. 1964 (Villarreal), Relating to discharging fines and costs assessed against certain juvenile defendants through community service. Passed the House.
H.B. 2257 (Phillips), Relating to communications during a disaster or an emergency by public service providers. Passed the House.
H.B. 2605 (L. Taylor), Relating to the continuation and functions of the division of workers’ compensation of the Texas Department of Insurance. Passed the House. (Companion bill is S.B. 658 by Huffman.)
H.B. 2619 (Callegari), Relating to the submission of information about critical water and wastewater facilities. Passed the House.
H.B. 2694 (W. Smith), Relating to the continuation and functions of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and abolishing the On-site Wastewater Treatment Research Council. Passed the House. This is the TCEQ sunset bill. As passed, the bill would, among other things: (1) require the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to develop and implement a policy to encourage the use of negotiated rulemaking and alternative dispute resolution procedures; (2) require the TCEQ to develop and implement a program to improve public access to information about the TCEQ and the matters the agency regulates; (3) make changes to narrow the scope of the mission of the office of public interest council; (4) change how compliance history is used in certain enforcement situations, including limiting penalty enhancements or escalations attributed to compliance history, particularly with regard to air quality; (5) increase the penalties for statute and rule violations under the jurisdiction of the TCEQ; (6) require the TCEQ to create a general enforcement policy that takes into account the economic benefits of noncompliance; (7) authorize the TCEQ to approve a city’s supplemental environmental project in lieu of a fine that is necessary to bring the city into compliance with environmental laws or remediate environmental harm caused by the city’s alleged violation; (8) require the TCEQ to develop a policy to prevent a regulated entity from systematically avoiding compliance through the use of supplemental environmental projects; (9) make changes to the fees, penalties, and authorized TCEQ action for underground storage tanks; (10) require any water right holder who impounds, diverts, or otherwise uses state water to maintain water use information on a monthly basis to be made available to the TCEQ during an emergency water shortage or in response to a complaint, upon request; (11) authorize the TCEQ to order suspension and reallocation of water rights during a drought or other emergency water shortage and require recipients of a water transfer to comply with drought management measures; (12) extend the time period for a city-owned utility to notify ratepayers outside of city limits of a rate increase and allow the city to provide the notice electronically, when possible; (13) allow a non-city-owned utility to provide notice to a city of a rate increase via e-mail; (14) shift the burden of proof in a contested case hearing over a permit to the affected person rather than the applicant; (15) require an applicant for a permit for a new electric generating facility to submit an assessment comparing the best available technology for water cooling to the technology proposed for use by the facility; and (16) make several changes to dam inspection and regulation. (Companion is S.B. 657 by Huffman.)
S.B. 44 (Zaffirini), Relating to the detention and transportation of a person with a mental illness. Passed the Senate.
S.B. 100 (Van de Putte), Relating to the adoption of voting procedures necessary to implement the federal Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act. Passed the Senate. (Please see article elsewhere in this edition.)(Companion bill is H.B. 111 by V. Taylor.)
S.B. 313 (Seliger), Relating to priority groundwater management areas. Passed the House. As passed, the bill would: (1) authorize the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to merge certain adjacent priority groundwater management areas and create procedures for a merger; and (2) allow the TCEQ to adopt rules regarding the inclusion of all or part of the land within an existing priority groundwater management area in a new or existing special district.
S.B. 602 (Rodriguez), Relating to allowing a governmental body to redact certain personal information under the public information law without the necessity of requesting a decision from the attorney general and the calculation of certain deadlines. Passed the Senate. (Companion bill is H.B. 1671 by Marquez.)
S.B. 660 (Hinojosa), Relating to the review and functions of the Texas Water Development Board, including the functions of the board in connection with the process for establishing and appealing desired future conditions in a groundwater area. Passed the Senate. This is the Texas Water Development Board sunset bill. As passed, the bill would – in addition to previously summarized provisions – remove the current provisions requiring the attorney general to seek a writ of mandamus or other legal remedy in Travis County court to compel a political subdivision to pay that has defaulted on a payment agreement (usually loans or bond assistance) with the board.
S.B. 661 (Nichols), Relating to the continuation of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the Office of Public Utility Counsel, and the Public Utility Commission of Texas and to the transfer of functions from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Passed the Senate.
S.B. 898 (Carona), Relating to energy efficiency programs in institutions of higher education and certain governmental entities. Passed the Senate.
S.B. 924 (Carona), Relating to energy efficiency reports by municipally owned utilities and electric cooperatives. Passed the Senate.
S.B. 1048 (Jackson, Mike), Relating to the creation of public and private facilities and infrastructure. Passed the Senate. As passed by the Senate, the bill would create a program with detailed criteria to encourage public and private facilities and infrastructure, and would provide that the bill is not exclusive of other authority and that a political subdivision must adopt a resolution to act pursuant to the bill’s authority. (Companion bill is H.B. 2432 by J. Davis.)
S.B. 1082 (Hegar), Relating to strategic partnerships for the continuation of certain water districts annexed by a municipality. Passed the Senate. (Companion bill is H.B. 1979 by Laubenberg.)
S.B. 1217 (Estes), Relating to an excavator’s duty to notify a notification center before excavating. Passed the Senate. (Companion bill is H.B. 263 by Hilderbran.)
S.B. 1270 (Wentworth), Relating to the public information law. Passed the Senate.
S.B. 1293 (Hegar), Relating to the amounts of administrative, civil, and criminal penalties for violations relating to certain pipelines. Passed the Senate. As passed, the bill would increase the penalty for violation of gas pipeline safety rules to $100,000 per day.
S.B. 1420 (Hinojosa), Relating to the continuation and functions of the Texas Department of Transportation. Passed the Senate. This is the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) sunset bill. As passed, the bill, among many other things, would:
- require TxDOT to develop a statewide transportation plan covering a period of 24 years and that is updated every four years that contains all modes of transportation;
- provide that the plan must contain specific, long-term transportation goals for the state and measurable targets for each goal, identify priority corridors, projects, or areas of the state that are of particular concern in meeting the plan goals, and contain a participation plan specifying methods for obtaining formal input on the plan’s goals and priorities with input from, among others, political subdivisions;
- provide that the Texas Transportation Commission by rule shall establish standards for processing an environmental review document for a highway project that must increase efficiency, minimize delays, and encourage collaboration and cooperation by the department with a local government sponsor, with a goal of prompt approval of legally sufficient documents;
- a local government sponsor and TxDOT may enter into an agreement that defines the relative roles and responsibilities of the parties in the preparation and review of environmental review documents for a specific project;
- require TxDOT to establish a project information reporting system that makes available in a central location on the Internet easily accessible and searchable information regarding all of TxDOT’s transportation plans;
- require TxDOT to develop a process to identify and distinguish between the transportation projects that are required to maintain the state infrastructure and the transportation projects that would improve the state infrastructure in a manner consistent with the statewide transportation plan;
- require TxDOT to develop a unified transportation program covering a period of 10 years and updated each year to guide the development of and authorize construction of transportation projects;
- provide that any fines or fees received under the Texas highway Beautification Act go to the state highway fund, as opposed to the state highway beautification account;
- create additional administrative procedures, fees, and civil penalties relating to outdoor advertising that is subject to state law;
- provide that the combined license and permit fees may not exceed $10 for an off-premise sign erected and maintained by a nonprofit organization in a city or a city’s extraterritorial jurisdiction if the sign relates to or promotes only the city or a political subdivision whose jurisdiction is wholly or partly concurrent with the city; and
- require TxDOT, in cooperation with local governments, to actively manage a system of changeable message signs located on highways under the jurisdiction of TxDOT to mitigate traffic congestion by providing current information to the traveling public, including information about traffic incidents, weather conditions, road construction, and alternative routes when applicable.
(Companion bill is H.B. 2675 by Harper-Brown.)
S.B. 1521 (Uresti), Relating to the distribution of money appropriated from a municipal court building security fund. Passed the Senate.
S.B. 1612 (Ogden), Relating to the monitoring, oversight, and funding of certain public retirement systems. Passed the Senate.
S.B. 1638 (W. Davis), Relating to the exception of certain personal information from required disclosure under the public information law. Passed the Senate.
S.B. 1692 (Lucio), Relating to municipal and county budgets on the Internet. Passed the Senate.
S.J.R. 37 (Van de Putte), Proposing a constitutional amendment to repeal the provision that requires the automatic resignation of certain county, municipal, or district officeholders if they become candidates for another office. Passed the Senate. As passed, the bill would amend the resign to run provision of the Texas Constitution, Section 65, Article XVI, to provide that certain elected district, county, and precinct officers who announce their candidacy for another office more than one year and thirty days before the expiration of their current term of office automatically resign from office.