CITY-RELATED BILLS FILED

H.B. 250 (Hilderbran) – Elections:  would: (1) require the voter registrar of each county and the secretary of state to provide notice of voter identification requirements and to educate voters about the requirements through certain programs by publishing notice on certain websites; (2) require a voter to present to an election officer at the polling place a voter registration certificate and an acceptable form of identification; (3) provide that, if a voter does not present acceptable identification, the voter shall be accepted for provisional voting only; (4) modify the types of acceptable voter identification documents; (5) make an offense under the bill a second degree felony or a state jail felony if the person is convicted of attempt; (6) provide that a voter who presents a voter registration certificate indicating that the voter is currently registered in the precinct, but whose name is not on the precinct list of registered voters, shall be accepted for voting if the voter’s identity can be verified from the proof presented; and (7) provide that a provisional ballot may be accepted only if: (a) the voter presents acceptable proof of identification at the time the ballot is cast; or (b) the voter submits a copy of the identification to the voter registrar by personal delivery or by mail for examination by the early voting ballot board not later than the sixth business day after the date of the election.

H.B. 597 (Madden) – Synthetic Derivative of Marihuana:  would make any quantity of a synthetic chemical compound that is a cannabinoid receptor agonist and that mimics the pharmacological effect of naturally occurring cannabinoids subject to Penalty Group 2 of the Texas Controlled Substances Act.  (Companion bill is S.B. 331 by Shapiro.)

H.B. 601 (Jackson) – E-verify:  would: (1) require an employer, including a city, to participate in the e-verify program; and (2) require a city to terminate the employee responsible for using E-verify if they fail to comply with this law.

H.B. 603 (Farrar) – Immigration: would provide that a peace officer may not inquire as to the nationality or immigration status of a victim of or witness to a criminal offense except as necessary to investigate the offense.

H.B. 607 (Miller) – Commercial Driver’s Licenses:  would allow deferred disposition or driver safety course dismissal for a holder of a commercial driver’s license who violates a state law or local ordinance relating to motor vehicle control.

H.B. 609 (Zerwas) – Property Tax:  would reduce the property tax appraisal cap on homesteads from ten to five percent.  (Note:  please see H.J.R. 62 below.)

H.B. 610 (Zerwas) – Texas Commission on Environmental Quality:  would require TCEQ to provide certain notices to state representatives and senators via e-mail.

H.B. 611 (Murphy) – Professional Services: would provide that: (1) a governmental entity, including a city, may not provide through its officers or employees a commercially available service (e.g., the practice of engineering or architecture, construction services, or construction management services) for an improvement to real property that is not owned or leased by the entity; and (2) a governmental entity, including a city with a population of 50,001 or more, that provides through its officers or employees a commercially available service for an improvement to real property owned or leased by the entity shall provide and make available to the public an accounting of the cost of performing that service.          

H.B. 616 (Quintanilla) – Alcohol Regulations: would provide that the commissioners court of a county may enact certain regulations applicable in areas in the county outside an incorporated city, and the governing board of an incorporated city may enact regulations applicable in the city, that prohibit the possession or consumption of an alcoholic beverage at a location that was previously licensed or permitted to sell alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption if the commissioners court or governing board determines the license or permit was: (1) canceled for cause; (2) denied renewal; or (3) voluntarily canceled or expired before a hearing after the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission had initiated action to cancel or suspend the license or permit.

H.B. 617 (Dutton) – Sovereign Immunity: would permit plaintiffs to obtain discovery from cities that raise certain sovereign immunity defenses to a lawsuit.

H.B. 621 (Fletcher) – Police Education: would require a police chief to complete certain initial training and continuing education provided by the Bill Blackwood Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas.

H.B. 623 (Bonnen) – Immigration:  would enact comprehensive “immigration reform.”  Specifically, the bill would, among other things, provide that:

1. Not later than 48 hours after a person is arrested and before the person is released on bond, the law enforcement agency that arrested the person or that has custody of the person shall: (1) have the person’s immigration status verified by a law enforcement officer who is authorized under federal law to verify a person's immigration status or a federal law enforcement officer; and (2) if United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) does not have the results of the immigration status of the person, notify ICE if the person is not a citizen or national of the United States and is unlawfully present in the United States.

2. A law enforcement agency that notifies ICE of the results of an immigration status verification shall provide the results of the immigration status verification to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS).

3. DPS shall maintain a computerized central database containing information regarding each person who has been arrested in the state and immigration status verification reveals that the person: (a)  is not a citizen or national of the United States; and (b)  is unlawfully present in the United States according to the terms of the federal Immigration Reform and Control Act.

4. DPS shall make the information in the database available to any peace officer or law enforcement agency in the state.

5. Most of the information in the database is public and shall be posted on the DPS Web site.

6. A person who is not authorized by law to be present in the United States may not be considered a resident of this state for higher education tuition purposes.

7. Each state agency must include with the agency’s legislative appropriations request a supporting schedule that provides an accounting of amounts spent by the agency during the state fiscal biennium preceding the biennium for which the legislative appropriations request is made to directly or indirectly provide services to persons who were not lawfully present in the United States.

8. A state agency that distributes money to a local governmental entity must include in the agency’s accounting the amounts  distributed to a local governmental entity that the entity spent to provide services to persons who were not lawfully present in the United States.

9. A state agency, through the agency's governing body or chief administrative officer, as appropriate, may adopt rules requiring local governmental entities to which the agency distributes money to provide sufficiently detailed information that will enable the agency to comply with the requirement in number 8, above.

10. English is the official language of the state.

11. A city or any officer or employee of the city may not adopt any policy that does not fully enforce state and federal law, and, in the case of policies that would not fully enforce state and federal immigration laws, prohibit the city from receiving state funds.

12. Cities and other licensing authorities who license or permit individuals to engage a business, occupation, or profession must ensure that the applicant is eligible for employment in the United States before issuing the license.

13. DPS shall verify the citizenship status of each applicant for a driver’s license or personal identification certificate and provide that information on the card.

H.B. 624 (Bonnen) – Elections:  would: (1) require the voter registrar of each county and the secretary of state to provide notice of voter identification requirements and to educate voters about the requirements through certain programs by publishing notice on certain websites; (2) require a voter to present to an election officer at the polling place a voter registration certificate and an acceptable form of identification; (3) provide that, if a voter does not present acceptable identification, the voter shall be accepted for provisional voting only; (4) modify the types of acceptable voter identification documents; (5) provide that a voter who presents a voter registration certificate indicating that the voter is currently registered in the precinct, but whose name is not on the precinct list of registered voters, shall be accepted for voting if the voter’s identity can be verified from the proof presented; and (6) provide that a provisional ballot may be accepted only if: (a) the voter presents acceptable proof of identification at the time the ballot is cast; or (b) the voter submits a copy of the identification to the voter registrar by personal delivery or by mail for examination by the early voting ballot board not later than the sixth business day after the date of the election.

H.B. 628 (Callegari) – Construction Procurement:  would, among other things: (1) prohibit a reverse auction procedure for a public works contract for which a performance or payment bond is required; (2) provide that the board of trustees of a school district may enter into an agreement for the design, construction, or renovation of improvements to real property not owned or leased by the district if the improvements benefit real property owned or leased by the district, such as the design, construction,  or renovation of highways, roads, streets, sidewalks, crosswalks, utilities, and drainage improvements; (3) prohibit the use of an interlocal contract to purchase construction services unless the services are in connection with the construction of a specific facility to be jointly owned, used, or financed by the parties to the contract or: (a) the services are in connection with a job order  contract; (b) the governing body of the governmental entity for whom the work will ultimately be performed approves the purchase in open session; (c) public notice is provided in a manner consistent   with a direct contract for job order contracting services; and (d) work orders under the contract comply with state law; (4) consolidate the provisions of current law relating to alternative delivery systems for construction projects (e.g., competitive sealed proposals, construction manager-agent, construction manager at-risk, design-build, job order contracting for buildings) by most governmental entities, including cities; (5) provide procedures and criteria for a governmental entity to use when selected a construction contractor using a method other than competitive bidding; (6) authorize the use of any alternative delivery method, except for design-build (which is authorized for most projects but with various limitations), for any improvement to real property; and (5) limit the use of design-build in various ways, and in some instances provide that an unsuccessful design-build offeror owns the information submitted unless the governmental entity pays a stipend to the offeror; (7) provide that, if a change order for a public works contract in a city with a population of 500,000 or more involves a decrease or an increase of $100,000 or less, or a lesser amount as provided by ordinance, the governing body may grant general authority to an administrative official of to approve the change order; (8) provide that a contract with an original contract price of $1 million or more may not be increased by more than 25 percent; (9) provide that, if a change order for a contract with an original contract price of less than $1 million increases the contract amount to $1 million or more,  subsequent change orders may not increase the revised contract amount by more than 25 percent.

H.B. 629 (Pickett) – Transportation Reinvestment Zones: would amend the law relating to transportation reinvestment zones (TRZs) to provide that: (1) the governing body of a city or county may determine the portion of tax increment generated from the sales and use taxes attributable to the zone, above the sales tax base, to be used only to pay for authorized project costs or to satisfy claims of holders of tax increment bonds, notes, or other obligations issued or incurred for authorized projects; (2) a city or county shall deposit the designated portion or amount of tax increment to their respective tax increment account; and (3) before pledging or otherwise committing money in the tax increment account under Subsection, the governing body of a city or county may enter into an agreement to authorize and direct the comptroller to: (a) withhold from any payment to which the city or county may be entitled the amount of the payment into the tax increment account; (b) deposit that amount into the tax increment account; and (c) continue withholding and making additional payments into the tax increment account until an amount sufficient to satisfy the amount due has been met.          

H.B. 631 (Chisum) – Elections:  would allow an early voting ballot board to establish a process for removing data from voting machines used in early voting before election day if: (1) the county will use the voting machines on election day; and (2) the process is approved by the secretary of state.  

H.B. 633 (Chisum) – Police Application Fees:   would allow the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officers Standards and Education to refund an application fee, including a fee that is otherwise nonrefundable, if the commission determine the application was submitted by mistake. 

H.B. 644 (Orr) – Employment Preference:  would: (1) lengthen the time from 15 days to 30 days, after receiving a written complaint, for a public entity, including a city, to reconsider a matter of employment regarding a veteran; and (2) require the city to discuss the complaint at its next meeting for which it has not posted notice. 

H.B. 654 (Solomons) – Sales Tax:  would require the comptroller to report to the legislature and governor on the amount of revenue remitted to the comptroller for each tax collected in each city and county.

H.B. 659 (Villarreal) – Property Assessments:  would: (1) authorize a city to create a voluntary property assessment in order to finance certain water improvements; (2) require a city that authorizes contractual assessments for water or energy efficiency improvements to file written notice of each assessment in the real property records of the county in which the property is located; (3) provide that a contractual assessment for water or energy efficiency improvements has the same priority as a lien for city property taxes.

H.B. 662 (Rodriguez) – County Development Authority:  would provide that: (1) pursuant to certain procedures, the commissioners court of a county may adopt a comprehensive plan and land use regulations that require a buffer zone between certain uses in the unincorporated area of the county, with certain exceptions; and (2) the commissioners court by order may enter into agreements with any city located in the county to assist in the implementation and enforcement of buffer zone regulations.

H.B. 665 (Villarreal) – Employment Discrimination:  would prohibit an elected city official or a city that employs fifteen or more employees from discriminating against an employee or an employment applicant on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

H.B. 666 (Villarreal) – Property Tax:  would require the comptroller to conduct a study to evaluate the impact that requiring disclosure of the sales price of real property would have on the property tax system.     

H.B. 668 (F. Brown) – Vehicle Storage:  would provide that if a vehicle towed to a vehicle storage facility is not claimed before the tenth day after the date notice is mailed or published, the vehicle storage facility shall consider the vehicle abandoned, send notice to the owner and primary lienholder, and send a report of abandonment to certain law enforcement agencies, including the police department of a city.

H.B. 670 (Crownover) – Statewide Smoking Ban:  would: (1) prohibit smoking in most public places, in places of employment, and in seating areas at outdoor events; (2) provide that the bill’s provisions preempt and supersede a local ordinance, rule, or regulation that prohibits smoking to a lesser degree; (3) provide that a local ordinance, rule, or regulation that prohibits or restricts smoking to a greater degree than the bill is not preempted; (4) require the Texas Department of State Health Services to annually request other government agencies to establish local operating procedures to comply with the bill, including urging all federal, state, county, and municipal governments as well as independent school districts to update existing smoking control regulations to be consistent with the current health findings regarding secondhand smoke; and (5) require any entity that grants business licenses, including a city, to provide notice of the state smoking law to each license applicant. 

H.B. 676 (Lucio) – Cell Phone Ban:  would prohibit the operator of a motor vehicle from using a wireless communication device while stopped for a bus that is receiving or discharging a student.

H.B. 678 (Lucio) – Transportation:  would provide that: (1) before a school district may issue bonds or enter into a contract to construct a facility to be used for any purpose on real property owned by the district on September 1, 2011, the board of trustees must hold a joint meeting with representatives of the Texas Department of Transportation district office, the governing body of each city in which or in whose extraterritorial jurisdiction any part of the property  is located, and the commissioners court of each county in which any part of the property is located; and (2) the meeting must address: (a)  the impact of the facility on traffic and the transportation infrastructure in the area of the facility; (b) the cost of any necessary associated transportation infrastructure improvements; and (c)  each entity that will be responsible for paying for any necessary associated transportation infrastructure improvements.

H.B. 679 (Button) – Purchasing:  would provide that: (1) if a change order involves a decrease or an increase of $50,000 or less and is for work within the original bid, the governing body may authorize an administrative official of the municipality to approve the change order; (2) a governing body may authorize an official or employee responsible for purchasing or administering a contract to approve a change order that involves a change of $50,000 or less; and (3) similar changes shall apply to civic center authorities and certain other local governmental entities. 

H.B. 681 (Kleinschmidt) – Firearms:  would: (1) preclude an employer from prohibiting an employee who has a concealed handgun license from transporting or storing a firearm or ammunition in a locked, privately owned vehicle in a parking lot, garage, or parking area provided for employees; but (2) provide that the bill’s restriction on an employer do not apply to a vehicle owned or leased by the employer and used by the employee, unless the employee is required to transport or store a firearm in the official discharge of the employee’s duties.  (Companion bill is S.B. 321 by Hegar).

H.B. 683 (Rodriguez) – Property Tax:  would change the community housing development (CHDO) property tax exemption as follows:  (1) provide that rented housing may qualify for a CHDO exemption regardless of whether it is single-family housing or apartments; (2) provide that in order to qualify for an exemption, an apartment property owned for the purpose of rehabilitating a housing project must contain original construction that was completed at least ten years before the rehabilitation began, and the owner from whom the organization acquired the property must have owned the project for at least five years; and (3) require a chief appraiser to use the income method when appraising CHDO property even if the appraiser considers another method to be more appropriate. 

H.B. 685 (Dutton) – Municipal Court:  would allow a prosecutor to dismiss a case involving a nonviolent criminal offense if the defendant becomes a member of the U.S. armed forces serving on active duty and has no other convictions other than fine-only traffic or parking offenses.

H.B. 687 (Dutton) – Governmental Immunity:  would amend the Texas Tort Claims Act to provide that a governmental unit, including a city, is liable for personal injury and death caused by the negligence of the city if the city would, were it a private person, be liable to the claimant according to Texas law.

H.B. 688 (Dutton) – Criminal History Records:  would: (1) expand the situations in which an individual who was placed on community supervision may petition for an order of nondisclosure, and (2) creates an offense if a person compiles or disseminates the information that is the subject of an order of nondisclosure with the intend to benefit or with intent to harm or defraud another.

H.B. 690 (Martinez Fischer) – Graffiti:  would provide that marking a historic structure or property with graffiti is a state jail felony offense if the amount of the pecuniary loss to real property or to tangible personal property is less than $20,000.

H.B. 695 (Allen) – Mercury Thermostat Recycling:  would enact detailed procedures for mercury thermostat recycling and require an operator of a solid waste treatment, processing, or disposal facility to notify the facility’s customers of the requirement  to take an out-of-service mercury-added thermostat to a point of collection by posting at the facility signs that clearly note the requirement.

H.B. 697 (Hunter) – Police Training: would prohibit the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Education from adopting rules that place a police training provider on at-risk probationary status based solely on the provider’s students’ scores if at least 80 percent of the students pass by their third attempt. 

H.B. 703 (Gutierrez) – Health Care Services Providers:  would make assault on a health care services provider, while the person is providing health care services, a felony of the third degree.

H.B. 704 (Gutierrez) – Sales Tax:  would: (1) allow a city or other local governmental entity authorized to adopt a sales tax at an increment of one-fourth or one-eighth of one percent to adopt a sales tax rate set at an increment of one-sixteenth of one percent; and (2) authorize a city or local governmental entity that imposes a sales tax at a rate that may be increased or decreased by one-fourth or one-eighth of one percent to increase or decrease the rate in increments of one-sixteenth of one percent.    

H.J.R. 62 (Zerwas) – Property Tax:  would amend the Texas Constitution to authorize the legislature to reduce the property tax appraisal cap on homesteads from ten to five percent. (Note: please see H.B. 609, above.)

H.J.R. 64 (Pickett) – Transportation Funding:  would amend the Texas Constitution to provide that: (1) subject to legislative allocation, appropriation, and direction, three fourths of the net revenue from the motor fuel tax shall be used for the sole purpose of constructing and maintaining public highways, and one-fourth of the net revenue shall be allocated to school funding; and (2) for a biennium, the legislature may not appropriate funds derived from the revenue described (1), above,  for a purpose other than acquiring rights-of-way or constructing or maintaining public roadways in an amount that exceeds the lesser of: (a) the total amount of those funds appropriated for a purpose other than acquiring rights-of-way or constructing or maintaining public roadways in the preceding biennium; or (b) the maximum amount that may be appropriated under (a), above, reduced by 20 percent from the preceding biennium if the estimate of anticipated revenue from all sources made in advance of the regular session for the biennium exceeds the total amount of revenue from all sources for the preceding biennium by more than three times the amount of the reduction.

H.J.R. 66 (Pickett) – Transportation Funding:  would amend the Texas Constitution to provide that: (1) subject to legislative allocation, appropriation, and direction, three fourths of the net revenue from the motor fuel tax shall be used for the sole purpose of constructing and maintaining public highways, and one-fourth of the net revenue shall be allocated to school funding; and (2) for a biennium, the legislature may not appropriate funds derived from the revenue described (1), above,  for a purpose other than acquiring rights-of-way or constructing or maintaining public roadways in an amount that exceeds the lesser of: (a) the total amount of those funds appropriated for a purpose other than acquiring rights-of-way or constructing or maintaining public roadways in the preceding biennium; or (b) the maximum amount that may be appropriated under (a), above, reduced by 20 percent from the preceding biennium if the estimate of anticipated revenue from all sources made in advance of the regular session for the biennium exceeds the total amount of revenue from all sources for the preceding biennium by more than three times the amount of the reduction.

S.B. 14 (Fraser) – Elections:  would: (1) require the voter registrar of each county and the secretary of state to provide notice of voter identification requirements and to educate voters about the requirements through certain programs by publishing notice on certain websites; (2) require a voter under 70 years of age to present to an election officer at the polling place a voter registration certificate and an acceptable form of identification; (3) provide that, if a voter does not present acceptable identification, the voter shall be accepted for provisional voting only; (4) modify the types of acceptable voter identification documents; (5) make an offense under this section a second degree felony or a state jail felony if the person is convicted of attempt; (6) provide that a voter who presents a voter registration certificate indicating that the voter is currently registered in the precinct, but whose name is not on the precinct list of registered voters, shall be accepted for voting if the voter’s identity can be verified from the proof presented; and (7) provide that a provisional ballot may be accepted only if: (a) the voter presents acceptable proof of identification at the time the ballot is cast; or (b) the voter submits a copy of the identification to the voter registrar by personal delivery or by mail for examination by the early voting ballot board not later than the sixth business day after the date of the election.

S.B. 330 (Watson) – Renewable Energy:  would provide: (1) for the establishment of additional goals for renewable energy capacity in the state; (2) that the Public Utility Commission shall adopt rules necessary to administer and enforce the goals; and (3) that, at a minimum, the rules shall establish the minimum annual renewable energy  requirement for each retail electric provider, municipally owned utility, and electric cooperative operating in this state in a manner reasonably calculated by the commission to produce, on a statewide basis, compliance with the requirements. 

S.B. 331 (Shapiro) – Synthetic Derivative of Marihuana:  would make any quantity of a synthetic chemical compound that is a cannabinoid receptor agonist and that mimics the pharmacological effect of naturally occurring cannabinoids subject to Penalty Group 2 of the Texas Controlled Substances Act.  (Companion bill is H.B. 597 by Madden.)

S.B. 332 (Fraser) – Groundwater:  would: (1) create a vested ownership interest in, and a right to produce, groundwater below the surface of a landowner’s real property, and (2) prohibit an aquifer authority from depriving or divesting the landowner or his lessee of that right. 

S.B. 333 (Fraser) – Water Supply Corporations:  would, among other things, provide for qualifications and election procedures for directors of non-profit water supply corporations.

S.B. 339 (Gallegos) – Air Quality:  would require the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to: (1) after receiving a report of an unauthorized emission of air contaminants from one or more emissions points at a regulated entity, provide notice of the emissions event to officials who represent the area in which the event occurred, including a mayor of any city in the area; and (2) maintain a list of recent emissions events on TCEQ’s Web site that is easily accessible by the public.

S.B. 344 (Gallegos) – Civil Service:  would: (1) repeal the statutory provision allowing a fire or police department to maintain a separate protected personnel file; (2) include failure to maintain a certification or fulfill a condition of employment as a civil service rule subjecting a disciplinary action taken on these bases to the civil service disciplinary procedure; (3) allow a city with civil service to pay seniority pay and longevity pay to an individual temporarily assigned to a higher classification if the city offers both seniority and longevity pay; (4) allow a city less than 1.5 million in population to pay both seniority and longevity pay; and (5) require a city to pay seniority pay, if adopted, in a nondiscriminatory fashion.

S.B. 348 (Estes) – Salvia Divinorum:  would:  (1) make the sell or delivery of salvia divinorum, Salvinorin A, or a product containing salvia divinorum or Salvinorin A to a person younger than 18 years of age a Class C misdemeanor; and (2) provide that it is a defense to prosecution for the offense described in (1) above if the person presents an apparently valid proof of identification indicating, among other things, that the person is 18 years of age or older.

S.B. 350 (Williams) – TMRS: would: (1) require the establishment of individual accounts for each city employee who is receiving contributions; (2) eliminate the employees’ saving fund in favor of individual member accounts;  (3) change all benefits and interest received to be based on contributions to individual member accounts instead of deposits to the employees’ saving fund; (4) require an individual with military service credit to pay for the credit before it is added to the calculation for the individual’s TMRS benefit; (5) require reestablishment of an individual member account if a retiree resumes employment with a city; (6) make the annuities required of a city the obligation of the city payable from the city’s benefit accumulation fund account; (7) eliminate the current service annuity reserve fund; and (8) require TMRS to transfer all amounts in the employees’ saving funds to the benefit accumulation fund. 

S.B. 355 (Ellis) – Statewide Smoking Ban:  would: (1) prohibit smoking in most public places, in places of employment, and in seating areas at outdoor events; (2) provide that the bill’s provisions preempt and supersede a local ordinance, rule, or regulation that prohibits smoking to a lesser degree; (3) provide that a local ordinance, rule, or regulation that prohibits or restricts smoking to a greater degree than the bill is not preempted; (4) require the Texas Department of State Health Services to annually request other government agencies to establish local operating procedures to comply with the bill, including urging all federal, state, county, and municipal governments as well as independent school districts to update existing smoking control regulations to be consistent with the current health findings regarding secondhand smoke; and (5) require any entity that grants business licenses, including a city, to provide notice of the state smoking law to each license applicant. 

S.B. 357 (Van de Putte) – Property Tax:  would provide a complete residence homestead property tax exemption for the surviving spouse of a totally disabled veteran if: (1) the surviving spouse has not remarried; (2) the property was the residence homestead of the surviving spouse when the disabled veteran died; and (3) the property remains the residence homestead of the surviving spouse.  The bill would also provide a complete residence homestead property tax exemption for the owner of a property if: (1) the property remains the principal residence of one or more of the disabled veteran’s surviving children who are under the age of 18 and unmarried; and (2) the property was the principal place of residence for the children when the disabled veteran died.  (Note: please see S.J.R. 14, below.)

S.B. 358 (Wentworth) – Governmental Immunity:  would waive municipal sovereign and governmental immunity from suit and liability for damages in any amount. 

S.B. 359 (Wentworth) – Emergency Services Districts:  would repeal Chapter 776 of the Texas Health and Safety Code, which governs emergency services districts in counties with a population of 125,000 or less, and convert all existing districts in counties of 125,000 or less into a district operated under Chapter 775 of the Texas Health and Safety Code.

S.B. 360 (Fraser) – Rural Water Assistance Fund:  would expand the permitted uses of the Texas Rural Water Assistance Fund.

S.B. 361 (Duncan) – Construction Contracts:  would essentially eliminate “broad form” indemnification in construction contracts by, among other things, providing: (1) that a provision in a construction contract, or in an agreement collateral to or affecting a construction contract, is void and unenforceable as against public policy to the extent that it requires an indemnitor to indemnify,  hold harmless, or defend another party to the construction contract or a third party against a claim caused by the negligence or fault, the breach or violation of a statute, ordinance, governmental regulation, standard, or rule, or the breach of contract of the indemnitee, its agent or employee, or any third party under the control or supervision of the indemnitee, other than the indemnitor or its agent, employee, or subcontractor of any tier; (2) for an exception to (1), above, for a provision in a construction contract that requires a person to indemnify, hold harmless, or defend another party to the construction contract or a third party against a claim for the bodily injury or death of an employee of the indemnitor, its agent, or its subcontractor of any tier; (3) that provision in a construction contract that requires the purchase of additional insured coverage, or any coverage endorsement or provision within an insurance policy providing additional insured coverage, is void and unenforceable to the extent that it requires or provides coverage the scope of which is prohibited for an agreement to indemnify, hold harmless, or defend; (4) for certain exclusions from (1), above; and (5) that the provisions of the bill may not be waived by contract or otherwise.

S.B. 364 (Ogden) – Law Enforcement:  would require any police department that enforces intoxication laws to report information regarding arrests for intoxication offenses to the Texas Department of Public Safety. 

S.B. 366 (Ogden) – Public Information Act:  would repeal the exception to the Public Information Act that protects information relating to competitive matters of a public power utility. 

S.B. 370 (Seliger) – Texas Water Development Board Assistance:  would prohibit an applicant for financial assistance or loans from the Texas Water Development Board from receiving assistance if the applicant has failed to satisfactorily complete a request by the agency’s executive administrator or a regional planning group for information relevant to the project for which the assistance is being requested, including a water infrastructure financing survey.

S.J.R. 14 (Van de Putte) – Property Tax:  would amend the Texas Constitution to permit the Legislature to provide a complete residence homestead property tax exemption for the surviving spouse of a totally disabled veteran if: (1) the surviving spouse has not remarried; (2) the property was the residence homestead of the surviving spouse when the disabled veteran died; and (3) the property remains the residence homestead of the surviving spouse.  Would also amend the Texas Constitution to permit the Legislature to provide a complete residence homestead property tax exemption for the owner of a property if: (1) the property remains the principal residence of one or more of the disabled veteran’s surviving children who are under the age of 18 and unmarried; and (2) the property was the principal place of residence for the children when the disabled veteran died.  (Note: please see S.B. 357, above.)

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