CITY-RELATED BILLS FILED

H.B. 803 (Burnam) – Sales Tax: would exempt from sales taxes all purchases of energy-efficient products by individuals who receive services under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program or the Lone Star Card food stamp program.

H.B. 805 (Quintanilla) – Police Vehicles: would permit a privately owned vehicle to qualify as a city police vehicle for certain purposes, provided the vehicle is: (1) owned by a peace officer; and (2) the police chief has approved the use. (Companion bill is S.B. 389 by Patrick.)

H.B. 806 (Gallego) – Mandatory Health Benefits: would: (1) require that certain health benefit plans, including a governmental risk pool, provide coverage for prosthetic devices, orthotic devices, and professional services related to the fitting and use of those devices; and (2) provide that the coverage must equal the coverage provided under federal laws for health insurance for the aged and disabled.

H.B. 818 (Eiland) – Construction Contracts: would, among other things, provide that: (1) a provision in a construction contract is void and unenforceable as against public policy if it requires an indemnitor to indemnify, hold harmless, or defend another party to the construction contract, or a third party, against a claim to the extent that the claim is caused by the negligence, fault, breach or violation of a statute, ordinance, or governmental regulation or rule, or contractual breach of the indemnitee, its agent or employee, or any third party under the control or supervision of the indemnitee, other than the indemnitor, its agent, employee, or subcontractor of any tier, and the claim arises from: (a) bodily injury or death, except for the bodily injury or death of an employee of the indemnitor, its agent, or subcontractor of any tier; (b) damage to property; (c) any other type of damage; or (d) a fine, penalty, administrative action, or other action assessed by a governmental entity directly against the indemnitee; (2) a provision in a construction contract that requires the purchase of additional insured coverage and any coverage endorsement or provision within an insurance policy providing additional insured coverage is void and unenforceable to the extent that it exceeds the scope of indemnity allowed by the bill; (3) the bill does not otherwise affect a construction contract provision that requires a party to the contract to purchase owners and contractors protective liability insurance or railroad protective liability insurance; (4) the provisions of the bill may not be waived by contract or otherwise; and (5) current statutory provisions relating to indemnity in construction contracts are repealed. (Companion bill is S.B. 555 by Duncan.)

H.B. 823 (S. Turner) – Blood Samples: would prohibit a peace officer from taking a blood specimen regardless of whether the person is otherwise authorized by law to take a blood specimen.

H.B. 826 (Gattis) – TCEQ Fines: would: (1) require the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to take into account the economic benefit of a violation when assigning a fine for that violation; and (2) allow a city to defer payment on the economic benefit portion of a fine provided the city complies with the schedule and terms of the TCEQ’s enforcement order.

H.B. 831 (Taylor) – Property Tax: would exempt from property taxes the land and improvements owned by certain nonprofit community business organizations that promote the common economic interests of commercial enterprises, improve business conditions, or otherwise aid in economic development. (Companion bill is S.B. 564 by Jackson.)

H.B. 835 (S. Miller) – Elections: would require a candidate for public office to submit proof of citizenship as part of the candidate’s application for a place on the ballot. H.B. 839 (Martinez) – Salvia Divinorum: would make the sale or delivery to a child of salvia divinorum or a product containing salvia divinorum a Class C misdemeanor. (Companion bill is S.B. 257 by Estes.)

H.B. 844 (Martinez) – Mandatory Health Benefits: would: (1) require that certain health benefit plans, including a governmental risk pool, provide coverage for prosthetic devices, orthotic devices, and professional services related to the fitting and use of those devices; and (2) provide that coverage must equal the coverage provided under federal laws for health insurance for the aged and disabled. (Companion bill is S.B. 26 by Zaffirini.)

H.B. 847 (Martinez) – Sales Tax: would provide that, for the following local sales taxes, there is a three-percent cap on total local sales taxes at any single location (rather than a two-percent cap as current law provides): (1) the one-percent general revenue city sales tax; (2) the city sales tax for property tax relief; (3) the county sales tax for property tax relief; (4) the 4A economic development sales tax; and (5) the commuter rail district sales tax.

H.B. 859 (Laubenberg) – Easements: would provide that: (1) a governmental unit, including a city, that holds an easement on private property is liable to the property owner for any damage to the owner's property outside the area covered by the easement that arises out of the easement holder's use of the easement or ingress or egress on the property to access the easement, regardless of whether the easement holder commits a negligent or intentional act; and (2) the bill does not affect any liability of an easement holder for damage to property within the area covered by the easement.

H.B. 866 (Villarreal) – Property Tax: would instruct the state comptroller to study the feasibility of a property tax “circuit breaker” law. (Circuit breakers are defined in the bill as limitations on residential homestead property taxes based on the owner’s annual income.)

H.B. 875 (Eissler) – Billboards: would allow a city to recover attorney’s fees in a lawsuit against a sign-owner for violations of state sign laws.

H.B. 880 (Strama) – Property Tax: would exempt from property taxes certain energy-efficiency-related improvements that are permanently attached to real property. (Note: please see H.J.R. 47, below.)

H.B. 907 (Dutton) – Property Tax: would mandate that a city immediately pay attorney ad litem fees, if any, as soon as practicable after receipt of an ad litem’s bill in relation to a lawsuit to collect property taxes.

H.B. 909 (Dutton) – Public Information Act: would amend the law enforcement exception in the Public Information Act by providing that information held by a law enforcement agency is excepted from disclosure only if: (1) the release of the information would unduly interfere with the detection, investigation, or prosecution of crime; and (2) the information relates to an ongoing investigation or conduct that remains subject to prosecution.

H.B. 917 (Dutton) – Peace Officer Searches: would provide that a peace officer who stops a motor vehicle for any alleged violation of a law or ordinance regulating traffic may not search the vehicle unless the peace officer: (1) has probable cause or another legal basis for conducting the search, including conducting a search based on a reasonable fear for the safety of the peace officer or another person; (2) obtains the written consent of the operator of the vehicle on a state-mandated form; or (3) obtains the oral consent of the operator of the vehicle and ensures that the oral consent is evidenced by an audio and video recording made according to state-adopted procedures.

H.B. 925 (Dutton) – Dangerous Dogs: would make it a Class C misdemeanor for an adult to allow a child under the age of fifteen to handle or care for a pit bull without adult supervision.

H.B. 931 (Dutton) – State Funding: would require an applicant for a grant issued or administered by a state agency to: (1) include with the grant application a “minority impact statement” outlining any disproportionate or unique impact on minority or disabled individuals of the programs funded by the grant; and (2) where there will be a disproportionate or unique impact on minorities, show evidence of consultations with representatives of minority groups regarding the policy or program in question.

H.B. 933 (Dutton) – Tort Claims Act: would amend the Texas Tort Claims Act to provide that a governmental unit is liable for personal injury and death caused by the negligence of the governmental unit if the governmental unit would, were it a private person, be liable to the claimant according to Texas law.

H.B. 945 (Dutton) – Expunction: would expand the number of situations in which a city police department may be ordered by a district court to expunge records and files relating to certain arrests.

H.B. 948 (Dutton) – Law Enforcement: would require a police department to create and maintain an audio record of any phone call made to the department to report abuse or neglect of a child.

H.B. 949 (Dutton) – Criminal Law: would allow a prosecutor to dismiss a case involving a nonviolent criminal offense if the defendant: (1) becomes a member of the U.S. armed forces serving on active duty after the commission of the offense; and (2) has not been finally convicted of any additional offense other than a traffic, pedestrian, or parking offense punishable by fine only.

H.B. 954 (Dutton) – Criminal History Record Information: would among other things, make it an offense for a person to, with intent to obtain a benefit or with intent to harm or defraud another, compile or disseminate criminal history record information that the person knows is the subject of an order of nondisclosure.

H.B. 957 (Swinford) – Dual Office-Holding: would provide that: (1) any person holding a lucrative office under the United States, Texas (including a political subdivision of Texas), or any foreign government is ineligible to serve in the legislature during the term for which the person is elected or appointed, even if the office-holder resigns or is removed from office before the end of the term; (2) a person who is ineligible to serve in the legislature under the bill may not file an application for a place on the ballot as a candidate for the legislature for a legislative term during which the ineligibility applies for any portion of the term; and (3) a member of the legislature may not, during the term for which the member is elected, be simultaneously employed in any position by the United States, Texas, a political subdivision of Texas, or any foreign government.

H.B. 958 (Bonnen) – Emergency Services Personnel: would make assault on emergency services personnel a felony of the first degree.

H.B. 959 (Bonnen) – Property Tax: would provide a $5,000 residential homestead property tax exemption for a volunteer firefighter or volunteer EMS worker if the person has served in that capacity in Texas for at least one year. (Note: please see H.J.R. 48, below.)

H.B. 960 (Anchia) – Sexually Oriented Businesses: would provide that a city or county that requires a sexually oriented business to obtain a license or other permit is entitled to obtain from the Texas Department of Public Safety criminal history record information that relates to a person who: (1) is an applicant for a license or other permit from the city or county; (2) is the holder of a license or other permit from the city or county; or (3) requests a determination of eligibility for a license or other permit from the city or county.

H.B. 961 (Anchia) – Sexually Oriented Businesses: would provide that an applicant for a license or permit for a sexually oriented business for a location not currently or previously licensed or permitted shall, not later than the 60th day before the date the application is filed, prominently post an outdoor sign at the location stating that a sexually oriented business is intended to be located on the premises.

H.B. 971 (Lucio) – Playground Accessibility: would require a newly constructed or renovated playground that is owned or maintained by a political subdivision to: (1) have a wheelchair-accessible surface that is wide enough for two wheelchairs connecting the playground to the parking area; and (2) make at least 25 percent of the play equipment wheelchair-accessible.

H.B. 978 (Burnam) – Employment Discrimination: would: (1) broaden the definition of disability under employment discrimination and reasonable accommodation laws; (2) prohibit a city from considering the ameliorative effects of treatment or other mitigating measures in determining whether an employee has a disability; (3) prohibit a city from using an employee test or standard that requires uncorrected vision unless such a test is consistent with business necessity and is job-related; and (4) not require a city to make a reasonable accommodation to an otherwise qualified employee solely because the individual is regarded as having an impairment that substantially limits at least one major life activity.

H.B. 979 (Callegari) – Property Tax: would apply the ten-percent appraisal cap under current law to all real property, not just to residential homesteads. (Note: please see H.J.R. 49, below.)

H.B. 980 (Thompson) – Sales Tax: would alter the intrastate sourcing and allocation of city sales taxes as follows: (1) eliminate sourcing at the location from which an item is shipped if an order is placed at another location in the state that is also a place of business of a retailer; (2) generally source city sales taxes at the location where an order is received when there is more than one place of business of a retailer; (3) reduce the statute of limitations (also known as the “look back” provision) for reallocations of city sales taxes from four years to one year; and (4) grant cities a right to notification and hearing regarding reallocation decisions, as well as a right of appeal to a Travis County district court.

H.B. 986 (Villarreal) – Property Tax: would: (1) provide that taxing units, including cities, may not refund property taxes before the earlier of: (a) the 21st day after the final determination of an appeal; or (b) the date the property owner files certain forms with the taxing unit; and (2) provide that refunds of property taxes may be sent only to property owners.

H.B. 987 (Creighton) – 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) compensation for a contract awarded on a unit price basis may not exceed the actual quantity of items supplied or services provided; (3) before the governing body of an issuer of certificates of obligation may enter into a contract requiring an expenditure by or imposing an obligation or liability on the issuer of more than $50,000, the governing body must submit the proposed contract to competitive procurement; (4) a governing body may authorize an official or employee responsible for purchasing or administering a contract funded through certificates of obligation to approve a change order that is within the scope of the original contract and involves a change of $50,000 or less; and (5) similar changes shall apply to civic center authorities, municipal management districts, and certain other local governmental entities. (Companion bill is S.B. 624 by West.)

H.B. 988 (Fletcher) – Red Light Cameras: would prohibit a city from imposing a civil penalty on an emergency vehicle for running a red light that is monitored by a red light camera.

H.B. 1005 (McClendon) – Employee Leave: would: (1) require a city to grant unpaid leave to an employee for purposes of meeting with school officials or attending a child’s school activity if the employee has worked for the city at least 90 days; (2) require an employee desiring such leave to give reasonable notice and provide documentation of the activity; (3) require a city to post notice of employees’ rights under this law; and (4) prohibit a city from suspending or terminating an employee for exercising rights under this law. (Companion bill is S.B. 649 by Van de Putte.)

H.B. 1008 (Moody) – Property Tax: would exempt from property taxes the full value of a homestead owned by a disabled veteran with a service-related disability rating of 100 percent or of "totally disabled." (Companion bill is S.B. 192 by Shapleigh.)

H.B. 1014 (Corte) – Water Utility: would require, in certain high flood-risk counties, that municipally-owned water utilities that possess a certificate of convenience and necessity (CCN) must install and maintain auxiliary generators capable of ensuring the operation of the utilities’ water and sewer systems during an extended power outage.

H.B. 1015 (Corte) – Building Regulations: would require a city to verify that certain coastal gas service stations have alternate electrical generators before the city may issue a certificate of occupancy to the service station.

H.B. 1018 (B. Brown) – Property Tax: would reduce the annual property tax appraisal cap from ten percent to five percent. (Note: please see H.J.R. 51, below.)

H.B. 1026 (Edwards) – Emergency Management: would: (1) create emergency response teams in each state legislative district; (2) give the teams authority to collaborate with FEMA, the governor, and other state and federal agencies; (3) establish distribution sites and communication centers for emergency operations; and (4) require counties to provide the legislative emergency response teams with certain equipment.

H.B. 1027 (Edwards) – Peace Officers: would allow a police officer operating a vehicle to stop, detain, or arrest an operator or passenger of a vehicle for a misdemeanor traffic offense punishable by fine only if: (1) the officer’s vehicle is clearly marked as a police vehicle; and (2) the officer is wearing a uniform displaying the officer’s badge.

H.B. 1029 (Rodriguez) – Affordable Housing: would provide that a public improvement district project may include the development, rehabilitation, or expansion of affordable housing.

H.B. 1037 (Paxton) – Property Tax: would permit persons who initially qualify for certain residential homestead property tax exemptions in the middle of a tax year to receive a prorated exemption for the remainder of that year.

H.B. 1038 (Paxton) – Property Tax: would prohibit an appraiser, when appraising residential homesteads, from ignoring the value of nearby homes that were sold at a recent foreclosure sale or that have experienced declines in market value because of a declining economy.

H.B. 1042 (Parker) – Prevailing Wage Rates: would repeal the prevailing wage rate laws that apply to cities and most other political subdivisions.

H.J.R. 47 (Strama) – Property Tax: would amend the Texas Constitution to permit the legislature to exempt from property taxes certain energy-efficiency-related improvements that are permanently attached to real property. (Note: please see H.B. 880, above.)

H.J.R. 48 (Bonnen) – Property Tax: would amend the Texas Constitution to permit the legislature to enact a $5,000 residential homestead property tax exemption for volunteer firefighters and volunteer EMS workers. (Note: Please see H.B. 959, above.)

H.J.R. 49 (Callegari) – Property Tax: would amend the Texas Constitution to apply the ten-percent appraisal cap under current law to all real property, not just to residential homesteads. (Note: please see H.B. 979, above.)

H.J.R. 51 (B. Brown) – Property Tax: would amend the Texas Constitution to permit the legislature to reduce the property tax appraisal cap from ten percent to five percent. (Note: please see H.B. 1018, above.)

S.B. 16 (Averitt) – Air Quality: among many other things, this bill would provide that: (1) the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) shall establish and administer a new technology implementation program to reduce emissions from facilities and other stationary sources located within the state; (2) under the new technology implementation program, TCEQ shall provide grants or other financial incentives for eligible projects, such as advanced clean energy products and renewable energy storage, to offset the incremental cost of emissions reductions; (3) TCEQ, the Railroad Commission, and the Public Utility Commission shall jointly participate in the federal government process for developing federal greenhouse gas reporting requirements and the federal greenhouse gas registry requirements; and (4) TCEQ shall adopt rules to comply with any federal greenhouse gas reporting requirements adopted by the federal government for private and public facilities eligible to participate in the federal greenhouse gas registry.

S.B. 555 (Duncan) – Construction Contracts: this bill is the same as H.B. 818, above.

S.B. 562 (Jackson) – Property Tax: would permit a tax assessor to mail tax bills marked as “Return Receipt Requested”. (Note: such a marking is mandatory under current law.) (Companion bill is H.B. 653 by Bonnen.)

S.B. 564 (Jackson) – Property Tax: this bill is the same as H.B. 831, above.

S.B. 576 (Davis) – Tax Increment Financing: would: (1) add roads, sidewalks, and other infrastructure to the list of permissible costs related to project plans; (2) prohibit a tax increment plan from providing for payment to a neighborhood enterprise association; and (3) permit a city to grant tax exemptions within a tax increment zone in lieu of paying any increment into the increment fund. (Companion bill is H.B. 146 by T. Smith.)

S.B. 578 (Wentworth) – County Development Authority: would provide that: (1) the commissioners court of a county may call an election to authorize certain land use regulations in the unincorporated area of the county; (2) if the election results are favorable, the commissioners court may regulate, by order, land development in the unincorporated area of the county by: (a) requiring a limited fire suppression system that necessitates a developer to construct a certain amount of water storage; (b) requiring a buffer zone between certain land uses and residential areas; and (c) requiring a developer, before the county approves a plat filed by the developer, to determine the need for and construct certain roadway improvements attributable and roughly proportionate to the subdivision’s impact, if necessary; (3) a county may not zone property; and (4) certain uses would be exempt from regulations adopted under the bill.

S.B. 582 (Wentworth) – Cell Phones: would prohibit the use of a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle without a hands-free device.

S.B. 583 (Wentworth) – Traffic Fines: would double the minimum and maximum fine amounts for disregarding a stop sign or yield sign if the offense resulted in the injury or death of a pedestrian.

S.B. 590 (Jackson) – Property Tax: would require appraisal districts to biennially adopt a plan for the reappraisal of property following a natural disaster.

S.B. 599 (Van de Putte) – Sales Tax: would exempt the following from sales taxes: (1) the equipment necessary to produce or manufacture photovoltaic renewable energy devices; and (2) photovoltaic renewable energy devices.

S.B. 618 (Shapleigh) – Net Electric Metering: would mandate that the Public Utility Commission adopt rules and standards under which a retail electric provider, electric cooperative, municipally-owned electric utility, or transmission and distribution utility shall offer net metering service to all residential customers as soon as practicable, but not later than January 1, 2010. (Note: net metering allows a customer with in-home renewable energy technology, such as solar panels or a wind turbine, to sell excess energy back to the utility.)

S.B. 619 (Shapleigh) – Sales Tax: would exempt from sales taxes certain solar energy devices that are installed at a location owned by a retail energy customer.

S.B. 622 (Hegar) – Highway Access/Eminent Domain: would provide that: (1) if a portion of a tract or parcel of real property is condemned for the use, construction, operation, or maintenance of the state highway system or of a county toll project that is eligible for designation as part of the state highway system, the special commissioners in the condemnation proceeding shall consider any diminished access to the highway and to or from the remaining property to the extent that it affects the present market value of the real property, including any factors considered when determining actual fair market value of property for ad valorem tax purposes; and (2) in a county with a population of less than 50,000, access shall be provided to a controlled access highway at intervals not to exceed five miles.

S.B. 624 (West) – Purchasing: this bill is the same as H.B. 987, above.

S.B. 628 (Ogden) – Sovereign Immunity: would make the state and any state agency immune from any suit brought by a city or other political subdivision.

S.B. 630 (Davis) – Utility Fees: would: (1) require a utility, upon the request of an elderly or disabled individual, to delay without penalty the payment date of a bill until the 25th day after the date the bill is issued; and (2) allow a utility, upon written request by an elderly or disabled individual, to allow payment of the individual's bill to be deferred for not more than three months and to allow the individual to pay the delinquent amount in equal installments over at least three billing cycles. (Companion bill is H.B. 725 by Veasey.)

S.B. 632 (Seliger) – Court Costs: would: (1) permit a city to adopt an optional $1 court cost to be deposited into a “municipal court equal justice and education fund;” and (2) provide that money in that fund could be used to pay for interpreter services, counseling services, attorney appointments, staff education, and more.

S.B. 633 (Seliger) – Drug Court: would allow two or more cities to create a regional drug court.

S.B. 634 (Seliger) – Dog Restraints: would: (1) prohibit a dog owner from leaving a dog over six months of age outside and unattended in an enclosure of less than 150 square feet; (2) prohibit a dog owner from leaving a dog of any age outside and unattended in a restraint; (3) eliminate exceptions that allow for certain types of restraints and certain acceptable time periods for restraining a dog; and (4) allow for the walking of a dog with a hand-held leash if the handler is physically present and able to exercise immediate physical control over the dog.

S.B. 638 (Nichols) – Depositories: would permit city depository banks to pool collateral for deposit amounts in excess of FDIC insurance. Specifically, the bill would do the following with respect to pooled collateral: (1) give cities and banks the option to participate in the program; (2) require 102-percent collateralization; (3) require state comptroller oversight of pooled collateral; and (4) require third-party safekeeping of collateral in most cases. (Companion bill is H.B. 77 by Flynn.)

S.B. 640 (Ellis) – Electronic Technology Infrastructure: would: (1) establish the “innovation center” as an office within the Texas Department of Information Resources and make the Innovation center responsible for encouraging the development and implementation of technology infrastructure (e.g., provision of broadband and telecommunications services) for public and private uses throughout the state; (2) provide that the innovation center shall create a grant program to award matching grants to a municipality, a county, or an agency or instrumentality of a municipality or county to improve technology infrastructure; and (3) authorize the innovation center to provide to a state agency or local government technical assistance, including consulting services, regarding the development and improvement of technology infrastructure, and to charge a fee for that service.

S.B. 648 (Van de Putte) – Employee Leave: would require a city to: (1) grant up to ten hours of unpaid leave to an employee who has worked for the city for at least a year for purposes of meeting with school officials; and (2) post notice of employees’ rights under this law. (Companion bill is H.B. 615 by S. Turner).

S.B. 649 (Van de Putte) – Employee Leave: this bill is the same as H.B. 1005, above.

S.B. 651 (Van de Putte) – Stun Guns: would generally prohibit stun guns, but would: (1) create a defense to prosecution for certain stun gun weapons offenses for license holders and commissioned security officers who are on duty; (2) create an exception to certain stun gun weapons offenses for peace officers; and (3) create a concealed carry licensing program for stun guns.

S.B. 664 (Gallegos) – Public Safety: would: (1) require the Texas Facilities Commission (the commission) to create a statewide public building mapping information system (PBMIS) for the purpose of storing information related to public buildings in an electronic format that will be readily accessible to first responders in the event of an emergency; (2) allow a local government to continue using an already-existing independent building mapping system and map storage software until the commission provides funding necessary to modify the information system to be compatible with the standards established by the commission; (3) require each public agency that creates or stores maps and other information related to a public building to submit the maps and information to the commission for storage in the public building mapping information system; (4) provide that a public agency is not required to create or store maps related to the public agency’s buildings unless funding for all of the necessary costs is provided by the commission; (5) provide that the PBMIS Committee is composed of representatives from the Texas Building and Procurement Commission, the Department of Public Safety, the Department of Information Resources, the Texas Association of Counties, the Texas Municipal League, the Sheriffs' Association of Texas, the Texas Police Chiefs Association, and the Texas Fire Chiefs Association; (6) provide that information received and maintained by the commission related to the mapping system is excepted from required disclosure under the Texas Public Information Act; and (7) grant immunity from civil liability to a local government and its employees for any act or omission relating to the creation and use of the public building mapping information system, unless the act or omission was grossly negligent or done in bad faith.

S.B. 671 (Shapleigh) – Public Information Act: would allow a member, committee, or agency of the legislature to either seek a declaratory judgment in district court, or request a decision from the attorney general’s office to determine whether information covered in a confidentiality agreement is confidential by law.

S.B. 675 (Shapleigh) – Sales Tax: would create a second, weekend-long sales tax holiday in December for clothing and footwear.

S.B. 678 (Shapleigh) – Property Tax: would extend from five years to ten years the rollback penalty for loss of an agricultural property tax appraisal.

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