City-Related Bills Filed

PROPERTY TAX

H.B. 1003 (L. Gonzales) – Property Tax:  would provide that an owner of heavy equipment may not collect the unit property tax from a lessee or renter if the equipment if leased or rented to the state or a political subdivision of the state.

H.B. 1008 (D. Bonnen) – Property Tax:  would provide that, for an individual who qualifies for a property tax exemption on the residence homestead of a totally disabled veteran, the amount of property tax due on the property is calculated as if the individual qualified for the exemption on January 1 and continued to qualify for the exemption for the remainder of the tax year.  (Companion bill is S.B. 486 by Taylor.)

H.B. 1059 (G. Bonnen) – Property Tax:  would allow  an individual who is disabled or at least 65 years of age, or a disabled veteran or his/her unmarried surviving spouse, to make four installment payments of property taxes without penalty or interest if notice is given to the appropriate taxing units.

H.B. 1110 (Nevarez) – Property Tax:  would allow an individual who is disabled or at least 65 years of age or a disabled veteran to make four installment payments of property taxes without penalty or interest if property notice is given to the appropriate taxing unit.

H.B. 1173 (Anchia) – Property Tax:  would provide that a person who installs a drip irrigation system or a rainwater harvesting system on the person’s property is entitled to a credit against the taxes imposed on the property if the governing body of the taxing unit takes official action to adopt the credit.

S.B. 465 (Van de Putte) – Property Tax:  would increase the progressive property tax exemption amounts for disabled veterans and their surviving spouses and children.

S.B. 476 (Hinojosa) – Property Tax:  would: (1) require the transferee of a property tax lien to deliver notice to the property owner regarding the possibility that the taxing unit may offer an installment agreement for payment of delinquent property taxes; (2) require the tax collector for a taxing unit to enter into an installment agreement for the payment of property taxes, penalties, and interest on a residence homestead if requested by a person who is delinquent in the payment of property taxes and who has not entered into an installment agreement with the taxing unit in the previous 24 months; (3) require the installment agreement to provide for installment payments in equal amounts and a period of at least 12 months; (4) provide that a delinquency penalty does not accrue on the unpaid balance of property taxes during the period of the agreement if the property is a residence homestead; (4) require a notice of delinquency sent by a taxing unit to contain specific language regarding the ability to enter into an installment agreement; and (5) provide that a debtor is not in default under a deed of trust or other contract lien on real property used as the debtor’s residence for the delinquent payment of property taxes if the debtor is in substantial compliance with an installment agreement and has given notice of the installment agreement to the mortgage servicer. 

S.B. 486 (Taylor) – Property Tax:  would provide that, for an individual who qualifies for a property tax exemption on the residence homestead of a totally disabled veteran, the amount of property tax due on the property is calculated as if the individual qualified for the exemption on January 1 and continued to qualify for the exemption for the remainder of the tax year.  (Companion bill is H.B. 1008 by D. Bonnen.)

S.B. 489 (Paxton) – Property Tax:  would appear to clarify that a special district may establish a limitation on the amount of ad valorem taxes on the residence homesteads of individuals who are disabled or elderly and their surviving spouses.  (Please see S.J.R. 32, below.)

S.J.R. 30 (Van de Putte) – Property Tax:  would amend the Texas Constitution to allow for an increase in the progressive property tax exemption amounts for disabled veterans and their surviving spouses and children. 

S.J.R. 32 (Paxton) – Property Tax:  would amend the Texas Constitution to clarify that a special district may establish a limitation on the amount of ad valorem taxes on the residence homesteads of individuals who are disabled or elderly and their surviving spouses.  (Please see S.B. 489, above.)

SALES TAX

H.B. 1133 (Otto) – Sales Tax:  would provide a sales tax exemption for: (1) property that is sold, leased, rented, or used by a provider of cable television service, Internet access service, or telecommunications service, or the provider’s subsidiary, affiliate, or partner; and (2) property directly used or consumed in or during the provision, creation, or production of a cable television service, Internet access service, or telecommunications services by the provider or the provider’s subsidiary, affiliate, or partner.

H.B. 1162 (E. Thompson) – Sales Tax:  would provide that a taxable item sold, leased, or rented to, or stored, used, or consumed by a disabled veteran or the unmarried surviving spouse of the veteran is exempted from sales and use taxes.

S.B. 446 (Eltife) – Sales Tax:  would require the comptroller to transfer to the appropriate Parks and Wildlife Department accounts amounts from sporting goods sales tax proceeds sufficient to fund the state contributions for employee benefits of Parks and Wildlife Department employees.  (Companion bill is H.B. 896 by Menendez.)

S.B. 475 (Van de Putte) – Street Maintenance Sales Tax:  would allow one general law city in Bexar County to reauthorize the sales tax for street maintenance every ten years.  

S.B. 485 (Ellis) – Sales Tax:  would extend the current sales tax holiday for clothing and footwear by one week.

S.B. 493 (Lucio) – Sweetened Beverage Tax:  would impose a tax on the sale of sweetened beverages with the resulting revenue going to the state’s general revenue fund.

PURCHASING

H.B. 959 (Reynolds) – Professional Services Procurement: would, in addition to many other changes that apply only to state purchasing, add attorneys to the list of professionals who must be procured according to the Professional Services Procurement Act.

S.B. 438 (Birdwell) – Purchasing: would provide that an interlocal contract between a governmental entity and a purchasing cooperative may not be used to purchase roofing materials or services, including materials or services for construction, repair, or replacement of a roof. (Companion bill is H.B. 123 by D. Anderson.)

ELECTIONS

H.B. 1129 (White) – Elections: would allow members of the United States armed forces on active duty overseas to cast a ballot electronically.

S.B. 452 (Patrick) – Elections: would among other things, change certain election dates as follows:  (1) move the general primary election date to the first Tuesday in February in each even number year; (2) move the runoff primary election date to the fourth Tuesday in April following the general primary election; and (3) provide that the presidential primary election date is the first Tuesday in February in each presidential election year.

OPEN GOVERNMENT

S.B. 458 (J. Rodriguez) – Motor Vehicle Records: would add motor vehicle title or registration information to the list of confidential motor vehicle records that a governmental body may redact without requesting a decision from the attorney general.  (Companion bill is H.B. 987 by Marquez.)

S.B. 471 (Ellis) – Record of Meeting:  would remove the requirement that recordings of meetings be “tape” recordings.

OTHER FINANCE/ADMINISTRATION BILLS

H.B. 14 (Pitts) – City Debt:  would, among other things: (1) require local tax rates to be published on the comptroller’s website, based on information reported from the county assessor-collector; (2) require a local debt issuer to complete and submit a local securities annual report form provided by the Bond Review Board; (3) provide that the attorney general may not approve a local security until the attorney general receives word from the Bond Review Board that the board has received information on local securities from the issuer; (4) require a political subdivision’s ballot proposition for a bond to include a significant amount of information, including: (a) the total amount and per capita amount of: (i) the principal of all outstanding debt; (ii) the combined principal and interest required to pay all outstanding debt; (iii) the principal of the bonds to be authorized; and (iv) the estimated combined principal and interest required to pay the bonds to be authorized; (b) the purpose for which the bonds are to be authorized; (c) the estimated rate of interest for the bonds to be authorized; and (d) the maturity date of the bonds to be authorized; (5) require a political subdivision issuing a bond to post a sample ballot on its website as soon as practicable after the ballot is prepared; (6) require every political subdivision to prepare an annual financial report that contains financial information for each city fund, as well as a significant amount of information relating to the city’s debt obligations; (7) require a city to maintain an Internet website and require a city to post the annual financial report on its website continuously along with the city’s relevant contact information; (8) provide that, except in a case of grave public necessity to meet an unusual and unforeseen condition, a city may not issue a certificate of obligation (CO) if the voters voted down a bond proposition for the same purpose within the preceding three years; (9) extend the timeframe to publish newspaper notice of intention to issue a CO from 30 to 45 days before the passage of the ordinance; (10) require a city issuing a CO to maintain an Internet website, and to continuously post notice of intention to issue a CO on its website for 45 days before the passage of the CO issuance ordinance; (11) require that the notice of intention to issue a CO include: (a) total and per capita amount of the principal and interest of the then-current outstanding debt obligations and estimated principal and interest of COs to be authorized; (b) the estimated rate of interest for the COs to be authorized; (c) the maturity date of the COs to be authorized; and (d) the process by which a petition for an election may be submitted; (12) change the threshold number of voters needed to petition to force an election on the issuance of a CO from five percent of the qualified voters of the issuer to five percent of the total number of voters that voted in the most recent gubernatorial general election in the city; and (13) make COs issued for personal or professional services subject to the notice requirements.  (Companion bill is S.B. 14 by Williams.)

H.B. 1050 (Callegari) – Construction Contracts:  would: (1) prohibit a local government from entering into a contract to purchase construction-related goods or services through a purchasing cooperative in an amount greater than $50,000 unless an architect or engineer certifies in writing that: (a) the project for which the construction-related goods or services are being procured does not require the preparation of plans and specifications by an architect or engineer under current law; or (b) if current law requires plans and specifications to be prepared by and architect or engineer, that has been done; (2) authorize a governmental entity with a population of 500,000 or more within the entity's geographic boundary or service area to enter into design-build contracts for not more than six civil works projects in any fiscal year; (3) provide that a design-build firm responding to a request for detailed proposals must identify its project team and may not make changes to that team, except under limited exceptions; (4) provide that a governmental entity shall pay an unsuccessful design-build firm that submits a response to the governmental entity's request for additional information a stipend, in an amount equal to at least one-quarter of one percent of the contract amount,  for preliminary engineering costs associated with the development of the proposal; (5) provide that a violation of (4), above, voids the contract for the project entered into by the governmental entity; and (6) repeal that requirement that a governmental entity make a formal finding on the criteria used for selection of a design-build firm for civil works projects before preparing a request for qualifications.

H.B. 1068 (Moody) – State Legislation:  would require the Legislative Budget Board to study the feasibility of estimating and preparing a statement on the impact of any bill or resolution that alters funding or affects the responsibilities or liabilities of a political subdivision.

S.B. 14 (Williams) – City Debt:  this bill is the same as H.B. 14, above. 

S.B. 449 (Hinojosa) – Capital Appreciation Bonds:  would prohibit a county, city, special district, school district, junior college district, or other political subdivision from issuing capital appreciation bonds.

S.J.R. 28 (Patrick) – Automatic Resignation:  would amend the Texas Constitution to provide that a city councilmember who has a term of office of more than two years and announces his/her candidacy for another public office automatically resigns as a councilmember if he/she has more than one year and sixty days left in the city council term.

MUNICIPAL COURTS

H.B. 989 (S. Thompson) – Municipal Court Fines:  would increase the maximum fines for municipal court convictions from $500 to $1,000 for general ordinances and from $2,000 to $4,000 for the violation of an ordinance that governs fire safety, zoning, or public health and sanitation.

H.B. 1069 (McClendon) – Theft: would increase the maximum stolen value for a class C fine-only misdemeanor offense.

H.B. 1107 (Bonnen) – Jury Service: would: (1) disqualify a person from jury service if he/she cannot read and write English; and (2) allow a court to suspend the qualification that requires a person to be able to read and write English if it appears to the court that the requisite number of jurors able to read and write English cannot be found in the county. 

H.B. 1178 (Gooden) – Jurisdiction:  would: (1) provide that a municipal court has jurisdiction over an offense committed on the entire width of a segment of highway or street abutting property located in a city, if the criminal case involves an offense that is punishable by fine only; and (2) expand a peace officer’s jurisdiction in accordance with the court’s jurisdiction described in (1), above.

S.B. 390 (West) – Court Costs:  would provide that all changes in court costs or fees take place the next January 1 after the law making the change takes effect, regardless of contrary provisions in the bill.

S.B. 463 (Huffman) – Exclusion of Witnesses: would: (1) allow a prosecutor to designate one person who is an officer or employee of a party that is not a natural person to serve as the state’s courtroom representative during a criminal proceeding; and (2) provide that, if a law enforcement officer is the designee, he or she may not wear a law enforcement uniform or badge while serving as such. (Companion bill is H.B. 70 by Fletcher.)

COMMUNITY AND ECONOMIC  DEVELOPMENT

S.B. 444 (Birdwell) – Low Income Housing Tax Credits:  would provide that the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs shall score and rank a low income housing tax credit application using a point system that includes – among many other criteria – the level of community support for the application, which must be evaluated on the basis of a resolution concerning the development that is voted on and adopted by the governing body of a city and the commitment of development funding by the city.

S.B. 472 (Ellis) – Takings Claims:  would provide that:  (1) a person asserting a taking claim against a governmental entity shall give written notice of such claim by certified mail to the governmental entity against which such claim is being made at least 60 days before the filing of a suit in any court based upon certain common-law takings claims that are codified in the bill; (2) any party asserting a taking claim shall state that it has complied fully with the provisions of the bill and shall provide such evidence thereof as the judge of the court may require; (3) the notice provided under (1), above, shall toll the applicable statute of limitations to and including a period of 75 days following the giving of the notice, and this tolling shall apply to all parties and potential parties; (4) no fewer than 45 days after receipt of a notice required by (1), above, the governmental entity shall deliver to the sender in person, by third-party delivery or by certified mail, a response stating whether or not the governmental entity contends in good faith that one or more of the facts described by the claimant in the notice were the result of the governmental entity’s enforcement of one or more laws enacted for the protection of public health or safety and, if yes, identifying the said law or laws; (5) if the response required by (4), above, does not state that one or more of the facts described in the claimant’s notice were the result of the governmental entity's enforcement of one or more laws enacted for the protection of public health or safety, the bill’s procedures do apply to the taking claim; (6) if a pleading of a claimant filed in any court may be fairly construed to make a takings claim as defined by the bill the claimant shall, not later than 120 days after the date the original petition is filed, serve on each party or the party's attorney one or more expert reports, with a curriculum vitae of each expert listed in the report, for each governmental entity against which a taking claim is asserted; (7) if, as to a defendant, an expert report has not been served, the court, on the motion of the affected governmental entity, shall with certain exceptions enter an order that awards to the affected governmental entity reasonable attorney’s fees and costs of court incurred by the governmental entity and dismiss the claim with respect to the governmental entity, with prejudice to the refiling of the claim; (8) until a claimant has served the expert report and curriculum vitae under (6), above, all discovery in a taking claim is stayed except for the acquisition by the claimant of information by certain allowable means; (7) certain interlocutory appeals by a governmental entity are authorized; and (8) alternative dispute resolution procedures to a takings claim.

S.B. 473 (Carona) – Day Laborers:  would: (1)  allow a city or county within its jurisdictional limits to regulate employers of day laborers by: (a) requiring an employer of day laborers to obtain a license; (b) collecting a fee from each employer; (2) require any such regulations to: (a) give a license to anyone who meets its requirements and pays a fee; (b) provide that such a license is not assignable or transferable; (c) make the employer maintain and make available to the city or county the name, contact information  and wage information for each day laborer used by the employer; (d) require each employer who holds a license who operates a labor center to provide adequate facilities for the workers; (e) prohibit an employer from charging day labors for equipment, uniforms, or cashing their checks; (3) provide that any day laborer list is confidential unless requested by court order; (4) make any violation of a city ordinance or county order adopted under this section a class A misdemeanor; and (5) repeal the state laws that currently regulate the employers of day laborers. 

PERSONNEL

H.B 13 (Callegari) – Pensions:  would:  (1) require public pension systems to place financial reports and administrator contact information on their websites; (2) impose reporting requirements on the public  pension board if a public retirement system does not post its required financial documents, including: (a) posting the names of the systems on its website; (b) notifying either members of the state government or the political subdivision of the failure, depending on the pension system; (3) require the pension board to create model ethical and conflict of interest rules for public pension systems to adopt voluntarily; and (4) require the public pension board to create an educational training program for public pension system administrators.  (Companion is S.B. 13 by Duncan.) 

H.B. 1002 (E. Johnson) – Health Insurance Exchange:  would create the Texas Health Insurance Exchange in accordance with the federal Affordable Care Act. 

H.B. 1091 (Martinez) – Disease Presumption:  would extend the time frame for discovering an illness or disease of police, EMS, and fire personnel to five years after they leave employment for which they may be entitled to benefits or compensation.

H.B. 1117 (Y. Davis) – E-Verify:  would: (1) require an employer, including a city, that has voluntarily enrolled in E-verify to: (a) consider consulting the Texas Workforce Commission’s website for information about E-Verify; (b) receive E-verify training; and (c) post a notice regarding enrollment in E-verify and an anti-discrimination notice; and (d) ensure that the program is only used for verifying employment authorization status; (2) provide a complaint process for violations of E-verify requirements; (3) provide a civil penalty and civil cause of action for violation of E-verify requirements; and (4) make it an unlawful employment practice if an employer, including a city, that is participating in E-verify makes an employment decision without following E-verify procedures.

H.B. 1121 (Perry) – Employee Liability:  would limit liability for employers that hire an individual with a criminal conviction. 

H.B. 1146 (E. Johnson) – 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. (Companion bills are H.B. 238  by Villarreal and S.B. 237  by Van de Putte.) 

H.B. 1188 (S. Thompson) – Employee Liability:  would limit the liability of an employer who hires an individual with a criminal conviction. 

H.J.R. 77 (Anchia) – Marriage: would repeal the provision of the Texas Constitution providing that marriage in this state consists only of the union of one man and one woman and prohibiting this state or a political subdivision of this state from creating or recognizing a legal statue identical or similar to marriage. (This bill is identical to H.J.R 78 by Coleman.)  

H.J.R. 78 (Coleman) – Marriage: this bill is identical to H.J.R 77, above.)  

S.B. 13 (Duncan) – Pensions:  this bill is identical to H.B. 13, above.

S.B. 416 (Ellis) – Employment:  would: (1) make it an illegal employment practice for an employer, including a city, to require or request an employee or applicant to give their user name, password, or other access to their personal electronic accounts such as an e-mail or a social networking site account; (2) allow an employer to access information about an employee or applicant on the Internet that is open to the public or to manage an employee’s use of city electronic equipment or use of electronic equipment during work hours.  (Companion bill is H.B. 451 by Dukes.) 

PUBLIC SAFETY

H.B. 972 (Fletcher) – Concealed Handguns: would, among other things, expand the places where a concealed handgun licensee can carry a handgun to include the campus of an institution of higher education, with certain exceptions.  (Companion bill is S.B. 182 by Birdwell.)

H.B. 1009 (Villalba) – School Marshal: would create the position of school marshal and allow a school marshal to make arrests and exercise all authority given to peace officers, except the ability to issue a traffic citation, subject to written regulations adopted by the board of trustees of a school district.

H.B. 1015 (Guillen) – Big Cats and Primates:  would:  (1) prohibit a person in a county or city with a population of at least 75,000 from: (a) owning, possessing, harboring, selling, transferring, breeding, or having custody or control of a big cat or nonhuman primate; and (b) allowing a member of the public to come in direct contact with or to be in proximity to a big cat or nonhuman primate without ensuring there is sufficient distance between the animal and person and providing protective barriers to separate the animal from the person; (2) exempt from the prohibition in (1)(a), above, various persons, including a county, a city, an agency of the state, a zoo or aquarium or related facility, a research facility, a wildlife sanctuary, an animal shelter, a licensed veterinarian, a law enforcement officer, a circus, certain colleges or universities, a television or movie production company, a person temporarily transporting a big cat or nonhuman primate, and a person who lawfully possesses the big cat or nonhuman primate before September 1, 2013, if they meet certain requirements; (3) provide for civil penalties, criminal penalties, and injunctive relief; (4) require a municipal court to order the seizure of an animal and hold a hearing on a sworn complaint and showing of probable cause to believe there has been a violation of (1), above; (5) provide that a big cat or nonhuman primate may be forfeited by judicial determination or voluntarily and placed with a zoo or aquarium or euthanized; and (6) while unclear, appear to preempt city ordinances related to big cats and primates.  

H.B. 1030 (Burnam) – Sale of Firearms:  would clarify that a city may prohibit the sale of firearms on property owned or controlled by the city, other than the sale of firearms at a permanent retail store.

H.B. 1038 (Eiland) – DNA Records: would require an individual arrested for any offense punishable as a class B misdemeanor or higher to provide one or more DNA samples for the purpose of creating a DNA record.

H.B. 1044 (Eiland) – Recreational Vehicles:  would: (1) expand the list of vehicles that are prohibited from being operated on certain beaches; (2) allow city and county vehicles to be driven on beaches; (3) allow the operation of certain private vehicles on the beach if: (a) the person has a driver’s license; and (b) the beach is open to motor vehicle traffic; and (4) allow a city or county to prohibit the use of all-terrain vehicles on a beach.

H.B. 1049 (Laubenberg) –Firearms:  would, among other things, prohibit a state or local government officer, agent, employee, or representative from enforcing or attempting to enforce any federal statute, order, rule, or regulation that: (1) purports to regulate a firearm, a firearm accessory, or firearm ammunition that remains exclusively within the borders of this state; (2) took effect on or after January 1, 2013; and (3) imposes a prohibition, restriction, or other regulation, such as a capacity or size limitation or a registration requirement, that does not exist under the laws of this state.

H.B. 1063 (Hernandez Luna) – DNA Records: would require an individual convicted or placed on deferred adjudication for any offense punishable as a class B misdemeanor or higher to provide one or more DNA samples for the purpose of creating a DNA record.

H.B. 1076 (Toth) – Firearms: would make certain findings related to provisions of the U.S. Constitution related to firearms and would enact the “Texas Firearm Protection Act.”  The Act would, among other things: (1) apply to the state, a city, a county, or a special district or authority; (2) prohibit an entity described by (1), above, from adopting a rule, order, ordinance, or policy under which the entity enforces, or by consistent action allows the enforcement of, a federal statute, order, rule or regulation enacted on or after January 1, 2013, that purports to regulate a firearm, firearm accessory, or firearm ammunition if the statute, order, rule or regulation imposes a prohibition, restriction or other regulation, such as capacity or size limitation, a registration requirement or a background check, that does not exist under the laws of this state; and (3) provide that an entity described by (1), above, may not receive state grant funds if the entity adopts a prohibited practice.

H.B. 1078 (Kleinschmidt) – Firearms: would authorize a concealed handgun license holder to carry on certain premises associated with colleges and universities.

H.B. 1096 (Canales) – Law Enforcement: would, among other things: (1) require a police department to make an audio or audiovisual electronic recording of custodial interrogations of persons suspected of or charged with certain offenses; (2) set out good cause reasons that make electronic recording infeasible; (3) require preservation of the electronic recording for a specified time; (4) require a prosecutor to provide a defendant with a copy of the recording; and (5) exempt the electronic recording from release under the Texas Public Information Act, except when it must be released under the law enforcement exception. (Companion bill is S.B. 87 by Ellis.)

H.B. 1109 (Burkett) – Persons with Mental Illness: would: (1) require a peace officer answering an emergency call to attempt to determine whether any person involved in the emergency call is a person with a mental illness; (2) provide that if a peace officer reasonably believes that a person involved in an emergency call is a person with a mental illness, but has not committed an offense, the officer: (a) must notify local mental health authorities; (b) may assist the person; and (c) may take the person into custody as an emergency detention; (3) provide that if a peace officer reasonably believes that a person involved in an emergency call is a person with mental illness and has probable cause to believe the person has committed a misdemeanor offense, the peace officer may: (a) issue a citation in lieu of arresting the person (as allowed by law); or (b) take the person into custody as an emergency detention; and (4) require the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education to require training courses and programs to include training in the investigation and documentation of cases that involve mental illness.

H.B. 1147 (N. Gonzalez) – Trafficking of Persons:  would:  (1) require a state or local law enforcement agency, district attorney, or county attorney that assists in the prevention of human trafficking to cooperate with and assist the Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force in collecting statistical data on the nature and extent of human trafficking in the possession of the agency or attorney; (2) require the task force to collect certain data regarding human trafficking and ensure that each state or local law enforcement agency, district attorney, or county attorney collects certain data regarding human trafficking; and (3) require that human trafficking data collected include information about the routes by which victims are trafficked across the state’s international border. 

H.B. 1166 (Villalba) – Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education: would change the name of the Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement.

H.B. 1174 (Fallon) – Passing a School Bus: would increase the penalty for passing a stopped school bus to a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than $500 or more than $1,250. 

H.B. 1177 (Gooden) – Sex Offenders:  would permit a general law city to prohibit a registered sex offender from going in, on, or within a specified distance of a child safety zone within the city. 

S.B. 443 (Birdwell) – Reserve Officers: would require the state as employer to give a leave of absence to any state employee who is receiving peace officer training as a reserve law enforcement officer. 

S.B. 459 (Rodriguez) – Scrap Tires: would: (1) require a retail seller to contract for the transportation of scrap tires only with a licensed scrap tire transporter; (2) require an individual who stores scrap tires to store the scrap tires in a fully enclosed area or container that must be made secure by locking; and (3) create an offense for selling an unsafe tire, as defined in the Transportation Code.

S.B. 484 (Whitmire) – Prostitution Prevention Program: would: (1) allow a city, or group of cities, to establish a prostitution prevention program for defendants charged with prostitution; (2) authorize a program to collect a fee from a participant in the program; and (3) require a commissioners court of a county to establish a prostitution prevention program if the county has a population of more than 200,000.

UTILITIES AND ENVIRONMENT

H.B. 1028 (Munoz) – Certificates of Convenience and Necessity: would: (1) allow a landowner to petition for expedited release from a certificate of convenience and necessity; and (2) entitle the landowner  to that release if the landowner’s property is located in the boundaries of a city and certain other conditions are met. 

H.B. 1094 (Keffer) – Clean Energy Assessments:  would: (1) enact the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Act, which would authorize a city to create PACE districts to promote private sector water conservation and energy efficiency; and (2) provide that property owners in a PACE district would be able to obtain low-cost, long-term financing from private sector lenders for water conservation improvements and energy efficiency retrofits to existing structures.  (Companion bill is S.B. 385 by Carona.)

H.B. 1148 (Harless) – Gas Rate Cases/Municipal Reimbursement:  would provide that: (1) an electric or gas utility is not required to reimburse a city for the city’s rate case expenses if, under a franchise with the city, the utility has agreed to pay more than two percent of gross receipts as a franchise fee; and (2) in order to receive reimbursement for its electric or gas rate case expenses, a city must first “prepay” its rate case expenses to its attorneys and consultants, as well as must adopt an ordinance that expressly assumes the obligation to pay the expenses and declares that the obligation is not contingent on the city's receipt of reimbursement.

H.B. 1149 (Harless) – Gas Rate Cases/Municipal Jurisdiction:  would: (1) expand the Railroad Commission’s exclusive jurisdiction (and therefore remove original municipal jurisdiction) over the rates and services of a gas utility to include an area the a gas utility treats as an “integrated rate area;” (2) provide that a gas utility may identify and establish an integrated rate area that includes one or more cities and related unincorporated areas for which the commission has exclusive original jurisdiction to establish the gas utility's rates on an area-wide basis; (3) provide that the integrated rate area is established on the date the gas utility files notice of the area's establishment with the commission; and (4) provide that the gas utility must deliver a copy of the notice to each city included in the area.

H.B. 1168 (Flynn) – Drainage Fees: would exempt property that is a dedicated cemetery from payment of municipal drainage fees. 

S.B. 326 (Carona) – Municipal Electric Rates: would, in addition to imposing many low-income rate requirements on investor owned utilities, provide that, until a municipally owned utility or electric cooperative implements customer choice, the utility or cooperative may not reduce, in any manner, programs already offered to assist low-income electric customers.  (Companion bill is H.B. 550 by Turner.)

S.B. 349 (Nichols) – Municipally Owned Electric Utility Power Lines: would, with respect to municipal power lines, provide that: (1) a "distribution line" means a power line operated below 60,000 volts when measured phase to phase, and a "transmission line" means a power line operated at 60,000 volts or more when measured phase to phase; and (2) distribution and transmission lines shall be constructed along highways and at other places in accordance with the national electrical safety code.  (Companion bill is H.B. 898 by Creighton.)

S.B. 385 (Carona) – Clean Energy Assessments:  this bill is the same as H.B. 1094, above.

S.B. 467 (Hegar) – TCEQ rulemaking: would require TCEQ to conduct a regulatory analysis before adopting an environmental rule and when giving notice incorporate more detailed information into the fiscal note; provides a penalty for noncompliance. (Companion bills are H.B. 147 by Burkett and H.B. 426 by Creighton.)

S.B. 488 (Davis) – Discounted Electric Rates:  would provide that a municipally owned utility shall discount charges by 20 percent for electric service provided to a facility of a four-year state university, upper-level institution, and/or Texas State Technical College.

TRANSPORTATION

H.B. 1097 (Sheets) – Construction or Maintenance Work Zone:  would amend the definition of a “construction or maintenance work zone” to mean a portion of a highway or street:  (1) where highway construction or maintenance is undertaken, other than mobile operations; (2) that is marked by at least one sign: (a) indicating that it is a construction or maintenance work zone; (b) indicating the maximum lawful speed; and (c) stating that fines double when workers are present; and (3) that is marked by signs indicating where the zone begins and ends.

H.B. 1102 (Harper-Brown) – Complete Streets:  would, among other things:  (1) require the Texas Transportation Commission (Commission) to adopt a complete streets policy that provides guidelines for addressing the safety, accessibility, and mobility of users of streets and highways, including pedestrians, bicyclists, persons with disabilities, children, seniors, public transportation users, commercial goods movers, and motorists in the planning, design, construction, and maintenance of streets and highways; (2) require local authorities (counties, cities, and certain other local entities) to ensure that all transportation planning, design, construction, and reconstruction, street or highway improvements, and access roads, bicycle paths, and sidewalks to public transportation comply with the complete streets policy if federal or state funds are used; (3) require, to the extent consistent with federal law, a metropolitan planning organization to ensure that any transportation improvement plan complies with the complete streets policy; (4) exempt transportation projects from complying with the complete streets policy if: (a) use of the street or highway by bicyclists or pedestrians is prohibited by law; (b) the cost to comply would be excessively disproportionate to the present or future need or use of the street or highway; or (c) the sparseness of population indicates an absence of future need; (5) require that an exemption described in (4), above, be approved by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) or local authority and supported by publicly available documentation; and (6) require TxDOT or the local authority to certify that each transportation project complies with the complete streets policy in all aspects of project development.

H.B. 1105 (Harper-Brown) – Transportation Funding: would provide that the comptroller shall deposit 25 percent of the motor vehicle sales tax paid on motor fuel used in motorboats to the credit of the state’s available school fund, and shall deposit the remaining amount to the credit of the state highway fund.

S.J.R. 31 (Davis) – Transportation Funding:  would amend the Texas Constitution to provide that: (1) subject to legislative appropriation, allocation, and direction, three-fourths of the net revenue that is remaining after payment of all refunds allowed by law and expenses of collection that is derived from taxes on motor fuels and lubricants used to propel motor vehicles over public highways shall be used for the sole purpose of constructing and maintaining public highways; and (2) for a biennium, the legislature may not appropriate those funds for a purpose other than acquiring rights-of-way or constructing or maintaining public roadways in an amount that exceeds the lesser of the total amount of those funds appropriated for a purpose other than acquiring rights-of-way, constructing, or maintaining public roadways in the preceding biennium or a slightly less amount in certain circumstances

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