CITY-RELATED BILLS FILED
H.B. 1202 (Riddle) – Immigration: would make it a criminal offense to employ or contract with an undocumented immigrant, unless the employment is by the owner of a single family residence to perform work on the residence.
H.B. 1203 (Harper-Brown) – School Buses: would: (1) generally prohibit the idling of a school bus with a diesel engine while the bus is at a school or in a school crossing zone; and (2) authorize a local authority to enforce the prohibition.
H.B. 1207 (S. Davis) – Child Abduction Prevention: would establish the Uniform Child Abduction Prevention Act and provide, among other things, that: (1) in order to prevent an imminent child abduction, a court may direct law enforcement to take any action reasonably necessary to locate a child, obtain return of a child, or enforce a custody determination; and (2) a court may issue an ex parte warrant that directs law enforcement officers to take physical custody of a child and, if necessary, forcibly enter private property at any hour.
H.B. 1215 (McClendon) – Unauthorized Acquisition or Transfer of Financial Information: would: (1) create the offense of unauthorized acquisition or transfer of certain financial information; (2) require a peace officer to make a written report to the law enforcement agency that employs the officer of an alleged offense described in (1), above; and (3) require the law enforcement agency to provide the report to the victim, if requested.
H.B. 1219 (Miles) – Employee Leave: would: (1) require an employer to give an employee up to 30 days of unpaid leave with benefits to handle issues related to family violence against the individual or the individual's child; (2) require an employee to take any accrued paid leave first; (3) require an employer to post notice of the rights given to employees by this law; (4) make information related to the purpose of the unpaid leave confidential; and (5) prohibit retaliation for use of this unpaid leave.
H.B. 1223 (Workman) – Water and Sewer Utilities: would: (1) require a small water or sewer utility that is not owned by a city or water or sewer supply corporation to make a change in its rates by holding an election via ballots mailed to ratepayers; (2) outline the procedures for such an election; (3) prohibit the utility from recovering costs incurred from a rate appeal by the utility if the majority of votes were against a rate increase; and (4) restrict how often such an election may be held.
H.B. 1231 (Hopson) – Volunteer Fire Departments: would exempt certain volunteer fire department facilities in counties with a population of 80,000 or less from certain engineering-related construction requirements. (Companion bill is H.B. 1092 by Christian.)
H.B. 1233 (Gonzalez) – State Traffic Fine: would increase the amount of the “state traffic fine” on convictions in municipal court from $30 to $45.
H.B. 1239 (Zedler) – Day Labor Centers: would prohibit a local governmental entity, including a city, from using public money to construct or operate a day labor center used for the purpose of facilitating the knowing employment of a person who is not a citizen, legal permanent resident, qualified alien, or nonimmigrant lawfully present in the United States.
H.B. 1242 (Geren) – Metal Recycling: would, among other things, provide that a peace officer who has reasonable suspicion to believe that an item of crafted precious metal in the possession of a dealer is stolen may place the item on hold by issuing to the dealer a written notice containing certain information.
H.B. 1249 (Callegari) – Civil Service: would: (1) repeal various requirements for the attorney general to report, communicate, and publish certain information; and (2) repeal the requirement that a department head for a police or fire department operating under civil service must file with the attorney general a statement describing a criminal investigation if the department head intends to order an indefinite suspension of an officer or firefighter who is under felony indictment or misdemeanor complaint.
H.B. 1250 (Frullo) – Facsimile Signatures: would: (1) allow an authorized officer of a city of 200,000 or more to execute a public security, an instrument of payment, a certificate of assessment, and certain contracts with the officer’s facsimile signature rather than a manual signature; and (2) authorize a facsimile signature on a health and safety lien statement. (Companion bill is S.B. 577 by Duncan.)
H.B. 1261 (Thompson) – Municipal Court: would increase the amount of the local option municipal court technology fee to $5.
H.B. 1272 (D. Miller) – Immigration: would require an employer, including a city, to enroll in and use the federal E-Verify Program.
H.B. 1273 (Workman) – LP Gas: would: (1) provide that an LP gas utility is a person that owns or operates for compensation in this state equipment and facilities connected to a contiguous piping system through which LP gas is supplied to residential and commercial end users; and (2) subject an LP gas utility to the jurisdiction of the Texas Railroad Commission. (Note: This bill would appear to preempt municipal regulation of LP gas utilities. Any city that regulates LP gas utilities within its city limits should review the bill carefully.)
H.B. 1275 (Harless) – Immigration: would: (1) prohibit an employer, including a city, from knowingly employing an undocumented immigrant; (2) penalize a city by revoking any government license it holds if it knowingly employs an undocumented immigrant; (3) allow individuals to file complaints if they have reason to believe the city is employing an individual who is an undocumented immigrant; (4) require a licensing authority, including a city, to suspend any license issued to a person found to have knowingly employed an undocumented immigrant; and (5) allow a licensing authority, including a city, to charge a fee to a person whose license is suspended under this law.
H.B. 1276 (Guillen) – Transportation Funding: would provide that: (1) a peace officer who stops a motor vehicle for an alleged violation of a law or ordinance shall report to the law enforcement agency that employs the officer information relating to the stop, including among other things the race or ethnicity of each passenger in the motor vehicle, as stated by the passenger or, if the passenger does not state the person’s race or ethnicity, as determined by the officer to the best of the officer’s ability; and (2) the Texas Department of Transportation shall work and plan with local transportation planning entities to maximize the amount of federal funding awarded for projects in the state by identifying and pursuing projects that are eligible for federal grant programs, including the scenic byways program.
H.B. 1282 (Kleinschmidt) – Property Tax: would provide that the chief appraiser of an appraisal district is elected rather than appointed.
H.B. 1283 (Craddick) – Procurement: would provide that – for a contract of less than $500,000 – a city may, when purchasing any real property, personal property, or services other than construction services, give preference to a local bidder that is within five percent of the lowest bid price if certain conditions are met. (Companion bill is S.B. 640 by Seliger.)
H.B. 1284 (Menendez) – Affordable Housing: would, among other things, transfer of the powers, duties, and programs of the Texas State Affordable Housing Corporation to the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs, including provisions relating to providing grants, supportive housing services, and housing retention services to support services offered to homeless persons by political subdivisions, housing finance corporations, for-profit corporations, and nonprofit organizations.
H.B. 1285 (Kleinschmidt) – Property Tax: would require the holder of mineral property to obtain a tax certificate from the collector for each taxing unit that taxes the mineral interest, and pay the taxing unit the delinquent taxes, penalties, interest, and other costs due to the taxing unit out of the mineral proceeds that are presumed to be abandoned.
H.B. 1287 (Villarreal) – Property Tax: would change the amount of interest that a city making a refund of property taxes following a judicial proceeding must pay from eight percent to an annual rate that is equal to the auction average rate quoted on a bank discount basis for three-month treasury bills issued by the federal government.
H.B. 1292 (Coleman) – Mandated Health Benefit: would generally require health benefit plans to cover the treatment of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and other eating disorders.
H.B. 1297 (Paxton) – Immigration: would: (1) provide that a city may not adopt a rule, policy, or ordinance, or follow a practice, that requires a peace officer to violate a state or federal criminal law; and (2) provide that a city may enter into an agreement with United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to train and authorize city police officers to perform the functions of an immigration officer; (3) provide that if a city enters into such an agreement, the agreement: (a) cannot require a peace officer to violate state racial profiling law; and (b) must require a peace officer to comply with state reporting requirements for motor vehicle stops; and (3) allow a city to request funds from the criminal justice division of the governor’s office for expenditures incurred by the city in connection with an agreement with ICE.
H.B. 1302 (Larson) – Texas Energy and Communications Commission: would provide that, on January 1, 2012, the Railroad Commission of Texas is reestablished as the Texas Energy and Communications Commission (TECC), and that the powers, duties, obligations, rights, contracts, records, employees, property, funds, and appropriations of the Public Utility Commission of Texas are transferred to the TECC on September 1, 2012.
H.B. 1308 (Villarreal) – Taxes: would create a “select commission on periodic tax review” and charge the commission with periodically reviewing all state and local taxes and other revenue sources and making recommendations as to whether the taxes or revenue sources should be continued or repealed.
H.B. 1309 (Craddick) – Sexting: would: (1) create the offense of electronic transmission of certain visual material depicting a minor; (2) provide that is an affirmative defense to prosecution of the offense described in (1), above, if the defendant, among other things, reports receipt of the material to a law enforcement agency not later than 48 hours after receiving the visual material from another minor; (3) create various education programs concerning the prevention and awareness of the offense described in (1), above; and (4) require certain courts, including a municipal court, to order a defendant guilty of the offense described in (1), above, to attend and complete an educational program about the consequences of the offense and require the defendant or the defendant’s parent to pay the cost of the program if financially able.
H.B. 1317 (Naishtat) – Property Tax: would provide that, for sales tax purposes, there is a rebuttable presumption that a retailer is engaged in business in this state if the retailer: (1) enters into an agreement with a Texas resident under which the resident receives a commission or other consideration for the referral of potential customers by any means, including by a link on an Internet Web site; and (2) received at least $10,000 during the previous four calendar quarters in cumulative gross receipts from sales to consumers located in Texas who were referred to the retailer by an agreement under (1), above.
H.B. 1319 (Laubenberg) – Water Conservation: would: (1) require the Texas Water Development Board and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to consult with the Water Conservation Advisory Council to develop uniform methodology and guidance for calculating and reporting municipal water use and conservation; and (2) require all municipal water utilities to use the system in developing water conservation plans and preparing reports required by the Water Code.
H.B. 1321 (Allen) – Mandated Health Benefit: would extend required health benefit coverage for autism from 9 years of age to 17 years of age.
H.B. 1328 (Raymond) – TCLEOSE: would require the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Education to create a voluntary training program on the use of electromagnetic pulse devices (an EMP device is used to disable a fleeing suspect’s engine in a police chase) for police officers.
H.B. 1336 (Allen) – School Bus: would: (1) authorize a school district to implement a school bus monitoring system that records images, including images of vehicles that pass a stopped school bus; and (2) allow for the imposition of a civil penalty for such violation.
H.B. 1353 (Elkins) – Speed Limits: would: (1) increase the speed to 75 miles per hour on state and interstate highways regardless of the type of vehicle or time of day; (2) allow a speed limit of 60 miles per hour on non-urban highways and other roads regardless of time of day; (3) require all speed limits to be the same regardless of the time of day; and (4) repeal lower speed limits for trucks.
H.B. 1354 (S. Davis) – City Building Inspectors: would grant certified city building inspectors immunity from civil damages, including personal injury, wrongful death, property damage, or other loss arising from services provided by the inspector during an emergency.
H.B. 1360 (Coleman) – County Sign Authority: would give a county the authority to prohibit new off-premise signs in the unincorporated areas of the county.
H.B. 1365 (Callegari) – Red Light Cameras: would require that signs installed at an intersection alerting drivers to the presence of a photographic traffic monitoring system or photographic traffic signal enforcement system: (1) may not be located more than 750 feet from the intersection; (2) must have affixed a flashing yellow circular beacon; and (3) must comply with design and size requirements established by the Texas Department of Transportation.
H.B. 1372 (Christian) – Housing Authority: would repeal the requirement to appoint a tenant to the position of commissioner in a municipal housing authority if: (1) the housing authority has less than 300 units; and (2) certain other conditions are met.
H.B. 1375 (Bohac) – Immigration: would: (1) prohibit a city from adopting a policy under which the city’s police department or other city officials would not fully enforce state or federal laws relating to immigration; (2) allow the attorney general to file suit to compel a governmental entity to fully enforce immigration laws; and (3) allow the attorney general to recover reasonable expenses incurred enforcing this law. (Companion bill is H.B. 247 by Solomons.)
H.B. 1376 (Bohac) – Junked Vehicles: would rephrase the definition of “junked vehicle” in state law to include vehicles that: (1) display an expired license plate or invalid inspection sticker; or (2) do not display any license plate or inspection sticker.
H.B. 1377 (V. Taylor) – Motor Vehicle Stops: would: (1) authorize a peace officer who makes a motor vehicle stop to request and obtain: (a) one digital fingerprint from each hand of the vehicle’s operator if the person fails to provide a driver’s license, a passport, or other form of photographic identification; and (b) an ink fingerprint if the operator fails to provide identification described in (a) and the officer issues a citation; (2) authorize a law enforcement agency to maintain the fingerprint beyond the duration of the stop if the person is cited or arrested during or as a result of the stop; (3) require discard of the fingerprint after the charge is dismissed, the person is acquitted, or the person is convicted of an offense punishable by fine; (4) require a court to notify fingerprint custodians after disposition of a defendant’s case; and (5) allow an officer to obtain fingerprints through a person’s voluntary compliance with the officer’s request or other lawful means.
H.B. 1382 (Bohac) – Immigration Status: would: (1) require a law enforcement agency that arrests or has custody of a person to have the person’s immigration status verified not later than 48 hours after the arrest and before the person is released on bond; and (2) if United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) does not have the result of the immigration status verification, notify ICE if the verification reveals that the person is not a citizen or national of the United States and is unlawfully present in the United States.
H.J.R. 93 (Christian) – Property Tax: would amend the Texas Constitution to exempt the total appraised value of residential real property from property taxes.
S.B. 572 (Nichols) – Certificates of Convenience and Necessity: would: (1) broaden the group of landowners required to be listed in an application for a certificate of convenience and necessity (CCN); (2) broaden the group of landowners to whom notice of a CCN application must be mailed; (3) require the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to create a form that must be used to provide notice to landowners; (4) require the express consent of the owner of a tract of land that is at least ten acres, any part of which in included in the proposed area of the CCN, before any part of the land may be included in the CCN; and (5) in a city larger than 500,000 population (or in that city’s ETJ), an owner of a tract of land of more than ten acres may be included without consent, but retains the right to contest the inclusion at a public hearing held by the TCEQ.
S.B. 573 (Nichols) – Certificates of Convenience and Necessity: would: (1) broaden the group of landowners eligible for expedited release from a certificate of convenience and necessity (CCN); and (2) broaden the situations in which a landowner could petition for expedited release from a CCN.
S.B. 574 (Van de Putte) – Mandated Health Benefit: would require coverage of serious emotional disturbance of a child by group health benefit plans.
S.B. 577 (Duncan) – Facsimile Signatures: this bill is the same as H.B. 1250, above.
S.B. 578 (Fraser) – Municipal Court: would require a municipal court to take certain steps and make certain provisions for witnesses testifying in a case.
S.B. 582 (Harris) – Property Tax: would allow a city to serve notice of delinquent property taxes to a domestic or foreign limited liability company whose right to transact business in the state was forfeited by the comptroller, or on a limited liability company that was involuntarily terminated or had its registration revoked.
S.B. 589 (Uresti) – Property Tax: would: (1) clarify that only a citizen of the United States is eligible to serve on an appraisal review board; (2) provide that appraisal review board members are appointed by the local administrative district judge in the county in which the appraisal district is established; and (3) provide that members of a consolidated appraisal review board are appointed jointly by the local administrative district judges in the counties in which the appraisal districts that are parties to the contract are established. (Companion bill is H.B. 1088 by C. Howard.)
S.B. 592 (Pitts) – State Auditor: would authorize the state auditor to perform an audit of any local governmental entity or political subdivision that received funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. (Companion bill is H.B. 593 by Pitts.)
S.B. 600 (Rodriguez) – Immigration Status: would prohibit a peace officer from inquiring about the nationality or immigration status of a victim or witness to a criminal offense, except as necessary to investigate the offense.
S.B. 602 (Rodriguez) – Public Information: would: (1) authorize a governmental body to redact certain motor vehicle record information without the necessity of requesting a decision from the attorney general; (2) authorize a governmental body to redact a credit card, debit card, charge card, or access device number without the necessity of requesting a decision from the attorney general; (3) make a public information request that is modified in response to the requirement of a deposit or bond a separate request that is considered received on the date the governmental body receives the modified request; and (4) provide that if a governmental body receives a written request by mail and cannot establish the actual date of receipt, the written request is considered to be received on the third business day after the date of the postmark.
S.B. 608 (Rodriguez) – Fireworks: would: (1) authorize a county to impose a fee on a person who sells fireworks in the unincorporated area of the county; and (2) make the explosion or ignition of a firework in a public place or near a private residence a criminal offense.
S.B. 617 (Rodriguez) – Municipal Waste: would require a person who generates, collects, conveys, transports, processes, stores, or disposes of municipal sewage sludge, grit trap waste, or grease trap waste, to follow certain guidelines with regard to recordkeeping.
S.B. 618 (Rodriguez) – Sales Tax: would exempt from sales tax the sale, use, or installation of a solar energy device that is installed on a retail customer’s side of the meter
S.B. 624 (Whitmire) – Driver Responsibility Program: would repeal the state driver responsibility program.
S.B. 627 (Davis) – Property Tax: would: (1) require a taxing unit to make a payment to the tax increment fund not later than the 90th day after the later of: (a) the delinquency date for the unit’s property taxes; or (b) the date the city or county that created the zone submits to the taxing unit an invoice specifying the amount the taxing unit is required to pay into the tax increment zone; and (2) allow a county commissioners court that enters into an agreement with a city council to also enter into an agreement with the city council for payment into the tax increment fund on behalf of a taxing unit other than the county if the property tax rate of the other taxing entity must be approved by the commissioners court, or if the commissioners court is expressly required by statute to levy the ad valorem taxes of the other entity.
S.B. 635 (Nichols) – Water Rates: would allow the executive director of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to establish interim rates during an appeal of water rates to the TCEQ.
S.B. 637 (Nichols) – Water and Sewer Rates: would prohibit the ratemaking authority (either a city or the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality) from including legal expenses incurred by a privately owned water and sewer utility during a contested ratemaking case or appeal in the calculation of water rates, unless the proceeding or appeal results in the approval of the utility’s proposed rate.
S.B. 640 (Seliger) – Procurement: this bill is the same as H.B. 1283, above.
S.B. 641 (Seliger) – Property Tax: would change the amount of interest that a city making a refund of property taxes following a judicial proceeding must pay from eight percent to an annual rate that is equal to the auction average rate quoted on a bank discount basis for three-month treasury bills issued by the federal government. (Companion bill is H.B. 1090 by Gonzalez.)
S.B. 642 (Seliger) – TMRS: would: (1) allow a participating Texas Municipal Retirement System (TMRS) city to adopt a non-retroactive flat rate Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA); (2) to comply with federal law applicable to qualified plans, provide that any increased payment to an annuitant resulting from such a COLA adopted by a city would be limited to the cumulative increase the annuitant would have been entitled to receive if the 70 percent of CPI limit under TMRS’s existing law had been applied to the annuity; and (3) require that, if a city adopts an ordinance to either discontinue an annually repeating COLA or to reduce an annually repeating COLA, the city must give written notice to members and annuitants at least 60 days prior to the effective date of the change adopted in the ordinance.
S.B. 667 (Duncan) – Groundwater: would: (1) recognize the right of a landowner to seek and attempt to capture the groundwater that underlies the surface of the land; (2) clarify that a recognition of such rights shall not be construed to prohibit the reasonable regulation, preservation, and conservation of groundwater by a groundwater management district; and (3) outline the types of limitations a groundwater conservation district would be allowed to put on the production of groundwater.
S.B. 669 (Wentworth) – Public Information: would: (1) define “manipulation,” for purposes of the Public Information Act, to include a search of an e-mail or text message account and the retrieval and transfer of e-mails or text messages into a paper or other format that can be provided to or inspected by a requestor; (2) provide that time deadlines related to providing an itemized estimate of charges toll deadlines to request an attorney general decision beginning on the date the itemized or updated itemized statement is considered sent and ending on the date the governmental body receives a response; and (3) provide that if a requestor modifies a request in response to the requirement for a deposit or bond, the modified request is a separate request considered received on the date the written modified request is received.
S.B. 670 (Gallegos) – Halfway Houses: would: (1) require that a private entity that proposes to construct or operate a halfway house within 1,000 feet of a residential area, primary school, secondary school, park, or public recreation area give written notice to a city that includes within its boundaries all or part of the land within the 1,000 foot area; (2) require the private entity to post an outdoor sign at the proposed location of the halfway house indicating that a halfway house is intended to be located on the premises; (3) authorize the private entity to operate the halfway house within the 1,000 foot area unless local consent is denied; and (4) provide that local consent to a halfway house is granted unless, not later than 60 days after receiving notice, the city council determines by resolution that it is not in the best interest of the city.
S.B. 672 (Gallegos) – Air Quality: would require the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to: (1) establish and maintain an air pollutant watch list; (2) adopt guidelines for effects screening levels for air contaminants as determined by the TCEQ; and (3) provide notice of certain emissions events.
S.B. 673 (Gallegos) – Environmental Enforcement: would expand the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s (TCEQ) supplemental environmental project program by authorizing the TCEQ to approve a supplemental environmental project in lieu of a fine that is necessary to bring the city into compliance with environmental laws, remediate environmental harm caused by the city’s alleged violation, or that the city has already agreed to perform under a preexisting agreement.
S.B. 677 (Gallegos) – Public Information: would authorize the imposition of a civil penalty, not to exceed $1,000, for each violation of the Public Information Act by a governmental body and provide that each day a violation continues is a separate violation.
S.B. 682 (Huffman) – Criminal History Records: would: (1) entitle an appraisal district to obtain criminal history record information from the Texas Department of Public Safety for a person who is an applicant for appointment to the appraisal review board; and (2) allow the appraisal district to provide the criminal history record information to the local administrative district judge or to the appraisal review board commissioners if they are appointed by the local administrative district judge.
S.B. 687 (Huffman) – Law Enforcement: would: (1) make various changes to the law regarding the interception of wire, oral, or electronic communications for law enforcement purposes; (2) provide that in order to be eligible to intercept a wire, oral, or electronic communication in a circumstance that is not an immediate life-threatening situation, a designated law enforcement agency must adopt a written policy and submit the policy to the director of the Department of Public Safety (director) for approval; (3) require that, if the director approves the policy described in (2), above, chief law enforcement officers, including police chiefs, would submit to the director a written list of peace officers authorized to possess, install, monitor, or operate wire, oral, or electronic communications interception equipment in a non-life-threatening situation; (4) would authorize the department to conduct audits of law enforcement agencies to ensure compliance with the written policy described in (2), above; and (5) require that a peace officer is authorized to operate or monitor the interception of a wire, oral, or electronic communication in a non-life-threatening situation only is the officer completes at least 16 hours of related training.
S.B. 694 (West) – Metal Recycling: would, among many other things: (1) add various items, including fire hydrants, an item with the logo of a governmental entity or utility, and wire that has been burned to remove the insulation, to the list of regulated metals under state law; (2) provide that a county, city, or other political subdivision may require the record of purchase of regulated metals to contain a clear and legible thumbprint of a seller; (3) provide that a county, city, or other political subdivision that issues a license or permit to a metal recycling entity shall issue a notice to an owner or operator that is operating without the license or permit informing the owner or operator that the owner or operator may be subject to criminal and civil penalties if the owner or operator does not submit an application for the appropriate license or permit; (4) provide that a person commits a misdemeanor if the person owns or operates a metal recycling entity and does not submit an application for the appropriate license or permit; (5) authorize the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to enter into contracts relating to the operation of the statewide electronic reporting system and database; and (6) from fines collected and distributed to the DPS for violations of metal recycling laws, mandate that DPS by rule establish and implement a grant program to provide funding to assist local law enforcement agencies in preventing the theft of regulated metals.
S.B. 695, S.B. 699, S.B. 702, S.B. 703 (Watson) – State Finances: would provide for greater accountability and transparency in the state budget process.
S.B. 697 (Watson) – State Budget Plan: would create the State Budgeting Plan Legislative Advisory Committee, which could include a member nominated by the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees as one of its 17 members, to develop a comprehensive state budgeting plan consisting of recommended state budgeting guidelines and processes the implementation of which are anticipated to foster the state’s current and long-term economic health.
S.B. 705 (Watson) – Unfunded Mandates: would, among other things, provide that: (1) the unfunded legislative mandates interagency work group is created, and consists of seven members, including: (a) one current or former officer or employee of a political subdivision appointed by the lieutenant governor; and (b) one current or former officer or employee of a political subdivision appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives; (2) on or before the September 1 following a regular session of the legislature and on or before the 90th day after the last day of a special session of the legislature, the interagency work group shall publish a list of legislative mandates for which the legislature has not provided reimbursement and that were enacted by the legislature during that legislative session; (2) by the same date, the interagency work group shall: (a) remove from the list of legislative mandates for a previous legislative session those legislative mandates for which the legislature has provided reimbursement, those that are no longer subject to reimbursement, and those that are no longer in effect; and (b) add to the list a legislative mandate from a previous legislative session for which reimbursement was provided in the previous session but for which reimbursement was not provided in the most recent regular session or in any subsequent special sessions; (3) during the regular session immediately following the issuance of a report prepared by the interagency work group, the legislature by law may continue the legislative mandate for a period not to exceed three years, by law may repeal the legislative mandate, or may take no action on the legislative mandate; (4) the legislature may continue a legislative mandate either by general law or by identifying the legislative mandate in the General Appropriations Act and providing a mechanism to provide money to political subdivisions that may be used to comply with the legislative mandates; and (5) if the legislature does not continue or repeal the legislative mandate, the legislative mandate expires on September 1 following the regular session. (Note: Please see S.J.R. 24, below)
S.B. 719 (Van de Putte) – Juveniles: would: (1) authorize a municipal judge to require a juvenile who is assessed a fine or costs for a class C misdemeanor occurring on the grounds of a school in which the juvenile was enrolled at the time to participate in community service work or a tutoring program; (2) require that the community service work required be done for a governmental entity or certain nonprofit organizations; (3) require a governmental entity that accepts a defendant as a community service volunteer to supervise the defendant and report on his work to the judge; (4) place limits on the community service or tutoring required; and (5) protect a municipal court judge from certain damages that may arise during completion of the community service or tutoring.
S.B. 720 (Williams) – Property Tax: would: (1) reduce the property tax rollback rate from 108 percent to 105 percent; and (2) permit an individual city to raise its rollback rate back to 108 percent if: (a) any part of the city is located in an area declared a disaster by the governor or president; or (b) the city council finds that the higher rate is necessary to protect the health, safety, or property of persons in the city, provided such finding is in the form of a resolution, includes a description of the expected harm, and is approved by a record vote of the council.
S.B. 722 (Williams) – Appraisal Districts: would: (1) authorize a majority of the group of taxing units composed of the cities, school districts, and county participating in an appraisal district to request an audit of the performance of the appraisal district, or the discontinuance of that audit; (2) change the makeup of an appraisal district board to include one elected, rather than appointed, director from each of the four commissioners precincts of the county for which the district is established; (3) make other changes to the eligibility requirements and manner of filling a vacancy in the position of director on an appraisal board.
S.B. 725 (Williams) – Property Tax: would permit citizens to sue appraisal districts for failure to follow appraisal procedures if the failure to follow procedure results in either a substantial economic harm to the citizen or a denial of a statutory or constitutional right of the citizen.
S.B. 726 (Rodriguez) – Court Fees: would: (1) create a $10 fee to be collected by municipal courts for judicial access and improvement, to be used to fund basic civil legal service and criminal defense for indigents and electronic filing in court; (2) require that courts remit the collected fees to the comptroller; and (3) permit a city to retain five percent of the total fee collected.
S.J.R 23 (Wentworth) – Transportation Funding: would amend the constitution to, among other things: (1) raise the state motor fuels tax annually to an amount that coincides with the change in the consumer price index; and (2) provide that any increased revenue generated by (1), above, be spent for the sole purpose of designing, constructing, and maintaining public roadways.
S.J.R. 24 (Watson) – Unfunded Mandates: would amend the Texas Constitution to provide that: (1) a political subdivision is exempt from a legislative mandate during a period in which the mandate is unfunded; (2) the legislature may authorize a commission to identify legislative mandates and determine whether a legislative mandate is considered unfunded for a specific period; and (3) the legislature, by statute, may enact a method by which an unfunded legislative mandate is suspended or expires. (Note: Please see S.B. 705, above.)