City-Related Bills Filed

PROPERTY TAX

H.B. 2343 (Zedler) – Property Tax Delinquency:  would require a city council to waive penalties and interest on a delinquent tax if an act or omission of an officer, employee, or agent of the city, appraisal district, or other political subdivision or governmental entity caused or resulted in the taxpayer's failure to pay the tax.

H.B. 2366 (Oliveira) – Property Tax Delinquency:  would authorize a city to seize an owner's abandoned real property located in the city for the payment of delinquent ad valorem taxes, penalties, and interest if the taxes on the property are delinquent for each of the preceding three years.

H.B. 2387 (Menendez) – Property Tax Exemption:  would provide an exemption from property taxes for a commercial product and other tangible personal property to be attached to the commercial product if the product and tangible personal property is located inside a defense base development authority.

H.B. 2445 (Strama) – Property Tax Lien:  would provide that a tax lien on inventory, furniture, equipment, or other personal property attaches to all such property that is owned on January 1 of the year the lien attaches, irrespective of whether the personal property is located within the boundaries of the taxing unit in whose favor the lien attaches.

H.B. 2497 (Workman) – Property Tax Exemption:  would provide that a property that is owned and operated as a child-care facility is exempt from property taxes if the property is used exclusively for providing developmental and educational services and the property is reasonably necessary for the operation of the facility.  (See H.J.R. 115, below.)

H.B. 2500 (Bohac) – Property Tax Exemption:  would require the chief appraiser to use the cost method of appraisal to determine the market value of solar energy property.  (Companion bill is S.B. 1278 by Watson.)

H.B. 2599 (Klick) – Property Tax Exemption:  would exempt property owned by a political party from property taxes. 

H.B. 2675 (Laubenberg) – Property Tax Exemption:  would entitle the former spouse of an individual to freeze the property tax on the residence homestead if: (1) the former spouse is 55 years of age or older when the decree of divorce or annulment is signed or becomes final after appeal; and (2) the residence homestead of the individual: (a) is the residence homestead of the former spouse on the date the decree of divorce or annulment is signed or becomes final; and (b) remains the residence homestead of the former spouse.  (Please see H.J.R. 119, below.)

H.B. 2712 (Perez) – Property Tax Exemption:  would provide a property tax exemption for energy storage systems used or constructed to wholly or partly meet environmental regulations that are located in a designated non-attainment area and have a capacity of at least ten megawatts.  (Companion bills are H.B. 3216 by Strama and S.B. 1030 by Taylor.)

H.B. 2723 (Otto) – Appraisal Process:  would place the burden on the appraisal district to establish the value of property by clear and convincing evidence presented at a hearing for protests of the determination of the appraised value of property or the unequal appraisal of property, provided that the appraised value was established and the property owner delivers sufficient information to the appraisal review board and appraisal district to allow for a determination of market value.

H.B. 2747 (Workman) – Property Tax Exemption:  would authorize a city council to take official action to exempt from property taxation part or all of the assessed value of property on which city-approved rainwater harvesting systems have been implemented.

H.B. 2762 (Anderson) – Appraisal District:  would: (1) provide that an appraisal district is governed by a board of seven directors; (2) provide that two of the seven directors be elected at the general election for state and county officers by the voters of the county in which the district is established; and (3) eliminate the ability of the governing bodies of a majority of the taxing units in an appraisal district to adopt resolutions disapproving of actions by the board.

H.B. 2771 (J. Rodriguez) – Property Tax Exemption:  would provide that a person from whom an organization constructing or rehabilitating low-income housing acquires a project is considered to have owned the project during the period in which the person’s predecessor in title owned the project if the person: (1) acquired the project by foreclosure or a deed in lieu of foreclosure; and (2) is not a parent, subsidiary, or affiliate of the organization.

H.B. 2777 (Guillen) – Appraisal Process:  would authorize a property owner to appeal an order of an appraisal review board to justice court, as opposed to a district court, if the appeal relates only to a determination of appraised value or eligibility for an exemption from taxation and the amount of taxes due on the portion of the taxable value of the property that is in dispute is $10,000 or less.

H.B. 2792 (Elkins) – Appraisal Process:  would authorize an appraisal review board to conduct a hearing that is closed to the public if the property owner or the chief appraiser intends to disclose proprietary or confidential information at the hearing that will assist the review board in determining the protest.

H.B. 2797 (Raymond) – Appraisal Cap: would: (1) provide that, for real property that is owned or leased and used for business purposes by a business entity that had less than $1 million in gross receipts in its most recent fiscal year, an appraisal office may not increase the appraised value of the property to an amount that would exceed the lesser of: (a) the market value of the property for the most recent tax year that the market value was determined by the appraisal office; or (b) the sum of: (i) ten percent of the appraised value of the property for the preceding tax year; (iii) the appraised value of the property for the preceding tax year; and (iii) the market value of all new improvements to the property; and (2) provide that an improvement to property described in (1), above, is not treated as a new improvement if the improvement is a replacement structure for a structure that was rendered unusable by a casualty or by wind or water damage and: (a) the square footage of the replacement structure to exceed that of the replaced structure; or (b) the exterior of the replacement structure is of higher quality construction and composition than that of the replaced structure.  (Please see H.J.R. 126, below.)

H.B. 2886 (Moody) – Property Tax Exemption:  would provide a residence homestead property tax exemption for a surviving spouse of the owner if the surviving spouse is a life tenant.

H.B. 2889 (S. Turner) – Appraisal Process:  would require a district court to grant relief on the ground that a property is appraised unequally if: (1) the appraised value of the property exceeds the median level of appraisal of a reasonable and representative sample of comparable properties; (2) the property qualifies as the owner’s residence homestead; or (3) the appraised or market value of the property is $1 million or less and exceeds the median appraised value of a reasonable sample of comparable properties.

H.B. 2893 (Raney) – Property Tax Exemption:  would provide that property of a higher education development foundation or an alumni association that is located on land owned by the state is exempt from taxation if the property is used primarily to operate programs or perform other activities for the benefit of institutions of higher education.

H.B. 2901 (C. Turner) – Property Tax Exemption:  would provide a credit against property taxes for property used as: (1) group home; or (2) an intermediate care facility for persons with developmental, physical, or intellectual disabilities if at least 95 percent of the residents of the facility are recipients of medical assistance under the state medical assistance program.  (Please see H.J.R. 127, below.)

H.B. 2922 (Orr) – Property Tax Exemption:  would define "wildlife management" for purposes of a property tax appraisal as actively using land in specific ways in accordance with standards developed by the Parks and Wildlife Department and the state comptroller.

H.B. 2990 (Canales) – Property Tax Delinquency:  would provide that, for a property owner who is a veteran, an additional penalty of delinquent tax collection costs for taxes due before June 1 may not exceed the lesser of: (1) the amount of the compensation specified in the contract with the attorney to be paid in connection with the collection of taxes; or (2) an amount equal to five percent of the amount of the delinquent taxes for which the penalty is incurred.

H.B. 3035 (Harper-Brown) – Property Tax Exemptions:  would redefine Freeport and Super Freeport goods as goods that are transported out of the state (or transported within the state for Super Freeport property) before the expiration of 730 days. (Note: current law provides for an exemption if the goods are transported out of the state for Freeport goods, or within the state for Super Freeport goods, before the expiration of 175 days.)

H.J.R. 115 (Workman) – Property Tax Exemption:  would amend the Texas Constitution to authorize the legislature to exempt from property taxes all or part of real property used to operate a child-care facility.  (Please see H.B. 2497, above.)

H.J.R. 119 (Laubenberg) – Property Tax Exemption:  would amend the Texas Constitution to entitle the former spouse of an individual to freeze the property tax on the residence homestead of the individual under certain circumstances.  (Please see H.B. 2675, above.)

H.J.R. 126 (Raymond) – Appraisal Cap:  would amend the Texas Constitution to limit the maximum appraised value of property that is owned or leased by a business entity that had less than $1 million in gross receipts in its most recent fiscal year and is used for business purposes to the lesser of the most recent market value of the property as determined by the appraisal entity or 110 percent, or a greater percentage, of the appraised value of the property for the preceding tax year.  (Please see H.B. 2797, above.)

H.J.R. 127 (C. Turner) – Property Tax Exemption:  would amend the Texas Constitution to authorize the legislature to provide for a credit against property taxes imposed on a property used to provide housing to persons with disabilities based on the costs the owner of the property incurs to maintain, operate, or make improvements to the property. (Please see H.B. 2901,  above.)

S.B. 1131 (Ellis) – Property Tax Exemption:  would provide that a person is entitled to an exemption from taxation of the real property that the person owns and leases to a school if: (1) the real property is used exclusively by the school for educational functions; (2) the rental for the real property on an annual basis is not more than one percent of the property's market value; (3) the school owns a building or facility on the leased property in which the school operates; and (4) the real property is reasonably necessary for the operation of the school.

S.B. 1224 (Taylor) – Appraisal Process:  would allow a property owner to make a payment or to file or deliver a report, application, statement, or other document by sending the document by common or contract carrier that bears a receipt mark indicating a date earlier than or on the specified due date or the owner otherwise furnishes satisfactory proof that it was deposited with the common or contract carrier on time.

S.B. 1255 (Patrick) – Appraisal Process:  would authorize a property owner to appeal through binding arbitration an appraisal review board order if the property is the owner's residence homestead and is valued at $1 million or less.  (Companion bill is H.B. 2192 by Murphy.)

S.B. 1278 (Watson) – Appraisal Process:  would require the chief appraiser to use the cost method of appraisal to determine the market value of solar energy property.  (Companion bill is H.B. 2500 by Bohac.)

S.B. 1342 (Davis) – Appraisal Process:  would require a district court to grant relief on the ground that a property is appraised unequally if: (1) the appraised value of the property exceeds the median level of appraisal of a reasonable and representative sample of comparable properties; (2) the property qualifies as the owner’s residence homestead; or (3) the appraised or market value of the property is $1 million or less and exceeds the median appraised value of a reasonable sample of comparable properties.

S.J.R. 44 (Ellis) – Property Tax:  would amend the Texas Constitution to exempt from property taxes any real property that is leased to a person for use as a school for educational purposes.  (Please see S.B. 1131, above.)

S.J.R. 51 (Paxton) – Property Tax Exemption:  would amend the Texas Constitution to authorize the legislature to exempt from property taxes a person’s inventory held for sale at retail.

SALES TAX

H.B. 2504 (Bohac) – Sales Tax Exemption:  would exempt snack items from sales and use taxes, but would provide that chips, crackers, or pretzels that are sold in individual-sized portions are subject to sales and use taxes.  (Companion bill is S.B. 1151 by Hinojosa.)

H.B. 2730 (Raymond) – Transit Sales Tax:  would allow a transit department in a city with a population of less than 300,000 to exceed the two percent cap on local sales and use taxes if the voters of the transit department approve the increase.

H.B. 2746 (Strama) – Sales Tax Exemption:  would exempt a number of energy-efficient products from sales and use taxes.  (Companion bill is S.B. 535 by West.)

H.B. 2779 (Frank) – Sales Tax Exemption: would eliminate city sales taxes on all-terrain vehicles, recreational off-highway vehicles, and off-road motorcycles by reclassifying these items as “motor vehicles” under the Tax Code (Note: the effect of this bill is to allow the state to continue to collect its full sales taxes as it does on cars and trucks, but cities would lose all their sales taxes on these vehicles.)

H.B. 2941 (Alvarado) – Sales Tax Exemption: would exempt from sales and use taxes the sale, storage, use, or consumption of tangible personal property directly used or consumed in qualified research or services if the property or services are sold, leased, or rented to, or stored, used, or consumed by, a person engaged in qualified research under contracts with one or more public or private institutions of higher education.

H.B. 2943 (Cortez) – Sales Tax Exemption: would exempt from sales and use taxes the sale, storage, use, or consumption of tangible personal property directly used or consumed in qualified research or services if the property or services are sold, leased, or rented to, or stored, used, or consumed by a person who: (1) is primarily engaged in a business involved in the aerospace industry; (2) performs qualified research in the territory of a defense base development authority; and (3) will not claim a franchise tax credit for the period during which the sale, storage, use, or other consumption occurs.

S.B. 1151 (Hinojosa) – Sales Tax Exemption:  this bill is the same as H.B. 2504, above.

S.B. 1228 (Estes) – Sales Tax Exemption:  would exempt a firearm or hunting supplies from sales and use taxes if the sale takes place on March 2.  (Companion is H.B. 1533 by Leach.)

S.B. 1252 (Patrick) – Sales Tax Exemption:  would exempt certain tangible personal property and services related to mineral exploration and production from sales and use taxes.  (Companion bill is H.B. 2047 by Lozano.)

S.B. 1330 (Estes) – Sales Tax Exemption:  would exempt the sale, lease, or rental, or storage, use, or other consumption of tangible personal property from sales and use taxes if: (1) the property is sold, leased, or rented to or stored, used, or consumed by a provider or a subsidiary of a provider; and (2) the property is directly used or consumed by the provider or subsidiary in the distribution of cable television service, internet access service, or telecommunications services.

PURCHASING

H.B. 2388 (Menendez) – Defense Base Development Authorities:  would exempt a qualifying project of a defense base development authority from the requirements of the state’s public/private partnership statute.

H.B. 2389 (Menendez) – Defense Base Development Authorities:  would exempt a qualifying project of a defense base development authority from the requirements of the state’s alternative construction delivery methods statute.

H.B. 2522 (Springer) – Historically Underutilized Businesses:  would redefine “economically disadvantaged person” in the context of historically underutilized businesses to mean “a person who is a member of a racial or ethnic group that comprises less than 50 percent of the state’s population.”

H.B. 2528 (E. Rodriguez) – Agricultural Product Preference:  would provide that a city that purchases agricultural products: (1) shall give preference to those produced or grown in this state if the cost to the city is equal and the quality is equal; and (2) may give preference to those products produced or grown in this state if the cost to the city does not exceed 107 percent of the cost of agricultural products produced or grown outside of this state and the quality is equal.  (Companion is S.B. 1107 by Zaffirini.)

H.B. 2847 (White) – Contracts with Disabled Persons:  would provide that, in relation to the current law allowing a political subdivision to purchase products or services for its use from private businesses through its authorized purchasing procedures or by substituting equivalent products or services produced by persons with disabilities, an open and binding contract between a political subdivision of this state and a private business may not be superseded or canceled in favor of a nonprofit organization.

H.B. 2958 (Leach) – Agencies and Instrumentalities of Cities:  would provide that an agency or instrumentality of a city, an economic development corporation created by a city, or an alliance, agreement, partnership, or agency created between a city and one or more other governmental entities is required to award a contract by competitive bidding or competitive sealed proposals in the same manner as the city.

S.B. 1107 (Zaffirini) – Agricultural Product Preference:  this bill is the same as H.B. 2528, above.

S.B. 1125 (Carona) – Purchasing Groups: would provide that: (1) a purchasing group composed primarily of employees of a political subdivision, including a county, city, or school district, may purchase first-party indemnity coverage, in addition to the liability coverage required in current law, on a group basis for other risks to which members may be exposed provided that the aggregate coverage limit per group member for the risk does not exceed three percent of the per member coverage limit for liability coverage; (2) a purchasing group shall notify the insurance commissioner of the group’s intent to purchase such coverage not later than the 60th day before the date the policy that includes the coverage is initially issued; and (3) certain purchasing groups are exempt from the bill’s provisions.  (Companion bill is H.B. 3237 by Smithee.)

ELECTIONS

H.B. 2373 (Klick) – Elections: would provide that a signature roster may be in the form of an electronic device approved by the secretary of state that is capable of capturing a voter’s signature.

H.B. 2465 (Farias) – Voter Registration: would provide that any Internet website that allows a person to determine the person’s voter registration maintained by the secretary of state shall indicate if the person is or may be on the suspense list.

H.B 2475 (R. Miller) – Voter Assistance: would provide that a person providing assistance to a voter must swear that he or she is not the voter’s employer, an agent of the voter’s employer, or an officer or agent of a labor union to which the voter belongs.

H.B. 2515 (Springer) – Elections: would require the secretary of state to provide a calendar for each election that includes all election-related deadlines to each election authority either electronically or by mail.

H.B. 2538 (C. Turner) – Electronic Voting Machines:  would require a county elections administrator to furnish electronic voting machines to be used for a city election on any uniform election date. 

H.B. 2601 (Wu) – Elections: would allow a person to vote a limited ballot by personal appearance on Election Day only at the main early voting polling place.

H.B. 2682 (Miles) – Poll Watchers: would provide that, while on duty, a poll watcher may not use any device to produce or make an audio, visual, or audiovisual broadcast, recording, or photograph.

H.B. 2737 (D. Bonnen) – Ethics Commission:  would, among other procedural changes: (1) change the name of “complaints” to the Ethics Commission to “inquiries;” (2) provide for new procedures for review of inquiries; (3) allow candidates to appoint principal political committees instead of campaign treasurers; and (4) allow appointed principal political committees to file reports for candidates.

H.B. 2848 (White) – Early Voting: would provide that: (1) the early voting clerk may order video recording of the area within 100 feet of an outside door where a voter may enter the building or structure of the early voting polling place; (2) voting stations may not be recorded; and (3) the early voting clerk may permit a video recording to be provided live on an Internet website for purposes of allowing the public to evaluate the wait time at an early voting polling place.

H.B. 2931 (Capriglione) – Elections: would prohibit the presiding judge from removing a poll watcher or election clerk from a polling place unless: (1) the early voting clerk approves the removal; or (2) the removal is pursuant to an arrest warrant issued by a judge.

H.B. 2936 (Miles) – Poll Watchers: would provide that, with certain exceptions, not more than three watchers from all appointing authorities combined may serve at the same time at a precinct polling place, main or branch early voting polling place, a meeting place for an early voting ballot board, or central counting station involved in an election.

H.B. 2940 (Toth) – Elections: would, among other things: (1) provide that the general primary election date is the first Tuesday in February; (2) provide that the runoff primary election date is the fourth Tuesday in April; and (3) require on a candidate’s application for a place on the ballot to state his or her awareness of the resign-to-run provision in the Texas Constitution.

H.B. 2959 (Collier) – Elections: would provide that an election officer may not disassemble or remove electronic voting system equipment or any component of the equipment from the polling place until the close of voting.

H.B. 3015 (Moody) – Recall in General Law Cities: would allow for the recall of a member of the governing body of a city through a petition-initiated election in a general law city.

H.B. 3049 (Springer) – Uniform Election Dates: would provide that, with certain exceptions, every general or special election in the state shall be held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

H.B. 3052 (Springer) – Uniform Election Dates: would provide that a city shall hold its general election on the November uniform election date.

H.B. 3054 (Springer) – Uniform Election Dates: would provide that an election for the issuance of bonds or the imposition of taxes by a political subdivision shall be held on the November uniform election date.

S.B. 1213 (Patrick) – Temporary Election Officers: would provide that a political subdivision’s temporary election worker, officer, or official is not subject to the Texas Unemployment Compensation Act. (Companion bill is H.B. 983 by Elkins.)

OPEN GOVERNMENT

H.B. 2414 (Button) – Open Meetings:  would:  (1) for purposes of the Open Meetings Act, define “videoconference call” to mean a communication conducted between two or more persons in which one or more of the participants communicate with the other participants through duplex audio and video signals transmitted over a telephone or data network; (2) authorize a meeting of a governmental body to be held by videoconference call only if:  (a) all video and audio communication is displayed in real time on an Internet website that is maintained by the governmental body and is accessible to the public; (b) a member of the public may remotely view and listen to the meeting through the Internet website from any location with access to the Internet; (c) at least one suitable physical space is made available to the public by the governmental body that is equipped with videoconference equipment that provides an audio and video display, as well as a camera and microphone by which a member of the public can provide testimony or otherwise actively participate in the meeting; (d) at least one agent of the governmental body is present at the physical space to conduct the broadcast and facilitate any public participation; and (e) any member of the public present at the physical space is provided the opportunity to participate by means of videoconference call in the same manner as a person who is physically present at a meeting that is not conducted by videoconference call; (3) provide that a member of a governmental body may participate in a meeting by means of videoconference call if the video and audio feed of the member’s participation is broadcast live at the meeting, and specify that the member must be counted as present at the meeting for all purposes; (4) provide that notice of a meeting held by videoconference call must specify as a location of the meeting the location of the physical space described in (2), above, and specify the Internet website address where the meeting will be displayed; (5) require that the physical space described in (2), above, have two-way audio and video communication with each member who is participating by videoconference call during the entire meeting; (6) require that each participant in a videoconference call, while speaking, be clearly visible and audible to each other participant and, during the open portion of the meeting, to the members of the public in attendance at the physical location described in (2), above, and at any other location of the meeting that is open to the public; and (7) require that the quality of the audio and video signals perceptible by members of the public at each location of the meeting that is open the public be of sufficient quality so that the public can observe the demeanor and hear the voice of each participant in the open portion of the meeting.

H.B. 2471 (E. Rodriguez) – Public Information:  would:  (1) make confidential the name and other identifying information of a person who obtains ownership or control of an unclaimed stray animal from a local government; and (2) allow the information described in (1), above, to be disclosed to a governmental entity or person who, under a contract with a governmental entity, provides animal control services, animal registration services, or related services for the governmental entity for purposes related to the protection of public health and safety; and (3) require a person that receives information under (2), above, to maintain the confidentiality of the information and allow the person to use the information only for a purpose directly related to the protection of public health and safety.

H.B. 2885 (McClendon) – Public Information:  would allow a current or former lieutenant governor or member of the legislature to choose to make certain personal information confidential.

H.B. 2934 (Hunter) – Open Meetings and Public Information:  would: (1) provide that a member or group of members of a governmental body commits an offense if the member or members knowingly transmits an electronic communication during a public meeting, with some exceptions; (2) add to the definition of “public information” information related to the transaction of official business that is written, produced, collected, assembled, or maintained: (a) for a governmental body and the body has a right of access to the information or spends or contributes public money to write, produce, collect, assemble, or maintain the information; or (b) by an individual who holds public office, is a member of the staff of a public office holder, or is an officer or employee of a governmental body; (3) add to the definition of “public information” any electronic communication transmitted through a device provided to an individual by a governmental body for official use on behalf of the governmental body or maintained on a government server; (4) provide that public information of a governmental body exists on a device not provided by the governmental body when that device is used by a public office holder, a member of the staff of a public office holder, or any other official or employee of the governmental body in connection with or related to the transaction of official business; and (5) define “official business” for purposes of the Public Information Act to mean any matter over which a governmental body has authority or administrative or advisory duties.

S.B. 1297 (Watson) – Open Meetings:  would:  (1) provide that the following communication or exchange between members of a governmental body about public business or policy does not constitute a meeting or deliberation for purposes of the Open Meetings Act: (a) a written communication; (b) posted on an online message board or similar Internet application viewable by the public, and (c) that is displayed in real time and displayed on the board or Internet application for no less than thirty days after the communication is first posted; (2) allow a governmental body to have no more than one online message board or Internet application to use as described in (1), above; (3) require that the online message board or Internet application described in (1), above, be owned or controlled by the governmental body, prominently displayed on the body’s primary Internet web page, and no more than one click away from the governmental body’s primary Internet web page; (4) limit users (posters) of the online message board or Internet application described in (1), above, to the governmental body and authorized staff, who must include their name and title in any posted communication; (5) provide that certain postings removed from the board or application described in (1), above, are public information and must be maintained for a period of two years; and (6) prohibit a governmental body voting or taking any action that is required to be taken at a meeting under the Open Meetings Act by communicating or posting to the message board or Internet application described in (1), above.

OTHER FINANCE/ADMINISTRATION BILLS

H.B. 2350 (Hunter) – Windstorm Insurance: would, among other things, provide that: (1) a city or county may establish a program under which – for any structure’s alteration, remodel, enlargement, or repair, involving one or more structural building components and located in the state’s seacoast territory – an inspection may be conducted to determine whether the structure meets windstorm standards; and (2) the Texas Department of Insurance may contract with a city or county that adopts such a program.

H.B. 2352 (Hunter) – Windstorm Insurance: this bill is substantially similar to S.B. 1089, below.

H.B. 2353 (White) – Federal Regulation:  would provide that a good that is grown, manufactured, made, or otherwise produced in this state and remains in this state, or a service that is performed exclusively in this state, is not subject to federal law or federal regulation under the authority of the federal government to regulate interstate commerce. 

H.B. 2378 (Geren) – Alcoholic Beverage Permit and Licenses:  would:  (1) require the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission to refuse to issue an original permit authorizing the retail sale of alcoholic beverages before the first anniversary of the date an original or renewal license or permit application filed by the same applicant for the same premises is refused, unless the condition that caused the refusal is addressed or resolved; and (2) require a county judge, the commission, or an administrator to refuse to approve or issue an original license authorizing the retail sale of alcoholic beverages before the first anniversary of the date an original or renewal license or permit application filed by the same applicant for the same premises is refused, unless the condition that caused the refusal is addressed.  (Companion bill is S.B. 1036 by Carona.)

H.B. 2432 (Murphy) – Retirement Systems:  would: (1) remove a public retirement system’s sole discretion in determining whether a record is confidential; (2)  require each member of the governing body of a public retirement system to disclose certain conflicts of interest; (3) allow the attorney general to sue an individual who breaches his or her fiduciary duty to a retirement system and to recover civil penalties for a public retirement system, including the Texas Municipal Retirement System; (4) require that each public retirement system retain its reports and documents in accordance with the state records retention schedule; and (5) for public retirement systems that base the retirement amount on the final salary of the retiree, prohibit the inclusion of overtime pay in the calculation of benefits.

H.B. 2444 (Callegari) – Retirement:  would remove a public retirement system’s sole discretion in determining whether a record is confidential.

H.B. 2453 (Eiland) – Mixed Beverage Tax:  would change the manner in which the tax on mixed beverages is imposed by requiring the tax rate of 14 percent to apply to the sales price of the mixed beverages, ice, and non-alcoholic mixers sold, used, prepared, or served. (Note:  Current law provides that the tax rate of 14 percent applies to the gross receipts received by a permittee for the sale of mixed beverages, ice, and non-alcoholic mixers.  Under this bill, cities would receive 10.7143 percent of taxes received from the sale of these items, rather than 10.7143 percent of the gross receipts of permittees within the city.)

H.B. 2464 (Farias) – Birth Certificate Fees:  would: (1) require a local registrar or county clerk to charge a two dollar fee, in addition to other fees collected, for issuing a certified copy of a birth certificate, issuing a wallet-sized birth certificate, or conducting a search for a birth certificate; and (2) require the fee collected under (1), above, to be sent to the comptroller, who must deposit the money to the credit of the child abuse and neglect prevention trust fund account.

H.B. 2472 (Cook) – Department of Information Resources: this is the Department of information Resources sunset bill, which continues that department until 2021.  Of interest to cities, it provides that the department shall adopt a process to determine the amount of the administrative fee the department charges to administer any of its programs.  (Companion bill is S.B. 216 by Birdwell.)

H.B. 2539 (Turner) – Child Pornography:  would: (1) require a computer technician who, in the course and scope of employment or business, views an image on a computer that is or appears to be child pornography to immediately report the discovery to local or state law enforcement or the “Cyber Tipline;” (2) provide that a computer technician may not be held liable on account of any action taken in good faith to comply with (1), above; (3) provide that it is a class B misdemeanor to fail to comply with (1), above; and (4) provide that it is a defense to prosecution that the actor did not report the discovery of an image of child pornography because the child in the image appeared to be at least 18 years old.  (Companion bill is S.B. 1190 by Davis.)

H.B. 2609 (Pitts) – Payday Lending:  would: (1) grant exclusive authority to the state’s consumer credit commissioner to examine, inspect, and regulate payday lenders; (2) expressly provide that a business regulated by the commissioner is not subject to any regulatory authority of a political subdivision in this state.  (Note: This bill would invalidate city ordinances adopted to regulate payday and motor vehicle title lenders.)

H.B. 2636 (Frullo) – Tax Increment Financing:  would allow money in the tax increment fund for a reinvestment zone to be transferred to the tax increment fund for an adjacent zone if: (1) the taxing units that participate in the reinvestment zone transferring the funds also all participate in the adjacent zone that is to receive the funds; (2) each taxing unit agrees to deposit the same portion of tax increment tin the fund for each zone; and (3) the holders of any tax increment bonds or notes issued for the transferring zone agree to the transfer. 

H.B. 2649 (Herrero) – Deer Permits:  would provide that a person who violates a rule or the terms of a permit relating to a permit issued for the trapping, transporting, and transplanting of a game animal or bird commits a class C Parks and Wildlife misdemeanor.

H.B. 2684 (Button) – Franchise Tax:  would provide that a corporation comprised of political subdivisions that was formed to act as an agent to negotiate the purchase of electricity is exempted from the franchise tax.

H.B. 2687 (E. Rodriguez) – Property Tax Lending:  would allow a city council to take official action to authorize or prohibit the transfer of the city’s tax lien to a person who pays the taxes on behalf of a property owner.

H.B. 2693 (Sheets) – Roofing Contractors: would provide: (1) that a person may not perform or offer to perform roofing services unless the person holds a certificate issued by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation; (2) detailed procedures and penalties; (3) that an authorized employee or representative of a city is exempt from the bill’s requirements; and (4) that the bill is not intended to conflict with or affect the authority of any state or local agency, board, or department that administers or enforces any law or ordinance or that establishes, administers, or enforces a policy, rule, qualification, or standard for a trade or profession.

H.B. 2706 (Villarreal) – Payday Lending:  would preempt all city ordinances regulating payday and motor vehicle title lenders (i.e., “credit services organizations” and “credit access businesss”) to the extent that an ordinance is not within the city’s standard zoning or police powers and would impose a number of statewide regulations on payday and motor vehicle title lenders, including:

  1. a prohibition on a credit services organization from assisting a consumer in obtaining an extension of consumer credit in any form other than a payday or motor vehicle title loan that meets the requirements of state law;
  2. a requirement that a credit access business post notice regarding the availability of extended payment plans;
  3. a provision limiting the term of a loan to military borrower to: (a) 90 days for a payday loan; and (b) 180 days for a motor vehicle title loan;
  4. a provision that a loan by a credit access business on or before the fifth day after the date the consumer pays the debt on a previous loan is considered a refinance of the previous debt;
  5. a term limit of 180 days for a loan by a credit access business;
  6. a requirement that consumer notices and the loan agreement be printed in Spanish on request of a consumer;
  7. a requirement that a credit access business consider the ability of the consumer to repay the debt within the term before assisting the consumer with obtaining a loan;
  8. a provision stating that a consumer may have only one outstanding debt from a previous loan from a credit access business at any given time, and that in order to secure a loan the consumer may not have received a loan from a credit access business within the preceding 14 days or gone into default on a debt resulting from a credit access business loan within the preceding 30 days;
  9. a provision stating that the proceeds of the sale of a repossessed vehicle secured by a motor vehicle title loan shall satisfy all outstanding and unpaid indebtedness;
  10. a requirement that a credit access business require documentation to establish a consumer’s income for purposes of limitations on the total amount of the loan;
  11. limitations on single-payment payday loans, including: (a) a requirement that the loan not exceed: (i) 25 percent of the consumer’s gross income if the consumer’s annual income is not more than 125 percent of the federal poverty level for a family of four; or (ii) 35 percent of the consumer’s gross monthly income if the consumer is not described by (i), above; (b) a requirement that the loan have a term of not less than 10 days; and (c) a requirement that the loan may not be refinanced more than four times, and once refinanced four times a credit access business must offer an extended payment plan to the consumer that complies with specific requirements;
  12. limitations on multiple-payment payday loans, including: (a) a requirement that the sum of all scheduled payments on such a loan not exceed: (i) 15 percent of the consumer’s gross monthly income, if the consumer’s income is not more than 125 percent of the federal poverty level for a family of four; or (ii) 20 percent of the consumer’s gross monthly income if the consumer is not described by (i), above; (b) a requirement that the loan may not be payable in more than 12 installments; (c) a requirement that the loan be payable on a fully amortizing, declining principal balance basis with substantially equal payments; (d) a requirement that the first installment payment may not be due before the 10th day after the consumer enters into the loan agreement, and that an installment may not be due before the 14th day or after the 31st day after the date a previous installment is due; and (e) a requirement that the loan may not be refinanced more than once, and the combined term of the original loan and refinanced loan may not exceed 270 days;
  13. limitations on single-payment motor vehicle title loans, including: (a) a requirement that the principal amount of the loan may not exceed the lesser of: (i) six percent of the consumer’s annual income if the consumer’s annual income is not more than 125 percent of the federal poverty level for a family of four; (ii) eight percent of the consumer’s gross annual income if the consumer is not described by (i), above; or (iii) 70 percent of the retail value of the motor vehicle securing the debt; (b) a requirement that the term of the loan not be less than 30 days; (c) a requirement that the loan may not be refinanced more than six times, and once refinanced six times a credit access business must offer an extended payment plan to the consumer that complies with specific requirements;
  14. limitations on multiple-payment motor vehicle title loans, including: (a) a requirement that the sum of all scheduled payments on such a loan not exceed: (i) 15 percent of the consumer’s gross monthly income, if the consumer’s income is not more than 125 percent of the federal poverty level for a family of four; or (ii) 20 percent of the consumer’s gross monthly income if the consumer is not described by (i), above; (b) a requirement that the loan be payable on a fully amortizing, declining principal balance basis with substantially equal payments; (c) a requirement that the loan may not be payable in more than 6 installments; (d) a requirement that the first installment payment may not be due before the 10th day after the consumer enters into the loan agreement, and that a subsequent installment may not be due before the 30th day after the date the previous installment was due; (e) a requirement that the loan may not be refinanced more than once, and the combined term of the original loan and refinanced loan may not exceed 270 days; and (f) a requirement that a credit access business may not initiate any activities to repossess the vehicle securing the debt before offering the consumer an extended payment plan that complies with specific requirements.

(Companion bill is S.B. 1247 by Carona.)

H.B. 2839 (Frullo) – Landowner Liability:  would limit the liability of an airstrip owner. 

H.B. 2851 (Callegari) – State Agency Rules:  would provide that a state agency shall only adopt a rule that fulfills the purposes of the law governing the agency.

H.B. 2871 (Capriglione) – Regional Planning Commission Contracts:  would require a regional planning commission to submit any contract with a nondisclosure provision to the attorney general for review as to whether such a provision would be legal under the Public Information Act.

H.B. 2887 (Davis) – Community Collaboratives:  would:  (1) provide, to the extent funds are appropriated to the Texas Department of State Health Services, that grants be made to various entities, including local governmental entities, to establish community collaboratives that bring the public and private sectors together to provide services and coordinate care for the homeless, mentally ill, and persons with substance abuse problems; and (2) establish permissible uses for grant funds described in (1), above.  (Companion bill is S.B. 1804 by Huffman.)

H.B. 2935 (Hunter) – Interlocutory Appeals:  would allow an interlocutory appeal from a court’s decision on a motion to dismiss in a case involving free speech.

H.B. 2948 (Harper-Brown) – Legislative Budget Board: would provide that the Legislative Budget Board: (1) must perform a cost-benefit analysis of each proposed rule submitted by a state agency, except an emergency rule, and submit the analysis to: (a) the governor and the legislature; (b) a person subject to regulation under a proposed rule; and (3) a nonprofit corporation whose members may be affected by a proposed rule; and (2) shall file a report on the financial effect of a proposed rule by a state agency with the governor and the legislature.

H.B. 2981 (E. Rodriguez) – Animal Shelters:  would, among other things:  (1) authorize an animal shelter to house certain same-species animals together, but prohibit (with some exceptions) confining healthy animals with unhealthy animals; (2) prohibit an animal shelter from refusing to adopt or transfer a dog or cat based solely on age, breed, type, appearance or size; (3) require a governmental animal sheltering agency to keep and maintain on its premises records of the date and disposition of animals and make those records available for inspection; (4) authorize a governmental animal sheltering agency to transfer an animal that does not have a microchip or tag identification to a rescue organization or private animal sheltering organization immediately after impound and to post to persons entering the facility and on the website certain information about the animal; (5) authorize a governmental animal sheltering agency to transfer to a rescue organization or private animal sheltering organization an animal that is surrendered by its owner; (6) require an animal shelter, in certain instances, to give certain notice about organizations and shelters who are willing and able to care for unweaned animals; (7) require an animal shelter, before euthanizing an animal, to give certain notice to the public and certain organizations and to transfer the animal in certain instances; (8) authorize euthanasia within 24 hours of giving the notice in (7), above, in the case of a mass seizure of animals by law enforcement; and (9) authorize an animal shelter to make a transfer in (7), above, conditioned upon a site-visit conducted by a city or county employee who oversees zoning and health code enforcement in the city or county.

H.B. 2986 (Fletcher) – Solicitation of Legal Services:  would:  (1) provide that a person commits an offense if: (a) the person, with the intent to obtain professional employment for the person or another person, solicits or causes to be solicited, in person or by telephone, employment that relates to the provision of legal services involving the solicited person; and (b) the person obtained the information used to make the solicitation described in (a), above, from personal information contained in a citation for a violation of the Rules of the Road issued to the solicited person; and (2) provide penalties for a violation of (1), above.

H.B. 2953 (Guillen) – State License Holders: would provide that, unless expressly authorized by state law, a city may not adopt or enforce any ordinance, rule, or regulation that establishes requirements for, imposes restrictions on, or otherwise regulates the business activity of a state license holder within the city or its extraterritorial jurisdiction.

H.B. 3000 (Miller) – Property Tax Lending:  would: (1) prohibit a property tax lender from selling, transferring, assigning, or releasing rights related to a property tax loan to a person who is not licensed by the Finance Commission of Texas; and (2) repeal the expedited foreclosure process for a tax lien by a licensed property tax lender.  (Companion bill is S.B. 247 by Carona.)

H.B. 3019 (McClendon) – Payday Lending:  would provide that, for a consumer who is a military borrower, dependent of a military borrower, or member of the reserve component of the United States armed forces, that the term of a loan is limited to: (1) 90 days for a payday loan; or (2) 180 days for a motor vehicle title loan.

H.B. 3033 (E. Rodriguez) – Payday Lending:  would provide that information relating to the name, address, and telephone number of all third-party lender organizations with which a credit access business contracts to provide services or from which the credit access business arranges extensions of consumer credit that is contained in a license application is considered to be public information. 

H.B. 3045 (Oliveira) – Tax Preferences:  would: (1) require the comptroller to identify all state and local tax preferences and present a schedule to the Legislative Budget Board every odd-numbered year under which each tax preference is reviewed once during each six-year period; (2) require the Legislative Budget Board to evaluate all state and local tax preferences and make recommendations for continuing, repealing, or amending each preference; and (3) provide that each tax preference enacted by the legislature that becomes law after September 1, 2014, expires six years after the date it takes effect, unless the legislature provides an earlier or later expiration date.

H.B. 3063 (Menendez) – Enterprise Zones:  would provide that an area inside the boundaries of a defense base development authority automatically qualifies as an enterprise zone. 

H.B. 3066 (Menendez) – Enterprise Zones:  would provide that an area inside the boundaries of a defense base development authority automatically qualifies as an enterprise zone.

H.J.R. 111 (Perry) – State Budget: would amend the Texas Constitution to limit a state budget appropriation from the state’s Rainy Day Fund.

H.J.R. 114 (Dutton) – Tax Preferences:  would amend the Texas Constitution to: (1) require the legislature to implement the necessary procedures for the periodic review of state and local “tax preferences;” and (2) provide that each tax preference enacted by the legislature that becomes law after September 1, 2014, expires six years after the date it takes effect, unless the legislature provides an earlier or later expiration date.

H.J.R. 121 (Raymond) – Gambling: would amend the Texas Constitution to: (1) authorize a state video lottery system to operate video lottery games at certain horse and greyhound racetracks and providing that federally recognized Indian tribes may conduct games of chance on certain Indian lands; and (2) prohibit the governing body of a political subdivision from taking any action regarding the repeal or revocation of a previous authorization by the voters of the political subdivision to approve the legalization or conduct of pari-mutuel wagering on horse races or greyhound races at a racetrack in that political subdivision if the racetrack is authorized under this resolution to operate video lottery games on behalf of the state.  (Companion bill is S.J.R. 26 by Hinojosa.)

H.J.R. 125 (Simpson) – Health Benefits:  would amend the Texas Constitution to prohibit a state law that would: (1) require an individual to choose a particular health care treatment; or (2) require a health care provider to advise a patient of a particular treatment.

S.B. 216 (Birdwell) – Department of Information Resources: this bill is the same as H.B. 2472, above.

S.B. 219 (Huffman) – Ethics Commission:  would, among other things, require the Texas Ethics Commission to design forms that may be used for filing a financial statement with an authority other than the commission.  (Companion bill is H.B. 2737 by Bonnen.)

S.B. 820 (Williams) – Deer Permits:  this bill is the same as H.B. 1614, above.

S.B. 1089 (Hinojosa) – Windstorm Insurance: would make numerous changes to the operation of the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association and to catastrophe preparedness in seacoast territories by, among other things: (1) prohibiting, after September 1, 2013, the use of public securities issued under existing law to cover losses in excess of premium and other revenue of the association and terminating the use of public securities under existing law on September 1, 2017; (2) after September 1, 2013, providing that losses in excess of premium and other revenue of the association shall be paid from a new public securities process of a limited amount and an assessment against all insurers in the state; (3) setting the amount of the surcharge, which is higher for those in first tier coastal counties; (4) authorizing an insurer to purchase reinsurance to cover an assessment for which the insurer would be liable under the bill; (5) not later than January 31 of each year, mandating that the association shall submit to the commissioner in a form and manner, and using a method or formula determined by the commissioner by rule, a statement that reports the financial condition of the association; (5) creating four new classes of public securities, the proceeds of which , including investment income, shall be held in trust for the exclusive use and benefit of the association; (6) modifying the composition of the association’s board of directors; (7) providing that a policy issued by an insurer that includes windstorm and hail insurance coverage must include certain provisions; (8) mandating that residential construction, including an alteration, remodel, enlargement, or repair involving one or more structural building components, in the unincorporated area of a first tier coastal county, shall conform to the residential building code standards required to obtain a windstorm certificate; and (9) providing that a city or county may not issue a certificate of occupancy or completion for residential construction in a seacoast territory unless  the roof of the construction has been designed for compliance with uniform static wind pressure requirements of 140 miles per hour, for construction seaward of the intercoastal waterway, or 130 miles per hour, for construction inland of the intercoastal waterway and the construction has been inspected and certified by the Texas Department of Insurance in accordance with the bill.  (This bill is substantially similar to H.B. 2352 by Hunter.)

S.B. 1155 (Hinojosa) – Enterprise Zones:  would authorize a county to nominate for designation as an enterprise project a project or activity of a qualified business that is located in the county and in the extraterritorial jurisdiction of a city primarily located in a different county.  (Companion bill is H.B. 1982 by Murphy.)

S.B. 1179 (Deuell) – Mixed Beverage Tax:  would: (1) establish a process for certain venues to qualify as a “live music presenter” for purposes of the mixed beverage tax; and (2) provide that a tax at the rate of seven percent is imposed on the gross receipts of a mixed beverage permittee classified as a live music presenter.  (Note: under current law a tax at the rate of 14 percent is imposed on the gross receipts of a mixed beverage permittee, of which a city receives 10.7143 percent for all permitees in the city limits.)  (Companion bill is H.B. 3095 by Strama.) 

S.B. 1188 (Huffman) – Credit Management Agreements:  would require the comptroller to conduct a study on the use of credit management agreements by state agencies and political subdivisions.

S.B. 1190 (Davis)  – Child Pornography: this bill is the same as H.B. 2539, above.

S.B. 1201 (Patrick) – Property Tax Lending:  would, among other things:  (1) require the transferee of a tax lien to include a specific notice in any advertisement or solicitation provided to a property owner; (2) require the transferee of a tax lien to mail to any mortgage services and to each holder of a recorded first lien encumbering the property a notice that the property owner has requested that the transferee pay the taxes on the property, that the tax lien will be transferred to the transferee, and that the transferred tax lien will be superior to the mortgage; (3) provide that the transfer of a tax lien does not affect the priority of the lien to the extent the lien secures the funds advanced by the transferee to pay taxes, penalties, and interest, and collection costs as shown on the tax receipt; and (4) failure to comply with state law will result in the transferred tax lien being subordinate to any recorded preexisting lien on the property. 

S.B. 1247 (Carona) – Payday Lending:  this bill is the same as H.B. 2706, above.

S.B. 1250 (Carona) – State Regulation of Occupations:  would create an office of regulatory best practices in the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation which would, among other things, evaluate legislative proposals to regulate occupations. (Please see S.J.R. 48, below.)

S.B. 1251 (Carona) – Payday Lending:  would authorize the Texas Finance Commission to prescribe by rule the maximum amount of an administrative fee and acquisition charge associated with certain consumer loan contracts.  (Companion bill is H.B. 2315 by Villarreal.)

S.J.R. 26 (Hinojosa) – Gambling: this bill is the same as H.J.R. 121, above.

S.J.R. 48 (Carona) – State Regulation of Occupations:  would amend the Texas Constitution to require a member of the legislature to obtain and file a report on the costs and benefits of a bill or amendment to impose or increase a statewide occupational regulation.  (Note:  please see S.B. 1250, above.)

S.J.R. 50 (Lucio) – Drug Screening:  would amend the Texas Constitution to mandate that a candidate for public elective office in this state submit to a controlled substance use screening assessment.

MUNICIPAL COURTS

H.B. 2679 (Guillen) – Defendant’s Plea: would allow: (1) a municipal court judge to permit a defendant in jail to enter in a plea; (2) a judge to accept the plea; and (3) a judge to assess punishment. 

H.B. 2863 (Carter) – Prostitution:  would require a city or county with a first offender prostitution program to include appropriate counseling, services, and classroom instruction to offenders.

H.B. 2890 (S. Turner) – Court Costs:  would: (1) increase the consolidated state court costs for class C misdemeanors to $122; (2) allow the Texas Judicial Council to increase the court cost amount annually by a percentage equal to the inflation rate for the preceding four-calendar-year period and round the resulting amount rounded to the nearest dollar, if: (a) the inflation amount was at least three percent and the legislature did not increase the amount of the court cost during that period; (3) reduce the one-time restitution fee for certain offenses from $12 to $6; (4) reduce the amount of court costs for a conviction of a municipal ordinance from $40 to $30; (5) reduce the administrative fees for failure to appear and failure to pay from $30 to $10; and (6) allow a city to keep the entire amount of the administrative fee for failure to appear or failure to pay. 

H.B. 3058 (Herrero) – Juvenile Records:<