SIGNIFICANT COMMITTEE ACTIONS

H.B. 141 (Gonzalez Toureilles), relating to proof of financial responsibility for a vehicle. Reported from the House Transportation Committee. As reported, this bill would provide that: (1) a court shall dismiss a charge of not having proof of financial responsibility if the defendant proves that financial responsibility was valid at the time the offense occurred; and (2) the court may assess a $10 administrative fee on such occasions.

H.B. 360 (Kuempel), relating to the Texas Municipal Retirement System. Reported from the Senate State Affairs Committee.

H.B. 451 (Allen), requiring health benefit plans to provide coverage for autism in a child up to age nine. Reported from the House Insurance Committee.

H.B. 987 (Creighton), relating to purchasing and change order requirements. Reported from the Senate Intergovernmental Relations Committee.

H.B. 1221 (C. Howard), relating to property tax. Reported from the House Ways and Means Committee. As reported, this bill would: (1) eliminate the requirement that appraisal value notices must include the estimated tax liability based on an application of last year’s tax rate to this year’s appraised value; (2) require tax assessors to submit the appraisal roll to a city not later than 21 days after the date the appraisal roll is certified to the assessor; (3) require a city to calculate its effective tax rate not later than 30 days after it receives the certified appraisal roll from the assessor; (4) require the person who calculates the effective tax rate to submit the rate to the city council within five days of making the calculation; (5) require the calculation of a “same services tax rate;” and (6) require a city council, before giving notice of tax increase hearings, to take a record vote on the proposal to increase taxes and that the motion for that vote must be as follows: “I move that a proposal to increase property taxes by the adoption of a tax rate of (specific tax rate) be placed on the agenda for the meeting to be held on (date on which the governing body anticipates adopting the tax rate);” and much more.

H.B. 1377 (Thompson), relating to reallocation of sales tax. Reported from the House Ways and Means Committee. (Note: since this bill has not yet appeared on a House calendar, it will most likely miss the deadline for House passage.)

H.B. 1433 (Lucio), raising the cap on the annual water quality fee imposed on a city by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). Reported from the Senate Natural Resources Committee. As reported, this bill would, on September 1, 2009, raise the maximum fee from $75,000 to $100,000. The bill would also allow the TCEQ to thereafter raise the maximum fee annually by an amount that reflects growth in the consumer price index, up to a maximum amount of $150,000 annually.

H.B. 1952 (Callegari), relating to an agreement between a city and a municipal utility district. Reported from the House Natural Resources Committee. (Any city that has an agreement with a MUD should read this bill.)

H.B. 1998 (McCall), relating to housing and emergency shelters provided by a political subdivision for disaster victims. Reported from the Senate Intergovernmental Relations Committee.

H.B. 2166 (Rose), relating to water supply and sewer service corporations. Reported from the House Natural Resources Committee. As reported, this bill would affect the ways in which corporation directors are nominated and elected. (Note: since this bill has not appeared on a House calendar, it will most likely miss the deadline for House passage, but please see the companion bill, S.B. 1960 by Wentworth, below.)

H.B. 3184 (J. Jackson), requiring that a ballot proposition allowing voters to approve a tax or the issuance of bonds must: (1) state the total dollar amount of bonds that will be issued or the amount of the tax or tax increase; and (2) describe any projects to be supported by the bonds. Reported from the House Elections Committee.

H.B. 3203 (Hartnett), allowing a person who sues a city in a contract claim to recover attorney’s fees. Reported from the House Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Committee.

H.B. 3335 (Callegari), strengthening the authority of special districts relative to cities. Reported from the House Natural Resources Committee. (Any city that has an agreement with a special district should read this bill.)

H.B. 3484 (Coleman), relating to tax increment financing. Reported from the House County Affairs Committee.

H.B. 3699 (Isett), altering the “Prop 2” pollution control property tax exemption as follows: (1) provide that the exemption is available for certain carbon dioxide equipment necessary to comply with state or local rules, as opposed to current law which addresses only federal rules; and (2) provide that the exemption is available for carbon dioxide transport equipment, as opposed to current law which addresses only carbon dioxide capture equipment. Reported from the House Ways and Means Committee. (Note: since this bill has not yet appeared on a House calendar, it will most likely miss the deadline for House passage.)

H.B. 4033 (McCall), reported from the House Elections Committee. As reported, this bill would: (1) permit any city official to use Texas Ethics Commission electronic services and software to file certain reports; and (2) permit certain vendors to file a lobbying report with the Texas Ethics Commission whenever the vendor makes expenditures in relation to lobbying the city.

H.B. 4144 (Gattis), relating to a city’s comprehensive development. Reported from the House Land and Resource Management Committee. As reported this bill would provide that: (1) the governing body of a city shall adopt by resolution or ordinance a comprehensive plan as defined by the bill that details current and future land uses and serves as a basis for making planning or zoning decisions of the city; (2) the governing body shall review its comprehensive plan not less often than every three years; (3) the governing body shall appoint an advisory committee to make recommendations regarding the adoption, amendment, and review of its comprehensive plan; (4) that advisory committee shall be made up of at least five members appointed by a majority vote of the governing body, and at least 40 percent of the membership of the advisory committee must be representatives of the real estate, development, or building industries who are not employees or officials of a political subdivision or governmental entity; (5) the governing body may not adopt or amend the comprehensive plan until it conducts at least one public hearing on the recommendations made by the advisory committee, and may not amend or adopt the comprehensive plan before the 30th day after the date the governing body receives the advisory committee's report, unless each of the landowners affected by the plan or amendment consents to the plan or amendment; (6) at the public hearing, a landowner may object to any land use applied to the landowner's tract by the comprehensive plan; (7) a landowner may petition the county commissioners court to appoint three disinterested persons, who reside in the county, as special commissioners to assess the reasonableness of a land use applied to the landowner's tract under the city’s comprehensive plan if the landowner objects in writing to the land use and has been unable to sell or develop the tract in conformity with the land use for a period of three years; (8) the special commissioners shall conduct their proceedings and shall have the same powers as special commissioners in an eminent domain proceeding; (9) if a majority of the special commissioners determines that a land use applied to a landowner's tract by the comprehensive plan is unreasonable, a majority of the special commissioners may determine a reasonable land use for the tract and order that the comprehensive plan be amended to reflect that use. (Note: since this bill has not yet appeared on a House calendar, it will most likely miss the deadline for House passage.)

S.B. 254 (Estes), exempting volunteer fire departments from the state motor fuels tax. Reported from the House Ways and Means Committee.

S.B. 257 (Estes), relating to the sale or delivery of salvia divinorum to a child. Reported from the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee.

S.B. 555 (Duncan), relating to indemnification provisions in construction contracts. Reported from the House Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Committee.

S.B. 638 (Nichols), relating to the collateralization of public funds. Reported from the House Pension, Investments and Financial Services Committee.

S.B. 1011 (Estes), relating to the Texas Commission on Fire Protection (TCFP). Reported from the House Urban Affairs Committee. As reported, this bill would: (1) authorize the TCFP to establish minimum educational and training standards for volunteer firefighters; and (2) allow the TCFP to enter a default order if a fire department fails to take action to correct a violation found by the TCFP during an inspection; and much more. (Note: fire chiefs should review this bill thoroughly. This bill is now the same as H.B. 3390. Also see the May 7, 2009, TML Legislative Update.)

S.B. 1023 (Ogden), relating to eminent domain. Reported from the Senate State Affairs Committee. As reported, this bill would provide that: (1) a condemnation petition must state that the facts to be proven are that the petitioner is authorized to condemn property for the purpose for which the property is sought, the use for which the property is sought is a public use, and the property sought is necessary to accomplish that public use; and (2) if a condemning entity fails to prove any of the facts, the court shall deny the condemnation and award to the property owner the owner’s court costs and reasonable attorney’s fees and expert witness fees incurred in relation to the condemnation proceeding.

S.B. 1960 (Wentworth), relating to water supply and sewer service corporations. Reported from the Senate Natural Resources Committee. As reported, this bill would affect the way in which corporation directors are nominated and elected.

S.B. 2085 (Davis), relating to political advertising. Reported from the Senate State Affairs Committee. As reported, this bill would amend the statute criminalizing certain political advertising on measures as follows: (1) require that certain violations be “knowing”; (2) provide that it is an affirmative defense to a violation if the city relied on a written opinion by a court, the attorney general, or the Texas Ethics Commission; and (3) require the Texas Ethics Commission to prepare an advance written advisory opinion regarding a potential communication on a measure.

S.J.R. 42 (Duncan), proposing to amend the Texas Constitution to provide that “public use,” for the purposes of eminent domain, does not include the taking of property for transfer to a private entity for the primary purpose of economic development or enhancement of tax revenue. Reported from the Senate State Affairs Committee.

TML member cities may use the material herein for any purpose.
No other person or entity may reproduce, duplicate, or distribute any part of this document without the written authorization of the
Texas Municipal League.

Back to Legislative Update Index