SPECIAL SESSION ENDS WITH A WHIMPER
The first special session of the Eighty-Second Legislature adjourned sine die on June 29. Most city-related measures, including sanctuary city and “intrusive touching” prohibitions, did not pass. The legislature passed a number of fiscal matters bills that were necessary to balance the state budget for the upcoming biennium, including those related to health care and the judicial system. Of particular interest to cities is the passage of 1 S.B. 1 (Ogden/Pitts). That bill contains the following city-related provisions:
- Provides that quarterly mixed beverage tax reimbursements issued to cities by the comptroller may not be less than 10.7143 percent of receipts from permittees within the city. (In other words, beginning with the 2014-2015 biennium, the legislature may no longer reduce cities’ share of the mixed beverage tax solely through the budget appropriations process, as was done this session for the 2012-2013 biennium.)
- Repeals the 15-cent state court cost on convictions relating to a child passenger safety seat offense.
- Modifies the Super-Freeport property tax exemption to clarify that the exemption is not available for goods stored at a warehouse that is in “any way owned or controlled by the owner of the goods.”
- Continues the Texas Department of Information Resources and the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs. (The “sunset” bills for these agencies failed to pass during the regular session.)
- Allows the governor to transfer money from the Texas Enterprise Fund to the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs for the Texas Homeless Housing and Services program.
- Provides that a retailer is engaged in business in this state if the retailer: (1) holds a substantial ownership interest in, or is owned in whole or in substantial part by, a person who maintains a location in this state from which business is conducted if: (a) the retailer sells a substantially similar product as the related retailer and does so under a substantially similar name; and (b) the facilities or employees of the related retailer are used to advertise, promote, facilitate, or perform any other activity on behalf of the retailer; or (2) holds a substantial ownership interest in, or is owned in whole or in substantial part by, a person who maintains a distribution center, warehouse, or similar location in the state that delivers property sold by the retailer. (This provision is sometimes referred to as the “Amazon.com” fix.)
Now that the legislature has adjourned, the TML Legislative Update will return to a less-frequent schedule, which is usually monthly or as-needed.