Other Bills

H.B. 7 (Darby/Williams) – Dedicated State Revenue:  this bill: (1) develops and implements a process to review the dedication, appropriation, and accumulation of general revenue dedicated funds and requires the Legislative Budget Board to incorporate into budget recommendations appropriate measures to reduce reliance on available dedicated revenue for certification; (2) reduces certain solid waste disposal “tipping” fees by approximately one quarter and would prohibit tipping fees from being applied to materials that are processed at composting and mulch processing facilities, except for materials that are utilized in the operation of or are disposed of in a landfill; (3) increases the allocation of tipping fee revenue deposited to the general revenue dedicated waste management account 549 from 50 to 66.7 percent and expands the purposes for which money in the account may be appropriated to include site remediation; and (4) expands the purposes for which money in the general revenue dedicated 9-1-1 service fees account 5050 may be appropriated to include maintaining 9-1-1 service levels during transitions to newer technology, planning and deploying certain emergency network systems, and updating geospacial mapping technologies.  (Effective immediately.)

H.B. 86 (Callegari/Lucio) – Sunset Review of Licensing Agency:  relates to the review by the Sunset Advisory Commission of a state agency that licenses an occupation, and provides that:  (1) in an assessment of an agency that licenses an occupation or profession, the commission and its staff shall consider: (a) whether the licensing program serves a meaningful, defined public interest and provides the least restrictive form of regulation that will adequately protect the public interest; (b) the extent to which the regulatory objective of the licensing program may be achieved through market forces, private or industry certification and accreditation programs, or enforcement of other law; (c) the extent to which any licensing criteria ensure that applicants have occupational skills sets or competencies that correlate with a public interest and the impact those criteria have on applicants, especially those with low income, seeking to enter the occupation or profession; and (d) the impact of the regulation, including the extent to which the program stimulates or restricts competition and affects consumer choice and the cost of services; (2) a legislator may submit proposed legislation that would create or affect an occupational licensing program to the commission for review and analysis; (3) if the commission reviews a legislative proposal described in (2), above, the commission shall submit a report to the legislature before the next legislative session; and (4) if the commission analyzes a legislative proposal to create a new licensing program, it must determine whether: (a) the unregulated practice of the occupation would be inconsistent with the public interest; (b) the public can reasonably be expected to benefit from an assurance of initial and continuing professional skill sets or competencies; and (c) the public can be more effectively protected by means other than state regulation.  (Effective September 1, 2013.)

H.B. 278 (Craddick/Seliger) – Liability: limits a city’s liability for space flight activities conducted at a municipal airport.  (Effective September 1, 2013.)

H.B. 489 (Menendez) – Assistance Animals:  this bill, among other things:  (1) provides that a person is not entitled to make demands or inquiries relating to the qualification or certifications of an assistance animal for purposes of admittance to a public facility except to determine the basic type of assistance provided by the animal to a person with a disability; (2) provides that a person, including a public organization or the agent of a public organization, who violates (1), above, is guilty of a misdemeanor with an up to $300 fine and 30 hours of community related to disabilities and is deemed to have deprived a person with a disability of his or her civil liberties; and (3) make it a misdemeanor with an up to $300 fine and 30 hours of community service related to disabilities for a person to misrepresent that an animal is a specially trained assistance animal by using a harness or leash of the type commonly used by persons with disabilities.  (Effective January 1, 2014.)

H.B. 581 (Howard/Lucio) – Nurses: waives governmental immunity of a city, or other governmental entity, that operates a hospital for certain employment cases involving nurses.  (Effective September 1, 2013.)

H.B. 1025 (Pitts/Williams) – Supplemental State Appropriations:  makes supplemental appropriation increases and decreases for various purposes, including: (1) a $2 billion appropriation from the Economic Stabilization Fund to the Texas Water Development Board to finance projects in the state water plan; (2) $450 million from general revenue for certain projects within the state highway system and various county transportation projects; and (3) $15 million from the Economic Stabilization Fund to the Office of the Governor for: (1) wildfire recovery, remediation, and mitigation activities related to wildfires in Bastrop, Cass, and Marion Counties; (b) addressing the needed repair and rehabilitation of roads, bridges, culverts, and parks, and to complete hazardous debris removal and fire risk-mitigation activities in Bastrop County; and (c) recovery activities related to the plant explosion in West.  (Effective immediately.)

H.B. 1493 (King/Hegar) – Texas Department of Rural Affairs:  this bill makes changes to certain programs of the Texas Department of Rural Affairs (TDRA) and transfers them to the Department of Agriculture.  Of particular interest to cities, the bill eliminates the TDRA’s: (1) annual report on the condition of rural communities; and (2) role of assisting fire departments in rural areas with the recruitment and retention of volunteer firefighters.  (Effective September 1, 2013.)

H.B. 1717 (Price/Nichols) – Texas Board of Architectural Examiners:  this is the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners (TBAE) Sunset bill, which continues the functions of the TBAE until 2025.  (Effective September 1, 2013.) 

H.B. 1724 (Bohac/Seliger) – Hotel Occupancy Taxes: this bill, among other things: (1) imposes a statute of limitations of four years for a city to bring a suit to for delinquent hotel occupancy taxes, except that a city may bring suit at any time if: (a) with intent to evade the tax, a person files a false or fraudulent report with the city; or (b) a person has not filed a report for the tax with the city; and (2) limits the amount of interest on delinquent hotel occupancy taxes to either: (a) the prime interest rate plus one percent; or (b) the rate imposed by the city on January 1, 2013. (Effective September 1, 2013.)

H.B. 1734 (Gutierrez/Uresti) – Type A City Special Meetings:  would provide that a mayor in a type A general law city must call a special meeting on the application of three aldermen.   (Note:  Previous law made it the mayor’s option.) (Effective immediately.)

H.B. 1791 (J. Davis/Deuell) – Liability: this bill, among other things, limits the liability of a city and certain private entities for space flight activities.  Specifically, the bill: (1) defines a “space flight entity” as a person who conducts space flight activities and who, to the extent required by federal law, has obtained the appropriate Federal Aviation Administration license or other authorization, including safety approval and a payload determination and provides that the term includes: (a) a manufacturer or supplier of components, services, spacecraft, launch vehicles, or reentry vehicles used by the entity and reviewed by the Federal Aviation Administration as part of issuing the license or other authorization; (b)  an employee, officer, director, owner, stockholder, member, manager, advisor, or partner of the entity, manufacturer, or supplier; (c) an owner or lessor of real property on which space flight activities are conducted, including a city, county, political subdivision, or spaceport development corporation with a contractual relationship with a space flight entity; and (d) a city, county, economic development organization, or other political subdivision in the territory or extraterritorial jurisdiction of which space flight activities are conducted; (2) provides that a space flight entity is not liable to any person for damages resulting from nuisance arising from testing, launching, reentering, or landing or subject to any claim for nuisance arising from testing, launching, reentering, or landing; (3) provides that a space flight entity is not liable to any person for a space flight participant injury or damages arising out of  space flight activities if the space flight participant has signed the agreement required by current law (as modified by this bill) and given written consent as required by federal law; (4) allows liability for a space flight participant injury caused by gross negligence or intentional acts; and (5) provides that noise arising from space flight activities, if lawfully conducted, does not constitute “unreasonable noise” for purposes of the Penal Code.  (Effective September 1, 2013.)

H.B. 1869 (Price/Duncan) – Health Care Subrogation:  changes subrogation law to: (1) allow a health plan, including an employee benefits pool, to contract to be subrogated and have a right of reimbursement against a third party who causes covered injuries to one of the plan’s covered individuals; (2) allow a health plan that covers an individual injured by a third party, in cases where the injured individual is not represented by an attorney, to recover the lesser of one-half of the covered individual’s recovery or the total cost of benefits paid for the injured individual due to the injury; (3) allow a health plan that covers an individual injured by a third party, in cases where the injured individual is represented by an attorney, to recover the lesser of one-half of the covered individual’s recovery less attorney’s fees and procurement costs or the total cost of benefits paid for the injured individual due to the injury less attorney’s fees and procurement costs; (4) make inapplicable the rule that an insured individual has to be made whole before the health plan gets paid under a lawsuit; (5) require the health benefit plan that is the payor of benefits to an individual who is injured by a third party to pay the individual’s attorney an agreed-to fee and a pro rata share of expenses if the health benefit plan is not represented by a separate attorney during the personal injury litigation; (6) require a court to divide the fee between both attorneys if both the individual and health plan have attorney representation at the personal injury suit and cap such fee to one third of the health plan’s recovery; and (7) prohibit a health plan form pursuing recovery against a covered individual’s first-party recovery. (Effective January 1, 2014.)

H.B. 1908 (Eiland/Hancock) – Venue Projects/Hotel Occupancy Taxes: this bill: (1) requires a ballot proposition authorizing the imposition of a hotel occupancy tax to support a venue project to include specific ballot language that lists the maximum hotel occupancy tax rate imposed from all sources; and (2) prohibits a city or county from proposing a hotel occupancy tax rate that would cause the combined hotel occupancy tax rate imposed from all sources at any location in the city or county to exceed 17 percent of the price paid for a room in a hotel, but the following may not be included in calculating the combined hotel occupancy tax rate: (a) an assessment for a public improvement district composed of territory in which the only businesses are hotels with 100 or more rooms ordinarily used for sleeping; (b) an assessment by a municipal management district; or (c) a fee collected by a hotel to recover the cost of an assessment under (a) or (b). (Effective September 1, 2013.)

H.B. 2021 (E. Rodriguez/Hinojosa) – Debt Collection:  authorizes a county or city to contract with a private attorney or public or private vendor for the collection of a debt owed in relation to a civil case if the debt is more than 60 days overdue, and to collect a fee of not more than 30 percent of the amount collected in order to compensate the attorney or vendor. (Effective Immediately.)

H.B. 2472 (Cook/Birdwell) – 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. (Effective September 1, 2013.)

H.J.R. 87 (Muñoz/Hinojosa) – Vacancies:  proposes an amendment to the Texas Constitution that will authorize a home rule city whose governing body has terms of office of more than two years to provide in its charter the procedure for filling a vacancy on the governing body for which the unexpired term is 12 months or less.  (Effective if approved at the election on November 5, 2013.) 

S.B. 169 (Hegar/Morrison) – Venue Project Election: amends the required ballot language for an election to approve and finance a municipal or county venue project to read: “impose a new” or “authorize the use of the existing” tax. (Effective September 1, 2013.)

S.B. 1 (Williams/Pitts) – State Budget:  this is the state budget.  The following chart shows the differences over the coming biennium in city-related items from the current budget:

Budget Item

SB1

2012-2013 appropriated

Change

    

Mixed Beverage Tax

$307,296,000

$246,020,807

$61,275,193

Library Resource Sharing

$24,170,709

$14,534,904

$9,635,805

Local Library Aid

$4,114,692

$9,720,097

$(5,605,405)

Local Parks Grants

$16,368,960

$881,460

$15,487,500

TCEQ Solid Waste Grants

$15,625,679

$15,616,454

$9,225

LEOSE Training Funds

$12,000,000

$0

$12,000,000

Total:

$379,576,040

$286,773,722

$92,802,318

    
 

 

S.B. 204 (Nichols/Price) – Texas Board of Professional Engineers:  this is the Texas Board of Professional Engineers (TBPE) Sunset bill.  Of particular interest to cities, the bill continues the functions of the TBPE until 2025 and provides that, if it appears to the TBPE that a person who is not licensed, certified, or registered as an engineer is violating the engineering law, a rule adopted under the law, or another state statute or rule relating to the practice of engineering, the TBPE, after notice and opportunity for a hearing, may issue a cease and desist order prohibiting the person from engaging in the activity.  (Effective September 1, 2013.)

S.B. 211 (Nichols/Dutton) – Texas Facilities Commission: this is the Texas Facilities Commission sunset bill.  Among other things, the bill continues the commission until September 1, 2021, and provides that: (1) the commission is authorized to use public-private partnerships (P3s) for the construction of state buildings; (2) not later than the 30th day before the date the commission is scheduled to meet and vote on a P3 project to develop or improve state property in a city, the commission staff must: (a) place the project on the commission’s meeting agenda to provide the public with notice of the meeting and an opportunity to comment; and (b) present sufficient information to commission members to enable the members to adequately prepare for the meeting and to address the members’ questions and concerns; (3) with regard to surplus state property that the commission donates to a political subdivision, the political subdivision may not lease, lend, bail, deconstruct, encumber, sell, trade, or otherwise dispose of the property before the second anniversary of the date the property was acquired; (4) a political subdivision that violates (3), above, shall remit to the commission the amount the political subdivision received from the lease, loan, bailment, deconstruction, encumbrance, sale, trade, or other disposition of the property unless the commission authorizes the action taken by the political subdivision with respect to the property; and (5) various changes to the existing P3 statute available to the state and certain political subdivisions are made, including: (a) if the state intends to develop or operate a P3 project under state law, the state entity proposing to develop or operate the project adopts a development plan on the real property associated with the project; (b) the plan must address local land use planning ordinances; (c) the plan must comply with existing rules, regulations, orders, or ordinances for real property development to the extent the rules, regulations, orders, or ordinances are not detrimental to the interests of the state as determined by the special board of review provided for in (j), below; (d) the state entity shall notify the local government to which the plan will be submitted of the state entity's intent to prepare a development plan and provide the local government with information relating to the location of the real property to be offered for sale or lease, the highest and best use of the real property, and the process for preparing the development plan; (e) not later than the 30th day after the date the local government receives the notice, the local government may request the state entity to hold a public hearing to solicit public comment; (f) the local government shall provide notice of the hearing to real property owners in at least the same manner that notice is provided for adopting zoning regulations or subdivision requirements in the local government’s jurisdiction; (g) if the local government does not request a public hearing, the state entity may hold a hearing to solicit public comment; (h) detailed provisions for how the hearing under (f) or (g), above, is conducted; (i) the development plan shall ultimately be submitted to any local government having jurisdiction over the real property in question for consideration, at which time the local government shall evaluate the plan and either accept or reject the plan not later than the 120th day after the date the state entity submits the plan, or waive any right to do so; (j) if the local government denies a rezoning request submitted under the bill, the matter may be appealed to a special board of review consisting of the following members: (i) the land commissioner; (ii) the mayor of the city within whose corporate boundaries or extraterritorial jurisdiction the real property is located; (iii) the county judge of the county in which the qualifying project is located; (iv) the executive director of the state entity that proposes to develop or operate the qualifying project; and (v) a member appointed by the governor; (k) if after the hearings the special board of review determines that local zoning requirements are detrimental to the best interest of the state, the board shall issue an order establishing a development plan to govern the use of the real property that shall be final and binding on the state, its lessees, successors in interest and assigns, and affected local governments or political subdivisions unless revised by the special board of review.  (Effective immediately.)

VETOED S.B. 219 (Huffman/Bonnen) – Texas Ethics Commission:  among other things, this bill:  (1) makes various changes in regard to the functions and duties of the Texas Ethics Commission, including:  (a) changing the system by which ethics violations/alleged violations are categorized and handled; and (b) requiring the commission to design forms that may be used for filing a financial statement with an authority other than the commission (e.g., a city); (2) changes the financial disclosure statement requirements in cities with 100,000 or more in population to provide that: (a) a statement may be filed with the city clerk or secretary by electronic mail, and the clerk or secretary may prescribe guidelines for filing by electronic mail; and (b) a financial statement that is not filed by electronic mail is timely filed if it is properly addressed and placed in the U.S. post office or with a common or contract carrier not later than the last day for filing; and (3) amends the definition of “political advertising” to include communications transmitted by an automated dial announcing device and adds some political advertising disclosure requirements.  (Effective September 1, 2013, except as otherwise provided in the bill.)

S.B. 251 (West/Carter) – Unsworn Declaration:  allows a government employee, including a city employee, who uses a job-related unsworn declaration in lieu of written sworn declaration, verification, certification, oath, or affidavit to use language in the statement regarding their employment with the governmental entity instead of using their personal information. (Effective September 1, 2013.)

S.B. 353 (West/Dukes) – Emergency Shelters:  exempts an emergency shelter facility that provides shelter or care to a minor and the minor’s children from the requirement that a child-care facility or child-placement agency be operated with a license if the emergency shelter is currently under a contract with a state or federal agency or meets certain requirements for a family violence shelter.  (Effective immediately.)

S.B. 360 (Watson/Lucio) – Euthanasia:  this bill: (1) prohibits an animal shelter from euthanizing a dog or cat by administering compressed carbon monoxide; and (2) requires the executive commissioner of the Health and Human Services Commission, rather than the State Board of Health, to adopt rules not later than December 1, 2013, regarding the use of compressed carbon monoxide to euthanize animals other than dogs or cats. (Effective immediately, but compliance is not required earlier than January 1, 2014.)

S.B. 531 (Duncan/Smithee) – Self-Insurance: allows: (1) a governmental unit, including a city to purchase reinsurance for a risk covered by self-insurance; (2) a self-insurance fund to satisfy any statutory or regulatory insurance coverage requirements; and (3) a certificate of coverage issued on behalf of a governmental unit, including a city, demonstrating adequate required coverage, to satisfy any statutory or regulatory requirement that proof of insurance be shown.    (Effective September 1, 2013.)

S.B. 581 (Carona/Villarreal) – Public Funds Collateral Act: this bill: (1) for a deposit of public funds under a pooled collateral program, requires a custodian of the collateral to deliver a trust receipt for the collateral to the comptroller; (2) for any other deposit of public funds, allows a custodian to issue and deliver a trust receipt for the pledged security to the public entity’s depository and instruct the depository to deliver the trust receipt to the public entity officer immediately; (3) requires the custodian to issue and deliver the trust receipt as soon as practicable on the same business day on which the investment security is received; and (4) requires a custodian of collateral to provide a list of all investment securities pledged to the public entity at the request of the public entity. (Effective immediately.)

S.B. 637 (Paxton/Flynn) – City Debt: this bill: (1) requires the document ordering a bond election to distinctly state: (a) the proposition language that will appear on the ballot; (b) the purpose for which the bonds are to be authorized; (c) the principal amount of the bonds to be authorized; (d) that taxes sufficient to pay the annual principal and interest on the bonds may be imposed; (e) a statement of the estimated tax rate if the bonds are authorized or of the maximum interest rate of the bonds based on the market conditions at the time of the election order; (f) the maximum maturity date of the bonds to be authorized or that the bonds may be issued to mature over a specified number of years not to exceed 40; (g) the aggregate amount of outstanding principal of the city’s debt obligations secured by property taxes as of the beginning of the fiscal year in which the election is ordered; (h) the aggregate amount of the outstanding interest on debt obligations secured by property taxes of the city as of the beginning of the fiscal year in which the election is ordered; and (i) the debt service property tax rate for the city at the time the election is ordered, expressed as an amount per $100 valuation of taxable property; and (2) requires the document ordering a bond election to be posted: (a) in a prominent location at each polling place on election day and during early voting; (b) in three public places within the city limits not later than 21 days before the election; and (c) prominently on the city’s Internet website (if it maintains one) along with the notice of the election and contents of the proposition during the 21 days before the election. (Effective September 1, 2013.) 

S.B. 656 (Paxton/Button) – Budget and Tax Rate Adoption: this bill: (1) requires the city council’s vote to adopt a budget to be a record vote; (2) requires an adopted budget to contain a cover page that includes: (a) a specific statement on the whether the budget raises more, less, or the same amount of property tax revenue compared to the previous year’s budget; (b) the record vote of each member of the governing body by name voting on the adoption of the budget; (c) the city property tax rates for the preceding and current fiscal years, including the adopted rate, effective tax rate, effective maintenance and operations tax rate, rollback tax rate, and debt rate; and (d) the total amount of city debt obligations secured by property taxes; (3) requires a city with a website to post the cover page in (2), above, on the city’s website, and keep the record vote information on the city’s website for at least one year after the budget is adopted; and (4) requires the city council to amend the cover page to include the property tax rate information for the current fiscal year if the rates are not included on the cover page when the budget is filed with the city secretary. (Effective September 1, 2013.)

S.B. 866 (Paxton/Elkins) – Technology Centers: provides that: (1) the Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) may establish or expand a statewide technology center to include participation by a local government; (2) a local government, including a city, may submit a request to DIR to receive services or operations through a statewide technology center; (3) DIR shall conduct a cost and requirements analysis for the local government requesting the services of a technology center; (4) if it selected for participation, a local government may contract with DIR to receive the identified services; and (4) two or more local governments that are parties to an interlocal agreement may apply to the department and participate in a statewide technology center. (Effective immediately.)

S.B. 1040 (Taylor/Bohac) – Automated Dialing Devices:  exempts cities from the restrictions regarding automated dialing devices, which include notice, hours, permits, and content, so long as the messages sent by automated dialing are to deliver information to citizens of the city regarding a public health, safety, or welfare issue. (Effective September 1, 2013.)

S.B. 1125 (Carona/Smithee) – Insurance Purchasing Groups:  provides that: (1) a purchasing group composed primarily of employees of a political subdivision, including a county, municipality, or school district, may purchase first-party indemnity coverage, in addition to the liability coverage, 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; and (2) a purchasing group shall notify the Commissioner of Insurance 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, with certain exceptions. (Effective September 1, 2013.)

S.B. 1437 (Paxton/Sanford) – Electronic Filing: allows a municipal clerk to file documents electronically for recoding with a county clerk that accepts electronic filing and recording.  (Effective immediately.)

S.B. 1610 (Schwertner/Kolkhorst) – Breach of Computer Data:  allows: (1) notice of a breach of computer system security to a resident of another state when that state requires a person conducting business to disclose breaches of sensitive personal information to be provided:  (a)  as required under that state’s law; or (b) as required by Texas law; and (2) a business required to disclose a breach of system security to give notice by providing, among other options, written notice at the last known address of the individual whose sensitive personal information is believed to have been acquired.  (Effective immediately.)

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No other person or entity may reproduce, duplicate, or distribute any part
of this document without the written authorization of the Texas Municipal League.

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