Other Finance & Administration

H.B. 1 (Otto/Nelson) - 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 Item2014 to 2015 Appropriated2016 to 2017 AppropriatedChange
Mixed Beverage Tax$307,296,000$408,527,000$101,231,000
Library Resource Sharing$24,170,709$37,443,163$13,272,454
Local Library Aid$4,114,692$4,948,159$833,467
Local Parks Grants$16,368,960$42,000,000$25,631,040
TCEQ Solid Waste Grants$15,625,679$13,431,017($2,194,662)
LEOSE Training Funds$12,000,000$12,000,000$0
Defense Community Grants$0$30,000,000$30,000,000

In addition, the budget reduces by half (from $3 million to $1.5 million) the amount of fee revenue that the Texas Commission on Fire Protection is required to generate and send to the state’s general revenue fund for the next biennium.

H.B. 7 (Darby/Nelson) - Military Cities: provides, among other things, that a city bordered by or adjacent to a military installation that has lost a disproportionate share of property tax revenue as a result of disabled veteran property tax exemptions may apply to receive a disabled veteran assistance payment from the state comptroller. (Effective September 1, 2015.)

H.B. 23 (S. Davis/Huffman) - Disclosure of Vendor Relationships: amends Chapter 176, Local Government Code (which requires city officials and vendors to disclose certain information) to provide, among other things, that: (1) the chapter applies to a “local government officer,” including an agent of a local government entity who exercises discretion in the planning, recommending, selecting, or contracting of vendor; (2) the chapter applies to a “vendor” who enters or seeks to enter into a contract with the city, including an officer or employee of a state agency acting in a private capacity to enter into a contract with the city; (3) disclosure is triggered upon the receipt of one or more gifts (including lodging, transportation, and entertainment) that have an aggregate value of more than $100 (current law is $250); (4) disclosure is triggered when the vendor has a relationship within the third degree by blood and second degree by marriage with a local government officer; (5) failure by a local government officer or vendor to comply with the disclosure requirements is a criminal offense ranging from a Class C to a Class A misdemeanor, depending on the amount of the contract at issue; and (6) the city council could declare a contract void if they determine a vendor fails to comply with the chapter. (Effective September 1, 2015.)

H.B. 114 (Flynn) - Capital Appreciation Bonds: provides that: (1) with the exception of refunding bonds or capital appreciation bonds for the purpose of financing transportation projects, a political subdivision may not issue capital appreciation bonds that are secured by property taxes unless: (a) the bonds have a scheduled maturity date that is not later than 20 years after the date of issuance; (b) the governing body of the political subdivision has received a written estimate of the cost of the issuance; (c) the governing body of the political subdivision has determined in writing whether any personal or financial relationship exists between the members of the governing body and any financial advisor, bond counsel, bond underwriter, or other professional associated with the bond issuance; and (d) the governing body of the political subdivision posts on its website and enters into the minutes various information regarding the issuance, including: (i) the total amount of the bonds to be voted on; (ii) the length of maturity of the bonds; (iii) the projects to be financed with the bond proceeds; (iv) the intended use of bond proceeds not spent after completion of the projects financed with bond proceeds; (v) the total amount of the political subdivision’s outstanding bonded indebtedness at the time of the election; (vi) the total amount of the political subdivision’s outstanding bonded indebtedness; and (vii) the information provided under (b) and (c), above; (2) the governing body of a political subdivision shall submit any determination of a personal or financial relationship in relation to the issuance of the bond to the Texas Ethics Commission; (3) the governing body of a political subdivision shall regularly update the debt information posted on its website to ensure that the information is current and accurate; (4) capital appreciation bond proceeds may not be used to purchase maintenance items and transportation-related items, unless an item has an expected useful life that exceeds the bond’s maturity date; (5) capital appreciation bond proceeds unspent after completion of the project identified as the proceeds intended use may be used only for a use identified on the political subdivision’s website, unless another use is approved by the voters at an election held for that purpose; (6) the total amount of capital appreciation bonds may not exceed 25% of the political subdivision’s total outstanding bonded indebtedness at the time of the issuance; and (7) a city may extend the maturity date of an issued capital appreciation bond only if the extension of the maturity date will decrease the total amount of projected principal and interest to maturity. (Effective September 1, 2015.)

H.B. 262 (Miles/Creighton) - Liability: provides for expanded immunity from liability for property that is used as a community garden, so long as notice is posted at the site of the limitation of liability(Effective September 1, 2015.) 

H.B. 763 (S. King/Perry) - State Agency Rule Making: provides that: (1) if a state agency requires signatures for a petition, at least 51% of the total number of signatures must be those of residents of the State of Texas; and (2) an “interested person” must be a resident, business entity, governmental subdivision, or public or private organization located in the state of Texas. (Effective immediately.)

H.B. 804 (Geren/Seliger) - Vehicle Storage Facilities: requires the operator of a vehicle storage facility, including a city vehicle storage facility, to accept cash, debit cards, and credit cards as a form of payment and to conspicuously post a related sign. (Effective September 1, 2015.)

H.B. 870 (Smith/Seliger) - Public Funds Investment Act: reduces the amount of Public Funds Investment Act training hours for city finance and investment officers from ten hours every two years to eight hours every two years. (Note: city finance and investment officers must still initially receive ten hours of training within 12 months after taking office or assuming investment duties.) (Effective September 1, 2015.)

H.B. 896 (Hernandez/Huffman) - Computer Security: makes it a criminal offense for a person to knowingly access − with the intent to defraud or harm another or alter, damage, or delete property − a computer that is owned by the government in violation of: (1) a clear and conspicuous prohibition by the owner; or (2) a contractual agreement. (Effective September 1, 2015.)

H.B. 1040 (Paddie/Hancock) - Liability of Sports Officials: provides immunity from civil damages related to personal injury, wrongful death, property damage, or other loss to a sports official who is engaged in an athletic competition, unless the damages are caused by the official’s gross negligence or wanton, willful, or intentional misconduct.  (Effective immediately.) 

H.B. 1148 (Kacal/Schwertner) - Public Funds Investment Act: provides that a city investment officer must take only the initial 10 hour training under the Public Funds Investment Act but no continuing investment training if the city: (1) does not invest city funds; or (2) only deposits city funds in interest-bearing deposit accounts or certificates of deposit. (Effective September 1, 2015.)

H.B. 1184 (Paddie/Eltife) - Energy Savings Performance Contracts: provides that a local government is authorized to use an energy savings performance contract for: (1) alternative fuel programs resulting in energy cost savings and reduced emissions for local government vehicles, including fleet vehicles; or (2) programs resulting in utility cost savings. (Effective immediately.)

H.B. 1246 (Koop/Hall) - Financial Disclosure:permits the city clerk or secretary in a city with a population of 100,000 or more to deliver a personal financial statement form by mail, personal delivery, electronic mail, or any other means of electronic transfer to an officer or candidate who is required to file the form. (Effective September 1, 2015.)

H.B. 1378 (Flynn/Bettencourt) - Local Debt Reporting: provides that:

  1. Every political subdivision must annually compile and report the following financial information: (a) debt obligation information for the political subdivision that must state: (i) the amount of all authorized debt obligations; (ii) the principal of all outstanding debt obligations; (iii) the principal of each outstanding debt obligation; (iv) the combined principal and interest required to pay all outstanding debt obligations on time and in full; (v) the combined principal and interest required to pay each outstanding debt obligation on time and in full; (vi) the amounts required by (i)-(v) limited to authorized and outstanding debt obligations secured by property taxes, expressed as a total amount and per capita amount; and (vii) the following for each debt obligation: (A) the issued and unissued amount; (B) the spent and unspent amount; (C) the maturity date; and (D) the stated purpose for which the debt obligation was authorized; (b) the current credit rating given by any nationally recognized credit rating organization to debt obligations of the political subdivision; and (c) any other information that the political subdivision considers relevant or necessary to explain the values;
  2. Instead of replicating in the annual report information required by (1), above, that is posted separately on a political subdivision’s website, a political subdivision may provide in the report a direct link to, or a clear statement describing the location of, the separately posted information;
  3. As an alternative to preparing a report under (1), above, a political subdivision may provide all required debt information to the comptroller and have the comptroller post the information on the comptroller’s official website;
  4. A city with a population of less than 15,000 may, as an alternative to providing the report under (1), above, provide to the comptroller a document that contains the required debt information;
  5. Except as provided by (3) and (4), above, the governing body of a political subdivision must take action to ensure that: (a) the annual report is made available for inspection by any person and is posted continuously on the political subdivision’s website until the political subdivision posts the next annual report; and (b) the contact information for the main office of the political subdivision is continuously posted on the website, including the physical address, the mailing address, the main telephone number, and an email address; and
  6. Except in the case of a public calamity, a case in which the issuer needs to act to protect the health of the residents, a case of unforeseen damage to public equipment or property, or to comply with a state or federal regulation, a city may not issue a certificate of obligation if the voters voted down a bond proposition for the same purpose within the preceding three years.

(Effective January 1, 2016.)

H.B. 1491 (McClendon/Menendez) - Juvenile Records: with certain exceptions, prohibits a business entity from publishing confidential juvenile record information or confidential criminal record information of a child. (Effective September 1, 2015.)

H.B. 1690 (King/Huffman) - Offenses Against Public Administration: provides, among other things, that: (1) the Texas Rangers must establish a public integrity unit to investigate certain offenses against public administration, defined primarily to mean offenses committed by state officers and employees; and (2) a local law enforcement agency must cooperate with the public integrity unit and prosecutor by providing resources and information necessary to investigate and prosecute offenses against public administration. (Effective September 1, 2015.)

H.B. 1740 (S. Thompson/Menendez) - Rabies Vaccine: provides that a veterinarian employed by a city and who administers or supervises a rabies vaccine as part of a local rabies control program established by the city is not required to establish a veterinarian-patient relationship before administering or supervising administration of the vaccine. (Effective immediately.)

H.B. 1853 (Button/Huffines) - Eviction: authorizes, but does not require, a city to: (1) provide, without charge to the owner of personal property removed from a rental unit as the result of eviction, a portable, closed container into which the removed personal property shall be placed by the officer executing a writ of possession; and (2) remove the container described in (1), above, and dispose of the contents by any lawful means if the owner does not recover the personal property within a reasonable time after the time the property is placed in the container. (Effective September 1, 2015.)

H.B. 1905 (Springer/L. Taylor) - State and Local Taxes: this bill, among other things: (1) exempts from property taxation the real property owned by a person that is leased to a charter school if: (a) the real property is used exclusively by the school for education functions; (b) the real property is reasonably necessary for the operation of the school; (c) the property owner certifies by affidavit to the school that the rent for the lease of the real property will be reduced by a commensurate amount; (d) the property owner provides the school with a disclosure document stating the amount by which the taxes on the real property are reduced due to the exemption and the method to be implemented to ensure that the rent charged reflects the reduction; and (e) the rent charged for the lease of the real property reflects the reduction in the amount of property taxes due to the exemption through a monthly or annual credit against the rent; (2) provides that, for property tax purposes, a “nonprofit community business organization” includes a Type A and Type B economic development corporation; (3) clarifies the application of state and local hotel occupancy taxes to short-term rentals and authorizes a city to spend up to one % of its hotel occupancy tax revenue for the creation, maintenance, operation, and administration of an electronic tax administration system; (4) exempts a nonprofit ambulance company from motor fuel taxes for fuel used solely to provide emergency medical services; (5) exempts motor vehicles operated exclusively by a city from paying taxes on compressed natural gas or liquefied natural gas delivered into the vehicle’s fuel supply tank; and (6) authorizes a city to receive a refund or credit for taxes paid on compressed natural gas or liquefied natural gas if the fuel was delivered into the fuel supply tank of a motor vehicle operated exclusively by the city. (Note: The property tax exemption described in (1), above), will not go into effect because a corresponding resolution to amend the Texas Constitution did not pass.) (Section (2), above, is effective January 1, 2016. Sections (3), (4), (5), and (6), above, are effective September 1, 2015.)

H.B. 2154 (Dutton/Birdwell) - State Office of Administrative Hearings: provides that: (1) on making a finding that a party to a contested case has defaulted under the rules of the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH), an administrative law judge (ALJ) may dismiss the case and remand it to the referring agency for informal disposition by applying the agency’s own rules of procedure related to default proceedings; (2) the natural resource conservation division of SOAH is dismantled and any ALJ may hear cases from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality; (3) the utilities division of SOAH is dismantled and any ALJ may hear cases from the Public Utility Commission of Texas; and (4) the Texas Department of Transportation and SOAH must enter into a memorandum of understanding regarding the scheduling of certain hearings. (Effective September 1, 2015.)

H.B. 2358 (Lucio/Eltife) - Disasters: provides: (1) that an out-of-state business entity whose transaction of business in Texas is limited to the performance of disaster- or emergency-related work during a disaster response period is not required to: (a) register with the secretary of state; (b) file a tax report with or pay taxes or fees to the state or a political subdivision of the state; (c) pay tax on equipment used only during the disaster response period and that is removed from the state following the response period; (d) comply with any state or local business licensing or registration requirements; or (e) comply with any state or local occupational licensing requirements or related fees; (2) that an out-of-state employee whose only employment in the state is for the performance of disaster- or emergency- related work during a disaster response period is not required to: (a) file a tax report with or pay taxes or fees to the state or a political subdivision; or (b) comply with any state or local occupational licensing requirements or related fees; and (3) provide that an entity or employee described in (1) and (2), above, is (unless otherwise exempt) subject to a transaction tax or fee, including motor fuels tax, sales or use tax, hotel occupancy tax, and motor vehicle rental tax. (Effective immediately.)

H.B. 2679 (Flynn/Estes) - Public Facility Corporations: provides, among other things, that a public facilities corporation: (1) may exercise any powers that a nonprofit corporation may exercise, to the extent necessary or convenient to accomplish the purpose of the corporation, including the authority to grant a leasehold or other possessory interest in a public facility owned by the corporation; and (2) during the period of time that a corporation owns a particular public facility, a leasehold or other possessory interest in the real property of the public facility granted by the corporation is exempt from taxation in certain circumstances. (Effective immediately.)

H.B. 3132 (Parker/Birdwell) - Municipal Advisors: authorizes a city to hire a financial advisor or investment advisor who is registered as a municipal advisor with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, Section 15B. (Effective September 1, 2015.)

Vetoed H.B. 3511 (Davis/Huffman) - Financial Statements: requires that financial statements filed by officials and candidates in cities with a population of 100,000 or greater contain information about certain community and separate property, and that the statements meet certain requirements if they are electronically filed. (Effective September 1, 2015.)

Vetoed H.B. 3736 (Davis/Huffman) - Financial Statements: requires that financial statements filed by officials and candidates in cities with a population of 100,000 or greater contain information about certain community and separate property, certain contracts with and services for governmental entities, and other sources of unearned income such as public benefits or pensions. (Effective September 1, 2015.) 

S.B. 97 (Hinojosa/Alvarado) - E-Cigarettes: includes E-cigarettes in the existing state regulations that govern the sale, distribution, possession, use, and advertising of cigarettes and other tobacco products. (Note: the comptroller must make required signage available to the public by September 15, 2015.) (Effective October 1, 2015.)

S.B. 200 (Nelson/Price) - Health and Human Services: this is the Department of Health and Human Services sunset bill. The bill, among other things: (1) consolidates various health and human services agencies under the Health and Human Services Commission; and (2) eliminates many of the committees, councils, and work groups whose purpose is to give information regarding the physical, mental, and intellectual health of certain individuals and communities. (Various effective dates from September 1, 2015 to September 1, 2017). 

S.B. 450 (Schwertner/Sheets) - Governmental Immunity: provides that the Texas Tort Claims Act does not waive immunity for a claim against a political subdivision if: (1) the political subdivision acquires land through foreclosure of a lien held by the political subdivision or that was bid off to the political subdivision under a tax sale or conveyed to the political subdivision owed the largest amount of delinquent property taxes; (2) the claim arises after the date the land was acquired and before the date the land is sold, conveyed, or exchanged by the political subdivision; and (3) the claim arises from the condition of the land, a premises defect on the land, or an action committed by a person on the land, other than an agent or employee of the political subdivision. (Effective September 1, 2015.)

S.B. 610 (Perry/Murr) - Recreational Use Liability:  limits the liability of an agritourism entity involved in an agritourism activity, so long as the entity posts a notice regarding the limitation of liability. (Effective immediately.)

S.B. 900 (L. Taylor/G. Bonnen) - Texas Windstorm Insurance Association: provides that: (1) each biennium, the Texas Department of Insurance shall conduct a study of market incentives to promote participation in the voluntary windstorm and hail insurance market in the seacoast territory of this state; (2) the study required by (1), above, must address as possible incentives the mandatory or voluntary issuance of windstorm and hail insurance in conjunction with the issuance of a homeowners policy in the seacoast territory; (3) if determined by the Insurance Commissioner to be in the best interest of the policyholders and the public, the commissioner may contract with an administrator - who must have certain qualifications - to manage the association and administer the plan of operation; (4) losses in a catastrophe year not paid from existing or reserve funds shall be paid from Class 1, 2, or 3 member assessments in accordance with new procedures imposed by the bill; (5) the Texas Windstorm insurance Association (TWIA), with the approval of the commissioner, shall notify each member of the amount of the member’s assessment; (6) significant modifications to the composition of the TWIA board of directors are made; (7) TWIA’s investment procedures and reserve amount requirements are modified; and (8) TWIA shall administer, subject to commissioner approval, a depopulation program that encourages the transfer of association policies to insurers through the voluntary market or assumption reinsurance. (Effective September 1, 2015.)

S.B. 1267 (Estes/Clardy) - Contested Case Hearings: provides, among other things, that: (1) in a proceeding in which a state agency has the burden of proof, an agency that intends to rely on a statute or rule not previously referenced in the notice of hearing must amend the notice to refer to the statute or rule not later than the 7th day before the date set for the hearing; (2) a state agency may summarily suspend a license holder’s license pending proceedings for revocation if the agency determines imminent peril to the public health, safety, or welfare requires such emergency action; (3) a state agency must notify each party to a contested case of any decision or order of the agency personally, by electronic means (if agreed to by the party), or by mail; (4) if an adversely affected party or the party’s attorney of record does not receive required notice from a state agency or acquire actual knowledge of a signed order before the 15th day after the date the order is signed, the deadline for a motion for rehearing begins when the party receives the notice or acquires actual knowledge of the signed order or decision, whichever occurs first; (5) a motion for rehearing in a contested case must (with certain exceptions) must be filed not later than the 25th day after the date the decision or order is signed, and a party must (with certain exceptions) file a reply to a motion for rehearing not later than the 40th day after the date the decision or order is signed; and (6) in a contested case in which a motion for rehearing is a prerequisite for seeking judicial review, a prematurely filed petition is effective to initiate judicial review. (Effective September 1, 2015.)

S.B. 2065 (Estes/Sanford) - Religious Beliefs: provides that: (1) a religious organization, an organization supervised or controlled by or in connection with a religious organization, an individual employed by a religious organization while acting in the scope of that employment, or a clergy or minister may not be required to solemnize any marriage, provide services, accommodations, facilities, goods, or privileges for a purpose related to the solemnization, formation, or celebration of any marriage if the action would cause the organization or individual to violate a sincerely held religious belief; and (2) a refusal to provide services, accommodations, facilities, goods, or privileges under (1), above, is not the basis for a civil or criminal cause of action or any other action by this state or a political subdivision of this state to penalize or withhold benefits or privileges, including tax exemptions, governmental contracts, grants, or licenses, from any protected organization or individual. (Effective immediately.)


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