H.B. 1295 (Capriglione/Hancock) - City Contracts: provides that: (1) a city is prohibited from entering into a contract with a business entity unless the business entity submits a disclosure of interested parties (i.e, discloses a person who has a controlling interest in the business or who actively participates in facilitating the contract for the business) if the contract: (a) requires an action or vote by the city council before the contract may be signed; or (b) the contract has a value of at least $1 million; (2) the disclosure must be on a form prescribed by the Texas Ethics Commission; and (3) a city must, not later than 30 days after receiving a disclosure, submit a copy to the Texas Ethics Commission. (Effective September 1, 2015, but only applicable to contracts entered into on or after January 1, 2016.)

H.B. 2000 (Gutierrez/Watson) - Volunteer Fire Department Purchasing:  authorizes a volunteer fire department to purchase certain technology items, including commercial software, hardware, or technology services (other than telecommunications services) through Department of Information Resources vendor contracts. (Effective September 1, 2015.)

H.B. 2049 (Darby/Eltife) - Engineers and Architects Contracts: provides that: (1) except as provided by (3), below, a covenant or promise in, in connection with, or collateral to a contract for engineering or architectural services is void and unenforceable if the covenant or promise provides that a licensed engineer or registered architect must defend a party, including a third party, against a claim based wholly or partly on the negligence of, fault of, or breach of contract by the governmental agency, the agency’s agent, the agency’s employee, or other entity, excluding the engineer or architect or that person’s agent, employee, or subconsultant, over which the governmental agency exercises control; (2) a covenant or promise may provide for the reimbursement of a governmental agency’s reasonable attorney’s fees in proportion to the engineer’s or architect’s liability; (3) a governmental agency may require in a contract for engineering or architectural services that the engineer or architect name the governmental agency as an additional insured under the engineer’s or architect’s general liability insurance policy and provide any defense provided by the policy; (4) a contract for engineering or architectural services must require a licensed engineer or registered architect to perform services: (a) with the professional skill and care ordinarily provided by competent engineers or architects practicing in the same or similar locality and under the same or similar circumstances and professional license; and (b) as expeditiously as is prudent considering the ordinary professional skill and care of a competent engineer or architect; and (5) in a contract for engineering or architectural services, a provision establishing a different standard of care than a standard described by (4), above, is void and unenforceable, and the standard of care described by (4) above, applies. (Effective September 1, 2015.)

H.B. 2475 (Geren/Eltife) - Public/Private Partnerships: provides, among other things, that: (1) the Texas Facilities Commission shall establish the center for alternative finance and procurement to consult with governmental entities regarding best practices for procurement and the financing of qualifying projects and to assist governmental entities in the receipt of proposals, negotiation of interim and comprehensive agreements, and management of qualifying projects under current public/private partnership laws; (2) a person may not develop or operate a qualifying project unless the person obtains the approval of and contracts with the responsible governmental entity under current law; and (3) any guidelines adopted by a governmental entity under current law must include: (a) the center’s role in the review, analysis, or evaluation of the qualifying project; and (b) a requirement that the governmental entity engage the services of qualified professionals, including an architect, professional engineer, or registered municipal advisor, not otherwise employed by the governmental entity or the center to provide independent analyses regarding the specifics, advantages, disadvantages, and long-term and short-term costs of a qualifying project. (Note: This bill amends the current public/private partnership law, and cities are not bound by that law unless the city council opts in.) (Effective September 1, 2015.)

H.B. 2634 (Kuempel/Zaffirini) - Construction Manager At-Risk: provides that: (1) a governmental entity’s architect or engineer for a project, or an entity related to the governmental entity’s architect or engineer, may not serve, alone or in combination with another person, as the entity’s construction manager-at-risk; and (2) for purposes of (1), above, an entity is related to the governmental entity’s architect or engineer if the entity is a sole proprietorship, corporation, partnership, limited liability company, or other entity that is a subsidiary, parent corporation, or partner or has any other relationship in which the governmental entity’s architect or engineer has an ownership interest, or is subject to common ownership or control, or is party to an agreement by which it will receive any proceeds of the construction manager-at-risk’s payments from the governmental entity. (Effective September 1, 2015.)

S.B. 810 (Seliger/Smithee) - School Construction: would provide that: (1) an independent school district and a city, located wholly or partially in the boundaries of a county in which the district is located, may contract for the district to contribute district resources to pay a portion of the costs of the design, improvement, or construction of an instructional facility, stadium, or other athletic facility owned by, on the property of, or under the control of the city; and (2) a district may contribute district resources under the bill only if the district and city enter into a written agreement authorizing the district to use that facility. (Effective immediately.)

S.B. 1081 (Creighton/Huberty) - Consolidated Insurance Programs: provides, among other things, that: (1) if a construction contract requires a person to enroll in a consolidated insurance program, not later than the 10th day before the date a principal enters into the contract with the person, the principal shall provide detailed information about the consolidated insurance program to the person; (2) if a construction contract requires a person to enroll in a consolidated insurance program, not later than the 10th day before the date a contractor enters into the contract with the person, the contractor must provide to the person, in an accurate form, detailed information about the consolidated insurance program; (3) the information required under (1) or (2), above, must be accurate, and a person who receives the information may justifiably rely on the information to decide whether to enter into the construction contract; (4) a person may not be required to enter into a construction contract that requires enrollment in a consolidated insurance program unless the person is provided the information in compliance with (1) or (2), above; (5) if a person elects not to enroll in the consolidated insurance program because the person was not provided the information required by the bill, and enters into a construction contract for the construction project, the person must obtain insurance coverage for the person’s work on the project that substantially complies with the coverage terms and liability limits imposed for other persons who work on the construction project but who are not insured under the consolidated insurance program; and (6) the principal or contractor, as applicable, shall compensate a person with whom the principal or contractor contracts and who obtains insurance coverage under (5), above, for the actual cost of that insurance coverage. (Effective January 1, 2016.)

S.B. 1281 (Zaffirini/Coleman) - Cooperative Purchasing: provides that a local government may participate in a cooperative purchasing program with another local government of this state or another state or with a local cooperative organization of this state or another state. (Effective immediately.)


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