First Special Session: City-Related Bills Filed
1H.B. 40 (E. Rodriguez) – Property Tax Appraisal: would: (1) for purposes of appraisal as “qualified open-space land,” require a chief appraiser to determine whether agricultural use meets the degree of intensity generally accepted in the area by considering the cumulative effect of all agricultural uses of a tract of land, including producing fruits and vegetables and raising or keeping livestock; (2) require the comptroller to develop guidelines for determining whether land under 10 acres in size used for production of fruits, vegetables, poultry, hogs, sheep, or goats qualifies for appraisal as agricultural land; and (3) require the comptroller and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and other stakeholders to develop guidelines for determining whether land qualifies as a nonprofit community garden for appraisal as agricultural land.
1S.B. 32 (Patrick) – Revenue Cap: would: (1) lower the property tax rollback rate from eight percent to five percent; and (2) provide that a city must hold a ratification election to adopt a tax rate that exceeds the five percent rollback rate (as opposed to current law, which only requires an election if a petition is received from the citizens).
1H.B. 39 (E. Rodriguez) – Local Preference: would provide thata local governmental entity that purchases agricultural products: (1) shall give preference to those produced or grown in this state if the cost to the local governmental entity is equal and the quality is equal; and (2)may give preference to those products produced or grown in this state if the cost to the local governmental entity does not exceed 107 percent of the cost of agricultural products produced or grown outside of this state and the quality is equal.
1H.B. 46 (Dutton) – Redistricting: would provide that: (1) an incarcerated person is included in the population data used for redistricting purposes, according to the person’s last residence before incarceration; (2) each local governmental entity in this state that operates a facility for the incarceration of persons convicted of a criminal offense, including a mental health institution for those persons, or that places any person convicted of a criminal offense in a private facility to be incarcerated on behalf of the governmental entity, shall submit a report to the comptroller; (3) the governmental entity required to make a report under (2) shall ensure that the entity collects and maintains the information required; (4) each political subdivision of this state that elects any members of a governmental body from election districts, wards, or precincts that are subject to the one-person, one-vote requirement of the U.S. Constitution shall ensure that, after redistricting, each of those election districts, wards, or precincts does not vary from the average population of those districts, wards, or precincts according to the most recent adjusted population counts prepared by the comptroller under (2) by more than five percent; (5) a governmental entity to which the bill applies may exceed the adjusted population restrictions only to the extent necessary to comply with federal law or the Texas Constitution; and (6) the bill does not apply to any political subdivision or state governmental body before the comptroller makes the initial adjustment of census counts for the 2020 federal decennial census.
1S.B. 31 (Patrick) – Elections: would, among other things, change certain election dates as follows: (1) move the general primary election date to the first Tuesday in February in each even number year; (2) move the runoff primary election date to the fourth Tuesday in April following the general primary election; and (3) provide that the presidential primary election date is the first Tuesday in February in each presidential election year.
1S.B. 36 (Uresti) – Voter Registration: would provide that: (1) the secretary of state shall implement a program to allow a person to complete a voter registration application over the Internet; and (2) the secretary of state and the Department of Public Safety must provide a link to the location of the application on the official website of the state.
1H.B. 43 (Callegari) – Public Retirement System Information: would: (1) provide that “individual record” information that could reasonably be expected to identify an individual who is or was a member, annuitant, retiree, beneficiary, alternate payee, program participant, or a person who is eligible to receive benefits from the same, is confidential and not subject to public disclosure, unless written authorization is obtained from the individual or individual’s representative; (2) allow the release of individual records and information in certain circumstances and to certain entities; (3) provide that the procedures of the Public Information Act prevail over any conflicting law with respect to the confidentiality of information held by a public retirement system; and (4) remove a public retirement system’s sole discretion in determining whether a record is confidential.
1H.B. 51 (Callegari) – Retirement Systems: would: (1) require each actuarially funded retirement system with an infinite amortization period to become finitely funded within six years or file a corrective action plan to do so with notice and participation by plan sponsors; (2) require each actuarially funded retirement system to become 80% funded and have an amortization period of 30 years or less; (3) prohibit any new monetary benefits that would result in a longer than 30 year amortization period for unfunded liabilities; (4) require a plan sponsor to make at least one contribution a year; (5) require that contributions be level or declining as a percentage of payroll; (6) require certain retirement systems that have over $100 million in total assets to do an actuarial experience study; and (7) require each public retirement system to adopt ethical standards and conflict-of-interest policies at least as strict as state law.
1H.B. 54 (Flynn) – Capital Appreciation Bonds: would: (1) prohibit a county, city, special district, school district, junior college district, or other political subdivision from issuing 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 if any personal or financial relationship exists between 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 posts various information relating to the bond issuance on the political subdivision’s website; (2) provide that the total amount of capital appreciation bonds may not exceed 25 percent of the political subdivision’s total outstanding bonded indebtedness at the time of the issuance; and (3) provide that a county, city, special district, school district, junior college district, or other political subdivision may not extend the maturity date of an issued capital appreciation bond.
1S.J.R. 4 (Patrick) – Automatic Resignation: would amend the Texas Constitution to provide that a city councilmember who has a term of office of more than two years and announces his/her candidacy for another public office automatically resigns as a councilmember if he/she has more than one year and 60 days left in the city council term.
1S.B. 39 (Patrick) – Regulatory Takings: would provide: (1) that the application of any law, rule, policy, ordinance, or regulation that has the effect of requiring that more than fifty percent of the surface area of an owner’s private real property remain in a natural or undeveloped state, exclusive of the 100-year floodplain as determined by agencies of the United States government, is a conservation easement, the establishment and enforcement of which will require: (a) the consent of the owner; or (b) the exercise of the power of eminent domain; and (2) exempt certain cities and actions from the provisions of the bill.
1H.B. 58 (Menéndez) – Alcohol/Sexually Oriented Businesses: would create a new “public consumption” alcoholic beverage permit to be administered by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission and require certain sexually oriented businesses that operate as “BYOB” establishments to obtain the new permit.
1S.B. 30 (Patrick) – Immigration: would: (1) prohibit an employer, including a city, from employing an undocumented immigrant; (2) create a complaint process for employers that employ undocumented immigrants; (3) require the Texas Workforce Commission to adopt rules regarding the bill; and (4) require a report by the commission to be given to the legislature and the governor based on nonidentifiable, summary data of two years of complaint data.
1H.B. 34 (Gooden) – Handguns: would authorize: (1) a prosecutor who holds a concealed handgun license to carry essentially anywhere; and (2) such a prosecutor to carry a handgun in a concealed or open manner.
1H.B. 38 (Sheets) – Concealed Handguns: would authorize certain federal judges and prosecutors who hold a concealed handgun license to carry essentially anywhere.
1H.B. 45 (Pickett) – Commercial Driver’s Licenses: would: (1) authorize the issuance of a commercial learner’s permit available for drivers that meet certain criteria; and (2) prohibit texting while driving by the operator of a commercial motor vehicle.
1H.B. 49 (Springer) – Concealed Handguns: would provide that: (1) a concealed handgun license holder is authorized to carry a concealed handgun essentially anywhere; and (2) authorize a concealed handgun license holder to display a handgun under circumstances in which he or she would have been justified in the use of force or threat of force.
1H.B. 56 (Lavender) – Handguns: would, among many other things, authorize a concealed handgun license holder to openly carry a handgun.
1S.B. 34 (Campbell) – Concealed Handguns: would authorize a concealed handgun license holder to carry a concealed handgun: (1) in a polling place, an amusement park, on the premises of a racetrack, a hospital, church, synagogue, or other established place of religious worship; and (2) at a meeting of a governmental body if the license holder has not received effective notice that carrying at the meeting is prohibited.
1S.B. 35 (Carona) – Concealed Handguns: would authorize certain prosecutors who hold a concealed handgun license to carry essentially anywhere.
1S.B. 27 (Huffman) – Controlled Substances: would designate certain additional synthetic cannabinoids as controlled substances and controlled substance analogues under the Texas Controlled Substances Act.
1S.B. 28 (Huffman) – Controlled Substances: would add certain substances to Penalty Groups 1-A and 2 of the Texas Controlled Substances Act.
1S.B. 40 (Nichols) – Commercial Driver’s Licenses: this bill is identical to H.B. 45 by Pickett, above.
1S.B. 41 (West) – Firearms: provides, among other things, that a person commits an offense if he purchases or attempts to purchase a firearm with intent to deliver the firearm to a person knowing that the person to whom the firearm is to be delivered intends to possess the firearm unlawfully or to use the firearm unlawfully or in the commission of an unlawful act.
1H.B. 50 (Callegari) – Desalination: would: (1) require the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to adopt rules to allow water treated by a desalination facility to be used as public drinking water and ensure that the water treated by a desalination facility meets all state and federal law requirements; and (2) establish the Texas Center for Innovative Desalination Technology as a partnership between the University of Houston, The University of Texas at Brownsville, and the University of Texas at El Paso.
1H.B. 23 (Pickett) – Transportation Funding: would: (1) authorize the Texas Department of Transportation to require a person, including a governmental or private entity, to obtain a permit and pay a fee as a condition of using any part of a state highway right-of-way for the construction, maintenance, or operation of a utility facility; but (2) provide that the department may not require the payment of a fee from a city.
1H.B. 28 (Harper-Brown) – Transportation Funding: would authorize the Texas Department of Transportation to enter into “availability payment agreements” for the design, development, financing, construction, maintenance, or operation of a highway project. (Note: An availability payment contract is a form of public/private partnership under which a governmental entity makes fixed payments to a private contractor that is responsible for the design, construction, long term maintenance, and financing of the project.)
1H.B. 35 (Phillips) – Transportation Funding: would end the diversion of gas tax revenues that currently fund the Texas Department of Public Safety and require that those funds be deposited into the state highway fund.
1H.B. 41 (Pickett) – Transportation Funding: would end the diversion of gas tax revenues that currently fund the available school fund and require that those funds be used mainly for transportation funding.
1H.B. 52 (Harper-Brown) – Transportation Funding: would end the diversion of gas tax revenues that currently fund the available school fund.
1H.B. 62 (Flynn) – Slow Moving Vehicles: would provide that a “slow moving vehicle (a motor vehicle designed to operate at a maximum speed of 25 miles per hour or less) may drive on an improved road shoulder.
1H.B. 65 (Frank) – Transportation Funding: would provide that, beginning in increments in 2015 and completed in 2018, the net revenue derived from the state sales tax imposed on the sale of a motor vehicle sold in this state shall be deposited to the credit of the state highway fund.
1H.J.R. 16 (Pickett) – Transportation Funding: would amend the Texas Constitution to provide that certain amounts of the state’s gas tax and oil and gas revenues be used for transportation purposes.
1H.J.R. 17 (Harper-Brown) – Transportation Funding: would amend the Texas Constitution to end the diversion of gas tax revenues that currently fund the available school fund.
1S.B. 33 (Lucio) – Transportation Funding: would provide that the sales tax imposed on automotive accessories (e.g., aftermarket modifications and electronics, cleaning products, floor mats, air fresheners, paint, and window tinting) shall be deposited into the state highway fund.
1S.J.R. 5 (Lucio) – Transportation Funding: would amend the Texas Constitution to provide that the sales tax imposed on automotive accessories shall be deposited into the state highway fund.