Community and Economic Development

H.B. 403 (S. Davis/Ellis) – Building Inspectors: provides that: (1) a certified municipal inspector is not liable for civil damages, including personal injury, wrongful death, property damage, or other loss related to the inspector’s act, error, or omission, unless it constitutes gross negligence or wanton, willful, or intentional misconduct when providing inspection services that are: (a) authorized by the scope of the inspector’s national model code group certification or plumbing inspector’s license; (b) provided voluntarily and without compensation or the expectation of compensation from any source; (c) in response to and during the duration of a proclaimed state of emergency or disaster; (d) provided at the request or with the approval of a federal, state, or local public official acting in an official capacity; and (e) related to a structure, building, premises, piping, or other system; and (2) a “certified municipal inspector” is defined as an individual who is employed full-time by a political subdivision and is currently: (a) certified by a national model code group; or (b) licensed as a plumbing inspector.  (Effective immediately.)

H.B. 654 (Cortez/Hinojosa) – Housing Authority Commissioners: repeals term limits for local housing authority commissioners in a city with a municipal housing authority with a total number of units of 150 or more. (Effective immediately).

H.B. 674 (Ratliff/Carona) – Zoning: provides that: (1) before the 10th day before the hearing date on a rezoning, written notice of each public hearing before the zoning commission on a proposed change in a zoning classification affecting residential or multifamily zoning shall be sent to each school district in which the property for which the change in classification is proposed is located; (2) the notice may be served by its deposit in the city, properly addressed with postage paid, in the United States mail; and (3) the requirement does not apply to a city the majority of which is located in a county with a population of 100,000 or less, except that such a municipality must give notice to a school district that has territory in the city and requests the notice.  (Effective September 1, 2013.)

H.B. 738 (Crownover/Nelson) – Special Districts: applies to the creation of a municipal utility district all of which is to be located outside the corporate limits of a city and provides that: (1) promptly after a petition is filed with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to create a district, the commission shall notify the commissioners court of any county in which the proposed district is to be located; (2) the commissioners court of a county in which the district is to be located may review the petition for creation and other evidence and information relating to the proposed district that the commissioners consider necessary; (3) in the event the commissioners court votes to submit information to the commission or to make a recommendation regarding the creation of the proposed district, the commissioners court shall submit to the commission, at least 10 days before the date set for action  on the petition, a written opinion stating whether the commissioners court recommends the creation of the proposed district and any findings, conclusions, and other information that the commissioners court thinks would assist the commission in making a final determination on the petition.  (Effective September 1, 2013.)

VETOED H.B. 1982 (Murphy/Hinojosa) – Enterprise Zones: this bill, among other things: (1) authorizes a county to nominate for designation as an enterprise project a project or activity of a qualified business that is located within the jurisdiction of city located in the county only if the nominating county enters into an interlocal agreement with the city that has jurisdiction of the territory in which the nominated project or activity will be located; (2) requires that the interlocal agreement specify that either the nominating county or the city that has jurisdiction of the territory in which the nominated project or activity will be located is the governmental body having administration authority and that both the city and the county approve the nomination; and (3) requires the nominating city or county to submit: (a) a certified copy of the minutes of all public hearings regarding local incentives available to qualified businesses with the nominating body’s jurisdiction; and (b) any interlocal agreement that states which governing body has administration authority and that both the city and the county approve the nomination of the project or activity. (Effective September 1, 2013.)  

H.B. 2062 (J. Davis/Taylor) – Plumbers:  provides, among other things, that: (1) the installation, repair, and service of equipment for rainwater harvesting is considered “plumbing” for purposes of state law; (2) a water supply protection specialist is authorized to treat rainwater or repair rainwater harvesting systems; (3) a city that adopts a plumbing code shall provide by ordinance or bylaw that a person must obtain a permit before the person performs plumbing, other than the repairing of leaks, the replacement of lavatory or kitchen faucets, the replacement of ballcocks or water control valves, the replacement of garbage disposals, or the replacement of water closets; and (4) responsible master plumbers and plumbing contractors are added to the list of persons who are not required to pay a plumbing registration fee or administrative fee in a city or any other political subdivision.  (Effective September 1, 2013.)

H.B. 2473 (Deshotel/Williams) – Economic Development Corporations: authorizes a Type A or Type B economic development corporation to spend sales tax revenue for the development or construction of housing facilities on or adjacent to the campus of a public state college through September 1, 2017. (Effective September 1, 2013.)

H.B. 2636 (Frullo/Duncan) – Tax Increment Financing: allows money in the tax increment fund for a reinvestment zone to be transferred to the tax increment fund for an adjacent zone if: (1) the taxing units that participate in the reinvestment zone transferring the funds also all participate in the adjacent zone that is to receive the funds; (2) each taxing unit agrees to deposit the same portion of tax increment tin the fund for each zone; and (3) the holders of any tax increment bonds or notes issued for the transferring zone agree to the transfer. (Effective September 1, 2013.)

H.B. 3159 (Isaac/Zaffirini) – Emergency Services Districts: authorizes a city and an emergency services district (ESD) to agree, before or after an annexation, on an allocation between the city and the ESD of revenue from the sales and use tax imposed in an area annexed by the city for full purposes that is not removed from an ESD.  (Effective September 1, 2013.)

H.B. 3361 (Dutton/Birdwell) – Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs:  this is the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs sunset bill.  Of particular interest to cities, the bill: (1) continues the department until 2025; (2) provides that the department shall adopt a policy providing for the debarment of a person from participation in programs administered by the department if certain conditions are met; (3) requires the department, when scoring applications for low income housing tax credits, to consider quantifiable community participation with respect to the development, evaluated on the basis of – among other things – a resolution concerning the development that is voted on and adopted by the governing body of a city; (4) provides that, before submitting to the department an application for housing tax credits for developments financed through the private activity bond program, including private activity bonds issued by the department, the Texas State Affordable Housing Corporation, or a local issuer, an applicant must provide notice of the intent to file the application to the governing body of a city in which the proposed development site is to be located, and that the city shall hold a hearing at which public comment may be made on the application; (5) the department may not approve an application for housing tax credits for developments financed through the private activity bond program unless the applicant has submitted to the department a certified copy of a resolution from the city, which must contain various information, including that the city does not object; and (6) makes administrative changes to the department’s manufactured housing regulations.  (Effective September 1, 2013.) 

S.B. 398 (Hancock/Patrick) – Major Events Trust Fund: provides that an NCAA Bowl Championship Series or its successor or an NCAA Division I postseason playoff or championship game is eligible for funding by the major events trust fund. (Effective immediately.)

S.B. 672 (Carona/Guillen) – Industrialized Housing and Buildings:  provides that, notwithstanding any other law, the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation may not perform an inspection or investigation, open a complaint, initiate an administrative or enforcement action, or impose a penalty against a manufacturer, builder, or third-party inspector of industrialized housing after the second anniversary of the date of the final on-site inspection of the industrialized housing.  (Effective September 1, 2013.) 

S.B. 837 (Ellis/Bohac) – Nuisance Authority: allows a city to require the owner of real property to keep the property free from: (1) weeds; (2) brush; and (3) the following specific conditions which constitute a public nuisance: (a) keeping, storing, or accumulating refuse on premises in a neighborhood unless the refuse is entirely contained in a closed receptacle; (b) keeping, storing, or accumulating rubbish, including newspapers, abandoned vehicles, refrigerators, stoves, furniture, tires, and cans, on premises in a neighborhood or within 300 feet of a public street for 10 days or more, unless the rubbish or object is completely enclosed in a building or is not visible from a public street; and (c) maintaining premises in a manner that creates an unsanitary condition likely to attract or harbor mosquitoes, rodents, vermin, or disease-carrying pests.  (Effective immediately.)

S.B. 985 (Zaffirini/Isaac) – Sale of Real Property: this bill:  (1) authorizes a home rule city to contract with a broker to sell a tract of real property owned by the city and pay the broker a fee if the broker produces a ready, willing, and able buyer to purchase the property; (2) provides that if a contract is made as described in (1), above, to list a property for sale for at least 30 days with a multiple-listing service (MLS), the governing body on or after the 30th day after the date the property is listed may sell the property to a ready, willing, and able buyer who is produced by any broker using the MLS and submits the highest cash offer; and (3) allows the governing body to sell a tract of property as described above without complying with the public auction or notice and bidding requirements prescribed by law. (Effective immediately.)

S.B. 1083 (Rodriguez/Lewis) – Eminent Domain:  would provide that a city may appeal an interlocutory order of a statutory probate court.  (Note:  Certain probate courts have jurisdiction over eminent domain matters, and this bill would authorize appeals from those courts as is allowed from other trial courts under current law.  The companion to this bill, H.B. 1174 (Fallon/Nelson), passed as well.) (Effective September 1, 2013.) 

S.B. 1200 (Van de Putte/Menendez) – Military Bases:  creates  a grant program to assist local government entities, including cities, to respond to an anticipated, planned, announced, or implemented action of the federal government that would affect defense worker jobs or facilities within their community. (Effective September 1, 2013.)

S.B. 1596 (Zaffirini/E. Rodriguez) – Emergency Services Districts: this bill, among other things: (1) clarifies current law to require that a city must provide an emergency services district written notice of removal of territory from the district only if the city intends to be the sole provider of emergency services to the territory; (2) prohibits an emergency services district from enacting any regulation or building code requiring the installation of a multipurpose residential fire protection sprinkler system in a new or existing one or two-family dwelling; (3) provides that a fire code adopted by a county commissioners court may only apply to certain buildings constructed within an emergency services district; (4) provides that a city’s annexation service plan may not provide services in the area in a manner that would have the effect of reducing by more than a negligible amount the level of fire and police protection and emergency medical services provided within the area before annexation or cause a reduction in fire and police protection and emergency medical services within the area to be annexed below that of areas within the corporate boundaries of the city with similar topography, land use, and population density; and (5) the changes made by the bill do not affect the obligation of a municipality that has adopted Chapter 143 to provide police, fire, or emergency medical services within the municipality's corporate boundaries by means of personnel classified in accordance with that chapter.  (Effective September 1, 2013.)

S.B. 1599 (Zaffirini/Raymond) – Colonias:  this bill, among other things: (1) requires the secretary of state’s classification system that allows the secretary of state to track and report on the progress of state-funded projects in providing water or wastewater services, paved roads, and other assistance to colonias to include a method for a city or county to nominate an area for identification as a colonia; and (2) provides that, before an application for colonia funding through the Texas Water Development Board  may be considered by the board for a project in the extraterritorial jurisdiction of a city, the applicant must demonstrate that the state’s model subdivision rules have been adopted and are enforced in the extraterritorial jurisdiction by the city or the county.  (Effective September 1, 2013.) 

S.B. 1678 (Deuell/Isaac) – Major Events Trust Fund and Events Trust Fund: this bill, among other things:

  1. adds the X Games, a mixed martial arts championship, and the largest event held each year at a sports entertainment venue in this state with a permanent seating capacity of not less than 125,000 to the list of events for which the Major Events Trust Fund (METF) may be used;
  2. provides that a listed event may receive funding from the METF if: (a) a site selection organization selects a site located in this state for the event to be held one time or, for an event scheduled to be held each year for a period of years under an event contract or an event support contact, one time each year for the period of years, after considering other sites that are not located in the state; (b) a site selection organization selects a site in this state as the sole site for the event in a region composed of this state and one or more adjoining states; and (c) the amount of incremental increase in tax receipts equals or exceeds $1 million;
  3. with regard to the METF, requires a request for a determination of the amount of incremental increase in tax receipts to be sent to the comptroller not earlier than one year and not later than 45 days before the date the event begins;
  4. with regard to the METF or Events Trust Fund (ETF), requires an endorsing city or local organizing committee to send to the comptroller an estimate of the number of people expected to attend the event who are not Texas residents; 
  5. unless a structural improvement or addition of a fixture is for a publicly-owned facility, limits a disbursement from the METF or ETF to five percent of the cost of a structural improvement or fixture incurred under a games support contract or event support contract for the event if the improvement or fixture is expected to derive most of its value in subsequent uses of the site for future events;
  6. prohibits the comptroller from considering a contingency clause in an event support contract as relieving a local organizing committee or endorsing city’s obligation to pay a cost under the contract when considering whether to make a disbursement from the METF or ETF;
  7. provides that the comptroller may not undertake any duty regarding the METF unless the event meets all requirements for funding under state law;
  8. with regard to the METF, requires the comptroller to complete a study of the measurable economic impact attributable to the event within 10 months of the event, and post specific data from the study on the comptroller’s Internet website;
  9. authorizes the comptroller to reduce the amount of a disbursement from the METF or ETF if the actual attendance figures for the event are significantly lower than the estimated attendance figures in proportion to the discrepancy between the actual and estimated attendance and in proportion to the amount contributed to the fund by the entity;
  10. provides that a listed event may receive funding from the ETF if a site selection organization selects a site located in this state for the event to be held one time or, for an event scheduled to be held each year for a period of years under an event contract or an event support contact, one time each year for the period of years, after considering other sites that are not located in the state; 
  11. with regard to the ETF, limits the number of requests for funding  submitted by an endorsing city for an event for which the comptroller determines that the total amount of the incremental increase in tax receipts is less than $200,000 to not more than 10 events during any 12-month period, only three of which may by nonsporting events;
  12. prohibits a disbursement from the ETF for the construction of an arena, stadium, or convention center or for conducting usual and customary maintenance of a facility;
  13. with regard to the ETF, authorizes the comptroller to adopt a model event support contact and make the contract available on the comptroller’s Internet website; and
  14. requires the comptroller to conduct a study to determine: (a) the economic impact of the events that qualify for funding through the METF or ETF; and (b) whether the events would likely be held in this state in the absence of incentives provided through the fund.

(Effective immediately.)

S.B. 1702 (Taylor/Bonnen) – Windstorm Insurance:  provides that: (1) the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association is authorized to provide or continue to provide insurance coverage for a residential structure subject to the inspection requirements imposed under the bill; (2) to be eligible for insurance through the association, all construction, alteration, remodeling, enlargement, and repair of, or addition to, any structure located in the catastrophe area that is begun on or after September 1, 2009, must be performed in compliance with the applicable building code standards, as set forth in the plan of operation; (3) the association may not insure a structure until the structure has been inspected for compliance with the plan of operation and a certificate of compliance has been issued; (4) notwithstanding (3), above, the association may insure a residential structure constructed, altered, remodeled, enlarged, repaired, or added to on or after June 19, 2009, that is not in compliance with the applicable building code standards, as set forth in the plan of operation, provided that the structure had been insured on or after that date by an insurer in the private market who canceled or nonrenewed the insurance coverage of the structure before September 1, 2013, and no construction, alteration, remodeling, enlargement, or repair of or addition to the structure occurs after cancellation or nonrenewal of the coverage and before submission of an application for coverage through the association; and (5) a new or renewal insurance policy insuring a noncompliant residential structure is subject to an annual premium surcharge in an amount equal to 15 percent of the premium for insurance coverage obtained through the association.  (Effective immediately.)

TML member cities may use the material herein for any purpose. 
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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