PRE-FILING OF BILLS CONTINUES

H.B. 431 (Larson) – County Charter: would:  (1) authorize the commissioners court of Bexar County to adopt a home rule charter pursuant to procedures that are similar to the adoption of home rule charter by a city; and (2) provide detailed procedures whereby a county charter would integrate the county with other political subdivisions, including cities.  (Note: please see H.J.R. 47, below).  

 H.B. 437 (Rodriguez) – MTBEs: would: (1) provide standards for a manufacturer, processor, distributor, recycler, or seller of certain anti-freeze or engine coolant additives; (2) limit the liability of an entity listed in (1), above; and (3) provide that a political subdivision may not adopt or enforce an ordinance that is inconsistent with or more restricted than the standards in the bill.

H.B. 438 (Thompson) – Mandatory Health Benefits:  would require the issuer of a health benefit plan to provide coverage for orally administered anticancer medication at the same level that it provides coverage for intravenously administered or injected cancer medications.  (Companion bill is S.B. 262 by Carona). 

H.B. 439 (T. Smith) – Sobriety Checkpoints:  would authorize sobriety checkpoints by the Texas Department of Public Safety, the sheriff's department of a county with a population of 250,000 or more, or the police department of a city with a population of 500,000 or more; and (2) provide detailed guidelines for checkpoint operations, including – among many others – requirements that: (1)the mayor of a city approve a checkpoint operated by the police department of the city; (b) the law enforcement agency record in writing and publish on an appropriate publicly accessible Internet Web site the procedures used to implement the bill; (c) before beginning the operation of a sobriety checkpoint, the law enforcement agency shall publicize through the use of the media the date and time for the operation of the checkpoint but is not required to disclose the location of the checkpoint; and (d) not later than January 15 of each calendar year, each law enforcement agency that operated a sobriety checkpoint during the preceding calendar year shall report the operation of the checkpoint to the traffic safety section of the traffic operations division of the Texas Department of Transportation.

H.B. 440 (S. Turner) – Law Enforcement:  would prohibit a peace officer from taking a blood specimen from a vehicle operator to test for alcohol concentration or other intoxicating substances.

H.B. 442 (Guillen) – Emergency Communications:  would change the purpose of the court cost for fugitive apprehension to that of emergency radio infrastructure, with the proceeds to be used for an interoperable statewide emergency radio infrastructure and other public safety purposes.

H.B. 443 (Fletcher) – Municipal Court:  would authorize a $75 fee to be assessed upon conviction of any offense to pay for the services of a peace officer who has executed or processed an arrest warrant, capias, or capias pro fine.

H.B. 445 (Guillen) – Property Tax:  would provide that a disabled veteran or the unmarried surviving spouse of a disabled veteran may make installment payments of property taxes if at least one-fourth of the individual’s taxes are paid before the delinquency date and certain steps are taken to notify the taxing unit that the remaining taxes will be paid in installments. 

H.B. 451 (Lucio) – Illegal Dumping:  would require the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to create a hotline, which would forward calls to the appropriate local law enforcement agency, for drivers to report illegal dumping.

H.B. 453 (Lucio) – Sales Tax:  would exempt the sale, use, or installation of a renewable energy device from sales taxes. 

H.B. 454 (Lucio) – Motor Fuels Tax:  would provide that the state motor fuels tax does not apply to certain ethanol fuels.

H.B. 455 (Lucio) – Sales Tax:  would exempt books purchased by university and college students from sales taxes if purchased during a specified time period each semester. 

H.B. 461 (Kleinschmidt) – Property Tax:  would provide a complete residence homestead property tax exemption for the surviving spouse of a totally disabled veteran if the property was the residence homestead of the surviving spouse when the disabled veteran died and the property remains the residence homestead of the surviving spouse.  (Note: please see H.J.R. 47, below).  

H.B. 465 (Burnam) – Texas Enterprise Fund:  would abolish the Texas Enterprise Fund, as well as other economic development programs and zones, some of which are city-created. 

H.B. 466 (Burnam) – Texas Enterprise Fund:  would prohibit the governor from entering into an agreement to award a grant from the Texas Enterprise Fund after August 31, 2011, as well as other economic development programs and zones, some of which are city-created. 

H.B. 469 (Callegari) – Property Tax:  would prorate the taxes due on a residence homestead of a totally disabled veteran when an individual terminates the exemption for one property and qualifies a different property for the exemption in the same year.  (Companion bill is S.B. 201 by Uresti.) 

H.B. 470 (Anderson) – Salvia Divinorum:  would make Salvia Divinorum and its derivatives and extracts subject to Penalty Group 3 of the Texas Controlled Substances Act.

H.B. 471 (C. Anderson) – Unions:  would require an exclusive bargaining representative for a union to: (1) be elected by secret ballot and by majority vote of those present and participating; or (2) be elected through a vote of an entire collective bargaining unit through mailed ballots.  (The collective bargaining provisions of Chapter 101 of the Labor Code may or may not apply to a city depending on the outcome of litigation currently at the Supreme Court of Texas.   Please contact the TML Legal Department for more information).  

H.B. 472 (Anderson) – Property Tax:  would provide a complete residence homestead property tax exemption for the surviving spouse of a totally disabled veteran if: (1) the surviving spouse has not remarried; (2) the property was the residence homestead of the surviving spouse when the disabled veteran died; and (3) the property remains the residence homestead of the surviving spouse.  (Note: please see H.J.R. 48, below.)

H.B. 473 (T. Smith) – Intoxication Offenses:  would modify the consequences of an arrest or conviction for driving while intoxicated and certain other intoxication offenses.

H.B. 478 (Orr) – Traffic Fines:  would eliminate the court cost associated with the offense of failing to secure a child passenger in a motor vehicle, which is currently remitted to the state comptroller and appropriated only to the Texas Department of Transportation for the purchase of child safety seat systems for low-income families.

H.B. 479 (Orr) – Economic Development Corporations:  would permit the board of directors for a Type A or Type B economic development corporation located in a county with a population of less than 30,000 to conduct a board meeting anywhere within the boundaries of the county.  (Current law requires that a meeting be held within the limits of the creating city.)   

H.B. 480 (Fletcher) – Peace Officer Training:  would allow the Bill Blackwood Law Enforcement Institute of Texas (LEMIT) to establish and offer a continuing education program for second-in-command staff that would exempt the second in command staff from certain other the continuing education standards. (Companion bill is S.B. 244 by Patrick).

H.B. 489 (Dutton) – Municipal Court:  would: (1) require a municipal prosecutor, upon request by a defendant and subject to certain exceptions and existing rules of evidence, to make available to the defendant multiple types of discovery records related to the case; (2) require the same of the defendant; (3) create sanctions for violations; (4) apply the requirements to pro se defendants only as required by the court; and (5) give the release requirement precedence over the Texas Public Information Act

H.B. 490 (Dutton) – Certificates of Convenience and Necessity:  would allow a city and an investor-owned water and sewer utility to agree in writing to, upon annexation of an area into a city, transfer the certificate of convenience and necessity for that area to the city or provide that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality shall grant single certification to the city, among other authorized action.

H.B. 494 (Dutton) – Water Ratemaking:  would require a ratemaking authority (either a city or the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality) to exclude legal expenses that are incurred by a privately owned water and sewer utility during a contested ratemaking case or appeal in the calculation of water rates.

H.B. 499 (Rodriguez) – Property Tax:  would allow the governing body of a taxing unit or appraisal district to collect an additional penalty on a corrected or supplemental tax bill that become delinquent on or after June 1. 

H.B. 501 (Solomons) – Public Information:  would: (1) prohibit a person from disseminating any criminal history record information for which the person has knowledge or has received notice that an order of expunction or nondisclosure has been issued, and (2) makes the person who releases criminal history record information in spite of knowledge or notice of such orders liable to the individual who is the subject of the information for up to $25,000 per violation and $5,000 per subsequent day of violation, as well as court costs and attorney's fees.

H.J.R. 44 (Larson) – County Charter:  would amend the Texas Constitution to:  (1) allow a county with a population of 100,000 or more, or a county that is included in a federal metropolitan statistical area and adjacent to a county with a population of 100,000 or more, to adopt a county charter; and (2) provide procedures for a county that has adopted a charter to integrate the county with other political subdivisions, including cities.  (Note: Please see H.B. 431, above.)

H.J.R. 47 (Kleinschmidt) – Property Tax:  would amend the Texas Constitution to permit the legislature to provide a complete residence homestead property tax exemption for the surviving spouse of a totally disabled veteran if the property was the residence homestead of the surviving spouse when the disabled veteran died and the property remains the residence homestead of the surviving spouse. (Note: Please see H.B. 461, above.)

H.J.R. 48 (Anderson) – Property Tax:  would amend the Texas Constitution to permit the legislature to provide a complete residence homestead property tax exemption for the surviving spouse of a totally disabled veteran if: (1) the surviving spouse has not remarried; (2) the property was the residence homestead of the surviving spouse when the disabled veteran died; and (3) the property remains the residence homestead of the surviving spouse.  (Note: Please see H.B. 472, above.)

S.B. 259 (Harris) – Immigration:  would provide that: (1) a peace officer shall inquire into the immigration status of any person under arrest on other grounds; and (2)  if a person is under arrest and the person has also violated a civil or criminal provision of the federal immigration laws, the arresting peace officer shall identify and report the person to United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

S.B. 262 (Carona) – Mandatory Health Benefits:  would require the issuer of a health benefit plan to provide coverage for orally administered anticancer medication at the same level that it provides coverage for intravenously administered or injected cancer medications.  (Companion bill is H.B. 438 by Thompson). 

S.B. 275 (Uresti) – Hunting:  would allow the capture, trapping, or hunting of a reptile, amphibian, or insect on a public road or right-of-way.

S.B. 280 (Davis) –Employment Discrimination:  tracks the language of the Federal Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and would: (1) extend the statute of limitations on pay discrimination claims every time an individual is paid based on a past discriminatory decision made by an employer; and (2) allow back pay and benefits for up to two years preceding the date of filing a complaint of pay discrimination. 

S.B. 296 (Wentworth) – Residential Development:  would, among other things: (1) authorize a school district to mitigate the effects of certain residential development by allowing the Texas Education Commissioner to purchase, for fair market value, a percentage of the real property acreage within the residential development site if the commissioner determines that the development is likely to significantly increase elementary school student enrollment in a school district and that the increase in enrollment warrants the construction of a new elementary school facility to accommodate the increased elementary school population; (2) provide that a city may not grant final approval to a plat or replat of a residential development or issue permits required for a residential development unless the developer presents evidence of having complied with the mitigating measures; and (3) provide that any other law that requires a city to approve and plat, replat, or permit within a certain is tolled until the developer presents evidence of having complied with the mitigating measures.

S.B. 299 (Wentworth) – Property Tax:  would require real property sales price disclosure upon the filing of deeds at the county clerk’s office.

S.B. 305 (Huffman) – Burglary of a Vehicle:  would make burglary of a vehicle a state jail felony offense and provide that the amount of community service work ordered by a judge may not exceed 200 hours for a Class A misdemeanor offense or any other misdemeanor for which the maximum permissible confinement exceeds six months or the maximum permissible fine exceeds $4,000.  (Companion bill is H.B. 20 by Riddle).

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