CITY-RELATED BILLS FILED

H.B. 506 (Callegari) – Intoxication Offenses:  would require the use of an ignition interlock device as a condition of community supervision following a conviction for certain intoxication offenses.

H.B. 507 (Button) – Procurement Notice:  would provide that: (1) if a city maintains an Internet Web site, the city – instead of publishing notice of competitive procurement solely in a newspaper – may:  (a) publish notice – either in print or on a newspaper's Internet Web site – in the newspaper once not later than the fourteenth day before the bid receipt deadline; and (b)  post notice continuously on the city’s Web site for at least fourteen days immediately preceding the bid receipt deadline; and (2) the procurement of legal notices is exempt from competitive bidding.

H.B. 512 (Dutton) – Peace Officer Searches:  would provide that a peace officer who stops a motor vehicle for any alleged violation of a law or ordinance regulating traffic may not search the vehicle unless the peace officer:  (1) has probable cause or another legal basis for conducting the search, including conducting a search based on a reasonable fear for the safety of the peace officer or another person; (2) obtains the written consent of the operator of the vehicle on a state-mandated form; or (3) obtains the oral consent of the operator of the vehicle and ensures that the oral consent is evidenced by an audio and video recording made according to state-adopted procedures.

H.B. 519 (S. Turner) – Electricity:  would, among other things, provide that: (1) until a municipally owned utility or electric cooperative implements customer choice, the utility or cooperative may not reduce in any manner programs already offered to assist low-income electric customers; (2) the Public Utility Commission shall adopt and enforce rules requiring transmission and distribution utilities to establish a low-income electric customers program fund under commission oversight; and (3) the commission by rule shall impose a nonbypassable low-income electric customers program fund fee in an amount not to exceed 63 cents per megawatt hour, allocated to customers based on the amount of kilowatt hours used, on the retail electric customers of a municipally owned utility or electric cooperative only after the utility or cooperative implements customer choice.

H.B. 520 (Driver) – Police Personnel Records:  would: (1) require a police chief to indicate that an officer was terminated when filing a report to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer  and Education; (2) allow an individual subject to a termination report to contest the report through a petition in a form created by the Commission; (3) require the Commission to refer such a petition to the State Office of Administrative Hearings; and (4) allow the Commission to assess an administrative penalty against a police chief who fails to make a correction to an employment termination report after being ordered to do so by the State Office of Administrative Hearings.

H.B. 524 (F. Brown) – Disannexation:  would provide that if a city fails or refuses to disannex an area pursuant to a petition alleging failure to provide services, a district court shall enter an order disannexing the area if the court finds that a valid petition was filed with the city and that the city failed to perform its obligations in accordance with the service plan or the state law governing provision of services.  (Note:  This bill would overturn a Supreme Court of Texas decision in favor of the City of Bryan.)

H.B. 526 (McLendon) – 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. 528, below.)

H.B. 531 (McClendon) – Emergency Prehospital Care:  would:  (1) except emergency medical services personnel who are providing emergency prehospital care from civil liability, criminal liability, or disciplinary action for failure to act in accordance with a written directive; (2) except emergency medical service personnel who are providing emergency prehospital care from reviewing, examining, interpreting or honoring a person’s out-of-hospital do not resuscitate order; and (3) permit a physician present while a person is receiving emergency prehospital care to order the termination of CPR if the physician determines that it should be discontinued.

H.B. 532 (Lewis) – Immigration: would:  (1) provide that as soon as practicable after a person is arrested for a felony or for driving while intoxicated, and before the person is released on bond, the law enforcement agency that arrested the person or that has custody of the person shall make a reasonable effort to: (a) have the person's immigration status verified by a law enforcement officer who is authorized under federal law to verify a person's immigration status or a federal law enforcement officer; and (b) if United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) does not have the results of the immigration status of the person, notify ICE if the person is not a citizen or national of the United States and is unlawfully present in the United States; (2) allow a peace officer: (a) without warrant,  to arrest an individual who the officer has probable cause to believe is not a citizen and is unlawfully present in the United States; (b) to detain the individual for up to 48 hours; and (c) require an officer to promptly notify ICE; (3) limit how bail may be set for individuals arrested for a felony or for driving while intoxicated and who is unlawfully present in the United States; and (4) make it a felony of the second degree for a person who is not a citizen of the United States to: (a) submit or attempt to induce another to submit an application for voter registration; or (b) vote in an election. 

H.B. 533 (Villarreal) – Property Tax:  would: (1) require the chief appraiser of an appraisal district to provide written notice to a property owner of a penalty for failure to file a rendition statement or property report by certified mail; (2) provide that a penalty for failure to file a rendition statement or property report is final if the penalty is not timely protested, an appraisal review board order has been issued, or if a court imposes the penalty; (3) repeal the statute allowing the chief appraiser to keep up to twenty percent of a penalty and redistribute a portion to each taxing unit participating in the appraisal district; (4) allow an appraisal review board, and not the chief appraiser, to waive a penalty under certain circumstances.  

H.B. 539 (C. Anderson) – Elections:  would: (1) require the voter registrar of each county and the secretary of state to provide notice of voter identification requirements and to educate voters about the requirements through certain programs by posting notice on certain Web sites; (2) provide that each election clerk shall complete training relating to the acceptance and handling of the identification presented by a voter to an election officer; (3) provide that the presiding judge shall post in a prominent place on the outside of each polling location notice that a provisional ballot will be provided to a person who executes the appropriate affidavit and a list of the acceptable forms of photographic and non-photographic identification; (4) require a voter to present to an election officer at the polling place a voter registration certificate and an acceptable form of identification; (5) provide that, if a voter does not present acceptable identification, the voter shall be accepted for provisional voting only; (6) modify the types of acceptable voter identification documents; and (7) provide that a voter who is accepted for provisional voting due to lack of proper identification may present acceptable proof of identification to the early voting ballot board not later than the sixth day after the date of the election.

H.B. 546 (Dutton) – Arrest Expunction:  would authorize a district court to expunge all records and files relating to the arrest of a person if the person is placed on deferred adjudication community supervision for certain offenses and the judge subsequently discharges the person and dismisses the proceedings.

H.B. 563 (Pickett) – Transportation Reinvestment Zones: would amend the law relating to transportation reinvestment zones (TRZs) to provide that: (1) a TRZ may be used to facilitate the improvement, development, or redevelopment of property or to enhance a local entity's ability to sponsor a transportation project funded by pass-through tolls; (2) an ordinance designating an area as a TRZ must, among other things, designate the base year for purposes of establishing the tax increment base of the municipality and contain findings that promotion of the transportation project will cultivate the improvement, development, or redevelopment of the zone; (3) from taxes collected on property in a TRZ, the city shall pay into the tax increment account the tax increment produced by the city, less any amount allocated under previous agreements; (4) all, or the portion specified by the city, of the money deposited to a tax increment account must be used to fund the transportation project for which the TRZ was designated, and any remaining money deposited to the tax increment account may be used for other transportation projects or for improvements in the TRZ; (5) the governing body of a city may contract with a public or private entity to develop, redevelop, or improve a transportation project in a TRZ and may pledge and assign all or a specified amount of money in the tax increment account to that entity; (6) to accommodate changes in the scope of the project for which a TRZ was designated, the boundaries of a zone may be amended, with certain exceptions; (7) any surplus remaining in a tax increment account on termination of a zone may be used for other purposes as determined by the municipality; (8) county TRZ authority is expanded; and (9) The Texas Department of Transportation may not reduce funding to a county or city that designates and uses a TRZ, nor may the department reduce funding to one if its districts because the district contains a TRZ.

H.B. 564 (Craddick) – Portable Fire Extinguishers:  would require a city that adopts an ordinance, order, or policy requiring motor vehicles owned by the city to be equipped with portable fire extinguishers to have the extinguishers inspected annually.

H.B. 567 (Guillen) – Mandatory School Attendance:  would authorize a municipal court to, in some instances where juveniles appear before the court: (1) require a parent and child to provide the court with evidence that the child is in compliance with the compulsory school attendance requirements in state law; (2) include in the judgment against the child an order for the parent and child to comply with compulsory school attendance laws and provide evidence of such compliance to the court; and (3) if applicable, order the child’s learner’s permit or driver’s license suspended for up to a year.

H.B. 571 (Huberty) – Aggregate Quarries:  would place new registration, inspection, and reporting requirements on aggregate quarries, as well as creating fees and enforcement authority through the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.  (Any city that regulates quarry operations should review this bill closely.)

H.B. 575 (D. Howard) – Governmental Immunity:  would allow a nurse to sue a governmental entity, including a city, that employs the nurse if the city has retaliated, discriminated, or terminated the nurse for filing a good faith report. 

H.B. 576 (McClendon) – 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; (3) the property remains the residence homestead of the surviving spouse; and (4) the qualifying surviving spouse applies for an exemption each year the spouse claims entitlement to the exemption. 

H.B. 577 (McClendon) – Emergency Services:  would:  (1) provide that emergency medical services personnel who are providing emergency prehospital care do not have to review or honor a person’s written directive; (2) provide that emergency medical services personnel who are providing emergency prehospital care are subject to current statutory provisions governing advanced directives; and (3) authorize a physician present while a person is receiving emergency prehospital care to order the termination of cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

H.B. 582 (Button) – E-verify:  would prohibit a governmental entity, including a city, from awarding an economic development subsidy to a business that does not participate in E-verify. 

H.B. 590 (Thompson) – Sales Tax:  would do the following regarding the reallocation of city sales tax revenues due to a mistake:  (1) allow a taxpayer to amend a tax report for a previous reporting period within the statute of limitations; (2) grant cities a right to notification and independent audit review regarding reallocation decisions; and (3) allow cities to view certain information concerning the pending reallocation, regardless of whether the information is confidential.

H.B. 593 (Pitts) – State Auditor: would authorize the state auditor to perform an audit of any local governmental entity or political subdivision that received funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

H.B. 594 (Raymond) – Gambling:  would:  (1) require a coin-operated machine license holder to include in its report to the comptroller:  (a)  the name and address of the owner of the machine; and (b) the name and address of any person other than the owner who has a financial interest in the proceeds of the machine; (2) except from the requirement in (1)(b) above a corporate license holder where the shareholder holds less than ten percent of the shares in the license holder’s corporation; (3) make a failure to provide the required information to the comptroller a Class A misdemeanor; (4) provide that the offense of gambling promotion is a state jail felony; and (5) provide that a person who commits a gambling offense punishable as a felony or a Class A misdemeanor may also, under certain circumstances, commit the offense of engaging in organized criminal activity.

H.B. 595 (Raymond) – False Identification as a Peace Officer:  would make the offense of false identification as a peace officer a third degree felony if the person committed the offense with the intent to commit another felony.
 
H.J.R. 51 (Christian) – Mandatory Health Insurance:  would: (1) prohibit a city or other governmental entity from imposing or enforcing a penalty or sanction for an individual’s choice to have or not have health insurance; and (2) protect the right of a city to have a contract for the provision of health insurance coverage.  (H.J.R. 24 by Paxton is identical to this resolution).

H.J.R. 52 (McLendon) – 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. 526, above.)

H.J.R. 53 (Christian) – Property Tax:  would amend the Texas Constitution to abolish all city, county, and school district property taxes in Texas as of January 1, 2014.

H.J.R. 56 (Solomons) – Unfunded Mandates:  would amend the Texas Constitution to provide that no bill enacted by the legislature on or after January 1, 2012, requiring a local government to establish, expand, or modify a duty or activity that requires the expenditure of revenue by the local government shall be effective until and unless the legislature appropriates or otherwise provides for the payment or reimbursement, from a source other than the revenue of the local government, or the costs incurred for the biennium by the local government in complying with the requirement. (Please see article in this update.)

H.J.R. 57 (Berman) – Municipal Court:  would:  (1) require a Texas court to uphold the laws of the Constitution of the United States, the Texas Constitution, federal laws and state laws; and (2) bar any Texas court from enforcing, considering, or applying religious or cultural law.

S.B. 18 (Estes) – Eminent Domain: would do the following:

1. provide that a governmental or private entity may not take private property through the use of eminent domain if the taking is not for a “public use.”
2. require a record vote with specific procedures and wording to take each parcel of land through the use of eminent domain.
3. require that any entity authorized to exercise the power of eminent domain must submit to the state comptroller, by December 31, 2012, a letter stating that the entity is authorized to exercise the power of eminent domain and identifying the provision or provisions of law that grant the entity that authority, and would provide that the entity’s authority to use eminent domain will expire if the letter is not sent by the deadline.
4. provide, among other things, that an entity with eminent domain authority that wants to acquire real property shall disclose to the property owner any and all appraisal reports produced or acquired by the entity relating specifically to the owner’s property and prepared in the 10 years preceding the offer.
5. provide that: (1) an entity seeking to acquire property may not include a confidentiality provision in an offer or agreement to acquire the property; and (2) the entity shall inform the owner of the property that the owner has the right to: (a) discuss any offer or agreement regarding the entity’s acquisition of the property with others; or (b) keep the offer or agreement confidential (subject to the requirements of the Texas Public Information Act).
6. require an entity with eminent domain authority that wants to acquire real property for a public use to make a bona fide offer to acquire the property from the property owner voluntarily, and list specific criteria that must be met to meet the bona fide offer requirement.
7. provide that a court that determines that a condemnor did not make a bona fide offer to acquire the property from the property owner voluntarily must abate the suit, order the condemnor to make a bona fide offer, and order the condemnor to pay costs and attorneys’ and other professionals’ fees.
8. provide that a condemnation petition must state with specificity the public use for which the entity intends to acquire the property and that the city made a bona fide offer to acquire the property voluntarily.
9. provide, among other things, that each party has a reasonable period to strike one of the three special commissioners appointed by the judge in the case, with the judge appointing a replacement.
10. provide that the special commissioners shall consider an injury or benefit that is peculiar to the property owner and that relates to the property owner’s ownership, use, or enjoyment of the particular parcel of real property, including a material impairment of direct access on or off the remaining property that affects the market value of the remaining property, but they may not consider an injury or benefit that the property owner experiences in common with the general community, including circuity of travel and diversion of traffic.
11. require a city, as a cost of acquiring real property, to: (a) provide a relocation advisory service for an individual, a family, a business concern, a farming or ranching operation, or a nonprofit organization that is compatible with the Federal Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act; and (b) pay moving expenses and rental supplements, make relocation payments, provide financial assistance to acquire replacement housing, and compensate for expenses incidental to the transfer of the property if an individual, a family, the personal property of a business, a farming or ranching operation, or a nonprofit organization is displaced in connection with the acquisition.
12. provide that an entity that is not subject to the Public Information Act, such a gas pipeline operator, must disclose certain information relating to its use of eminent domain upon request.
13. modify the current provisions that allow a property owner to repurchase the property if it isn’t used by the condemnor within ten years of the date of acquisition.
14. provide that a city council may adopt a development plan for a public use project at a public hearing to toll the 10-year right to repurchase.
15. modify the standard for determination of the fair value of the state’s interest in access rights to a highway right-of-way to be the same legal standard that is applied by the Texas Transportation Commission according to the Texas Transportation Code, which may include the impairment of highway access to or from real property where the real property adjoins the highway.

(Companion bill is H.B. 279 by Geren.  Also, this bill is identical to S.B. 180 by Estes.)

S.B. 313 (Seliger) – Special Districts:  would allow the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to adopt rules regarding the inclusion of all or part of the land within an existing priority groundwater management area in a new or existing special district.

S.B. 315 (Carona) – Criminal Street Gangs:  would:  (1) require a juvenile justice agency to compile criminal information into an intelligence database for the purpose of investigating or prosecuting criminal street gangs; and (2) include local law enforcement representatives on the Texas Violent Gang Task Force.

S.B. 316 (Whitmire) – Felony Forfeiture:  would:  (1) prohibit prosecutors from executing a plea bargain agreement that would waive a person’s interest in property seized under the felony forfeiture laws; (2) provide that post-judgment interest on money seized under the felony forfeiture laws shall be used for the same purposes that the principal is used; (3) prohibit the use of felony forfeiture funds for: (a) political campaigns; (b) donations to certain organizations that do not assist in the detection, investigation, or prosecution of crime or provide rehabilitation services; (c) judicial training; (d) certain travel expenses; (e) alcoholic beverages; (f) any expenditure not approved by the city council if the law enforcement agency head holds elective office and is not running for reelection or did not prevail in a reelection bid; or (g) a salary, expense, or allowance for an employee of the law enforcement agency that was not approved by the city council; (3) require more detailed local audits of the expenditure of felony forfeiture funds; (4) permit the state auditor to investigate at any time the expenditure of felony forfeiture funds; (5) permit the attorney general to sue a law enforcement agency or prosecutor who misuses felony forfeiture funds; and (6) permit up to a $100,000 civil fine for misuse of felony forfeiture funds.

S.B. 319 (Carona) – Electricity:  would, among other things, provide that: (1) until a municipally owned utility or electric cooperative implements customer choice, the utility or cooperative may not reduce in any manner programs already offered to assist low-income electric customers; (2) the Public Utility Commission shall adopt and enforce rules requiring transmission and distribution utilities to establish a low-income electric customers program fund under commission oversight; and (3) the commission by rule shall impose a nonbypassable low-income electric customers program fund fee in an amount not to exceed 63 cents per megawatt hour, allocated to customers based on the amount of kilowatt hours used, on the retail electric customers of a municipally owned utility or electric cooperative only after the utility or cooperative implements customer choice.

S.B. 321 (Hegar) – Firearms:  would: (1) preclude an employer from prohibiting an employee who has a concealed handgun license from transporting or storing a firearm or ammunition in a locked, privately owned vehicle in a parking lot, garage, or parking area provided for employees; but (2) provide that the bill’s restriction on an employer do not apply to a vehicle owned or leased by the employer and used by the employee, unless the employee is required to transport or store a firearm in the official discharge of the employee’s duties.

S.B. 326 (Duncan) – Property Tax:  would modify the Super-Freeport property tax exemption to clarify that the exemption is not available for goods stored at a warehouse that is in “any way” owned or controlled by the owner of the goods.

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