SIGNIFICANT FLOOR ACTIONS

H.B. 77 (Flynn), permitting city depository banks to pool collateral for deposit amounts in excess of FDIC insurance, giving cities and banks the option to participate in the program, requiring 102-percent collateralization, requiring state comptroller oversight of pooled collateral, and requiring third-party safekeeping of collateral in most cases. Passed the House.

H.B. 1290 (Oliveira), requiring that health benefit plans provide coverage for certain tests for the early detection of cardiovascular disease. Passed the House.

H.B. 2113 (Walle), allowing a police officer or firefighter, in a city with more than 25,000 in population, to treat September 11 as a paid day off if the officer substitutes another holiday or uses other paid time off and is not required by the city to work to maintain minimum staffing levels. Passed the House.

S.B. 254 (Estes), exempting volunteer fire departments from state motor fuel taxes. Passed the Senate.

S.B. 475 (Wentworth), relating to a property tax exemption. Passed the Senate. As this bill came to the Senate floor for debate, it was intended to make certain organizations that are engaged primarily in charitable activities (typically fraternal organizations) automatically eligible to receive a charitable tax exemption, whereas current law requires action by the city council or an election to grant the exemption. On the Senate floor, senators added an amendment that grants a property tax exemption to certain property of chambers of commerce throughout the state. There is, as yet, no fiscal note that estimates how expensive that amendment would be for local governments.

S.B. 947 (Duncan), relating to the exemption from ad valorem taxation of certain tangible personal property stored temporarily at a location in this state. Passed the Senate.

S.B. 1011 (Estes), continuing the existence of the Texas Commission on Fire Protection. Passed the Senate. As reported, this bill would, among other things: (1) make it optional (rather than mandatory, as is current law) for the Texas Commission on Fire Protection to consult with the firefighter advisory committee; (2) require that some commission fees be based on the amount designed to recover the commission’s costs, with no maximum fee listed; (3) require criminal background checks for individuals applying for certification by the commission; (4) change current law to allow the commission to enter a default order if a fire department does not respond to a violation notice within the commission deadlines; and (5) abolish the fire department emergency program which provides scholarships, grants, loans, and other financial assistance to eligible local fire departments. (Note: fire chiefs should study this bill thoroughly.)

S.B. 1175 (Patrick), relating to failure to identify. Passed the Senate. A Senate floor amendment provides that for purposes of a “failure to identify” offense, an arrest or detention by a peace officer is lawful “only if a reasonable peace officer would have arrested or detained the person under the same circumstances.”

S.B. 1431 (Hinojosa), relating to vehicle towing. Passed the Senate. Please see H.B. 2571 and S.B. 1431 in “Significant Committee Actions” above.

S.B. 1447 (West), exempting volunteer fire departments from state motor fuel taxes. Passed the Senate.

S.B. 1619 (Wentworth), providing that certain actions of a home rule city are not subject to referendum. Passed the Senate.

S.B. 1742 (Shapiro), placing tighter restriction on the discharge of firearms in a city’s extraterritorial jurisdictions. Passed the Senate.

S.J.R. 9 (Carona), relating to transportation funding. Passed the Senate. As passed, this legislation proposes to amend the Texas Constitution by phasing out, by 2018, the funding of the Department of Public Safety with transportation-related fees and taxes.

S.J.R. 18 (Ogden), proposing a constitutional amendment that would authorize the legislature to permit the Texas Transportation Commission to designate the area adjacent to a state highway project as a transportation finance zone and dedicating the proceeds of the state sales tax in the zone to the Texas Mobility Fund. Passed the Senate.

S.J.R. 52 (Davis), proposing to amend the Texas Constitution to allow the legislature to authorize a county to levy a gasoline/diesel fuel tax, assess an additional vehicle registration fee, and use the revenue for mobility projects. Passed the Senate.

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