SIGNIFICANT FLOOR ACTIONS

H.B. 8 (Otto), changing the frequency of the comptroller’s property value study of each appraisal district from annually to biennially and providing for biennial review of appraisal district methodologies. Passed the House.

H.B. 360 (Kuempel), relating to the Texas Municipal Retirement System. Passed the House.

H.B. 774 (T. Smith), relating to the protest and approval of zoning changes. Passed the House.

H.B. 1174 (Hartnett), providing that a city may pay damages arising from the backup of the city’s sanitary sewer system regardless of whether the city would be liable for the damages under the Texas Tort Claims Act. Passed the House.

H.B. 1177 (Guillen), broadening the applicability of Subchapter A of Chapter 614 of the Government Code, relating to required legislative leave for peace officers and firefighters, from cities of 200,000 or more in population to cities of 50,000 or more in population. Passed the House.

H.B. 1998 (McCall), relating to housing and emergency shelters provided by a political subdivision for disaster victims. Passed the House. H.B. 2082 (Isett), providing that the five-percent “local preference” in purchasing may be granted only for an expenditure of less than $100,000. Passed the House.

H.B. 2317 (Villarreal), relating to appraisal review boards (ARBs). Passed the House. As this bill went to the House floor, it was related only to training of members of ARBs. A floor amendment, however, provides that in a county with a population of 300,000 or more, the ARB members shall be appointed by the county commissioners court, not by the appraisal district board.

H.B. 2527 (Aycock), relating to municipal regulation of commercial fertilizer. Passed the House.

H.B. 2532 (Bonnen), relating to information regarding the location of infrastructure. Passed the House. As passed, this bill would require each city to provide the State Division of Emergency Planning with the location of infrastructure within the city that is critical to public health and safety and that requires electricity to respond to a disaster or emergency.

H.B. 2555 (Hilderbran), extending from three years to five years the period of time for which a property may be exempted from the property tax as low-income housing. Passed the House.

H.B 2571 (Gonzales), related to vehicle towing. Passed the House. As passed, this bill would give to the Texas Commission on Licensing and Regulation the authority to establish fees for a non-consent tow from a private parking facility. On the House floor, the House added an amendment that will prohibit a city from charging a vehicle storage fee for a vehicle that is being stored as the result of a recovery after the vehicle was stolen.

H.B. 2572 (Gonzales Toureilles), relating to pipelines. Passed the House. As passed, this bill would allow a gas company to lay a line under a road (as well as over or across a road) if the company pays the required compensation to the city.

H.B. 3062 (Bohac), requiring that when a city orders an election, it must provide a copy of the order to the voter registrar. Passed the House.

H.B. 3612 (Otto), creating a pilot program to allow taxpayer appeals of certain appraisal review board determinations in certain populous counties to be heard by the State Office of Administrative Hearings. Passed the House.

H.B. 3613 (Otto), requiring that an appraisal of a residence homestead be based on its use as a residence only, regardless of the “highest and best use” of the property. (Note: please see H.J.R. 36, below.) Passed the House.

H.J.R. 36 (Otto), proposing to amend the Texas Constitution to permit the legislature to provide that appraisals of residential homesteads shall be limited to the highest possible appraised value when used only as a homestead. (Note: current law can permit appraisal at the level of “highest and best use” of the property, which might include uses other than residential.) (Note: please see H.B. 3613, above.) Passed the House.

S.B. 11 (Carona), addressing various street gang and graffiti issues. Passed the Senate. As reported, this bill would: (1) make a street gang or member of a street gang liable for damages arising from gang activity, including the increased cost of governmental services and the loss of property tax revenue due to decreased value of property; (2) make a street gang or member of a street gang liable for damages stemming from injury by nuisance; (3) allow the property of a street gang or gang member to be seized in execution of a judgment against the gang; (4) require an affirmative finding of fact to be entered in the judgment if the judge determines that the conduct in question was engaged in as part of the activities of a criminal gang; (5) make any property used in certain organized crime offenses eligible for felony forfeiture proceedings; (6) create a statewide law enforcement integrity unit, run by DPS, to investigate peace officers suspected of engaging in organized crime activity, including requesting information from local police departments; (7) authorize a city to pass an ordinance controlling aerosol paint sales and to impose a surcharge of $1 or less on the sale of spray paint to be collected by the city and used for purposes related to graffiti abatement; and (8) authorize a city to require certain property owners to remove graffiti within ten days of notice by the city, or authorize the city to abate the graffiti and charge the owner in accordance with a fee schedule adopted by the city.

S.B. 12 (Carona), relating to emergency management. Passed the Senate.

S.B. 20 (Williams), relating to the property tax. Passed the Senate. (Please see S.B. 20 in “Significant Committee Actions,” above.)

S.B. 263 (Carona), relating to the issuance by TXDoT of general obligation bonds for highway improvement projects. Passed the Senate.

S.J.R. 48 (Williams), proposing to amend the Texas Constitution to permit the legislature to provide that appraisals of residential homesteads shall be limited to the highest possible appraised value when used only as a homestead. (Note: current law can permit appraisal at the level of “highest and best use” of the property, which might include uses other than residential.) (Note: please see S.B. 20, above.) Passed the Senate.

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