FIRST SPECIAL SESSION: CITY-RELATED BILLS FILED

1H.B. 9 (Solomons) – Immigration: would provide that: (1) a city may not adopt a rule, order, ordinance, or policy under which the city prohibits the enforcement of state or federal laws relating to immigration; (2) a city may not prohibit a person employed by or otherwise under the direction of the city from: (a) inquiring into the immigration status of a person who is arrested or lawfully detained; (b) sending information to, or receiving information from, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services or United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, maintaining the information, or exchanging that information with another federal, state, or local governmental entity; (c) assisting a federal immigration officer as needed; or (d) permitting a federal immigration officer to conduct enforcement activities at a municipal jail; (3) a city may not receive state grant funds if it adopts a rule, order, ordinance, or policy prohibiting the enforcement of state or federal laws relating to immigration, or prohibits of enforcement of the laws by consistent action; (4) the attorney general may file a petition for a writ of mandamus or other appropriate equitable relief to compel a city to comply with (1), above if a citizen makes a valid complaint regarding this law to the attorney general; and (5) a city may not consider race, color, language or national origin while enforcing these laws except to the extent allowed by the United States and Texas Constitutions.

1H.B. 34 (Madden) – Municipal Court Costs: would: (1) create a $5 fee for judicial access and improvement to be collected on certain offenses and remitted to the comptroller for deposit in a judicial access and improvement account; (2) authorize a city to keep five percent of the fee; and (3) require that the comptroller halt or diminish the fee collected for a biennium if the legislature does not appropriate funds from the account for the purposes for which it was intended, or appropriates only some of the funds for that purpose.

1H.B. 40 (C. Anderson) – Purchasing: would provide that: (1) an interlocal contract between a governmental entity and a purchasing cooperative may not be used to purchase roofing materials or services from a person who provided consulting services to the cooperative on the contract, including providing specifications for bids on the contract; and (2) the prohibition also applies to: (a) a person who is an agent, subsidiary, or parent company of the person who consulted with the cooperative; or (b) a person related in the second degree of consanguinity or affinity to a person who consulted with the cooperative.

1H.B. 41 (Simpson) – Intrusive Touching: would: (1) provide that a person who is a public servant commits a criminal offense if the person, while acting under color of the person’s office or employment and without probable cause to believe that another person has committed an offense: (a) performs a search on the other person, without effective consent, for the purpose of granting access to a public building or form of transportation; and (b) intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly touches the anus, sexual organ, buttocks, or breast of the other person, including touching through clothing, or causes physical contact with the other person when the actor knows or should reasonably believe that the other person will regard the contact as offensive or provocative; (2) define “public servant” for the purposes of (1), above, to include any person acting under color of federal law; (3) provide that it is a defense to prosecution for an offense described in (1), above, if the actor performs the search pursuant to and consistent with a grant of federal statutory authority that is consistent with the U.S. constitution; and (4) provide that consent, as described in (1), above, is effective only if, immediately before a search, the actor verbally describes the area of the person to be searched and the method to be used in the search and the person to be searched, or the person’s parent or guardian, gives express consent for the search.

1H.B. 42 (Callegari) – Water Districts: would provide, among other things, that: (1) a city may enter into a strategic partnership agreement (SPA) only with certain conservation and reclamation districts; and (2) to be annexed for limited purposes under an SPA, an area must be in the city’s extraterritorial jurisdiction and contiguous to the corporate or limited purpose boundaries unless the district consents to noncontiguous annexation pursuant to an SPA with the city.

1H.B. 43 (C. Anderson) – Unions: would require an exclusive bargaining representative for a union to be elected by secret ballot and by majority vote of those present and participating. The bill language specifically states it does not affect a collective bargaining agreement or a meet and confer agreement that is entered into before this bill is passed. (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 before the Supreme Court of Texas.)

1H.B. 46 (Crownover) – Smoking Ban: would, upon certification by the executive commissioner of the Health and Human Services Commission that the bill will reduce state expenditures by a specified amount: (1) require  each county, public health district, and local health department to post a copy of the commissioner’s certification on its website or provide certain notice of the requirements of the bill; (2) prohibit smoking in a public place owned, managed, operated, or controlled under a license, certificate, registration, or other authority or permit issued by the Department of State Health Services, the Alcoholic Beverage Commission, a local health department, or a county or public health district; (3) except certain public places from the bill’s prohibition; (4) authorize the owner, operator, manager, or other person in control of an establishment, facility, or outdoor area to declare the entire area a nonsmoking place and require the person to post certain signage and to remove ashtrays;  (5) preempt a local ordinance, rule, or regulation that relates to smoking unless it prohibits or restricts smoking to a  greater degree than the bill; (6) require a governmental entity to provide notice to a public place impacted by the bill’s smoking prohibition if the governmental entity issues the license, certificate, registration, or other authority or permit to the public place; and (7) provide for the enforcement of the bill.

H.B. 56 (Larson) – Dangerous Animals: would: (1) exclude a volunteer search and rescue service dog that is part of a volunteer search and rescue team from the definition of “dangerous wild animal”; and (2) prohibit a city from adopting or enforcing an ordinance, including a leash law, that would restrict the ability of a volunteer search and rescue team to train a service dog for search and rescue or law enforcement purposes. 

1H.B. 57 (Riddle) – Immigration: would: (1) make it criminal trespass for an individual who is in this country illegally to enter or remain in the state; and (2) allow a peace officer to arrest, without a warrant, any individual the officer has probably cause to believe has committed criminal trespass described above if the officer: (a) has reasonable suspicion that the person committed another offense; and (b) before making the arrest, seeks and receives confirmation from United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement that the person is in the state in violation of federal immigration law.

1H.B. 58 (Riddle) – Immigration: would make it a criminal offense to employ or contract with an undocumented immigrant, unless the employer attempted to verify the immigration status of the immigrant in a manner more likely than not to produce a correct and reliable result and had no knowledge of the immigrants undocumented status.

1H.B. 71 (Larson) – Water and Sewer Utility Rates: would: (1) shift water and sewer ratemaking and certain other regulatory authority over water and sewer utility service, including certificates of convenience and necessity, from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to the Public Utility Commission (PUC), with drinking water and environmental protection remaining at the TCEQ; (2) authorize the use of e-mail to deliver a statement of intent to raise rates to a city; and (3) create an office of public utility council at the PUC to represent the interests of residential and small commercial consumers before the PUC.

1S.B. 9 (Williams) – Immigration: would provide that: (1) a city may not adopt a rule, order, ordinance, or policy under which the city prohibits the enforcement of state or federal laws relating to immigration; (2) a city may not prohibit a person employed by or otherwise under the direction of the city from: (a) inquiring into the immigration status of a person who is arrested or lawfully detained; (b) sending information to, or receiving information from, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services or United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or exchanging that information with another federal, state, or local governmental entity; (c) assisting a federal immigration officer as needed; or (d) permitting a federal immigration officer to conduct enforcement activities at a municipal jail; (3) a city may not receive state grant funds if it adopts a rule, order, ordinance, or policy prohibiting the enforcement of state or federal laws relating to immigration, or prohibits of enforcement of the laws by consistent action; (4) the attorney general may file a petition for a writ of mandamus or other appropriate equitable relief to compel a city to comply with (1), above, if a citizen makes a valid complaint regarding this law to the attorney general; (5) a city may not consider race, color, language or national origin while enforcing these laws except to the extent allowed by the United States and Texas Constitutions; (6) a police officer is required to verify the immigration status of any person who is arrested based on being charged with an offense; (7) require an officer verifying the immigration status to notify the federal government if the officer is unable to verify a person's immigration status; and (8) allow the Department of Public Safety to create driver’s license and financial responsibility checkpoints in conjunction with local law enforcement authorities.

1S.B. 19 (Fraser) – Water Districts: would provide, among other things, that: (1) a city may enter into a strategic partnership agreement (SPA) only with certain conservation and reclamation districts; (2) to be annexed for limited purposes under an SPA, an area must be in the city’s extraterritorial jurisdiction and contiguous to the corporate or limited purpose boundaries unless the district consents to noncontiguous annexation pursuant to an SPA with the city; (3) a city may not regulate the sale, use, storage, or transportation of fireworks outside the city’s boundaries pursuant to an SPA; (4) notwithstanding the provisions of any agreement, a water district may appeal the rate it is charged by a utility (including a municipally owned water utility) for potable water service by filing a petition with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality; (5) pursuant to an appeal under (4), above, the utility bears the burden of proof to establish that the rate is just and reasonable and does not adversely affect the public interest (the commission shall presume that the rate adversely affects the public interest if the rate the utility charges on the date the petition is filed is at least 200 percent higher than the rate charged at any time during the 36-month period before the date of the petition); and (6) a city may provide in its written consent for the inclusion of land in a water district that is initially located wholly or partly outside the corporate limits of the city that a contract (“allocation agreement”) between the district and the city be entered into prior to the first issue of bonds, notes, warrants, or other obligations of the district.

1S.B. 20 (Patrick) – Elections: would: (1) provide that a person residing outside the United States who indicates on a federal postcard application that the person is a United States citizen is entitled to vote a full ballot if the person is otherwise eligible to vote and is a registered voter at the address stated on the application; and (2) require an early voting clerk to provide notice to a person who indicates on a federal postcard application that the person is a United States citizen residing outside the United States indefinitely that the person is only eligible to vote a federal ballot.

1S.B. 23 (Rodriguez) – Municipal Court Costs: this bill is the same as 1H.B. 34, above.

1S.B. 24 (Gallegos) – Halfway Houses: would provide that the governing body of a county or city, by order or ordinance, may adopt regulations regarding halfway houses as the governing body considers necessary to promote the public health, safety, or welfare, and prescribes the acceptable regulations.

1S.B. 26 (Gallegos) – Public Information: would authorize the imposition of a civil penalty upon a governmental body, not to exceed $500, for each written request for public information to which a violation applies, only if: (1) the requestor first notifies the governmental body in writing that the requestor considers the governmental body to be in violation of a specific provision of the Public Information Act; and (2) the governmental body does not remedy a violation or take reasonable steps to remedy a violation before the 10th day after the date on which the governmental body receives the notification. The bill also would subject a governmental body to an additional civil penalty not to exceed $100 for each day the violation continues following the ten-day window after the governmental body receives notification from a requestor of a potential violation.

1S.B. 27 (Gallegos) – Open Meetings: would provide that, as defined by the Open Meetings Act: (1) the term “deliberation” means a verbal or written exchange between a quorum of a governmental body, or between a quorum of a governmental body and another person, concerning an issue within the jurisdiction of the governmental body or any public business; (2) the term “deliberation” includes an e-mail, letter, or other written communication that is produced by or originates from a member of the governmental body, is circulated among a quorum of the governmental body, and concerns an issue within the jurisdiction of the governmental body or any public business; and (3) the term “meeting” includes a gathering: (a) that is conducted by the governmental body or for which the governmental body is responsible; (b) at which a quorum of members of the governmental body is present or actively participating; (c) that has been called by the governmental body; and (d) at which the members receive information from, give information to, ask questions of, or receive questions from any third person, including an employee of the governmental body, about the public business or public policy over which the governmental body has supervision or control.

1S.B. 28 (Ellis) – Smoking Ban: this bill is the same as 1H.B. 46, above.

1S.B. 29 (Patrick) – Intrusive Touching: this bill is the same as 1H.B. 41, above.

1S.B. 34 (Nichols) – Water and Sewer Rates: this bill is the same as 1H.B. 71, above.

1S.B. 35 (Wentworth) – Dangerous Animals: this bill is the same as 1H.B. 56, above.

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