1S.B. 1 (Ogden) is the state “fiscal matters” bill that must be passed during the special session in order to balance the state’s budget.  The bill recently passed the House, where multiple amendments were added.  The Senate refused to concur in the House amendments, which led both the House and Senate to appoint conference committees to work out the differences. 

Several floor amendments of interest to cities were added on the House floor to the House committee substitute for 1S.B. 1, including:

  1. An amendment that would: (1) authorize a peace officer who makes a motor vehicle stop to request and obtain: (a) one digital fingerprint from each hand of the vehicle’s operator if the person fails to provide a driver’s license, a passport, or other form of photographic identification; and (b) an ink fingerprint if the operator fails to provide identification described in (a) and the officer issues a citation; (2) authorize a law enforcement agency to maintain the fingerprint beyond the duration of the stop if the person is cited or arrested during or as a result of the stop; (3) require discard of the fingerprint after the charge is dismissed, the person is acquitted, or the person is convicted of an offense punishable by fine; (4) require a court to notify fingerprint custodians after disposition of a defendant’s case; and (5) allow an officer to obtain fingerprints through a person’s voluntary compliance with the officer’s request or other lawful means.
  2. An amendment that would provide that 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 materials or services for repair or replacement of a roof, unless the contract is a renewal of a contract based on a request for proposal submitted before October 1, 2011. 
  3. An amendment that would allow an organization created for religious, educational, or charitable purposes that is exempt from the payment of sales and use taxes to issue an exemption certificate to a seller when obtaining taxable items to be sold by the organization during a tax-free sale authorized by the Tax Code.
  4. An amendment that would exempt from sales taxes the sale of any gold, silver, or numismatic coins, or platinum, gold, or silver bullion.
  5. An amendment that would entitle a qualified data center to receive a refund of sales taxes from the comptroller for the purchase of tangible personal property necessary to manage or operate the data center. 
  6. An amendment providing that quarterly mixed beverage tax reimbursements issued to cities by the comptroller may not be less than 10.7143 percent of receipts from permittees within the city. 
  7. An amendment repealing the 15-cent court cost on convictions relating to a child passenger safety seat offense. 
  8. An amendment providing that a community housing development organization or an organization constructing or rehabilitating low-income housing is considered to own property for property tax exemption purposes if the organization has legal or equitable title to the property, but this exemption does not apply to such an organization located in Harris County.

Meanwhile, legislation addressing the so-called “sanctuary cities” issue, as well as the implementation of the federal Secure Communities Program, passed the Senate, and was recently heard in the House Committee on State Affairs.  1S.B. 9 (Williams), as it passed the Senate, prohibits cities from enacting policies that prohibit police officers from inquiring into immigration status during lawful detentions.  It also requirs city jails to run immigration checks using the federal Secure Communities program on all detainees.

Although the “sanctuary city” language appears as though it will remain intact as 1S.B. 9 proceeds to the House floor, a committee substitute has been offered in the House Committee on State Affairs.  Legislators have stated that it would alter the Secure Communities component of the bill in a manner that would benefit some cities. 

City officials should contact their senators and representatives to express their support for a more flexible Secure Communities provision being included in the House committee substitute.  

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