PRE-FILING OF BILLS BEGINS

Bill filing for the 2013 legislative session began on Monday, November 12. Early bills address appraisal and revenue caps, cell phone bans, and many other city-related issues. City-related bills are summarized by topic below.

PROPERTY TAX

H.B. 97 (Perry) – Property Tax:  would provide, among other things: (1) that a disabled veteran who has a disability rating of less than 100 percent is entitled to an exemption from taxation of a percentage of the appraised value of the disabled veteran's residence homestead equal to the disabled veteran's disability rating if the residence homestead was donated to the disabled veteran by a charitable organization at no cost to the disabled veteran; and (2) that the exemption in (1), above, continues for the surviving spouse of the veteran if: (a) the surviving spouse has not remarried; (b) the property was the residence homestead of the surviving spouse when the disabled veteran died; and (c) the property remains the residence homestead of the surviving spouse. 

H.J.R. 21 (Pickett) – 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 100-percent or totally disabled veteran who died before the law authorizing a residence homestead exemption for such a veteran took effect if the surviving spouse has not remarried since the death of the disabled veteran.

H.J.R. 24 (Perry) – Property Tax:  would amend the Texas Constitution to provide that the legislature by general law may provide that a partially disabled veteran is entitled to an exemption from ad valorem taxation of a percentage of the market value of the disabled veteran’s residence homestead that is equal to the percentage of disability of the disabled veteran if the residence homestead was donated to the disabled veteran by a charitable organization at no cost to the disabled veteran.

H.J.R. 28 (Raymond) – Property Tax:  this bill is identical to H.J.R. 21, above.

S.B. 95 (Nichols) – Property Tax:  would: (1) reduce the property tax appraisal cap on homesteads from ten percent to five percent; (2) authorize a county commissioners court to call an election to increase the homestead appraisal cap for all taxing jurisdictions in the county back to some percentage between six and ten; and (3) prohibit a subsequent election from occurring for ten years after such an election is held.  (Note: please see S.J.R. 9, below.)

S.B. 102 (Patrick) – Property Tax:  would: (1) lower the property tax rollback rate from eight percent to five percent; and (2) provide that a city must hold a ratification election to adopt a tax rate that exceeds the five-percent rollback rate (as opposed to current law, which only requires an election if a petition is received from the citizens).

S.B. 106 (West) – Property Tax:  would: (1) require the Sunset Advisory Commission to study the abatements, exemptions, credits, limitations on appraised value, special appraisal provisions, and other tax preferences that relate to ad valorem taxes and that are required or authorized by state statute or the state constitution; and (2) provide that the commission shall, as to each tax preference examined, make a recommendation to the legislature regarding whether to: (a)  continue the preference; (b) amend a provision relating to the preference; or (c) repeal the preference.

S.J.R. 9 (Nichols) – Property Tax: would amend the Texas Constitution to permit the legislature to: (1) reduce the property tax appraisal cap on homesteads from ten percent to five percent; and (2) authorize a county commissioners court to call an election to increase the homestead appraisal cap for all taxing jurisdictions in the county back to some percentage between six and ten. (Note: please see S.B. 95, above.)

SALES TAX

H.B. 40 (Menendez) – Sales Tax:  would authorize the expansion of the current sales tax holiday for clothing, footwear, and certain other items by up to one week. 

H.B. 78 (Simpson) – Sales Tax:  would exempt from sales taxes the sale of any gold, silver, or numismatic coins, or platinum, gold, or silver bullion. 

H.B. 105 (Larson) – Sales Tax:  would: (1) repeal the state law prohibiting the state comptroller from crediting to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) or the Texas Historical Commission (THC) any amount of taxes imposed on the sale of sporting goods in excess of the amounts appropriated to the department or commission, respectively; and (2) provide for partial funding of the TPWD and THC in state fiscal years 2014 and 2015 using taxes imposed on the sale of sporting goods, with a portion of that revenue going to the state’s general fund for those years.

H.B. 126 (Raymond) – Sales Tax:  would exempt the sale, lease, or rental of certain computer equipment by an eligible small business from the sales tax if the item: (1) is for the exclusive use and benefit of the business; (2) is necessary for the operation of the business; (3) replaces computer equipment with respect to the sale, lease, rental, or use of which the business paid the tax imposed by this chapter; and (4) was sold, leased, rented, or used not later than the fifth anniversary of the date the business initially qualifies as an eligible small business. 

H.B. 162 (Larson) – Sales Tax:  would repeal the state law prohibiting the state comptroller from crediting to the Parks and Wildlife Department or the Texas Historical Commission any amount of taxes imposed on the sale of sporting goods in excess of the amounts appropriated to the department or commission, respectively.  (Note:  Please see H.J.R. 40, below.)

H.B. 178 (Larson) – Sales Tax:  would provide that the sale of a “WaterSense product” (a product that has been designated as a WaterSense certified product under the WaterSense program operated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, or a similar successor program) is exempted from sales taxes for the period beginning on Memorial Day and ending on the last Monday in May.

H.J.R. 33 (Raymond) – Sales Tax:  would amend the Texas Constitution to provide that the legislature may not enact a general law that would impose a new, prospective state tax on the sale or use of: (1) food or a drink; (2) medicine; or (3) child-care service.

H.J.R. 40 (Larson) – Sales Tax: would amend the Texas Constitution to provide that, for each state fiscal year, the net revenue received from the collection of any state taxes imposed on the sale, storage, or use of sporting goods is automatically appropriated when received to the Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission, or their successors in function, and is allocated between those agencies as provided by general law.  (Note:  Please see H.B. 162, above.)

PURCHASING

H.B. 93 (White) – Historically Underutilized Businesses:  would expand the definition of a historically underutilized business to include, without regard to ownership, an entity with one or more places of business each located in the unincorporated area of a county with a population of 60,000 or less.

H.B. 194 (Farias) – Historically Underutilized Businesses: would provide that a veteran with a service-connected disability is eligible to be listed as a historically underutilized business by the state. 

S.B. 116 (Hinojosa) – Historically Underutilized Businesses: would provide that a veteran with a service-connected disability is eligible to be listed as a historically underutilized business by the state. 

ELECTIONS

H.B. 148 (Burkett) – Elections:  would: (1) make the offense of unlawful assistance of a voter a state jail felony; (2) make it a state jail felony for a person to deposit in the mail or with a common carrier more than two carrier envelopes containing ballots voted by other persons in an election, unless the person is an employee of a state licensed care facility where the voter resides and is working in the normal course of the employee’s authorized duties; and (3) make it a third degree felony for a person to deposit in the mail or with a common carrier more than two carrier envelopes containing ballots voted by other persons in an election if the person is also convicted of the offense of unlawful assistance of a voter in connection with the same ballot.

H.B. 169 (Alonzo) – Elections:  would provide that a person who would be eligible to vote in an election, but who is not registered, shall be accepted for voting in the precinct of the person's residence if, on the day the person offers to vote, the person submits a voter registration application and presents proof of identification that establishes the person’s residence.

S.B. 81 (Ellis) – Elections:  would: (1) require that two voter registrars be present at each polling place while the polls are open; and (2) provide that a person who would be eligible to vote in an election, but for the requirement to be a registered voter, shall be accepted for voting in the precinct of the person's residence if on the day the person wishes to vote the person submits a voter registration application and presents proof of identification.

S.B. 82 (Ellis) – Elections:  would provide that: (1) an election officer commits an offense if the officer knowingly:  (a)  removes the name of an eligible voter from the list of registered voters or the poll list for the precinct; (b)  refuses to accept for voting a person whose acceptance is required by law; or (c)  prevents the deposit in the ballot box of a marked and properly folded ballot that was provided at the polling place to the voter who is depositing it or for whom the deposit is attempted; and (2) an offense under this bill is a state jail felony.

S.B. 83 (Ellis) – Elections:  would, among many other things, authorize early voting by mail for any qualified voter and provide for implementing procedures.

OPEN GOVERNMENT

H.B. 74 (Fletcher) – Public Information:  would except from public disclosure information contained in a citation for a class C misdemeanor and that relates to the home address or personal telephone number of the person who is the subject of the citation.

H.B. 193 (Dutton) – Public Information Act:  would amend the law enforcement exception in the Public Information Act by providing that information held by a law enforcement agency is excepted from disclosure only if: (1) the release of the information would unduly interfere with the detection, investigation, or prosecution of crime; and (2) the information relates to an ongoing investigation or conduct that remains subject to prosecution.

H.B. 195 (Farias) – Campaign Finance:  would:  (1) require the clerk of a city with a population of 500,000 or more to post on the city’s Web site reports of political expenditures and contributions that are filed with the clerk by the mayor or a member of the city council as required by current law; (2) repeal Election Code section 254.0401(b) relating to the Texas Ethics Commission’s duty to make available on the Internet reports for filing deadlines for candidates for office that are nominated by or seek the nomination of a political party required to nominated candidates by primary election and specific-purpose committees that support or oppose only one such candidate; and (3) repeal Local Government Code section 176.009(b) which requires a city with a population of 500,000 or more to post on the city’s Web site reports of political contributions and expenditures filed by members of the city council.

OTHER FINANCE/ADMINISTRATION BILLS

H.B. 56 (Burnam) – Hotel Tax:  would repeal the municipal hotel occupancy tax exemption for permanent hotel residents.

H.B. 59 (Burnam) – Federal Healthcare Programs:  would provide that: (1) if the state does not authorize the expansion of Medicaid as provided under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, then local hospital districts, counties, and other units of local government created under state law may apply directly to the federal government to expand Medicaid contingent on their ability to provide local tax funds for the state share of the match; and (2) the entities described in (1), above, should be allowed to affiliate with other licensed providers in the state (e.g., private hospitals, mental health authorities, physicians, etc.) to provide services authorized under the Medicaid program.

H.B. 119 (Larson) – Immigration:  would provide that a city that receives appropriated money from the state to provide a health care, educational, welfare, correctional, or other service to an individual must: (1) identify the individual’s country of citizenship before providing the service; (2) determine the cost to the state of providing the service if the individual is a citizen of a foreign country; and (3) submit to the comptroller a report that contains this information.  A city that does not submit a report in accordance with the comptroller’s rules is not eligible to receive any disbursement from the state comptroller.

H.B. 185 (Dutton) – Governmental Immunity:  would amend the Texas Tort Claims Act to provide that a governmental unit, including a city, is liable for personal injury and death caused by the negligence of the city if the city would, were it a private person, be liable to the claimant according to Texas law.

MUNICIPAL COURTS

H.B. 167 (McClendon) – Municipal Court: would: (1) authorize a city to create a pretrial victim-offender mediation program for first-time offenders accused of certain property crimes; and (2) require a defendant to pay for program costs up to a certain point, plus a $15 fee to be deposited in a fund exclusively for the maintenance of the program.

H.J.R. 43 (Flynn) – 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. 91 (Ellis) – Municipal Court:  would: (1) require a municipal prosecutor, upon request by a defendant and subject to certain exceptions and existing rules of evidence, to make available to the defendant multiple types of discovery records related to the case; (2) require the same of the defendant; (3) create sanctions for violations; (4) apply the requirements to pro se defendants only as required by the court; and (5) give the release requirement precedence over the Texas Public Information Act.

S.B. 107 (West) – Municipal Court Records:  would prohibit a municipal court from disclosing to the public any information that is the subject of an order of nondisclosure.

COMMUNITY AND ECONOMIC  DEVELOPMENT

H.B. 34 (Menendez) – Alcohol/Sexually Oriented Businesses:  would create a new “on-premises consumption only” alcoholic beverage permit to be administered by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission and require certain sexually oriented businesses that operate as “BYOB” establishments to obtain the new permit.

H.B. 36 (Menendez) - Graffiti:  would, among other things: (1) increase the penalty for certain graffiti offenses from a class B to a class A misdemeanor; (2) provide that the offense is a state jail felony if the marking is made on a school, an institution of higher education, a place of worship or human burial, a public monument, a city hall, a courthouse, or a historic structure, or on a community center that provides medical, social, or educational programs; (3) require a juvenile court, for a child who has been previously convicted of certain graffiti offense and if the child made markings on a structure described in (2), above, or private property, to order the child and the parent or other person responsible for the child's support to make restitution by personally restoring the property by removing or painting over any markings the child made, with the consent of the owner of the property, with certain exceptions; and (4) require a juvenile court to order the Department of Motor Vehicles to suspend a person’s provisional license or driver's license if the person has been adjudicated to have engaged in certain graffiti offenses.

H.B. 109 (Raymond) – Eight Liners:  would: (1) authorize a commissioners court and – in some instances – a city, to order, on proper petition, a local option election to legalize or prohibit the operation of eight-liners; and (2) authorize the imposition of a fee on eight-liner owners and provide for the allocation of the fee revenue as follows:  (a) 30 percent to the state’s general revenue fund; and (b) 70 percent to a city in which the eight-liner is located.  (Companion bill is S.B. 55.) (Note: Please see H.J.R. 27, below.)

H.B. 168 (Callegari) – Special Districts: would make numerous changes to the laws that affect water districts.  Of particular interest to cities, the bill would provide that: (1) a city may enter into a contract with a water district or with a non-profit water supply corporation under which the district or corporation will acquire for the benefit of and convey to the city, either separately or together, one or more water, sewer, drainage, or road projects; (2) that the contract under (1), above, may provide that any payments due are payable from and are secured by a pledge of a specified part of the revenues of the city, including revenues from municipal sales and use taxes; (3) a peace officer contracted for by a water district, individually or through a county, sheriff, constable, or city, is an independent contractor, and the district is responsible for the acts or omissions of the peace officer only to the extent provided by law for other independent contractors; (4) a water district providing potable water or sewer service to household users may, separately or jointly with another district, city, or other political subdivision, establish, operate, and maintain, finance with ad valorem taxes, mandatory fees, or  voluntary contributions, and issue bonds for a fire department to perform all fire-fighting services within the district and may provide for the construction and purchase of necessary buildings, facilities, land, and equipment and the provision of an adequate water supply; and (5) a city may provide in its written consent for the inclusion of land in a 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.  (Note:  Any city in an area with water districts should carefully review the provisions of this bill to determine its impact on the city’s relationship with those districts.)

H.B. 181 (Zedler) – Day Labor Centers:  would prohibit a local governmental entity, including a city, from using public money to construct or operate a day labor center used for the purpose of facilitating the knowing employment of a person who is not a citizen, legal permanent resident, qualified alien, or nonimmigrant lawfully present in the United States.

H.J.R. 27 (Raymond) – Eight Liners:  would amend the Texas Constitution to give the legislature the authority to: (1) allow a local option election by a city, county, or justice precinct on whether to allow eight liners; (2) impose a fee on eight liners; and (3) allow a city or other political subdivision to impose a fee on eight liners.  (Note: Please see H.B. 109, above.)

S.B. 55 (Zaffirini) – Eight Liners:  this bill is the same as H.B. 109, above.

S.B. 86 (Ellis) – Statewide Smoking Ban:  would: (1) prohibit smoking in most public places, in places of employment, and in seating areas at outdoor events; (2) provide that the bill’s provisions preempt and supersede a local ordinance, rule, or regulation that prohibits smoking to a lesser degree; (3) provide that a local ordinance, rule, or regulation that prohibits or restricts smoking to a greater degree than the bill is not preempted; (4) require the Texas Department of State Health Services to annually request other government agencies to establish local operating procedures to comply with the bill, including urging all federal, state, county, and municipal governments as well as independent school districts to update existing smoking control regulations to be consistent with the current health findings regarding secondhand smoke; and (5) require any entity that grants business licenses, including a city, to provide notice of the state smoking law to each license applicant. 

S.B. 96 (Nichols) – Eminent Domain:  would: (1) prohibit a state agency, political subdivision, or a corporation created by a governmental entity from taking private property through the use of eminent domain if the taking is for a recreational purpose, including a parks and recreation system or a specific park, greenbelt, or trail; and (2) provide that the determination by the entity proposing to take the property that the taking does not involve an act or circumstance prohibited by the bill does not create a presumption with respect to whether the taking involves that act or circumstance.

S.J.R. 6 (Ellis) – Gambling: would provide for an election for a constitutional amendment that would: (1) authorize forms of casino gaming; (2) give 1/30th of the revenue received by the state for gaming to the city in which the casino is located; (3) preempt any city ordinance or regulation that would disallow a gaming establishment within the city; (4) allow a city to regulate a gaming establishment through building codes and health and safety ordinances; (5) disallow a casino from being located in an area zoned exclusively residential; (6) prohibit a city from imposing a tax or fee on a gaming establishment;  (7) require a county-wide vote before a casino can be located in a county; and (8) require that state revenue from regulation of gaming, after paying for administrative costs, go to the property tax relief fund in the general revenue fund.

PERSONNEL

H.B. 80 (Simpson) – Official Oppression:  would prohibit certain persons acting under color of federal law from, as part of a determination of whether to grant another person access to a publicly accessible venue or form of transportation, touching another person in certain ways (e.g., at an airport security check).

H.B. 183 (Dutton) – Law Enforcement:  would expand the definition of the crime of official oppression to include excessive force; and (2) make excessive force by a peace officer a third degree felony. 

S.B. 118 (Hinojosa) – Employment: would: (1) make it an illegal employment practice for an employer, including a city, to require or request an employee or applicant to give their user name, password, or other access to their personal electronic accounts such as an e-mail or a social networking site account; (2) not prohibit an employer from accessing information about an employee or applicant on the Internet that is open to the public or managing an employee's use of city electronic equipment or use of electronic equipment during work hours. 

S.B. 121 (Rodriguez) – Whistleblower Act: would provide that a public employee may invoke the protections of the Texas Whistleblower Act if the employee reports in good faith a violation of law by the employing governmental entity or another public employee to: (1)  an appropriate law enforcement authority; (2)  a supervisor of the reporting employee; (3)  an administrator of the entity; or (4)  a human resources staff member of the entity.

PUBLIC SAFETY

H.B. 24 (Martinez Fischer) – DWI Prevention:  would: (1) create the state office of executive commissioner for the prevention of driving while intoxicated; (2) require the commissioner to perform certain duties related to the prevention of DWI; and (3) impose a $10 fee on defendants convicted of DWI to be deposited in a fund created by the bill for the prevention of DWI.

H.B. 27 (Martinez Fischer) – Cell Phone Ban:  would: (1) prohibit a driver from using a wireless communication device to read, write, or send a text message while operating a motor vehicle unless the vehicle is stopped, unless the driver is a peace officer or an emergency response provider using a device in connection with official duties; and (2) provide that a driver may be fined up to $400 if the offense occurs in a school crossing zone.

H.B. 41 (Menendez) – Cell Phone Ban:  would:  (1) define the term “school crossing zone” to be the same as that in the Transportation Code; (2) prohibit use of a wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle unless the vehicle is in park, the vehicle’s brake is applied, or the device is used with a hands-free device; (3) provide an affirmative defense to prosecution if the device is used to make an emergency call to an emergency response service, a hospital, a fire department, a health clinic, a doctor’s office, an individual to administer first aid, or a law enforcement agency; (4) make an offense under the bill a misdemeanor; and (5) repeal current requirements to post signs at school crossing zones regarding use of wireless communication devices.

H.B. 63 (Craddick) – Cell Phone Ban: among other things, would: (1) prohibit the operator of a motor vehicle from using a hand-held wireless communication device to read, write, or send a text-based communication while operating the vehicle unless the vehicle is stopped; (2) except the operator of a motor vehicle from prosecution for violating the prohibition in (1), above, if the operator uses a hand-held wireless communication device: (a) to read, select, or enter a phone number or name to make a phone call; (b) in conjunction with voice-operated technology or a hands-free device; or (c) to navigate using a global positioning system; (3)  except the operator of a motor vehicle from prosecution for violating the prohibition in (1), above, if the hand-held wireless communication device is used by the operator to relay information between the operator and a dispatcher in the course of the operator’s occupational duties and is affixed to the vehicle; (4) preempt all local ordinances, rules, or regulations that are inconsistent with specific provisions of the bill adopted by a political subdivision of this state relating to the use of a wireless communication device by the operator of a motor vehicle; and (5) allow a political subdivision of this state to adopt a local ordinance, rule, or regulation relating to an operator using a handheld wireless communication device to read, write, or send a text-based communication while operating a motor vehicle that is more stringent than the bill.

H.B. 69 (Lucio) – Cell Phone Ban:  would prohibit an operator from using a wireless communication device to read, write, or send a text-based communication while operating a motor vehicle unless the vehicle is stopped.

H.B. 72 (Fletcher) – Leaving the Scene:  would increase the penalty for a person who leaves the scene of an accident that causes personal injury or death.

H.B. 73 (Fletcher) – Burglary:  would provide that a person who enters a building or habitation while evading or attempting to evade arrest or detention commits the crime of burglary.

H.B. 77 (Guillen) – Auto Insurance:  would provide that a peace officer may not issue a  citation for failure to maintain insurance  unless the officer  attempts to verify through the state’s electronic verification program that financial  responsibility has been established for the vehicle and is unable  to make that verification.

H.B. 91 (Thompson) – Law Enforcement:  would, among other things: (1) create a pre-adjudication diversion program for certain juveniles alleged to have engaged in prostitution; and (2) provide that a law enforcement officer may not issue a warning to a child in lieu of arrest if the officer has probable cause to believe that the child engaged in prostitution or is a victim of human trafficking.  (Companion bill is S.B. 92, below.)

H.B. 104 (Gonzalez) – Driver Responsibility Program:  would repeal the state driver responsibility program.

H.B. 108 (Harless) – Cell Phone Ban: would prohibit an operator from using a wireless communication device to read, write, or send a text-based communication while operating a motor vehicle unless the vehicle is stopped.

H.B. 125 (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.B. 133 (Raymond) – Criminal History:  would provide that: (1) the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) shall establish a procedure by which a peace officer or employee of a law enforcement agency who provides DPS with a driver's license number, personal identification certificate number, or license plate number may be provided any criminal history record information concerning certain driving while intoxicated offenses that occurred within the preceding ten-year period; and (2) the procedure must allow a peace officer to request the information from the location of a motor vehicle stop and to receive a response to the request within the duration of a reasonable motor vehicle stop.

H.B. 157 (V. Taylor) – Motor Vehicle Stops:  would:  (1) authorize a peace officer who makes a motor vehicle stop to request and obtain digital fingerprints from the vehicle’s operator if the person fails to provide a driver’s license, a passport, or other form of photographic identification; and (2) provide that a peace officer may detain a person under (1), above, only for the period that is reasonably necessary to accurately determine the person's identity and, notwithstanding any other law, may not arrest the person under state law solely for the person's failure to provide the identifying information.

S.B. 28 (Zaffirini) – Cell Phone Ban: this bill is the same as H.B. 63, above.

S.B. 36 (Zaffirini) – Law Enforcement:  would impose various prohibitions on a “jail or similar detention facility” that is used to house persons with mental illness. 

S.B. 53 (Zaffirini) – Emergency Medical Services:  would expand the definition of “advanced life support,” which requires the supervision of a licensed physician, as that term relates to the provision of emergency medical services.

S.B. 87 (Ellis) – Law Enforcement:  would, among other things: (1) require a police department to make an audio or audiovisual electronic recording of custodial interrogations of persons suspected of or charged with certain offenses; (2) set out good cause reasons that make electronic recording infeasible; (3) require preservation of the electronic recording for a specified time; (4) require a prosecutor to provide a defendant with a copy of the recording; and (5) exempt the electronic recording from release under the Texas Public Information Act except when it must be released under the law enforcement exception.

S.B. 92 (Van de Putte) – Law Enforcement:  this bill is identical to H.B. 91, above.

S.B. 105 (West) – Car Insurance:  would provide that a driver who is required to provide evidence of financial responsibility may provide the evidence of financial responsibility in electronic format displayed on a wireless communication device or other portable electronic device.

TRANSPORTATION

H.B. 84 (McClendon) – Bus-Only Lanes:  would create a motor-bus-only lane pilot program for state highways with shoulders of sufficient width in Bexar, Denton, El Paso, and Travis counties.

H.B. 106 (Larson) – Transportation Funding: would provide that: (1) money that is required to be used for public roadways by the Texas Constitution or federal law and that is deposited in the state treasury to the credit of the state highway fund be used only: (a) to improve the state highway system; or (b) to mitigate adverse environmental effects that result directly from construction or maintenance of a state highway; and (2) with certain exceptions, money in the state highway fund that is not described by (1), above, may be used only to improve the state highway system.  (Note:  Please see H.J.R. 29, below.)

H.B. 116 (Larson) – Regional Mobility Authorities:  would provide that regional mobility authorities are subject to the state’s sunset review process.

H.B. 116 (Larson) – Texas Transportation Commission:  would provide, among other things, that the Texas Transportation Commission members are elected statewide, instead of appointed by the governor.

H.J.R. 22 (Pickett) – Transportation Funding:  would amend the Texas Constitution to provide that: (1) subject to legislative allocation, appropriation, and direction, three-fourths of the net revenue from the motor fuel tax shall be used for the sole purpose of constructing and maintaining public highways, and one-fourth of the net revenue shall be allocated to school funding; and (2) for a biennium, the legislature may not appropriate funds derived from the revenue described (1), above,  for a purpose other than acquiring rights-of-way or constructing or maintaining public roadways in an amount that exceeds the lesser of: (a) the total amount of those funds appropriated for a purpose other than acquiring rights-of-way or constructing or maintaining public roadways in the preceding biennium; or (b) the maximum amount that may be appropriated under (a), above, reduced by 20 percent from the preceding biennium if the estimate of anticipated revenue from all sources made in advance of the regular session for the biennium exceeds the total amount of revenue from all sources for the preceding biennium by more than three times the amount of the reduction.

H.J.R. 29 (Larson) – Transportation Funding: would amend the Texas Constitution to provide: (1) that, subject to legislative appropriation, allocation, and direction: (a) three-fourths of the net revenue that is remaining after payment of all refunds allowed by law and expenses of collection that is derived from taxes on motor fuels and lubricants used to propel motor vehicles over public highways – and on new and used motor vehicle tires and new and used motor vehicle part – shall be used for the sole purpose of constructing and maintaining public highways; and (b) one-fourth of the net revenue shall be allocated to the available school fund; and (2) certain limits on the amounts that may appropriated for those purposes each biennium. (Note:  Please see H.B. 106, above.)

UTILITIES AND ENVIRONMENT

H.B. 83 (McClendon) – Solid Waste:  would provide that: (1) a county commissioners court by rule may regulate solid waste collection, handling, storage, and disposal by establishing a mandatory program in an area of the county located within the extraterritorial jurisdiction of a city if the city does not provide solid waste disposal services in that area; and (2) a county may contract with a city to provide, directly or through a contract with another entity, solid waste disposal services in an area of the county located within the extraterritorial jurisdiction of the city if the city does not provide solid waste disposal services in that area.

S.B. 114 (Ellis) – Air Quality:  would impose certain restrictions on the location and operation of concrete crushing facilities.


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