Significant Committee Actions

1H.B. 7 (Phelan), relating to a tree planting credit to offset tree mitigation fees imposed by a municipality.  Reported from the House Urban Affairs Committee.  As reported, the bill would:

  1. a city that imposes a tree mitigation fee for tree removal that is necessary for development or construction on a person’s property must allow that person to apply for a credit for tree planting under this section to offset the amount of the fee.
  2. an application for a credit under (1), above, must be in the form and manner prescribed by the city.
  3. to qualify for a credit under the bill, a tree must be: (a) planted on property for which the tree mitigation fee was assessed or mutually agreed upon by the city and the person planting the tree; and (b) at least two inches in diameter at the point on the trunk 4.5 feet above ground.
  4. for purposes of determining a mutually agreed upon planting location, the city and the person planting the tree may consult with an academic organization, state agency, or nonprofit organization to identify an area for which tree planting will best address the science-based benefits of trees and other reforestation needs of the city.
  5. the amount of a credit provided to a person under the bill must be: (a) applied in the same manner as the tree mitigation fee assessed against the person; and (b) at least 50 percent of the amount of the tree mitigation fee assessed against the person.
  6. as long as the municipality meets the requirement to provide a person a credit under (1), above, the bill does not affect the ability of or require a city to determine: (a) the size, number, and type of trees that must be planted to receive a credit under the bill, except as provided by (3)(b), above; (b) the requirements for tree removal and corresponding tree mitigation fees, if applicable; or (c) the requirements for tree planting methods and best management practices to ensure that the tree grows to the anticipated height at maturity.
  7. the bill does not apply to property within five miles of a federal military base in active use as of September 1, 2017.

1H.B. 111 (Murphy), relating to general obligation bonds issued by political subdivisions.  Reported from the House Committee on Investments and Financial Services.  As reported, the bill would: (1) require a political subdivision to include any sample ballot prepared for a general obligation bond election to be prominently posted on the political subdivision’s website during the 21 days before the election along with the election order, notice of the election, and contents of the proposition, if the political subdivision maintains a website; (2) provide that at an election at which a political subdivision submits a proposition to the voters to approve the issuance of general obligation bonds, the entity that establishes early voting polling places may not establish the polling places with the intent to affect the outcome of the election; (3) provide that a political subdivision may not issue general obligation bonds to purchase, improve, or construct improvements or to purchase personal property if the weighted average maturity of the issue of bonds to finance the improvements or personal property exceeds 120 percent of the reasonably expected weighted average economic life of the improvements or personal property financed with the issue of bonds; (4) provide that a political subdivision may use the unspent proceeds of issued general obligation bonds only: (a) for the specific purpose for which the bonds were authorized; (b) to retire the bonds; or (c) for a purpose other than the specific purpose for which the bonds were authorized if: (i) the specific purpose is accomplished or abandoned; and (ii) a majority of the votes cast in an election held in the political subdivision approve the use of the proceeds for the proposed purpose; (5) require the election order and the notice of the election for an election authorized to be held under (4)(c) to state the proposed purpose for which the bond proceeds are to be used; and (6) require a political subdivision to hold the election under (4)(c) in the same manner as an election to issue bonds in the political subdivision.

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