CITY-RELATED BILLS FILED

H.B. 2 (Otto) – Property Tax: would: (1) permit adjoining appraisal districts to consolidate appraisal review boards; and (2) require that appraisals of residential homesteads 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.J.R. 36, below.)

H.B. 5 (Crownover) – Statewide Smoking Ban: would: (1) prohibit smoking in most public places, in places of employment, in seating areas at outdoor events, or within fifteen feet of an enclosed area in which smoking is prohibited; (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.

H.B. 500 (Kolkhorst) – Property Tax: would prohibit appraisal increases on residential property for two years following a successful valuation challenge at the appraisal review board or following a successful appeal of the board’s order, provided the value was reduced by at least fifteen percent.

H.B. 502 (England) – Peace Officer Training: would provide that a law enforcement agency is eligible for state peace officer training funds only if it annually submits a detailed personnel training report to the state comptroller.

H.B. 507 (B. Brown) – Sales Tax: would permit state mental hospitals to conduct monthly sales or auctions on a sales-tax-exempt basis.

H.B. 509 (Riddle) – Blood Specimen Testing: would: (1) allow a licensed or certified emergency medical technician-intermediate or emergency medical technician-paramedic to take a blood specimen at the request or order of a peace officer to test for alcohol concentration or other intoxicating substances; and (2) require that the blood specimen be taken according to recognized medical procedures.

H.B. 521 (Giddings) – Privacy: would prohibit a city from issuing a receipt that contains a customer’s driver’s license number or social security number.

H.B. 523 (Giddings) – Privacy: would prohibit a city from issuing a receipt that contains a customer’s driver’s license number.

H.B. 526 (Eissler) – Pool Safety: would: (1) require a person who sells or installs a pool to provide a pool yard enclosure gate and a device to prevent entrapment by a pool drain; (2) for pools installed on or after September 1, 2010, require a pool to have either more than one drain, one or more unblockable drains, or no main drain; (3) require a pool that has a main drain to be equipped with a drain cover that conforms to ASME/ANSI Standard A112.19.8M and to be equipped with at least one specified anti-entrapment device; (4) allow the executive commissioner of the Health and Human Services Commission to adopt additional safety requirements; and (5) require the Department of State Health Services to conduct an education program to inform the public of these safety requirements. (This bill is identical to H.B. 463 by Eissler, and its companion bill is S.B. 96 by Van de Putte.) (Note: the drain requirements of this bill match the federal standards enacted in the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act, which was signed into law on December 19, 2007.)

H.B. 528 (Vaught) – Municipal Court: would: (1) reduce the fine for transporting a child without a proper safety seat from $100-$200 to $25; (2) increase the age and height for children covered by the safety seat requirement; and (3) require a city to remit the entire fine to the state.

H.B. 530 (Anchia) – Law Enforcement: would: (1) require that a peace officer, within a reasonable time after obtaining certification from the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education (TCLEOSE), complete a four-hour basic training program in human trafficking; and (2) create a voluntary, advanced human trafficking training program.

H.B. 538 (Villarreal) – Employment Discrimination: would prohibit a city that employs fifteen or more employees or an elected city official from discriminating against an employee or an employment applicant on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

H.B. 547 (Raymond) – Retaliatory Lawsuits: would: (1) prohibit a person from bringing a lawsuit (such as a libel or slander suit) against another person who has complained to a governmental agency or quasi-governmental entity until final action has been taken on the complaint; and (2) provide that the bill does not create any new cause of action against a governmental agency or quasi-governmental entity.

H.B. 548 (Pickett) – Law Enforcement: would: (1) require a peace officer to have a vehicle towed to the nearest garage or to a garage designated or maintained by the officer’s employing city if the vehicle is used in street racing that results in an accident with property damage or personal injury; and (2) require the vehicle to remain at the garage until all removal and storage fees are paid by the owner.

H.B. 551 (Madden) – Elections: would provide for the electronic transmission of a federal postcard voting application to be submitted to the early voting clerk under procedures prescribed by the secretary of state.

H.B. 554 (Menendez) – Building Codes: would: (1) provide that the governing body of a city may establish a model building codes advisory board to review and recommend the adoption of and amendment and addition to national model codes that govern the construction, renovation, use, or maintenance of buildings and building systems in the city; (2) mandate that the board have twelve members representing specific groups in the city; (3) require a city that has not established a board under (1) above (or that has not established a substantially similar advisory body) before the effective date of the bill to provide to any person who registers with the city secretary written notice when the city considers the adoption of or amendment or addition to an ordinance or a national model code that is intended to govern the construction, renovation, use, or maintenance of buildings and building systems in the city; (4) mandate that the notice be sent at least 30 days before the date the governing body takes action to consider the adoption of or amendment or addition to an ordinance or code provision; (5) provide that, if a delay in the adoption of or amendment or addition to an ordinance or code provision would cause imminent harm to the health or safety of the public, the city may provide alternative reasonable notice to each person who registers; and (6) mandate that a city that adopts an ordinance or national model code provision that is intended to govern the construction, renovation, use, or maintenance of buildings and building systems in the city shall delay implementing and enforcing the ordinance or code provision for at least 30 days after final adoption to permit persons affected to comply with the ordinance or code provision, unless the delay would cause imminent harm to the health or safety of the public.

H.B. 555 (Menendez) – Affordable Housing: would provide that: (1) upon receiving an application for affordable housing funds, the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (the department) shall provide written notice of the application to, among others, certain neighborhood associations on record with the city and any public housing authority residents’ council with one or more members who reside or who the applicant knows are likely to reside at the development described in the application; and (2) the department shall presume that an applicant has made a good faith effort to obtain community participation if the application includes a statement that neither entity described in (1), above, exists.

H.B. 558 (Hernandez) – Law Enforcement: would: (1) require a police officer to take into custody a child who is arrested for public intoxication unless the child is released to a parent, guardian, custodian, or other responsible adult; and (2) shift the prosecution of juvenile public intoxication cases from juvenile county courts to municipal and justice courts.

H.B. 560 (Menendez) – Peace Officer Leave: would require a city to grant paid leave to any police officer harmed by an intoxicated driver or boater.

H.B. 564 (McClendon) – Rail Relocation Fund: would dedicate $200 million of the annual proceeds of the state motor vehicle sales tax to the Texas rail relocation and improvement fund. (Companion bill is S.B. 383 by Carona.)

H.B. 572 (England) – Municipal Court: would allow any city with a population of over 100,000 to authorize the addition of collection fees (for unpaid fines, for example) to help pay for a court cost collection program performed by city employees.

H.B. 579 (Gutierrez) – Municipal Court: would create new municipal court costs to help fund drug court programs as follows: (1) $50 for the execution or processing of a capias pro fine; and (2) $60 for certain drug and alcohol offenses, including public intoxication.

H.B. 586 (Naishtat) – Proof of Insurance: would decrease (from two years to six months) the time period for which a defendant must show proof of financial responsibility before applying for release of an impounded vehicle after a second or subsequent conviction for an offense. (Companion bill is S.B. 419 by Carona.)

H.B. 589 (Naishtat) – Property Tax: would exempt from property taxation certain radio stations that have received Public Broadcast Service grants.

H.J.R. 36 (Otto) – Property Tax: would 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. 2, above.)

S.B. 418 (Carona) – Street Gangs: would require a law enforcement agency to compile and maintain a local or regional intelligence database for the purpose of investigating or prosecuting the criminal activities of criminal street gangs.

S.B. 419 (Carona) – Proof of Insurance: this bill is the same as H.B. 586 by Naishtat, above.

S.B. 420 (Carona) – Municipal Court: would prohibit a city from taking into account the source and amount of municipal court revenue when evaluating a municipal judge’s job performance.

S.B. 430 (West) – Public Improvement Districts: would permit university facilities to qualify as authorized projects within municipal public improvement districts.

S.B. 437 (Ellis) – Sales Tax: would: (1) extend the duration of the May sales tax holiday for energy-efficient products from two to four days; and (2) expand the list of energy-efficient products that are exempt from sales taxes during the holiday to include water heaters, pool pumps, certain televisions, computers, and other items.

S.B. 443 (Wentworth) – Property Tax: would prohibit unoccupied residential properties from being appraised as “business inventory”. (Note: under current law, business inventory is appraised at the price that all the inventory could be sold as a unit to a purchaser who would continue the business.)

S.B. 444 (Wentworth) – Property Tax: would require sales price disclosure upon the filing of deeds at the county clerk’s office.

S.B. 446 (Wentworth) – Municipal Court Fees: would permit a city less than 850,000 in population to use child safety court fees for general public safety and security programs.

S.B. 447 (Wentworth) – Purchasing: would provide that a city with a population of less than 250,000 may use the five-percent local bidder preference for contracts for or purchases of: (1) real property; (2) personal property that is not affixed to real property; (3) services; or (4) construction of a building, road, street, bridge, utility, or storm drainage facility.

S.B. 459 (Gallegos) – Air Quality: would require the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to provide notice of an air emissions event to the mayor of an affected city.

S.B. 460 (Gallegos) – Civil Service: would: (1) entitle a police officer or fire fighter to view and copy the contents of the individual’s civil service personnel file; and (2) make any communication between a fire fighter or a police officer and his/her representative in a civil service commission appeal privileged and confidential, regardless of whether the representative is an attorney.

S.B. 461 (Gallegos) – Civil Service: would require that individuals taking the entrance exam for a beginning position in a civil service fire department be between eighteen and thirty-six years old.

S.B. 469 (Carona) – Property Tax: would give a complete homestead property tax exemption to totally disabled veterans.

S.B. 475 (Wentworth) – Property Tax: would make certain organizations that are engaged primarily in charitable activities (typically fraternal organizations) automatically eligible to receive a charitable tax exemption, whereas current law requires action by the city council or an election to grant the exemption.

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