CITY-RELATED BILLS FILED
H.B. 159 (Raymond) – Texas Municipal Retirement System (TMRS): would: (1) allow an individual who has retired from TMRS, and who has returned to work at the same city at least five years since the date of retirement, to receive an additional benefit equal to the amount of deposits and interest that were credited during the time of re-employment; and (2) preclude anyone who is already employed by an affected city at the time the bill goes into effect from receiving the additional benefit. (Note: This bill summary has been slightly revised from the previously-published summary.)
H.B. 664 (Larson) – Metropolitan Planning Organizations: would provide that, to be eligible to be a voting member of a metropolitan planning organization policy board, a member must be an elected official.
H.B. 715 (Hochberg) – Elections: would: (1) designate the secretary of state as the voter registrar for purpose of the registration of voters and maintenance of the list of registered voters; (2) require the secretary of state to automatically register any individual who is eligible to vote and who is issued or makes a change to a Texas driver’s license or personal identification card by the Department of Public Safety (DPS); (3) require the secretary of state to post registration application forms on its website in English and any other language other than English for which over five percent of the total voting age citizens of a political subdivision in this state are members of that single minority language group; (4) require the secretary of state to adopt rules establishing standards used for the verification of information on a voter registration application; and (4) require the DPS and secretary of state to develop printed materials and a public service announcement to inform the public about automatic voter registration.
H.B. 725 (Callegari) – Water Districts: would make numerous changes to the laws that affect water districts. Of particular interest to cities, the bill would – among many other things – provide that: (1) to be annexed for limited purposes under a strategic partnership agreement, 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 a strategic partnership agreement with the city; (2) a municipal management district may enact and apply to residential property in the district an impact fee, assessment, tax, or other requirement for payment for water, sewer, drainage, reclamation, flood control, road, or park and recreational services or improvements of a district; (3) 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; (4) that the contract under (3), 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; (5) 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; (6) 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 (7) 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. 735 (Patrick) – Major Events Trust Fund: would expand the definition of “event” for purposes of the major events trust fund to include the Academy of Country Music Awards or a national political convention of the Republican National Committee or the Democratic National Committee.
H.B. 744 (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. 745 (Johnson) – Eminent Domain: would amend the provision in current law that requires an entity that makes a final offer to a property owner to acquire real property to provide the owner with a “landowner’s bill of rights.” Specifically, the bill would provide that the bill of rights must include a provision informing the property owner that the entity is required to provide the information in English, Spanish, or any other language requested by the property owner.
H.B. 746 (Johnson) – Eminent Domain: would modify the damages available to a property owner in a condemnation proceeding by providing that the special commissioners shall admit evidence relating to, among other things, the injury to the property owner, including, if the condemnation makes relocation of a homestead, farm, or business necessary, the financial damages associated with the cost of relocating from the condemned property to another property: (1) in the same city or, if the property is not in an incorporated area, the same county; and (2) that allows the property owner, without the necessity of incurring an amount of debt, debt service, or total projected interest obligation that is higher than the property owner was subject to immediately before the condemnation, to: (a) have a standard of living comparable to the property owner’s standard of living immediately before the condemnation, if the condemned property is a homestead that is habitable; or (b) operate a comparable farm or business, if the condemned property is a farm or business.
H.B. 747 (Johnson) – Eminent Domain: would add additional requirements to the current condemnation process that would mandate a governmental entity that wants to acquire real property for a public use to disclose to the property owner at the time an offer to purchase is made: (1) in a written statement, the reasons the acquisition of the property is necessary for public use; and (2) on request of the owner, information and records relating to the governmental entity’s analysis in selecting the property, including alternative properties considered.
H.B. 758 (Eiland)—Mandatory Health Benefits: would require a health benefit carrier, including a benefits pool, to cover any emergency or medical expenses incurred because of an injury caused by the insured’s intoxication or by the insured being under the influence of drugs.
H.B. 759 (Eiland) – Appraisals: would require an owner of a facility that stores oil, gas, or other hydrocarbons to report to the appraisal district the owners of the gas, oil, or other hydrocarbons and the type and volume of the hydrocarbon.
H.B. 760 (Eiland) – Government Hospitals and Clinics: would exempt from the term “health spa” a hospital or clinic owned or operated by a political subdivision of the state and thereby exempt the same from certain regulations imposed on health spas.
H.B. 764 (Lozano) – Sex Offenders: would permit a general law city to prohibit a registered sex offender from going in, on, or within a specified distance of a child safety zone within the city.
H.B. 766 (Lozano) – Sales Tax: would exempt textbooks for university and college courses from the sales tax if the book is: (1) written, designed, and produced for educational, instructional, or pedagogical purposes; (2) bought by a full-time or part-time student enrolled at a state college or university; and (3) required for a course at the state college or university.
H.B. 767 (Lozano) – Property Tax: would entitle a disabled veteran to an exemption from taxation of the total appraised value of the veteran’s residence homestead (Note: H.B. 3613, passed in 2009, already entitles a disabled veteran to a residence homestead exemption.)
H.B. 773 (Anchia) – Energy Efficiency: would: (1) establish the state-level Energy Efficiency Council (EEC) to be supported by the State Energy Conservation Office (to the extent resources are available); (2) require the EEC to develop and periodically update a list of currently operating energy efficiency programs in the state; and (3) authorize the EEC to submit to various entities, including cities, recommendations on means to encourage greater energy efficiency.
H.B. 774 (Anchia) – Renewable Energy: would provide: (1) for the establishment of additional goals for renewable energy capacity in the state; (2) that the Public Utility Commission shall adopt rules necessary to administer and enforce the goals; and (3) that, at a minimum, the rules shall establish the minimum annual renewable energy requirement for each retail electric provider, municipally owned utility, and electric cooperative operating in this state in a manner reasonably calculated by the commission to produce, on a statewide basis, compliance with the requirements. (Companion bill is S.B. 330 by Watson.)
H.B. 781 (P. King) – Property Tax: would provide a complete residence homestead property tax exemption for the surviving spouse of a totally disabled veteran who has not remarried since the death of the disabled veteran. (Note: please see H.J.R. 72, below.)
H.B. 782 (Y. Davis) – Municipal Bonds: would provide that neither a city nor a Type B economic development corporation may issue bonds to purchase property unless the city or corporation first obtains an independent appraisal of the property’s market value.
H.B 783 (Y. Davis) – Law Enforcement: would: (1) make impersonation of a peace officer or other public servant with the intent to commit an offense a second-degree felony; and (2) create an offense for providing or possessing a uniform bearing an insignia of a law enforcement agency that identified as person as a peace officer, or intentionally or knowingly misrepresenting that uniform as property belonging to a law enforcement agency.
H.B. 784 (Y. Davis,) – Property Tax: would require the Sunset Commission to evaluate each property tax exemption provided by state statute at least once every six years, and make recommendations for retaining, repealing, or amending each exemption.
H.B. 786 (Y. Davis) – Mandatory Health Benefits: would generally require health benefit plans to provide coverage for HIV tests. (Companion bill is S.B. 241 by Ellis).
H.B. 787 (Kuempel) – Abandoned Watercraft and Aircraft: would: (1) authorize a law enforcement agency to seize and auction an abandoned aircraft; and (2) provide that an aircraft or watercraft could, under certain circumstances, constitute a junked vehicle and a nuisance subject to abatement.
H.B. 798 (Creighton) – Property Tax: would reduce the property tax appraisal cap on homesteads from ten to five percent. (Note: please see H.J.R. 74 below.)
H.B. 802 (Bonnen) – Alarm Sales Solicitation: would provide that an alarm systems company, including any employee or contractor of an alarm systems company, engaged in business or performing a service in a city must comply with any ordinance regulating the unsolicited promotion, sale, or offer for sale of goods or services.
H.B. 803 (Bonnen) – Property Tax: would reduce the penalty for failure to make a timely installment payment of ad valorem taxes on property in a disaster area from twelve percent for each month the tax remains unpaid, to six percent for each month the tax remains unpaid, plus interest.
H.B. 804 (Lewis) – Elections: would provide that a person commits a second degree felony if he or she is not a United States citizen and votes in an election held in Texas.
H.B 806 (D. Howard) – Elections: would provide, among other things, that a candidate for public office: (1) who files a declaration of intent that he or she will not exceed $500 in political expenditures in the election is not required to appoint a campaign treasurer unless the candidate exceeds the aggregate amount of $500 in political expenditures; and (2) is exempt from filing any additional reports if the candidate does not intend to make political expenditures that in the aggregate exceed $500 in connection with the election.
H.B. 812 (P. King) – Fire Peace Officers: would make fire marshals, fire investigators, and some county fire personnel authorized peace officers under the Code of Criminal Procedure.
H.B. 815 (Paxton) – Transportation Funding: would provide that the proceeds from the collection of state sales taxes on the sale, storage, or use of new and used motor vehicle tires and new and used motor vehicle parts shall be deposited to the credit of the state highway fund. (Please see H.J.R. 75, below.)
H.B. 816 (Hunter) – Health Care Benefit: would prohibit all health benefit plans, including benefit pools, from covering the cost of an abortion unless the plan provides a specific premium and plan solely for coverage of abortions. (Companion bill is S.B. 404 by Hegar.)
H.B. 820 (Farrar) – Air Quality: would require additional on-site air quality monitoring for sites that qualify as “major sources” under the federal Clean Air Act.
H.B. 821 (Farrar) – Municipal Solid Waste: would: (1) require the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to pass a rule prohibiting a person from intentionally or knowingly disposing of used electronic equipment eligible for manufacturer recovery in a municipal solid waste landfill; (2) create a penalty for disposing of or accepting such electronic waste in a municipal solid waste landfill; and (3) require the owner or operator of a municipal solid waste facility to make a good faith effort to both post a sign in a conspicuous location stating that used electronic equipment eligible for manufacturer recovery is not accepted and notify any solid waste collector registered to dispose at the landfill that such equipment is not accepted in order to avoid liability for accepting such waste, even unknowingly.
H.B. 830 (Dutton) – Air Quality: would require the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to consider the cumulative effects on public health and physical property of expected air contaminant emissions from a facility in the area of the facility when issuing or renewing certain emissions permits for new construction or modification of an existing facility.
H.B. 831 (Craddick) – Public Hospitals: would: (1) authorize certain entities, including a city or municipal hospital authority, to borrow money for purposes of a hospital owned or operated by the entity and secure the loan with: (a) revenue from the hospital that is not pledged to pay the entity’s bonded indebtedness; or (b) tax revenue to be collected by the entity during the twelve months following the date of the pledge; and (2) establish a loan maturation date.
H.B. 833 (Lozano) – Property Tax: would provide a complete residence homestead property tax exemption for the surviving spouse or surviving children of totally disabled veterans. (Note: please see H.J.R. 76, below.)
H.B. 834 (Hernandez Lunz) –Mandated Health Benefit: would require a health benefit provider, including a benefits pool, to cover the cost of mammography, low dose mammography, and physician recommended supplemental breast cancer screening.
H.B. 837 (V. Taylor) – Motor Vehicle Stops: would: (1) authorize a peace officer who makes a motor vehicle stop to request and obtain: (a) a digital thumbprint from 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 thumbprint if the operator fails to provide identification described in (a) above and the officer issues a citation; (2) authorize a law enforcement agency to maintain the thumbprint 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 thumbprint after the charge is dismissed, the person is acquitted, or the person is convicted of an offense punishable by fine; and (4) require a court to notify thumbprint custodians after disposition of a defendant’s case.
H.B. 838 (Elkins) – Immigration: would: (1) prohibit a city from adopting a policy under which the city’s police department or other city official would not fully enforce state or federal laws relating to immigration; (2) penalize a city that adopts such a policy by taking away state funds, not allowing a city to retain unexpended state money, and prohibiting a city from imposing a tax other than a property or additional sales and use tax; (3) require the attorney general to determine if a city is ineligible to retain state money or impose a property or additional sales and use tax and provide notice to the city and comptroller of the determination; and (4) allow a city to appeal a determination by the attorney general to a Travis County district court.
H.B. 843 (Geren) – Property Tax: would require the assessor for a taxing unit to deliver a tax bill by electronic means to a person listed on the tax roll and that person’s authorized agent if: (1) the assessor has implemented procedures to permit delivery of a bill by electronic means; and (2) on or before September 15 the person or person’s authorized agent submits a written request to receive an electronic tax bill to the assessor. An assessor who delivers a tax bill electronically under this section does not need to mail the same bill.
H.B. 854 (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 856 (Dutton) – Water and Sewer Utilities: would: (1) require a non-municipally-owned water or sewer utility to provide the city’s governing body with a statement of intent to change its rates at least 120 days before the proposed effective date of the rate change; (2) suspend the proposed rates once a ratemaking hearing is scheduled by the city’s governing body; and (3) require a non-municipally-owned water or sewer utility to file a statement of intent to increase its rates no later than sixty months after the effective date of the utility’s last rate increase, with some exceptions.
H.B. 864 (Fletcher) – Evading Arrest: would provide that the punishment for the offense of evading arrest or detention is: (1) a state jail felony if the actor has been previously convicted of the same offense; (2) a third-degree felony if the actor uses a vehicle while in flight, another person suffers bodily injury as a result of the flight, or the actor uses a tire deflation device against the officer; or (3) a second-degree felony if another person dies as a result of the flight or suffers serious bodily injury as a result of the use of a tire deflation device.
H.B. 876 (C. Howard) – Financial Statements: would provide that financial disclosure statements required for elected officers, the city manager, and the city attorney in a city with over 100,000 population are not required from a municipal officer who doesn’t receive compensation for serving as an officer, or from a candidate for such office.
H.B. 868 (Huberty) – Property Tax: would reduce the property tax rollback rate from 108 percent to the lesser of either 105 percent or the rate of inflation.
H.B. 874 (C. Howard) – Property Tax: would do the following: (1) eliminate the requirement that appraisal value notices must include estimated tax liability based on an application of last year’s tax rate to this year’s appraised value; (2) require tax assessors to submit the appraisal roll to a city not later than 21 days after the date the appraisal roll is certified to the assessor; (3) require a city to calculate its effective tax rate, same services tax rate, and rollback tax rate not later than 30 days after it receives the certified appraisal roll from the assessor; (4) require the person who calculates the effective tax rate, same services tax rate, and rollback rate to submit the rate to the city council within five days of making the calculation; (5) require an officer or employee designated by the city to either mail to each property owner, or publish in the newspaper, tax rate information at least 14 days before the date of the first meeting of the city council to consider the budget; (6) amend various sections of state law to include the application of a same services tax rate; (7) extend from 60 to 90 days the deadline for a city to adopt its tax rates after receiving a certified appraisal roll; (8) provide that if the requirements of number 5, above, are not met due to circumstances beyond the city’s control, such as a natural disaster, the city must adopt a default property tax rate for the year that is the lower of the same services tax rate or last year’s adopted rate; (9) eliminate the application of the default tax rate provision in cases where the city council fails to meet the statutory deadline for adopting a tax rate (Note: it appears that the confusing provisions in numbers 8 and 9, above, may be unintended features of this bill); and (10) require a city council, before giving notice of tax increase hearings, to take a record vote on the proposal to increase taxes and that the motion for that vote must be as follows: “I move that a proposal to increase property taxes by the adoption of a tax rate of (specify tax rate) be placed on the agenda for the meeting to be held on (date at which the governing body anticipates adopting the tax rate).”
H.B. 875 (C. Howard) – Law Enforcement: would: (1) require a sheriff or any other office in charge of a correctional facility in which a defendant is confined awaiting trial for a felony or certain intoxication offenses to make a reasonable effort to determine the defendant’s citizenship status and contact federal immigration officials within forty-eight hours if the status cannot be determined; (2) require a sheriff or any other office in charge of a correctional facility in which a defendant is confined awaiting trial for a felony or certain intoxication offenses to notify the judge or magistrate authorized to determine bail release if the defendant is not in the country legally; and (3) create a rebuttable presumption at any bail hearing that the defendant presents a flight risk.
H.B. 878 (C. Howard) – E-verify: would: (1) require a governmental entity, including a city, to participate in e-verify and check the immigration status of all new employees using e-verify; (2) prohibit a governmental entity, including a city, from entering into a contract with a contractor who does not participate in e-verify; and (3) make it an unlawful employment practice for an employer, including a city, to retain an undocumented immigrant when discharging a citizen or permanent resident if the city is not participating in e-verify.
H.B. 879 (C. Howard) – Property Tax: would reduce the property tax appraisal cap on homesteads from ten to five percent.
H.B. 884 (D. Howard) – Governmental Immunity: would waive governmental immunity for a city or other governmental entity in a suit where a nurse alleges the city took adverse employment action against the nurse in retaliation for a report required by state laws governing nurse conduct.
H.J.R. 69 (Kolkhorst) – Federal Constitutional Amendment: requests a constitutional convention for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would provide that states have the sole power to regulate education and health.
H.J.R. 71 (Larson) – Maximum Salary for Elected Public Officers: would amend the Texas Constitution to provide that the annual salary for an elected public officer in this state, other than a member of the judiciary, may not exceed the average salary paid to a full-time classroom teacher in the five school districts in this state with the largest enrollments for the preceding school year.
H.J.R. 72 (P. King) – 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 totally disabled veteran that has not remarried since the death of the disabled veteran. (Note: please see H.B. 781, above.)
H.J.R. 74 (Creighton) – Property Tax: would amend the Texas Constitution to authorize the legislature to reduce the property tax appraisal cap on homesteads from ten to five percent. (Note: please see H.B. 798, above.)
H.J.R. 75 (Paxton) – Transportation Funding: would amend the Texas Constitution to provide that, subject to legislative appropriation, allocation, and direction: (1) 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 (2) one-fourth of the net revenue shall be allocated to the available school fund. (Please see H.B. 815, above.)
H.J.R. 76 (Lozano) – Property Tax: would amend the Texas Constitution to authorize a complete residence homestead property tax exemption for the surviving spouse or surviving children of totally disabled veterans. (Note: please see H.B. 833, above.)
S.B. 350 (Williams) – Texas Municipal Retirement System: would: (1) combine the municipality accumulation fund, employees saving fund, and current service annuity reserve fund into one fund to be called the benefit accumulation fund; and (2) require all benefits to be paid into and out of the benefit accumulation fund. (Note: This bill summary has been slightly revised from the previously-published summary.)
S.B. 374 (Wentworth) – Law Enforcement Fees: would increase the fee paid by a defendant for executing or processing an issued arrest warrant, capias, or capias pro fine to $75, to be paid to the executing or processing law enforcement agency after conviction, upon the agency’s request.
S.B. 375 (Wentworth) – Public Information Act: would provide that certain types of information are expressly public unless they are made confidential under the Public Information Act or other law.
S.B. 383 (Harris) – Court Costs: would: (1) require a defendant to pay a $45 fee as a cost of court on conviction of certain intoxication offenses; and (2) authorize a county that maintains a certified breath alcohol testing program to keep the fee, in addition to other court costs relating to a breath alcohol testing program to which the county is entitled.
S.B. 393 (Patrick) – Sales Tax: would do the following regarding the reallocation of city sales tax revenues due to a mistake: (1) allow a taxpayer to amend a tax report for a previous reporting period within the statute of limitations; (2) grant cities a right to notification and independent audit review regarding reallocation decisions; and (3) allow cities to view certain information concerning the pending reallocation, regardless of whether the information is confidential. (Companion bill is H.B. 590 by Thompson.)
S.B. 395 (Patrick) – Intoxication Offenses: would make changes and add requirements to deferred adjudication guidelines, nondisclosure order petitions, and enhancement for certain intoxication offenses.
S.B. 396 (Deuell) – Firefighter Death Investigation: would broaden the state fire marshal’s authority to investigate firefighter deaths including any factors that may have contributed to a death in connection with an on-duty incident.
S.B. 402 (West) – Community Land Trusts: would provide that the governing body of a city or county by ordinance or order may create or designate one or more community land trusts (CLTs), including a housing finance corporation or a land trust operated by a community housing development organization certified by the city or county, to operate in the city or county. (Note: A CLT is an affordable housing tool generally used in gentrifying areas in which the CLT acquires title to land, sells or leases housing units located on the land, and leases the land through ground leases with terms of at least 50 years.) Land in a CLT would be tax-exempt.
S.B. 403 (Eltife) – Gas Ratemaking: would – among other things – provide that, in establishing a gas utility's rates, the regulatory authority (a city or the Railroad Commission) shall allow expenses for pension and other postemployment benefits, as determined by actuarial or other similar studies in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, in amounts the regulatory authority finds reasonable and necessary.
S.B. 404 (Hegar) – Health Care Benefit: this bill is the same as H.B. 816, above).
S.B. 409 (Estes) – Property Tax: would: (1) require the State Soil and Water Conservation Board, with the assistance of the comptroller, to develop standards for determining whether land qualifies for appraisal based on water-stewardship use; (2) provide that the chief appraiser an appraisal review board shall apply the standards adopted by the State Soil and Water Conservation board and comptroller.
S.B. 412 (West) – Public Improvement Districts: would, among other things, provide that costs of improvements in a public improvement district may be paid or reimbursed by any combination of certain methods if the improvements are dedicated, conveyed, leased, or otherwise provided to a city, county, or related entity for the benefit of the city, county, or related entity.
S.J.R. 15 (Wentworth) –U.S. Constitution: would apply to the Congress of the United States to call a convention to propose amendments to the U.S. Constitution to provide for: (1) congressional term limits; (2) the line-item veto; (3) a balanced federal budget; (4) a limit on federal debt; and (5) the repeal of federal law by two-thirds of the several states.
S.J.R. 16 (Estes) – Property Tax: would amend the Texas Constitution to include water stewardship as a category of open-space land to be taxed on the basis of its productive capacity.