CITY-RELATED BILLS FILED

H.B. 717 (S. Miller) – Property Tax:  would: (1) provide that an appraisal district is governed by a board of seven directors; (2) provide that two of the seven directors be elected at the general election for state and county officers by the voters of the county in which the district is established; and (3) eliminate the ability of the governing bodies of a majority of the taxing units in an appraisal district to adopt resolutions disapproving of actions by the board. 

H.B. 1547 (Larson) – Groundwater:  would change the way desired future conditions for the groundwater resources in a groundwater management area are established.

H.B. 1671 (Marquez) – Public Information:  would:  (1) authorize a governmental body to redact certain motor vehicle record information without the necessity of requesting a decision from the attorney general; (2) authorize a governmental body to redact a credit card, debit card, charge card, or access device number without the necessity of requesting a decision from the attorney general; (3) make a public information request that is modified in response to the requirement of a deposit or bond a separate request that is considered received on the date the governmental body receives the modified request; and (4) provide that if a governmental body receives a written request by mail and cannot establish the actual date of receipt, the written request is considered to be received on the third business day after the date of the postmark.  (Companion bill is S.B. 602 by Rodriguez.)

H.B. 1676 (Hochberg) – Property Tax:  would provide that the governing body of a taxing unit or appraisal district must, in a timely manner in order to take into account any statutory changes, take official action to collect a penalty for delinquent taxes on tangible personal property, or not be able to apply the penalty until the following tax year.  

H.B. 1678 (Burkett) – Elections:  would authorize a county commissioners court, rather than the county election commission, to appoint the county elections administrator. 

H.B. 1679 (Burkett) – Elections:  would: (1) make the offense of unlawful assistance of a voter a state jail felony; and (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.

H.B. 1684 (Fletcher) – Fireworks:  would provide that a city that annexes an area for limited purposes may not prohibit the sale or use of fireworks in the area.

H.B. 1685 (Fletcher) – Property Tax:  would entitle an owner of real property who contracts to have a commercial or industrial building constructed on the property to a credit based on the cost of construction against the property taxes imposed on the property by a city. 

H.B. 1688 (Raymond) – Utility Relocation:  would provide that the governing body of a city may require a certificated telecommunications utility to relocate the utility’s facility at the utility’s expense to permit a public development that increases the capacity or use of a public street, alley, road, sidewalk, gutter, right-of-way, or public way, including a berm, ditch, or shoulder, by: (1)  giving the utility 30 days notice; and (2) specifying the new location for the facility along  the right-of-way of the street.

H.B. 1697 (P. King) – Elections:  would provide that a person residing outside the United States who indicates on a federal postcard application that the person is a United States citizen is entitled to vote a full ballot if the person is otherwise eligible to vote and is a registered voter at the address stated on the application.  (Companion bills are H.B. 1773 by L. Taylor, and S.B. 904 by Patrick.)

H.B. 1707 (Gutierrez) – Theft:  would provide that theft of an item with a value of less than $100 (rather than $50 in current law) is a class C misdemeanor.

H.B. 1712 (Christian) – Offenses Against Public Administration:  would: (1) establish the public integrity unit in the office of the attorney general; (2) give the unit authority to prosecute an offense against public administration or an offense involving insurance fraud; (3) require local law enforcement agencies to cooperate with the unit; and (4) authorize the employment of commissioned peace officers by the attorney general to investigate offenses for the unit.   (Note: please see H.J.R. 106, below.)

H.B. 1715 (Laubenberg) – Crime Victims:  would require the state’s attorney and law enforcement to ensure that victims of certain crimes are informed of and afforded certain rights.

H.B. 1717 (Garza) – Property Tax:  would: (1) authorize a majority of the group of taxing units composed of the cities, school districts, and the county participating in an appraisal district to request an audit of the performance of the appraisal district, or the discontinuance of that audit; (2) change the makeup of an appraisal district board to include one elected, rather than appointed, director from each of the four commissioner’s precincts of the county for which the district is established; (3) make other changes to the eligibility requirements and manner of filling a vacancy in the position of director on an appraisal board.  (Companion bill is S.B. 722 by Williams.)

H.B. 1724 (Hamilton) – Transportation Funding:  would: (1) establish the state economically driven mobility project account, which would consist of revenue received from projects financed under the bill and proceeds from obligations secured by revenue received from those projects; (2) provide that the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) shall develop a project application process for local transportation planning entities, including cities, counties, metropolitan planning organizations, toll project entities, and public transportation entities to identify projects suitable for funding under the account; (3) provide for project selection criteria to prioritize projects that: (a) promote economic development, including by creating employment and cash flow; (b) have sustainable economic value; and (c) create transportation corridors as opposed to isolated projects; (4) authorize TxDOT to contract with local governments or private entities for the construction of selected projects, including construction through pass-through toll agreements, or to construct projects itself; (5) mandate that revenue from projects financed under the bill – including tax increment revenues - must be deposited to the credit of the economically driven mobility project account; and (6) provide that TxDOT may contract with local governments or directly with private entities, including property owners, who will benefit from a selected project to recover amounts sufficient to cover the cost of the project and any associated debt service for the project.

H.B. 1728 (Keffler) – Energy Savings Contracts:  would: (1) authorize a contract for the installation or implementation of energy savings equipment in new or existing facilities; and (2) provide that the governing body of a local government may use any available money, other than money borrowed from the state, to pay the provider of the energy or water conservation measures; and (3) provide that the governing body is not required to pay for energy or water conservation measures solely out of the savings realized under an energy saving performance contract.

H.B. 1729 (Keffer) – Sale of Leased Land:  would: (1) authorize governmental entities, including cities, to sell surplus land that it owns to a person leasing the land without notice or bid and prohibit a governmental entity from selling the land to any other person except a bulk purchaser; (2) exempt the sale of a leased tract from platting requirements; (3) exempt the sale of an individual leased tract from various requirements including chapter 272 of the Local Government Code (which generally governs the sale of city property); (4) authorize a governmental entity to suspend a lessee’s right to purchase leased land in order to pursue a bulk sale of the leased land; (5) provide for the method of purchase and valuation of the land; (6) require that certain roads be transferred to the county; and (7) provide a procedure for a lessee to purchase the leased tract from the bulk purchaser.

H.B. 1730 (Ritter) – Groundwater:  would: (1) create a vested ownership interest in and a right to produce groundwater below the surface of a landowner’s real property, and (2) prohibit an aquifer authority from depriving or divesting the landowner or his lessee of that right.   (This bill is identical to S.B. 332 by Fraser.)

H.B. 1731 (Ritter) – Groundwater:  would: (1) make a legislative finding and declaration of policy regarding the long-term viability of groundwater resources; (2) clarify the rights of landowners and groundwater conservation districts with regard to groundwater use and conservation policy creation.

H.B. 1733 (Ritter) – 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; and (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.  (Companion bill is S.B. 409 by Estes.)

H.B. 1734 (Ritter) - Texas Water Development Board Assistance:  would prohibit an applicant for financial assistance or loans from the Texas Water Development Board from receiving assistance if the applicant has failed to satisfactorily complete a request by the board’s executive administrator or a regional planning group for information relevant to the project for which the assistance is being requested, including a water infrastructure financing survey.  (This bill is identical to S.B. 370 by Seliger.)

H.B. 1735 (Bohac) – Speed Limit Signs:  would require a city that erects a sign giving notice of an altered speed limit on a highway or street under the city’s jurisdiction to install and maintain a orange frame behind the sign containing the word “NEW” until the 91st day after the date the sign is erected.

H.B. 1736 (Bohac) – Emergency Vehicles:  would provide that it is a third degree felony to illegally pass a stationary authorized emergency vehicle if the violation results in serious bodily injury or death.

H.B. 1737 (Bohac) – Speeding:  would provide that a property owners’ association may install a speed feedback sign on a road, highway, or street in the association’s jurisdiction if: (1)  the association receives the consent of the governing body of the political subdivision that maintains the road, highway, or street for the placement of the sign; and (2) the association pays for the installation of the sign.

H.B. 1739 (Walle) – Workers’ Compensation:  would: (1) require construction contractors and subcontractors to provide workers’ compensation insurance coverage for each of their employees; and (2) provide that, if the contractor enters into a contract with a governmental entity for a public project, the coverage must be satisfactory to the governing body of the governmental entity.  (Companion bill is S.B. 938 by Lucio.)

H.B. 1743 (Martinez Fischer) – Blood and Breath Specimens: would require an officer – before requesting a person to submit to the taking of a specimen – to inform the person orally and in writing that, if the person refuses, the officer may apply for a warrant authorizing a specimen to be taken from the person.

H.B. 1744 (Allen) Mandated Health Benefit: would require a health benefit plan to provide coverage for autism therapy to develop appropriate social, emotional, and interpersonal skills.

H.B. 1746 (Veasey) – Property Tax:  would: (1) require a taxing unit to make a payment to a tax increment fund not later than the 90th day after the later of: (a) the delinquency date for the unit’s property taxes; or (b) the date the city or county that created the zone submits to the taxing unit an invoice specifying the amount the taxing unit is required to pay into the tax increment zone; and (2) allow a county commissioners court that enters into an agreement with a city council to also enter into an agreement with the city council for payment into the tax increment fund on behalf of a taxing unit other than the county if the property tax rate of the other taxing entity must be approved by the commissioners court, or if the commissioners court is expressly required by statute to levy the ad valorem taxes of the other entity.  (Companion bill is S.B. 627 by Davis.)

H.B. 1747 (Veasey) Personnel: would: (1) make it an unlawful employment practice for an employment complaint or other protected activity to be a motivating factor in an adverse employment action, even if other factors also lead to adverse employment action; (2) make it a defense that the same action would have been taken even without the impermissible motivating factor; and (3) allow attorney fees and costs to be awarded to the individual complaining of retaliation if an impermissible motivating factor is shown, even if the action would have been taken without the impermissible motivating factor. 

H.B. 1761 (Harper-Brown) – Elections:  would require the secretary of state to prescribe instructions to be printed on balloting materials for a ballot to be voted by mail to include a statement, in Spanish and English, advising why a person should decline help from a stranger who offers to help read, mark, or mail the ballot.

H.B. 1764 (Harper-Brown) – Abandoned Property:  would reduce the amount of time that must pass before an unclaimed utility deposit or other unclaimed personal property is presumed abandoned.

H.B. 1765 (S. Miller) Emergency Communications: would: (1) require the governor’s Emergency Management Division, with cooperation from the Texas Department of Transportation and emergency management directors, to create an emergency information network system consisting of at least 200 digital displays to display local public health and safety information and availability of fuel, food, lodging, and pharmacy services in certain urban areas; (2) require the division to contract with vendors who will erect and maintain the signs within city limits or within extraterritorial jurisdiction of a city; (3) allow the vendors to display commercial messages when emergency information is not being displayed; (4) require the vendors to share 2.5 percent of gross revenue with any city in which a sign is in the city limits or extraterritorial jurisdiction and 2.5 percent to the state for general revenue; (4) allow local law enforcement to show certain emergency information on the signs; and (4) allow the erection of such signs without requiring compliance with municipal sign ordinances or permission from the city in which the sign is located. (Companion bill is S.B. 971 by Hinojosa.)

H.B. 1771 (Madden) – Drug Court:  would create the Specialty Courts Advisory Council to evaluate applications for grant funding for drug courts and other specialty courts.

H.B. 1773 (Taylor) – Elections:  would provide that a person residing outside the United States who indicates on a federal postcard application that the person is a United States citizen is entitled to vote a full ballot if the person is otherwise eligible to vote and is a registered voter at the address stated on the application.  (Companion bills are H.B. 1697 by P. King and S.B. 904 by Patrick.) 

H.B. 1775 (Allen) – Solid Waste:  would: (1) create a waste reduction stakeholders committee; and (2) charge that committee with conducting a study regarding waste reduction in the state and preparing a statewide waste reduction plan to be presented to the legislature.

H.B. 1791 (Kleinschmidt) – Emergency Services Districts:  would make various changes to the administration of emergency services districts, including training requirements for board members and a removal procedure whereby the county commissioners may remove a board member.  (Companion bill is H.B. 1619 by Orr.)

H.B. 1792 (Gutierrez) – Red Light Cameras:  would provide that all revenue from red light camera violations, after a city has deducted its administrative costs, be deposited to the credit of the state’s regional trauma account.

H.B. 1794 (Gutierrez) – Property Tax:  would provide that a city that adopted an ordinance prior to 2002 allowing for the taxation of leased motor vehicles for personal use may no longer collect property taxes on the vehicle if the lessee is 65 years of age or older. 

H.B. 1800 (Bonnen) – Immigration:  would, among other things, provide that:

  1. Not later than 48 hours after a person is arrested and before the person is released on bond, the law enforcement agency that arrested the person or that has custody of the person shall: (1) have the person’s immigration status verified by a law enforcement officer who is authorized under federal law to verify a person's immigration status or a federal law enforcement officer; and (2) if United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) does not have the results of the immigration status of the person, notify ICE if the person is not a citizen or national of the United States and is unlawfully present in the United States.
  2. A law enforcement agency that notifies ICE of the results of an immigration status verification shall provide the results of the immigration status verification to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS).
  3. DPS shall maintain a computerized central database containing information regarding each person who has been arrested in the state and immigration status verification reveals that the person: (a)  is not a citizen or national of the United States; and (b)  is unlawfully present in the United States according to the terms of the federal Immigration Reform and Control Act. 
  4. DPS shall make the information in the database available to any peace officer or law enforcement agency in the state.
  5. Most of the information in the database is public and shall be posted on the DPS Web site.
  6. A city or any officer or employee of the city may not adopt any policy that does not fully enforce state and federal law, and, in the case of policies that would not fully enforce state and federal immigration laws, prohibit the city from receiving state funds.

H.B. 1810 (Burnam) – Driver Responsibility Program:  would repeal the driver responsibility program and replace the revenue derived from the program with an increase in the tax on cigarettes.

H.B. 1812 (Phillips) – Newspapers: would allow newspaper publication by a city in periodical postal matter in a county where a second class newspaper is not published.

H.B. 1814 (Lucio) – Fire Suppression:  would authorize a water supply or sewer service organization to provide a water supply to a city or volunteer fire department for use in fire suppression.

H.B. 1820 (R. Anderson) – Texas Municipal Retirement System: would change the definition of “employee” for purposes of participation in the Texas Municipal Retirement System to require that an employee work 1,000 hours per year instead of 1,500 hours a year.

H.B. 1827 (McClendon) – Employee Leave: would require an employer, including a city, to allow an employee unpaid time off to participate in certain student activities for the employee’s child.

H.B. 1836 (Hughes) – Fireworks:  would: (1) authorize a retail fireworks permit holder to sell fireworks beginning February 20 and ending at midnight on March 2; (2) require the Texas Forest Service to make its services available each day during the Texas Independence Day fireworks season to determine whether drought conditions exist; and (3) require that an order of a commissioners court prohibiting or restricting the sale or use of fireworks be adopted before February 15 for the Texas Independence Day fireworks season.

H.B. 1841 (Hartnett) – Sales Tax:  would provide that a person whose only activity in this state is Internet hosting is not engaged in business in this state for sales tax purposes.  

H.B. 1844 (Guillen) – Records Retention:  would authorize the executive and administrative officer of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission to: (1) store, for a fee, local government records on the request of the local government; and (2) allow the state records center to provide for the storage, access, protection, and disposition of inactive and vital local government records.

H.B. 1847 (Farias) – Solid Waste:  would increase the fee charged by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to dispose of construction or demolition waste at a municipal solid waste landfill.

H.B. 1850 (Elkins) – State Agency Rules:  would provide that a proposed rule may not be adopted by a state agency until the rule is approved by a majority of members of the standing committee of each house reviewing the rule.  

H.B. 1851 (Reynolds) – Procurement: would: (1) provide that a person who is a veteran with a service-connected disability is eligible to be listed as a historically underutilized business by the state; and (2) add attorneys to the list of professionals that must be procured under the Professional Services Procurement Act.

H.B. 1862 (Anchia) – Substandard Housing: would provide that, if a city or a county revokes a certificate of occupancy for a leased premises because of the landlord’s failure to maintain the premises, the landlord is liable to a tenant who is not in default under the lease for: (1) the full amount of the tenant’s security deposit; (2) the pro rata portion of any rental payment the tenant has paid in advance; (3) the tenant’s actual damages, including any moving costs, utility connection fees, storage fees, and lost wages; and (4) court costs and attorney’s fees arising from any related cause of action by the tenant against the landlord.

H.B. 1863 (Anchia) – Electric Rates:  would provide that a regulatory authority, including a city or the Public Utility Commission, shall allow as reasonable and necessary expenses an electric utility’s expenditures related to recharging stations for electric vehicles to the extent the expenditures meet certain conditions.

H.B. 1869 (Giddings) – Procurement: would remove the population brackets in current law to allow any city to use the current local preference bidding statutes.

H.B. 1876 (Truitt) – Residential Fire Sprinklers:  would authorize a city to require the installation of a multipurpose residential fire protection sprinkler system, or any other fire sprinkler protection system, in a new one- or two-family dwelling if the city holds an election to authorize the enactment of the requirement and a majority of voters approve the proposition.

H.B. 1877 (Coleman) – Recycling:  would: (1) create a local recycling assistance grant program available only to cities and counties; (2) create a five cent disposable bag fee for every disposable plastic bag provided to a retail customer, to be collected by the retailer and remitted to the comptroller in order to fund the recycling assistance grant.

H.B. 1878 (D. Miller) – Emergency Services Districts:  would: (1) allow for the consolidation of emergency services districts if the board of each district determines that consolidation would allow the districts to provide services more efficiently and adopts a joint order of consolidation; (2) require each emergency services commissioner to complete a training course provided or approved by the Texas Department of Rural Affairs; and (3) authorize the board of directors of an emergency services district to contract with a volunteer fire department, local government, or other district to provide staff, facilities, equipment, programs, or services the board considers necessary to provide emergency services.

H.B. 1880 (Madden) – Property Tax:  would provide that, for a residence homestead owned by a veteran of the armed services of the United States and that was donated to or renovated for the veteran at no charge to the veteran, an appraisal district may only increase the appraised value of the property to an amount not to exceed the lesser of: (1) the market value of the property for the most recent tax year; (2) for a residence homestead donated to the veteran, the sum of the appraised value of the land and $150,000; or (3) for a residence homestead renovated at no charge to a veteran, the sum of the appraised value of the property for the tax year preceding the renovation and the market value of all new improvements to the property that are not considered renovations.  (A veteran would be required to apply for the limitation with the chief appraiser of the appraisal district in order to receive a limitation under the bill.) 

H.B. 1883 (Garza) – Extraterritorial Jurisdiction: would provide that: (1) the governing body of a city that is incorporated in the extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ) of an existing city with the consent of the existing city may - by resolution - petition the existing city to release area in the ETJ of the existing city located contiguous to and within one-half mile of the boundaries surrounding the petitioning city; (2) not later than the 30th day after the date the existing city receives the petition, the governing body - by ordinance or resolution - shall release the area; (3) the existing city is not required to release any area that is annexed for limited purposes, has been included in the existing city’s municipal annexation plan for at least one year, or is proposed for annexation and is not required to be included in a municipal annexation plan; and (4) the two cities shall enter into a memorandum of understanding to provide for the transition of the application of any municipal ordinances to the transferred ETJ.

H.B. 1884 (Garza) – Property Tax:  would do the following:  (1) limit re-appraisals of residential homesteads to no more often than once every three years; and (2) prevent taxable value increases in years in which homesteads are not re-appraised.  (Note:  the intended effect of this bill is to create a three and one-third-percent appraisal cap on homesteads, but its constitutionality – absent an accompanying constitutional amendment – is questionable).

H.B. 1887 (Villarreal) – Property Tax:  would, among other things: (1) require an appraisal review board to include in a written order to resolve a protest the appraised value as determined by the board for each account that was the subject of the protest; (2)  provide that a district court has jurisdiction over a timely petition if the property identified in the petition was the subject of an appraisal review board hearing and the issuance of an order determining the protest, and if the plaintiff identified in the petition was the owner or lessee of the property on January 1 of the tax year, during the tax year, or as identified on the appraisal roll; (3) permit the property owner or the owner’s agent to offer evidence of the market value or the equal and uniform value of the property for purposes of a no evidence motion for summary judgment filed by an appraisal district; (4) require a party to agree to alternative dispute resolution upon the written request of the other party; (5) provide that an individual need not be a licensed real estate appraiser to offer expert testimony with regard to the market value or equal and uniform value of property in an appeal; and (6) change the amount of interest that a city making a refund of property taxes following a judicial proceeding must pay from eight percent to an annual rate that is equal to the auction average rate quoted on a bank discount basis for three-month treasury bills issued by the federal government, while also providing that a taxing unit may not agree as part of any settlement of a lawsuit to waive the interest. 

H.B. 1888 (S. Miller) – E-Verify: would require an employer, including a city, to register and participate in E-verify.

H.B. 1891 (S. Davis) – Search Warrants:  would clarify that a search and seizure warrant for data on an electronic communication or data storage device is considered to have been executed within the time allowed if the device was seized within that time frame.

H.B. 1895 (Farias) – Elections:  would require a city ordering a general election to order that early voting by personal appearance at the main early voting polling place be conducted on at least one Saturday and Sunday during the early voting period.

H.B. 1898 (Pickett) – Transportation Funding: would authorize the governing body of the City of El Paso to call an election on the issue of imposing an additional fee up to ten dollars for registering a vehicles to be used for road and bridge projects in the city.

H.B. 1899 (Pickett) – Cell Phone Ban:  would: (1) exempt a city from the requirement to post a sign at a school crossing zone regarding the prohibited use of a wireless communication device if the city prohibits the use of a wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle throughout its jurisdiction; and (2) authorize political subdivisions, including a city, to regulate the use of a wireless communication device by the operator of a motor vehicle.

H.B. 1900 (Burnam) – Unfunded Mandates:  would: (1) establish an unfunded mandates interagency work group to consist of the state auditor, director of the Legislative Budget Board, the comptroller, a senator, and a member of the house of representatives; (2) authorize the work group to enter into an interagency memorandum of understanding regarding the completion of its work; (3) provide that a political subdivision is not required to comply with an unfunded mandate identified on the published list of unfunded mandates; and (4) repeal Government Code Section 320.004, which provides for the review of unfunded mandates.

H.B. 1903 (Keffer) – Property Tax:  would: (1) allow a city to sell a delinquent tax receivable at any time through a negotiated sale or competitive bidding on terms that the city determines are in its best interest; and (2) provide that the sale of a delinquent tax receivable does not alter or affect the duty or authority of a local government to collect a delinquent tax receivable.

H.B.1906 (D. Howard) – Vehicle Idling:  would make it a class C misdemeanor offense to violate a Texas Commission on Environmental Quality rule concerning locally enforced motor vehicle idling limitations.

H.B. 1907 (Madden) – Student Offenses:  would: (1) require that written notification by a law enforcement agency to a superintendent concerning an offense committed by a student include the facts contained in the earlier oral notification, the name of the person who was orally notified, and the date and time of the oral notification; (2) require that oral and written notice concerning an offense committed by a student include all pertinent details including details of any assaultive behavior and weapons used or possessed during the offense; and (3) give school districts discretion over admission or placement of certain students.

H.B. 1911 (Bonnen) – Governmental Immunity: would provide immunity from liability for injuries or damages incurred during training exercises for emergencies to the same extent a person would be immune for providing services during an actual emergency. 

H.B. 1912 (Bonnen) – Texas Department of Rural Affairs: would transfer the Texas Department of Rural Affairs to the Office of Rural Affairs within the Department of Agriculture and abolish the board of the Texas Department of Rural Affairs.

H.B. 1913 (Hancock) – Plastic Bags:  would: (1) require certain businesses to take certain actions to reduce the use of plastic checkout bags; and (2) preempt a conflicting local ordinance or rule.  (Companion bill is S.B. 908 by Fraser.)

H.B. 1914 (W. Smith) – Solid Waste:  would require the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to adopt rules to require additional financial assurance for certain commercial solid waste facilities.

H.B. 1919 (Price) – Animal Cruelty: would provide a defense to prosecution for cruelty to a dog if the individual had a reasonable fear of serious injury from the dog to himself or another person.

H.B. 1920 (Pickett) – Transportation: would make various changes relating to transportation planning and funding, including among others:

  1. providing that the Texas Transportation Commission consists of five members, of which three are appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the senate, one is appointed by the lieutenant governor, and one is appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the senate from a list provided by the speaker of the house of representatives;
  2. mandating that the commission align Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) district boundaries along the boundaries of regional planning commissions;
  3. creating a ten-member legislative oversight committee on transportation, which shall appoint an inspector general who will cooperate and coordinate with the state auditor’s office to oversee TxDOT operations;
  4. providing that TxDOT shall develop a statewide transportation program and budget plan, which includes detailed planning and financial reporting requirements;
  5. providing that each metropolitan planning organization shall, for the area in its boundaries, select projects and order them in priority (for an area that is not within an MPO, each TxDOT district office will prepare a plan).
  6. providing that an MPO may also prepare and update periodically a long-range transportation plan for its region;
  7. providing that, in developing a plan, an MPO shall seek the opinions and assistance of the appropriate transportation officials, and TxDOT and an MPO may enter into a memorandum of understanding relating to the planning of transportation services;
  8. requiring TxDOT to use the MPO project lists to create the statewide transportation program and budget.
  9. allowing the commission to adopt rules to allow an MPO to loan funds to another MPO (but only if required to avoid the lapsing of federal appropriations authority);
  10. providing that the statewide transportation program and budget shall be organized first by region, then by mode of transportation, followed by the year of the project, and the commission shall adopt rules that create funding formulas for transportation projects after considering the input of planning organizations, transportation officials, and county and municipal officials;
  11. providing that all funds received by TxDOT for highways, including toll roads and toll road systems, that may be allocated in the state’s or TxDOT’s discretion shall be allocated by a formula to each MPO that is based on performance measures and includes at least the following criteria: (a) centerline miles; (b) level of congestion; (c) percentage of population below federal poverty level; (d) population; (e) safety; and (f) vehicle miles traveled;
  12. mandating that the commission allocate to the MPOs funding for the project costs of all transportation projects;
  13. providing that TxDOT shall develop an interactive, Web-based system for the tracking of MPO allocations and projects, and that MPOs shall be granted access to the system through a secure site to input information regarding projects and the associated project costs; and
  14. mandating the application of local conflict of interest laws to an MPO board member.

H.B. 1923 (Zedler) – Intergovernmental Relations: would: (1) require a city that contracts with a federal-level government relations consultant to require the consultant to report to the Office of State-Federal Relations information about the contract and any subcontract including: (a) the name of the consultant; (b) the issues for which the consultant hired to provide services; and (c) the amount paid to the consultant; (2) provide for liquidated damages in the amount of $1,000 for each day the consultant fails to comply with the reporting requirement; (3) require the report to be filed within 30 days of hire and 30 days of when the contract expires or is terminated; and (4) require the consultant to pay a $250 fee when submitting the report. 

H.B. 1926 (Aliseda) – Elections:  would, among other things, provide that: (1) the presiding judge or a special peace officer may not remove an alternate presiding judge from the polling place without the approval of an election official other than the presiding judge or special peace officer and documentation from the presiding judge of the reason for removal; (2) a person is eligible for appointment as a special peace officer only if the person is licensed as a peace officer by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education; and (3) any information provided by a poll watcher that may be used to identify the watcher is confidential and may only be used for election administration purposes.

H.B. 1928 (Zedler) – Offenses Against Public Administration:  would: (1) establish the public integrity unit in the office of the attorney general; (2) give the unit authority to prosecute an offense against public administration, an offense involving insurance fraud, and an offense involving motor fuels tax; (3) authorize the attorney general to direct the county or district attorney to prosecute or assist in the prosecution of an offense described in (2), above; (4) require local law enforcement agencies to cooperate with the unit; (5) provide for the venue for prosecution by the unit; and (6) authorize the employment of commissioned peace officers by the attorney general to investigate certain offenses for the unit.

H.B. 1929 (Aliseda) – Sexually Oriented Businesses: would create a state licensing scheme to be administered by the State Department of Health Services for owners, operators, employees, or independent contractors of sexually oriented businesses; (2) provide certain requirements that must be met to obtain a license, including ineligibility if a person has been convicted of certain criminal offenses; (3) prohibit a person from owning, operating, or working at, or otherwise engaging in a business transaction as an owner, operator, employee, or independent contractor at, a sexually oriented business unless the person holds a state license; (4) create civil and criminal penalties for a violation under the bill; and (5) provide that the bill’s requirements are in addition to any municipal or county regulation and that, to the extent of a conflict between the bill and a municipal or county regulation, the bill controls.

H.B. 1930 (Zedler) – Human Trafficking: would, among other things, propose that the Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force examine the extent to which human trafficking is associated with the operation of sexually oriented businesses.

H.B. 1933 (W. Smith) – Metal Recycling: would, among many other things: (1) add various items, including fire hydrants, an item with the logo of a governmental entity or utility, and wire that has been burned to remove the insulation, to the list of regulated metals under state law; (2) provide that a county, city, or other political subdivision may require the record of purchase of regulated metals to contain a clear and legible thumbprint of a seller; (3) provide that a county, city, or other political subdivision that issues a license or permit to a metal recycling entity shall issue a notice to an owner or operator that is operating without the license or permit informing the owner or operator that the owner or operator may be subject to criminal and civil penalties if the owner or operator does not submit an application for the appropriate license or permit; (4) provide that a person commits a misdemeanor if the person owns or operates a metal recycling entity and does not submit an application for the appropriate license or permit; (5) authorize the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to enter into contracts relating to the operation of the statewide electronic reporting system and database; and (6) from fines collected and distributed to the DPS for violations of metal recycling laws, mandate that DPS by rule establish and implement a grant program to provide funding to assist local law enforcement agencies in preventing the theft of regulated metals.

H.B. 1939 (Menendez) – Texas Municipal Retirement System: would create an advisory committee to assist the board of trustees of the Texas Municipal Retirement System.  (Note:  An advisory committee currently exists, and this bill would codify that requirement.)

H.B. 1959 (Thompson) – Alcoholic Beverage Permit:  would require that an individual who is denied an alcoholic beverage permit or license based on the certification of a city or county be given a hearing before the Alcoholic Beverage Commission. 

H.B. 1961 (Deshotel) – Police Workers Compensation:  would require that a city ensure that a police officer or firefighter who is injured in the line of duty be provided with necessary medical care, compensation to pay for health care services to cure or relieve the injury and any effects naturally resulting from the injury, and any necessary artificial body part within ten days of receiving notice of a compensable injury. 

H.B. 1962 (Villarreal) – Municipal Court:  would: (1) require a city’s governing body to approve certain special programs that a municipal judge may require a juvenile to attend after an adjudication of guilt, if a city expenditure would be involved; and (2) increase the caps on cost of the special program or a similar program for the parents of the juvenile.

H.B. 1964 (Villareal) – Municipal Court:  would: (1) authorize a municipal court judge to require a juvenile defendant to perform community service in lieu of a fine or cost; (2) allow the juvenile to discharge the community service obligation by paying at any time the fine and costs assessed; and (3) limit the judge’s liability for damages arising from the community service.

H.B. 1966 (Chisum) – Recycling: would provide for manufacturer registration, recovery plans, and other responsibilities relating to television recycling for television manufacturers.

H.B. 1968 (Chisum) – Gas Pipelines/Municipal Jurisdiction:  would create the Gas Pipeline Regulatory Act, which would – among other things – provide that: (1) the Railroad Commission has exclusive original jurisdiction over the rates and services of a gas pipeline that transmits, transports, delivers, or sells natural gas or synthetic natural gas to a gas utility that distributes the gas to the public; (2) the commission is vested with all the authority and power of the state to ensure compliance with the obligations of gas pipelines; (3) detailed requirements apply to, among other things, records, audits, inspections, establishment of rates, services standards, and other facets of gas pipelines; (4) a city maintains the rights and powers of a city to grant or refuse a franchise to use the streets and alleys in the city or to make a statutory charge for that use; (5) a city that performs a regulatory function may make each charge that is authorized by a state law or the applicable franchise agreement; (6) a franchise agreement may not limit or interfere with a power conferred on the commission by the bill; (6) the governing body of a city participating in a ratemaking proceeding may engage rate consultants, accountants, auditors, attorneys, and engineers to: (a) conduct investigations, present evidence, and advise and represent the governing body; and (b) assist the governing body with litigation or a gas pipeline ratemaking proceeding before the railroad commission or court.; (7) the gas pipeline in the ratemaking proceeding shall reimburse the governing body of the city for the reasonable cost of the services of a such person to the extent the commission determines reasonable; (8) provide that: (a) a city has standing in each case before the commission that relates to a gas pipeline's rates and services in the city; (b) a city's standing is subject to the right of the commission to consolidate that city with another party on an issue of common interest; and (c) a city is entitled to judicial review of a commission order relating to a gas pipeline's rates and services; (8) with regard to a gas pipeline’s costs of relocating a facility to accommodate construction or improvement of a highway,  road, street, public way, or other public work by or on behalf of the United States, this state, a political subdivision, or another entity having the power of eminent domain, a gas  pipeline may recover its relocation costs through a surcharge on gas volumes sold and transported to customers in the service area where the relocation occurred by applying to the commission for a new rate schedule or tariff; (9) a surcharge application must include sufficient documentation to demonstrate the requirement for each relocation, the entity requiring the relocation,  costs incurred for relocation of comparable facilities, surcharge computations, and  that reasonable efforts have been made to receive reimbursement from the entity requiring the relocation, if applicable; (10) not later than the 35th day after the date a surcharge application is received, the commission shall administratively grant or deny the application, or the application is automatically approved.

H.B. 1971 (J, Jackson) – Trespassers:  would provide that an owner, lessee, or occupant of land: (1) owes a duty to refrain from injuring a trespasser willfully, wantonly, or through gross negligence; and (2) may, under certain circumstances, be liable for injury to a child younger than 16 years of age caused by a highly dangerous artificial condition on the land.

H.B. 1972 (Harper-Brown) – Electronic Reporting:  would require each state agency to encourage public entities, including cities, to electronically submit all reports and correspondence required under state law. 

H.B. 1974 (Sheets) – Texas Municipal Retirement System:  would: (1) require the Texas Municipal Retirement System to establish and administer a defined contributions plan under which a participant pays contributions to the plan for the purchase of investment products; (2) make the defined contribution plan mandatory for any person employed on or after September 1, 2012, and who was not a member of the system upon employment; (3) make the defined contribution plan optional for any employee who is a current contributing member of the retirement system; (4) make a change to a defined contribution plan irrevocable; (5) make a change to a defined contribution plan terminate any rights a person had in membership in TMRS; and (6) vest benefits in the defined contribution plan on the first anniversary of the person’s participation in the plan.   

H.B. 1976 (P. King) – Elections:  would repeal the state law allowing a registered voter who changes residence to another election precinct in the same county to vote a full ballot in the election precinct of former residence until the voter’s registration in the new precinct becomes effective. 

H.B. 1977 (P. King) – Elections:  would provide that the ballot of a voter may not be counted if the voter either does not sign the signature roster at a polling place, or have an election officer enter the voter’s name with a notation indicating the reason why the voter could not sign.

H.B. 1978 (P. King) – Elections:  would provide that a person whose name appears on a precinct suspense list of registered voters may only cast a provisional ballot.

H.B. 1979 (Laubenberg) – Special Districts: would: (1) provide that a city may enter into a strategic partnership agreement only with certain conservation and reclamation districts; and (2)  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.

H.B. 1982 (Callegari) – Texas Department of Rural Affairs: would transfer the Texas Department of Rural Affairs to the Office of Rural Affairs within the Department of Agriculture and abolish the board of the Texas Department of Rural Affairs.

H.B. 1984 (Hancock) – Vehicle Storage:  would require a vehicle storage facility to allow an insurance company access to vehicles if the owner of the vehicle authorizes the company to inspect or remove the vehicle under a claim of loss. 

H.B. 1985 (S. Turner) – Municipal Court:  would: (1) limit the ability of the state to revoke the city’s ten percent part of the court costs, fees, and fines remitted to the state to only cases where there is a conviction; and (2) extend the time period during which a city may reestablish compliance with the rules regarding remitting court costs, fees, and fines to the state before the city is barred from collecting a service fee from those funds.

H.B. 1986 (S. Turner) – Electric Generation: would provide that: (1) the Public Utility Commission by rule shall develop a process for obtaining emergency reserve power generation capacity as appropriate to prevent blackout conditions caused by shortages of generated power in the ERCOT power region; and (2) the rules must provide parameters for estimating the amount of emergency reserve power generation capacity necessary to prevent blackout conditions and mechanisms for equitably sharing the costs of contracting for the reserve capacity to be available and the costs of generated power provided to prevent blackout conditions; (3) in accordance with rules adopted under the bill, a regional independent power organization shall contract with power generation companies for a defined amount of emergency reserve power generation capacity to prevent blackouts caused by shortages of generated power; and (3) before the regional independent power organization calls on the emergency reserve power generation capacity to prevent blackout conditions, it shall undertake to use all market sources of power and demand reduction available in accordance with commission rules adopted under the bill.

H.B. 1987 (Workman) – Workers’ Compensation:  would: (1) require construction contractors and subcontractors to provide workers’ compensation insurance coverage for each of their employees; and (2) provide that, if the contractor enters into a contract with a governmental entity for a public project, the coverage must be satisfactory to the governing body of the governmental entity. 

H.B. 1988 (Gallego) – Peace Officers:  would allow one immediate family member of a peace officer killed as a result of criminal conduct to speak in court regarding the terms of any plea bargain agreement. 

H.B. 1992 (Hardcastle) – Animal Control Fees:  would allow the Texas Animal Health Commission to impose animal fees, including fees for: (1) inspection of animals or facilities; (2) disease testing; (3) obtaining samples from animals for disease testing; (4) disease prevention, control, or eradication; (5) treatment efforts; (6) control and eradication of ticks and other pests; and (7) any other service for which the commission incurs a cost. 

H.B. 1994 (Weber) – Law Enforcement:  would: (1) authorize a city to create a first offender prostitution prevention program; and (2) authorize such a program to collect a fee not to exceed $1,000 to cover the costs of the program, five percent of which would go to the police department in the city in order to provide training on domestic violence, prostitution, and human trafficking.

H.B. 1995 (Weber) – TCEQ Enforcement:  would: (1) remove Travis County as a possible venue for alleged violations of most Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) rules or criminal statutes; and (2) change the ratio of fine sharing for a prosecution of a violation of most TCEQ rules or criminal statutes between the TCEQ and any local government significantly involved in prosecuting the case from an even division to ninety percent to the state and ten percent to the local government.

H.B. 2000 (Garza) – Property Tax:  would: (1) provide that the legal owner of property that is not a public facility corporation is exempt from property taxation if: (a) a public facility corporation owns 100 percent of the legal owner of the property; or (b) the legal owner of the property is exclusively controlled by the corporation and is organized under state law, has its principal place of business in this state, and has equitable title to the property; (2) provide that property owned by a public facility corporation is exempt from property taxes if the property is owned by a tax credit partnership or limited liability company and the general partner or member is controlled by a public facility corporation.

H.B. 2010 (Smithee) – Construction Contracts: would essentially eliminate “broad form” indemnification in construction contracts by, among other things, providing: (1) that a provision in a construction contract, or in an agreement collateral to or affecting a construction contract, is void and unenforceable as against public policy to the extent that it requires an indemnitor to indemnify, hold harmless, or defend another party to the construction contract or a third party against a claim caused by the negligence or fault, the breach or violation of a statute, ordinance, governmental regulation, standard, or rule, or the breach of contract of the indemnitee, its agent or employee, or any third party under the control or supervision of the indemnitee, other than the indemnitor or its agent, employee, or subcontractor of any tier; (2) for an exception to (1), above, for a provision in a construction contract that requires a person to indemnify, hold harmless, or defend another party to the construction contract or a third party against a claim for the bodily injury or death of an employee of the indemnitor, its agent, or its subcontractor of any tier; (3) that provision in a construction contract that requires the purchase of additional insured coverage, or any coverage endorsement or provision within an insurance policy providing additional insured coverage, is void and unenforceable to the extent that it requires or provides coverage the scope of which is prohibited for an agreement to indemnify, hold harmless, or defend; (4) for certain exclusions from (1), above; and (5) that the provisions of the bill may not be waived by contract or otherwise. (Companion bill is S.B. 361 by Duncan.)

H.B. 2013 (Hardcastle) – Solid Waste:  would provide that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality may issue a permit by rule to authorize the governing body of a county or city with a population of 10,000 or less to dispose of demolition waste from an abandoned building or building found to be a nuisance if the disposal occurs on land that: (1) the county or city owns or controls; and (2) would qualify for an arid exemption under commission rules.

H.B. 2019 (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.B. 2025 (McClendon) – Solid Waste:  would provide that a commissioners court by rule may regulate solid waste collection, handling, storage, and disposal by establishing a mandatory program in an area located within the extraterritorial jurisdiction of a city only if: (1) the area has a population density of more than 3,000 persons per square mile; and (2) the commissioners court or the governing body of the city has determined that the area has an established problem with the illegal dumping of household garbage.

H.J.R. 103 (Fletcher) – Property Tax:  would amend the Texas Constitution to allow the legislature to adopt a statute providing for a credit against the ad valorem taxes imposed by a taxing unit on property based on the costs the owner of the property has contracted to pay to have a building constructed on the property that is to be used for commercial or industrial purposes. (Note: Please see H.B. 1685, above.)

H.J.R. 106 (Christian) – Offense Against Public Administration:  would amend the Texas Constitution to give the attorney general authority to represent the state in the prosecution of criminal and civil offenses classified by law as offenses against public administration (including ethics offenses) or as offenses involving insurance fraud.  (Note: please see H.B. 1712, above.)

H.J.R. 107 (Ritter) – 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.  (Note: Please see H.B. 1733, above.)

H.J.R. 108 (Madden) – Property Tax:  would amend the Texas Constitution to allow the Legislature to limit the maximum appraised value of a residence homestead for property tax purposes if the homestead is owned by a veteran of the armed services of the United States and was donated to or renovated for the veteran at no charge to the veteran. (Note: Please see H.B. 1880, above.)

S.B. 763 (Ellis) – Banking Development Districts:  would provide that: (1) a city, in conjunction with a financial institution, may submit an application to the Finance Commission of Texas for the designation of a banking development district; (2) a city council in a city in which a banking development district has been designated may adopt a resolution designating a financial institution located in the district as a banking district depository; (3) a city may deposit public funds with a financial institution designated as a banking district depository regardless of whether the institution is designated as a state depository by the comptroller; (4) a city council may enter into a tax abatement agreement with a financial institution that owns property in a banking development district; and (5) the designation of an area as a banking development district constitutes designation of the area as a reinvestment zone without further hearing or other procedural requirements, except that the property is eligible for tax abatement only if the property is owned by a financial institution.

S.B. 875 (Fraser) – MTBEs:  would create an affirmative defense for a person who is subject to an action brought for nuisance or trespass stemming from certain environmental offenses if the person’s actions that resulted in the alleged nuisance or trespass were authorized by a rule, permit, order, license, certificate, registration, approval, or other form of authorization issued by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) or the federal government or a federal agency, and: (1) the person was in general compliance with that rule, permit, order, license, certificate, registration, approval, or other form of authorization while the alleged nuisance or trespass was occurring; or (2) the person received enforcement discretion from the TCEQ or federal government or an agency of the federal government for the actions that resulted in the alleged nuisance or trespass.

S.B. 898 (Carona) – Energy Efficiency Programs: would provide that: (1) each political subdivision, institution of higher education, or state agency shall establish a goal to reduce the electric consumption by the entity by at least five percent each state fiscal year for 10 years, beginning September 1, 2011; (2) a political subdivision, institution of higher education, or state agency that does not attain the goals established under (1), above, must provide justification to the State Energy Conservation Office that the e