City-Related Bills Filed

PROPERTY TAX

H.B. 1830 (N. Gonzalez) – Appraisal Process:  would create a pilot program in El Paso county that would provide that, in an appraisal protest filed by a commercial or industrial property owner relating to a property with an appraised or market value of at least $1 million, the chief appraiser may file a request with the appraisal review board to compel the property owner to disclose to the chief appraiser information relating to the sales price, rate of occupancy, lease or rental income, or production capacity and income of the property that is the subject of the protest.

H.B. 1897 (Eiland) – Property Tax Exemption:  would provide that, for purposes of the “Prop 2” property tax exemption for pollution control property: (1) a determination that a facility, device, or method is used wholly or partly for the control of air, water, or land pollution is effective January 1 of the year following the year in which the determination becomes final, or is finally determined on appeal; and (2) the executive director of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality may require a person who is allowed an exemption for pollution control property in a prior year to file a new permit application or exemption request to confirm the person’s current qualification for the exemption.

H.B. 1904 (Eiland) – Delinquent Tax Suits:  would require a taxing unit to pay attorney ad litem fees in connection with a delinquent tax suit.

H.B. 1913 (Bohac) – Delinquent Taxes:  would: (1) allow a city council to waive penalties and interest on a delinquent tax for any tax year preceding the tax year in which the owner acquired the property if: (a) the owner or another person liable for the tax pays the tax not later than 181 days after the date the property owner receives notice of the delinquent tax; and (b) the delinquency is the result of taxes imposed on omitted property entered into the appraisal records or erroneously exempted property or appraised value added to the appraisal roll; and (2) provide that the waiver of penalties and interest under (1), above, applies only to the tax lien on the property and does not relieve the person who owned or acquired the property on January 1 of the year for which the delinquent tax was imposed from any personal obligation for the accrued penalties and interest on the tax.

H.B. 1943 (Bohac) – Appraisal Cap:  would reduce the property tax appraisal cap on homesteads from ten to five percent.  (Please see H.J.R. 102, below.)

H.B. 1946 (Bohac) – Appraisal Cap:  would:  (1) limit re-appraisals of residential homesteads to no more often than once every two 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 five- percent appraisal cap on homesteads, but its constitutionality—absent an accompanying constitutional amendment—is questionable.)

H.B. 1998 (Kleinschmidt) – Property Tax Exemption:  would make land used for supporting outdoor education eligible for appraisal as open-space land for property tax purposes.

H.B. 2001 (Anchia) – Property Tax Exemption:  would allow an applicant for a residence homestead property tax exemption who does not have a driver’s license or state-issued personal identification certificate to apply for the exemption using a sworn-affidavit stating that: (1) the applicant does not have a driver’s license or state-issued personal identification certificate; and (2) the property for which the applicant is claiming the exemption is the applicant’s residence homestead. 

H.B. 2024 (E. Rodriguez) – Tax Lien:  would provide that a tax lien is perfected upon attachment of the lien, and that perfection requires no further action by the taxing unit except that the lien on personal property – including manufactured housing – requires recording of the lien under certain circumstances.

H.B. 2192 (Murphy) – Appraisal Process:  would authorize a property owner to appeal through binding arbitration an appraisal review board order determining a protest filed due to unequal appraisal of the owner’s property if the property is the owner’s residence homestead and is valued at $1 million or less.

H.B. 2224 (Hilderbran) – Appraisal Districts:  would, among other things: (1) impose training and licensing requirements on chief appraisers of appraisal districts; and (2) authorize the comptroller to appoint a chief appraiser for an appraisal district if the chief appraiser is ineligible to serve.

H.B. 2231 (Simmons) – Property Tax Exemption:  would provide that a property owner is subject to additional taxes if the property owner conveys land that has been appraised as agricultural property to a person, state, or political subdivision who changes the use of the land, and the property owner regains possession of the land on or before the fifth anniversary of the conveyance and uses the land in a way that would have initially subjected the land to the additional tax.

H.B. 2314 (Otto) – Appraisal Districts:  would: (1) require appraisal district board members to annually complete open government training and training relating to the operation of the appraisal district; and (2) provide that not completing the training makes a board member ineligible to continue to serve on the board.

H.B. 2324 (N. Gonzalez) – Delinquent Property Taxes:  would provide that a delinquent property tax incurs a penalty of interest calculated at an annual rate that is equal to the most recent prime rate published by the Federal Reserve Board as of the first day of the month in which the tax becomes delinquent (capped at six percent) of the amount of the tax for the first calendar month it is delinquent, plus one percent for each additional month prior to July 1 of the year in which it becomes delinquent.

H.J.R. 102 (Bohac) – Appraisal Cap:  would amend the Texas Constitution to authorize the legislature to reduce the property tax appraisal cap on homesteads from ten to five percent.  (Please see H.B. 1943, above.)

S.B. 835 (Lucio) – Appraisal Cap:  would provide that a replacement for a structure that was rendered uninhabitable or unusable by casualty or by wind or water damage is not considered to be a new improvement for property tax appraisal cap purposes if the disaster recovery program administered by the General Land Office required: (1) the square footage of the replacement structure to exceed that of the replaced structure; or (2) the exterior of the replacement structure be of higher quality construction and composition than that of the replaced structure.

S.B. 1030 (Taylor) – Property Tax Exemption:  would provide a property tax exemption for energy storage systems used or constructed to wholly or partly meet environmental regulations that are located in a designated non-attainment area and have a capacity of at least ten megawatts.

S.B. 1076 (Hegar) – Appraisal Review Board:  would require the appraisal review board to conduct a closed hearing if the property owner or the chief appraiser plans to disclose proprietary information at the hearing.

S.B. 1085 (Eltife) – Property Tax Exemption: would limit the types of individuals who qualify as heavy equipment inventory dealers for purposes of the property taxes imposed on heavy equipment inventory.  (Companion bill is H.B. 826 by Harless.)

SALES TAX

H.B. 1923 (Thompson) – Sales Tax Administration:  would, among other things:

  1. allow the comptroller to delegate to a person employed or designated by a city the power to investigate and examine the records of a person doing business in the state for local sales tax liability purposes;
  2. require the comptroller to include in its additional report requested by a city certain information relating to local sales taxes, including: (a) a statement of the proportional allocation to the municipality of a partial payment of sales taxes; (b) a statement showing the tax periods covered by the delinquencies and the amount of delinquency during each period; and (c) a statement of the date by which the comptroller will make the appropriate allocation to a city, if the comptroller did not initially make the appropriate allocation;
  3. if a city determines and reports to the comptroller that a person doing business in the city has wholly or partly collected or reported sales taxes incorrectly und the chapter, provide that the comptroller may provide additional information in response to the city’s report, including: (a) a statement that the person is obligated for the municipal tax and the tax is delinquent, which must include: (i) a description of the action the comptroller is taking to collect the delinquent tax; (ii) an estimate of the delinquent tax due to the city and the tax periods covered by the delinquency; (iii) the date by which the comptroller will complete the review and the date by which the comptroller will make all delinquent funds available to the municipality; and (iv) the date and periods covered by the most recent audit of the person by the comptroller or a statement that the comptroller has not conducted an audit of the person; (b) a certification that the person is obligated for the city sales tax, including the periods for which the person is obligated for the city sales tax, the full amount of the tax due in each period that the person is obligated, and a statement as to whether the tax due has been credited to the city’s account; or (c) a statement authorizing a person employed by or designated by the city to investigate and examine the records of the person doing business in the city that has wholly or partly collected or reported taxes incorrectly;
  4. authorize a city to petition the comptroller for a redetermination if the city disagrees with a determination made by the comptroller;
  5. authorize the comptroller to set and collect reasonable fees from a city to cover the expense of compiling and providing information or providing access to the administrative appeals process;
  6. on the request of a city, require the comptroller to provide the city with information relating to the gross sales, taxable sales, and taxable purchases by each person doing business in the municipality by individual outlet as reported to the comptroller on a sales and use tax return;
  7. on the request of a city, require the comptroller to provide the city with a sales and use tax audit report related to applicable local sales tax collections and corrections, including any supporting documentation;
  8. authorize a city that has adopted a sales tax to submit a clarification request to the comptroller for a determination of the appropriate location at which sales or uses were consummated, which may include a question in relation to specific sales or uses or may include a fact pattern relating to sales and uses;
  9. require the comptroller to respond to the request by a city under (8), above, not later than 90 days after the date the comptroller receives the request, and allow the city to use the response from the comptroller in communications with a person, office, or outlet to encourage or compel compliance with state law.

H.B. 2047 (Lozano) – Sales Tax Exemption:  would exempt certain tangible personal property and services related to mineral exploration and production from sales and use taxes.

H.B. 2271 (Morrison) – Sales Tax Exemptions:  would: (1) provide that certain hurricane preparation items are exempt from sales taxes between the dates of May 25 and May 31; and (2) allow the comptroller to add items to the list of hurricane preparation items. 

H.B. 2288 (Zerwas) – Sales Tax Exemption:  would exempt from sales and use taxes hospital mattresses and intravenous systems, supplies, and replacement parts designed or intended to be used in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, illness, injury, or pain in humans.

S.B. 859 (Deuell) – Sales Tax Exemption:  would exempt from sales and use taxes the sale or use of tangible personal property used or consumed in qualified research or services if the property or services are sold to, leased or rented to, or stored, used, or consumed by, a person who is engaged in qualified research and will not claim a credit on a franchise tax report for the period during which the sale or use occurs.

S.B. 862 (Taylor) – Sales Tax Exemption:  would provide that boats greater than 65 feet in length that are not used for commercial shipping are subject to the state-only sales tax on boats and boat motors, and therefore not subject to city sales and use taxes. 

S.B. 935 (Davis) – Sales Tax Exemption:  would exempt from sales and use taxes the services used to create a computer program and the sale or storage, use, or other consumption of a computer program if: (1) the computer program is sold by the creator to a purchaser; (2) the computer program is created at the request of the purchaser; (3) the exclusive rights to the computer program are transferred from the creator to the purchaser; and (4) the computer program is created: (a) without the use of existing programming code; or (b) with the use of existing programming code only if the existing programming code is available for use without charge by everyone.

S.B. 997 (Deuell) – Sales Tax Sourcing:  would provide that, if a retailer has more than one place of business in the state, the consummation of a sale of a taxable item does not take place where the retailer first receives the order if: (1) the taxable item is shipped or delivered from a warehouse that: (a) is located in a  city with a population of 5,000 or less; (b) is a place of business of the retailer; (c) the retailer entered into an economic development agreement with a city or an economic development corporation prior to January 1, 2009; and (d) the city provided information relating to the economic development agreement to the comptroller as provided by state law; and (2) the place of business of the retailer at which the retailer first receives the order is a retail outlet that is served by the warehouse.  (Companion bill is H.B. 1466 by Hughes.)

PURCHASING

H.B. 1977 (Kuempel) – Construction Managers:  would provide that: (1) a governmental entity’s  construction manager-agent for a project may not serve, alone or in combination with another person, as the project’s construction manager-at-risk; and (2) a construction manager-at-risk contract may not be awarded to a governmental entity’s engineer, architect, construction manager-agent, or program director or certain related entities, with certain exceptions.

H.B. 1994 (Reynolds) – Commodity Items:  would allow a state agency to purchase certain information technology commodity items through a contract developed by certain local government purchasing cooperatives if the commodity item is unavailable for purchase under an existing contract developed by the Department of Information Resources.

ELECTIONS

H.B. 1840 (Wu) – Elections: would provide that a poll watcher shall wear a badge that prominently displays the words “Poll Watcher” while the watcher is observing election activity. (Companion bill is S.B. 160 by Huffman.)

H.B. 600 (Taylor) – Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act:  would, among other things: (1) require the secretary of state to make a checklist or similar guidelines available for optional use by early voting clerks in processing an application and providing balloting materials to a military or overseas voter; and (2) repeal the authority of the secretary of state to adjust or modify election dates or procedures affected by the state implementation of the MOVE Act.  (Companion bill is S.B. 904 by Van de Putte.)

H.B. 666 (R. Miller) – Voting by Mail: would provide that an application for a ballot to be voted by mail is considered to be an application for a ballot for each election in which the county clerk serves as early voting clerk if the application: (1) is submitted to the county clerk indicating the grounds of eligibility is age or disability; and (2) does not specify the election for which a ballot is requested.

H.B. 1837 (Wu) – One-Stop Early Voting: would (1) create a one-stop early voting polling place for the general election for state and county officers; and (2) provide that a person shall be accepted during early voting by personal appearance at a one-stop voting location for voting the ballot for the precinct of the person’s residence as shown by the identification presented on the day the person offers to vote.

H.B. 1838 (Wu) – Voter Registration: would provide that either an active or discharged military person who is eligible to vote shall be accepted for voting in the precinct of the person’s residence on the day the person offers to vote if the person: (1) submits a voter registration application; (2) presents a United States military identification card that contains the person’s photograph; (3) presents a deployment order indicating that the person was deployed on or after the 60th day before election day; and (4) presents proof of residence.

H.B. 1839 (Wu) – Voter Registration: would provide that a senior citizen or a person with a disability who is not registered to vote shall be accepted for voting in the precinct of the person’s residence as shown by identification presented at the polling place; and (2) an election officer serving a polling place for early voting by personal appearance is a deputy voter registrar and has the same authority as a regular deputy registrar.

H.B. 1911 (Klick) – Election Dates:  would, among other things: (1) set the general primary date as the first Saturday in March of each even-numbered year; and (2) set the primary runoff date as the fourth Saturday in May following the general primary election.

H.B. 1958 (Turner, Sylvester) – Elections: would provide that the secretary of state shall adopt rules and procedures to inform and educate the public and to provide training for election officers  regarding the availability of voting to voter who is physically unable to enter a polling place.

H.B. 2006 (Klick) – Central Station Manager: would provide that person who is an employee of the political subdivision that adopts or owns a voting system may be eligible for appointment as the central station manager.

H.B. 2023 (Rodriguez) – Early Voting: would allow a person to vote a limited ballot by personal appearance at any early voting polling place.

H.B. 2093 (Harless) – Early Voting: would provide that: (1) the period for early voting by personal appearance begins on the 10th day before election day and continues through the fourth day before election day; and (2) early voting shall be conducted on each weekday and Saturday of the early voting period and during the hours that the county clerk’s or city secretary’s main business office is regularly open for business. (Companion bill is H.B. 2106 by Aycock.)

H.B. 2106 (Aycock) – Early Voting: this bill is the same as H.B. 2093, above.

H.B. 2110 (Kolkhorst) – Election Officers: would provide that: (1) a person is ineligible to serve as an election judge or clerk in an election if the person is employed by or related within the second degree to an officer in any precinct in which the office appears on the ballot; and (2) each election officer shall be issued a form of identification by the secretary of state to be displayed by the officer during the officer’s hours of service at the polling place.

H.B. 2262 (R. Miller) – Early Voting: would, among other things, provide that: (1) the secretary of state shall prescribe a system for assigning a confidential early voting by mail audit number to each registered voter; (2) a person commits a misdemeanor if the person discloses an early voting by mail audit number to a person other than the voter; (3) the voter’s early voting by mail audit number must be contained on the voter registration certificate; (4) an application for ballot voted by mail may be submitted via e-mail containing a scanned image of the application, if the clerk has an e-mail address; (5) the early voting clerk shall deliver to the early voting board a list of early voting by mail audit numbers for those voters who requested an early voting by mail ballot; and (6) a poll watcher may challenge the acceptance of any early voting by mail ballot by calling attention to an irregularity or violation to a chair of the early voting ballot board.

H.B. 2306 (Thompson) – Early Voting: would provide: (1) that a qualified voter is eligible for permanent mail voter status if the voter is: (a) 65 years of age or older on election day; or (b) has a sickness or physical condition that prevents the voter from appearing at the polling place; (2) for procedures to implement permanent mail voting; and (3) that the early voting clerk shall notify the early voting clerks serving every authority that orders elections in the clerk’s jurisdiction of the voter’s permanent mail voter status.

H.B. 2317 (Aycock) – Elections: would provide that the early voting clerk authorized to order early voting on a Saturday or Sunday shall order such voting on receipt of a written request submitted by at least 50 registered voters of the territory covered by the election.

S.B. 904 (Van de Putte) – Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act:  this bill is the same as H.B. 600, above. 

S.B. 910 (Duncan) – Elections: would, among other things, provide that: (1) a delivery, submission, or filing of a document or paper may be made by personal delivery, mail,  telephonic facsimile machine, or any other method of transmission; (2) the secretary of state shall determine whether the information required to be filed for a death must be filed electronically and inform the appropriate entities of the determination; (3) a person employed by a county solely as an early voting clerk is not employed by a candidate and may serve as an election judge or clerk; (4) an election for an office for which candidates are not nominated by primary election may not be held within 30 days before or after the date of the general election for state and county officers, general primary election, or runoff primary election; (5) the secretary of state may prescribe the form and content of a ballot for an election using a voting system, including an electronic voting system or a voting system that uses a direct recording electronic voting machines, to conform to the formatting requirements of the system; (6) an election officer shall conduct the same procedures to a person who is unable to enter a polling place during early voting as election day; (7) the balloting materials for voting by mail may be mailed to the residence address provided on the early voting ballot application or the registered mailing address if different, if the early voting clerk provides a form for a statement of residence; and (8) dates and deadlines for filing various applications are modified.

S.B. 928 (Paxton) – Electioneering: would provide that a public building selected as a polling place shall not prohibit or restrict electioneering, including but not limited to posting political signs, on the buildings premises outside the prescribed limits within which electioneering is prohibited during the early voting and on election day.

OPEN GOVERNMENT

H.B. 2190 (Turner) – Personal Financial Statements:  would make various changes to the contents of the personal financial statements filed by public officials and candidates in cities with a population of 100,000 or greater.

H.B. 2246 (Harper-Brown) – Public Information:  would:  (1) allow, in a suit filed under the Public Information Act, the information at issue to be filed with the court for in camera inspection; and (2) require the court, upon receipt of information for in camera inspection, to enter an order preventing the release to or access by any person other than the court, a court of appeals, or parties permitted to inspect the information.  (Companion bill is S.B. 983 by Ellis.)

S.B. 881 (Ellis) – Public Information:  would:  (1) designate information that is confidential by law as publicly available information on or after the 75th anniversary of the date the information was originally created or received by the governmental body or after the expiration of a specified period for maintaining the confidentiality of the information; and (2) except from (1), above, certain archeological or historical resources and landmarks and certain social security numbers.

S.B. 983 (Ellis) – Public Information:  this bill is the same as H.B. 2246, above. 

S.B. 984 (Ellis) – Open Meetings: would:  (1) provide that a meeting of a state governmental body or a governmental body that extends into three or more counties may be held by videoconference call if the member of the governmental body presiding over the meeting is physically present at one location of the meeting that is open to the public during the open portions of the meeting (current law requires a quorum to be physically present); (2) require that the notice of a meeting described in (1), above, specify as a location of the meeting the location where the member of the governmental body presiding over the meeting will be physically present and specify the intent to have the member of the governmental body presiding over the meeting present at that location; and (3) require that the location where the member of the governmental body presiding over the meeting is physically present as described in (1), above, and each remote location from which a member of the governmental body participates have two-way communication with each other location during the entire meeting.  (Companion bill is H.B. 1749 by Perry.)

S.B. 988 (Hegar) – Public Information:  would:  (1) except from public disclosure records of telephone calls, text messages, e-mails, or other electronic communication to which a peace officer is a party; (2) provide that communications described in (1), above, are subject to disclosure under an appropriate court order, subpoena, or order compelling disclosure in discovery; and (3) authorize a law enforcement agency or officer to redact information described in (1), above, without requesting a decision from the attorney general.

OTHER FINANCE/ADMINISTRATION BILLS

H.B. 7 (Darby) – Dedicated Revenue: would: (1) provide that the legislative budget board shall take various measures to reduce state government’s reliance on dedicated revenue for the purposes of certification of the state budget; (2) lower the amount of the current solid waste “tipping fee” and provide that the portion of the tipping fee that goes to local and regional solid waste projects is reduced by 25 percent (form two-thirds to one-half of total collections); (3) authorize 9-1-1 fee revenue to be appropriated to the Texas A&M Forest Service for providing assistance to volunteer fire departments; (4) authorize funds in the trauma facility and emergency medical services account (funded through the state’s portion of municipal red light camera fines) to go to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board for graduate-level medical education programs or nursing education programs.

H.B. 1861 (Dutton) – Service of Process:  would allow a city officer to be served with citation, notices, writs, orders and other papers issued by a court in a suit by delivery: (1) in person: (a) to the person to be served; (b) to a coresident, who is at least 16 years of age, of the person to be served at the person’s place of residence; (c) to an agent authorized by appointment or by law to receive service of process on behalf of the person to be served; or (d) in certain instances, to a person of suitable age, discretion, and authority at the principal office of the person to be served; or (2) by registered or certified mail to the place of residence of the person to be served.

H.B. 1864 (Wu) – Combined Heating and Power Systems:  would mandate that the State Energy Conservation Office establish procedures for a governmental entity’s evaluation, when constructing or extensively renovating a critical governmental facility or replacing major heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning equipment for a critical governmental facility, of whether equipping the facility with a combined heating and power system would result in expected energy savings that would exceed the expected costs of purchasing, operating, and maintaining the system over a 20-year period.

H.B. 1886 (Farias) – Payday and Auto Title Lending:  would subject payday and motor vehicle title lenders to a number of regulations, including: (1) a requirement that all credit services organizations provide documents to a consumer that are written in the language in which the contract is negotiated that is easily understood by the average consumer and printed in an easily readable font and type size; (2) a prohibition on a credit services organization to assist a consumer with, or charge a consumer a fee in connection  with, a loan or other extension of credit that is not in the form of a payday transaction or motor vehicle title loan; (3) a requirement that the amount of a payday loan may not exceed 20 percent of a consumer’s gross monthly income; (4) a requirement that the amount of a motor vehicle title loan may not exceed three percent of a consumer’s gross annual income or 70 percent of the retail value of the motor vehicle; (5) a requirement that a multi-payment payday or motor vehicle title loan may not be payable in more than four installments that must repay at least 25 percent of the principal amount of the debt, and may not be refinanced or renewed; (6) a requirement that a single payment payday or motor vehicle title loan may not be refinanced or renewed more than three times, with proceeds from each refinancing or renewal being used to repay at least 25 percent of the principal amount of the original debt; and (7) a requirement that any extension of consumer credit made to a consumer on or before the seventh day after the date the consumer has paid a previous extension of consumer credit made by the same person is considered a refinance or renewal of the previous debt.

H.B. 1917 (Rodriguez) – Alcohol Advertising: would: (1) allow a public bus or taxi to advertise alcohol if it operates primarily in an entertainment district of a city; and (2) allow a city to define the boundaries of such an entertainment district.

H.B. 1950 (Thompson) – State Regulation:  would repeal the criminal penalties for violations of certain regulatory laws, including those for day laborer employers, property tax appraisers, collectors, and assessors, industrialized housing companies, and other occupations regulated by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.  (Companion bill is S.B. 972 by Carona.)

H.B. 1982 (Murphy) – Enterprise Zones:  would authorize a county to nominate for designation as an enterprise project a project or activity of a qualified business that is located in the county and in the extraterritorial jurisdiction of a city primarily located in a different county. 

H.B. 1983 (Murphy) – Municipal Debt:  would: (1) require every city to prepare an annual financial report that contains financial information for each city fund, as well as a significant amount of information relating to the city’s debt obligations; and (2) require a city to maintain an Internet website on which it posts the annual financial report continuously along with the city’s relevant contact information.

H.B. 1984 (Murphy) – Enterprise Zone: would: (1) allow an enterprise project designation to be split in half; (2) provide that the maximum number of jobs that the Texas Economic Development Bank may allocate to an enterprise project that was split in half is 250; and (3) provide that a half enterprise project is eligible for a maximum refund of $125,000 in each state fiscal year.

H.B. 2019 (Craddick) – Payday Lending:  would provide that an extension of consumer credit by a credit services organization is subject to the state’s usury laws.

H.B. 2021 (E. Rodriguez) – Debt Collection:  would authorize a county or city to contract with a private attorney or public or private vendor for the collection of a debt owed in relation to a civil case if the debt is more than 60 days overdue, and to collect a fee of not more than 30 percent of the amount collected in order to compensate the attorney or vendor.

H.B. 2064 (Gooden) – Unsworn Declaration:  would allow a city or state agency employee to file an unsworn declaration that does not include their birth date or residence. 

H.B. 2078 (Thompson) – Mixed Beverage Tax:  would create an additional one-cent mixed beverage tax dedicated to the crime victim compensation fund. 

H.B. 2167 (Davis) – Forfeiture of Office:  would: (1) provide that a person holding an elected or appointed state or local office forfeits that office if the person:  (a) willfully fails to enforce a state or federal law in the course of the person’s official duties; (b) directs others subject to the person’s supervision or control not to enforce a state or federal law; or (c) states orally or in writing that the person does not intend to enforce a state or federal law in the course of the person’s official duties; (2) except from (1), above, laws that have been held invalid by or challenged in a court with jurisdiction over the territory served by the officer; and (3) provide that a person found guilty under (1), above, is removed from office and disqualified from public office for a period of ten years.

H.B. 2176 (Kolkhorst) – Certificates of Obligation:  would: (1) provide that, except in a case of grave public necessity to meet an unusual and unforeseen condition, a city may not issue a certificate of obligation (CO) if the voters voted down a bond proposition for the same purpose within the preceding three years; (2) extend the timeframe to publish newspaper notice of intention to issue a CO from 30 to 45 days before the passage of the ordinance; (3) require a city issuing a CO to maintain an Internet website, and to continuously post notice of intention to issue a CO on its website for 45 days before the passage of the CO issuance ordinance; (4) require that the notice of intention to issue a CO include: (a) the total amount and per capita amount of the principal of all outstanding debt; (b) the combined principal and interest required to pay all outstanding debt; (c) the principal of the COs to be authorized; (d) the estimated combined principal and interest required to pay the COs to be authorized; (e) the estimated rate of interest for the COs to be authorized; (f) the maturity date of the bonds to be authorized; and (g) the process by which a petition may be submitted requesting an election on the issuance of the certificates; (5) change the threshold number of voters needed to  petition to force an election on the issuance of a CO from five percent of the qualified voters of the issuer to five percent of the total number of voters that voted in the most recent gubernatorial general election in the city; and (6) make COs issued for personal or professional services subject to the notice requirements.

H.B. 2198 (Anchia) – Pension Review Board:  this is the Pension Review Board sunset bill.  Of interest to cities, the bill would: (1) continue the Pension Review Board until 2025; (2) authorize the board to provide training to retirement trustees and administrators; (4) exempt some fire fighter pension plans from the certain state law requirements; (5) require an audit for a public retirement system that is separate from a governmental entity’s general audit;  (6) require that a public retirement system inform its participants within 31 days of any significant change in the ordinances or regulations of the system that could affect contributions, benefits, or eligibility; and (7) eliminate certain actuarial valuations for defined contribution plans. (Companion bill is S.B. 200 by Patrick.)

H.B. 2259 (Moody) –City Council Attendance:  would provide that a city councilmember in a type A general law city is considered to have an unexcused absence if he or she departs before a meeting is adjourned, unless a unanimous vote of the rest of council allows the departure. 

H.B. 2281 (Phillips) – Abandoned Motor Vehicles:  would, among other things, provide that a person applying to the Department of Motor Vehicles to dispose of an abandoned motor vehicle must, on the filing of the application, give the same type of notice as does a law enforcement agency that takes an abandoned vehicle into custody.

H.B. 2315 (Villarreal) – Consumer Loans:  would authorize the Texas Finance Commission to prescribe by rule the maximum amount of an administrative fee and acquisition charge associated with certain consumer loan contracts.

H.B. 2319 (Parker) – Overnight Shelters:  would:  (1) prohibit a city from adopting an ordinance, or enforcing an existing ordinance, that prohibits a church from providing overnight shelter for children 17 years of age and younger; (2) provide that a city ordinance or regulation that relates to the safe and sanitary operation of a homeless shelter applies to a church that provides overnight shelter for children; and (3) make a church immune from civil liability for any act or omission resulting in injury to a child or in damage to or loss of a child’s property while the child is using a church as an overnight shelter, unless the act or omission is intentional, willful, wantonly negligent, or done with conscious indifference or reckless disregard  for the safety of others.

H.J.R. 105 (Taylor) – State Agency Rules:  would amend the Texas Constitution to provide that the legislature by general law may provide for legislative review or approval of rules adopted by agencies in the executive department, including procedures regarding rules; conditions for rules to take effect; and provisions for the suspension, repeal, or expiration of rules.

S.B. 18 (Carona) – Windstorm Insurance:  would provide comprehensive reform of the Texas Windstorm Insurance Program by, among many other things: (1) creating a state-managed pool (the Texas Property Insurance Program) in which private insurers would be forced to cover wind and hailstorm policies currently covered by the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association; (2) funding reforms through surcharges (in an amount of five percent for those located in a catastrophe area (e.g., coastal regions) and one percent for those located outside of a catastrophe area (e.g., inland counties)) on all property and automobile policies that are issued or renewed on or after Jan. 1, 2014, that are deposited to a state-managed Catastrophe Reserve Trust Fund used to pay damages from storms.

S.B. 19 (Carona) – Catastrophe Loss Mitigation:  would provide that: (1) the Texas Insurance Commissioner, in cooperation with the office of public insurance counsel, shall develop and implement statewide emergency preparedness and loss mitigation programs designed to reduce potential insured residential property losses; (2) the Texas Department of Insurance or the office of public insurance counsel, jointly or severally, may enter into agreements with any individual or entity, including a political subdivision, a state or federal agency, a trade association, a university, or a nonprofit entity or other private entity as appropriate to implement this bill; (3) the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association, at the direction of the commissioner, shall provide money to provide funding for grants available only to residential property owners in the seacoast territory; (4) the commissioner by rule may identify actuarially justified: (a) premium credits that may be given for a residential property insurance policy if mitigation measures been implemented, added, or installed in an insured structure; or (b) premium surcharges that may be imposed by an insurer for a residential property insurance policy if the insured structure or the construction of the structure does not meet building code standards adopted by the commissioner by rule; (5) the current law relating to county building code authority is expanded, including a requirement that a county shall require the issuance of a certificate of compliance as a precondition to obtaining utility services; (6) a roofing contractor advisory board is created to provide advice and recommendations to the commission on the adoption of rules governing the repair of a roofing system; (7) a person may not act as or offer to act as a roofing contractor unless the person holds a license issued by the Department of Insurance under the bill; and (8) the license under the bill is in addition to any required licensure of persons in this state, and the bill is not intended to conflict with or affect the authority of any state or local agency, board, or department that administers or enforces any law or ordinance or that establishes, administers, or enforces a policy, rule, qualification, or standard for a trade or profession.

S.B. 843 (Paxton) – Special Districts:  would, among other things, require the comptroller to create an Internet database containing information relating to special districts, including sales and use tax rates and property tax rates for each district, and update the information in the data base regarding taxes annually. 

S.B. 933 (Davis) – Local Parks Funding:  would repeal the state law prohibiting the state comptroller from crediting to the Parks and Wildlife Department or the Texas Historical Commission any amount of taxes imposed on the sale of sporting goods in excess of the amounts appropriated to the department or commission, respectively. (Companion bills are H.B. 162 by Larson and S.B. 175 by Estes.)

S.B. 936 (Davis) – State Budget:  would provide that: (1) the legislative budget board shall: (a) develop and implement a process to review new legislative enactments that create dedicated revenues and  the appropriation and accumulation of dedicated revenues and available dedicated revenues; (b)  develop and implement tools to evaluate the use of available dedicated revenues for state government financing and budgeting; and (c) develop specific and detailed recommendations on actions the legislature may reasonably take to reduce state government's reliance on available dedicated revenues for the purposes of state budget certification; (2) the availability of dedicated fee revenues for purposes of state budget certification is limited through a phase-in process culminating in 2021; and (3) interest or other earnings that accrue on unspent dedicated fees are available for any general governmental purpose, and the comptroller shall deposit the interest and earnings to the credit of the general revenue fund.

S.B. 972 (Carona) – State Regulations:  would repeal the penalties for violations of certain regulatory laws including those for day laborer employers, property tax appraisers, collectors, and assessors, industrialized housing companies, and other professionals. (Companion bill is H.B. 1950 by S. Thompson).

S.B. 998 (Davis) – Payday and Auto Title Lending:  would prohibit a credit access business from assisting a consumer in obtaining a payday or motor vehicle title loan unless the loan contract provides that the lender must accept partial repayment of the principal balance of the loan from the consumer, with no additional fees or penalties, at any time during regular business hours.

S.B. 999 (Davis) – Payday and Auto Title Lending:  would provide that state law regulating payday and motor vehicle title loans does not preempt a municipal ordinance regulating a credit access business or an extension of consumer credit that a credit access business obtains for a consumer or assists a consumer in obtaining. 

S.B. 1000 (Davis) – Payday or Auto Title Lending:  would expressly authorize a city to adopt an ordinance that regulates the fees that may be charged to a borrower in connection with a payday or motor vehicle title loan. 

S.B. 1001 (Davis) – Payday or Auto Title Lending:  would provide that payday and motor vehicle title lenders are subject to the same level of state regulation and oversight as other credit services organizations, and cannot assist a consumer in obtaining an extension of credit that is not in the form of a payday or motor vehicle title loan.  (Companion bill is H.B. 786 by E. Rodriguez.)

S.B. 1081 (Lucio) – Structural Engineering:  would create a new classification of “structural engineer” in the Texas Engineering Practices Act and would provide that a person may not practice structural engineering without a certificate issued by the Texas Board of Professional Engineers.

S.J.R. 41 (Davis) – Payday and Auto Title Lending:  would amend the Texas Constitution to provide that any fee charged by a third party to a borrower for arranging or otherwise facilitating an extension of consumer credit that is used primarily for personal, family, or household purposes and is unsecured or secured by a non-purchase money security interest in personal property is attributable to the lender and included in the computation of interest for purposes of regulating interest rates.

MUNICIPAL COURTS

H.B. 1921 (Thompson) – Prosecutors: would prohibit the Commission for Lawyer Discipline from giving a private reprimand for a violation of a disciplinary rule that requires a prosecutor to disclose to the defense all evidence or information known to the prosecutor that tends to negate the guilt of the accused or mitigates the offense. (Companion bill is S.B. 825 by Whitmire.)

H.B. 2025 (Capriglione) – Jurisdiction: would clarify that the provision in current law allowing a city to enter into an agreement with a contiguous city to establish concurrent jurisdiction of the municipal courts applies to an offense committed or conduct that occurs before, on, or after May 19, 2011. 

H.B. 2040 (Giddings) – Complaints: would: (1) prohibit a police officer from issuing a citation to a child who is alleged to have committed a school offense; (2) allow a school to file a complaint against a child who is alleged to have committed a school offense with a criminal court; and (3) provide additional requisites for a school offense complaint, including a statement from a school employee. 

H.B. 2230 (Wu) – Order of Nondisclosure: would: (1) require a filing fee of $50 for a petition for an order of nondisclosure of criminal history record information; (2) allow a defendant to petition a municipal court for an order of nondisclosure, if the defendant was convicted or granted a dismissal by the municipal court; and (3) allow the court to require the defendant to perform community service, pay a fee, or both as a condition to granting the petition.    

H.B. 2266 (Larson) – Child Defendants: would: (1) require a defendant who is a child to elect in writing at the time of conviction to either discharge the fine and courts costs by performing community service or making payments; (2) prohibit all records and files relating to a child from being disclosed to the public, except in very limited circumstances; (3) prohibit a child on school property from being issued a citation; (4) provide additional requisites for a complaint charging a child with the commission of a Class C misdemeanor; (5) allow an attorney representing the state to adopt rules pertaining to the filing of a complaint that the state considers necessary in order to determine probable cause, review the allegations for legal sufficiency, and see that justice is done; (6) require that a court where there is a pending complaint against a child alleging a violation of a misdemeanor offense punishable by fine only, other than a traffic offense, waive its jurisdiction and refer the child to juvenile court if the court has previously dismissed a complaint because of mental illness or disability; (7) amend the Penal Code to: (a) prohibit a person younger than 10 years of age from being prosecuted for a misdemeanor punishable by fine only or a city ordinance violation; and (b) create a presumption that a person between the ages of 10 and 15 is incapable of committing a misdemeanor punishable by fine only or violating a city ordinance; and (8) create a defense to criminal responsibility for a child with a mental illness, developmental disability, or lacking the capacity to understand the proceedings in criminal court. 

H.J.R. 100 (Dutton) – Judicial Sanctions:  would amend the Texas Constitution to expand the ability of the State Commission on Judicial Conduct to sanction a judge.  (Companion resolution is S.J.R. 42 by Huffman.) 

S.B. 825 (Whitmire) – Prosecutors: this bill is the same as H.B. 1921, above.    

S.B. 915 (West) – Juvenile Records: would require the automatic sealing of the records in the case of a person who has been found to have engaged in delinquent conduct or conduct indicating a need for supervision, if a court finds that the defendant is: (1) sixteen years of age or younger and two years have elapsed since the final discharge; or (2) seventeen years of age or older and before the person’s 17th birthday, the defendant was finally discharged or the last official action in the person’s case occurred if there was no adjudication. 

S.B. 966 (West) – Judicial Branch Certification Commission: would establish the Judicial Branch Certification Commission to oversee the regulatory programs for court reporters, appointed guardians, and court interpreters.  

S.J.R. 42 (Huffman) – Judicial Sanctions:  this bill is the same as H.J.R. 100, above.

COMMUNITY AND ECONOMIC  DEVELOPMENT

H.B. 866 (Paxton) – Technology Centers:  would allow a local government, including a city, to request to be considered for a contract with a state technology center for the center to provide the city with technological services or operations.  (Companion bill is H.B. 1744 by Elkins.)

H.B. 1832 (R. Miller) – Military Airport Zoning:  would grant to certain cities and counties certain additional zoning authority over an area that extends not more than five nautical miles from the centerline and not more than five nautical miles from each end of the paved surface of the landing strip at an air force facility.

H.B. 1874 (Lewis) – Eminent Domain:  would provide that a city may appeal an interlocutory order of a statutory probate court.  (Note:  certain probate courts have jurisdiction over eminent domain matters, and this bill would authorize appeals from those courts as is allowed from other trial courts under current law.) (Companion bill is S.B. 1083 by Rodriguez.)

H.B. 1888 (Anchia) – Low Income Housing:  would change the definition of an at-risk development for the purpose of awarding low income housing tax credits to include a development that proposes to rehabilitate or reconstruct certain public housing and Section 9 units.

H.B. 1908 (Eiland) – Venue Projects/Hotel Occupancy Taxes:  would: (1) limit the definition of “venue” for purposes of a venue project by excluding civic centers, civic center buildings, auditoriums, and exhibition halls from the permissible types of venue projects; (2) require a ballot proposition authorizing the imposition of a hotel occupancy tax to support a venue project to include specific ballot language that lists the maximum hotel occupancy tax rate imposed from all sources; and (3) prohibit a city or county from proposing a hotel occupancy tax rate that would cause the combined hotel occupancy tax rate imposed from all sources at any location in the city or county to exceed 17 percent of the price paid for a room in a hotel.  (Note:  City officials should carefully check the following in relation to this bill:  (1) current total hotel occupancy tax rate; (2) plans for future city venue projects; and (3) how those plans would be impacted by a 17-percent cap on total hotel occupancy tax rates.  Cities with concerns should contact Shanna Igo, TML Deputy Executive Director, at sigo@tml.org.) 

H.B. 1912 (Elkins) – Public Improvement Districts:  would, among other things:

  1. authorize a public improvement district to include two or more noncontiguous areas separated by: (a) a right-of-way or other land dedicated to governmental, tax-exempt, charitable, or utility entities; or (b) not more than 2,500 feet between the nearest points on the property lines of the closest situated noncontiguous areas;
  2. authorize a public improvement district project to be undertaken inside or outside a public improvement district if the project confers a special benefit on property inside the district;
  3. expand the list of proper public improvement district projects to include: (a) acquisition, construction, improvement, or rerouting of rail facilities; (b) the right to receive water, wastewater, or drainage services, the right to acquire a certificate of convenience and necessity to provide those services, and the obligation to pay service-related costs and expenses (including tap fees, connection fees, and impact fees authorized by law); (c) the establishment or improvement of open spaces and recreation facilities; and (d) facilities or equipment for firefighters, police, sheriffs, and emergency service providers;
  4. authorize a public improvement project to be conveyed or provided to, or for the benefit of, another political subdivision or other entity approved by the city council;
  5. provide that a public improvement project may include the acquisition, construction, or improvement of facilities used for higher education;
  6. provide that the failure of a property owner to receive notice of a proposed district does not invalidate the public hearing held on the district;
  7. allow a city to publish a caption of the resolution authorizing the district, instead of the entire resolution;
  8. provide that the 20-day waiting period to begin construction or acquire an improvement may be waived at any time if two-thirds of the property owners within the district file a written waiver with the city secretary;
  9. authorize the governing body of a city or county to dissolve a district by resolution approved by two-thirds of the governing body (in addition to process to dissolve by petition of property owners) , so long as governing body holds a hearing and mails notice of the dissolution to each property owner in the district;
  10. authorize the governing body of a city or county to exclude all or a portion of an owner’s property from the district, or include an owner’s property in the district, if the governing body receives a petition from the owner, publishes notice and holds a public hearing on the exclusion or inclusion, and adopts a resolution excluding or including the property;
  11. authorize a county commissioners’ court to include property in a home rule city’s extraterritorial jurisdiction in a district unless the city objects to the inclusion of the property within 30 days;
  12. provide that a city or county is responsible for payments against exempt municipal  or county in the district only if payment is expressly authorized by the governing body of the city or county;
  13. provide for a flexible assessment plan to provide for various development scenarios, and allow an assessment to vary from a proposed service plan, proposed assessment plan, or proposed assessment roll so long as the total cost of an assessment does not exceed the cost of improvements provided in the notice of assessment roll;
  14. authorize a city to issue bonds or certificates of obligation to: (a) pay costs; (b) refund any obligations like installment sales contracts, reimbursement agreements, time warrants, or temporary notes; or (c) be payable from and secured by special assessments;
  15. provide that an assessment or obligation issued that is payable and secured by the assessment, does not constitute a debt or pledge of the full faith and credit of the city or county, State of Texas, or any other political subdivision or agency of the state. 

(Companion bill is S.B. 968 by West.)

H.B. 1935 (Schaefer) – Economic Development Corporations: would: (1) authorize a Type A or Type B economic development corporation to make expenditures for general infrastructure improvements, including: (a) transportation facilities; (b) solid waste disposal facilities; (c) sewage facilities; (d) facilities for furnishing water to the general public; (e) air or water pollution control facilities; (f) airports or airport-related facilities; and (g) ports or port-related facilities; and (2) provide that an election on the adoption of a proposed sales and use tax for the benefit of a Type A or Type B corporation has no effect unless 25 percent of the registered voters of the municipality vote in the election in which the adoption of the sales and use tax is on the ballot.

H.B. 1988 (Perry) – Building Materials:  would provide that: (1) corrugated stainless steel tubing in each residential dwelling constructed in this state must conform to the standards of the 2008 International Residential Code or to a version of that code that is adopted by ordinance of the largest municipality in the county in which the dwelling is located and that is at least as stringent as the 2008 version of that code; and (2) corrugated stainless steel tubing in each commercial structure constructed in this state must conform to the minimum standards adopted by state fire marshal order.

H.B. 2048 (Lozano) – Rural Economic Development:  would create the Texas Rural Development Fund as an account in the state’s general revenue fund, which would consist of legislative appropriations and donations, and that funds may be spent in rural areas of the state on entrepreneurship programs, regional planning, rural leadership enhancement, and rural youth corps programs. 

H.B. 2062 (J. Davis) – Plumbers:  would provide that: (1)  the installation, repair, and service of equipment for rainwater harvesting is considered “plumbing” for purposes of state law; and (2) a water supply protection specialist is authorized to treat rainwater or repair rainwater harvesting systems.

H.B. 2170 (E. Rodriquez) – Emergency Services District:  would provide that an annexation plan that includes the annexation of territory of an emergency services district may provide that the required fire and police protection and emergency medical services in the area of the district be provided by the district or by cooperation of the city and the district.

H.B. 2171 (E. Rodriguez) – Emergency Services District:  would clarify current law to require that a city must provide an emergency services district written notice of removal of territory from the district only if the city intends to be the sole provider of emergency services to the territory. 

H.B. 2181 (Stephenson) – Economic Development Corporations:  would provide that a proper project to be funded by an economic development corporation (EDC) would include primary job training facilities or programs, including expenditures for training equipment at: (1) a public junior college, public technical institute, or high school located in the authorizing municipality of an EDC; and (2) a public junior college the service area of which includes any portion of the authorizing municipality of an EDC. 

H.B. 2220 (Wu) – Crafted Precious Metal Dealers:  would: (1) authorize a county or city to require a person to obtain a license or permit, and pay a related fee, before engaging in the business of purchasing and selling crafted precious metal in that county or city; and (2) provide that failure to obtain a metal dealer permit or license required by a county or city is a class B misdemeanor.  (Companion bill is H.B. 488 by S. Turner.)

H.B. 2272 (Morrison) – Venue Project Election:  would amend the required ballot language for an election to approve and finance a municipal or county venue project to read: “impose a new” or “authorize the use of the existing” tax.  (Companion bill is S.B. 169 by Hegar.)

S.B. 829 (Huffman) – Property Acquisition/Eminent Domain:  would provide that private property acquired through eminent domain or through purchase in connection with an initial offer must be initially used for the public use for which it was acquired.  (Companion bill is H.B. 1250 by Frank.)

S.B. 837 (Ellis) – Nuisance Authority: would limit the authority of a city to regulate rubbish to only those situations listed in specific statutes.

S.B. 867 (Paxton) – Special Districts:  would provide that most special districts must undertake a self-imposed