City-Related Bills Filed

PROPERTY TAX

H.B. 3108 (Morrison) – Property Tax Exemption:  would provide that oil, natural gas, and petroleum products are included in the definition of “goods-in-transit” and therefore subject to the Super Freeport property tax exemption. 

H.B. 3112 (Hilderbran) – Truth-in-Taxation:  would: (1) provide a new and simplified method of publishing notice of property tax rates to replace the method in current law; (2) require that the notice to be provided by a city that does not adopt a property tax rate that exceeds the lower of the effective tax rate or the rollback rate contain specific language relating to: (a) the proposed rate, preceding year’s rate, and effective tax rate; (b) the amount of taxes owed by each individual taxpayer; and (c) contact information for the tax assessor-collector; (3) require that the notice to be provided by a city that adopts a property tax rate that exceeds the lower of the effective tax rate or the rollback rate contain specific language relating to: (a) the proposed rate, preceding tax year’s rate, effective tax rate, and rollback rate; (b) the amount of taxes owed by each individual taxpayer; (c) contact information for the tax assessor-collector; and (d) notice of two public hearings on the tax rate; (4) require a city to publish notice under (2) or (3), above, not later than September 1 in a newspaper having general circulation in the county in which the city is located that may not be smaller than one-quarter page of a standard-size or tabloid-size newspaper with a headline that must be in 24-point or larger type; (5) require a city to post notice under (2) or (3), above, on the Internet website of the city, if applicable, beginning not later than September 1 and continuing until the city adopts a tax rate; and (6) require a city that to provide certain tax rate information required by the Tax Code upon request.  (Companion bill is S.B. 1510 by Hinojosa.)

H.B. 3121 (Harper-Brown) – Property Tax Exemption:  would: (1) for purposes of the Freeport tax exemption, allow a local taxing unit to extend the date by which Freeport goods must be transported outside the state from 175 days to a date not later than 730 days after the date the person acquired or imported the property in the state; and (2) for purposes of the Super Freeport property tax exemption, allow the city council to take official action to extend the date by which Super Freeport goods must be transported to another location in the state or outside the state to a date not later than 730 days after the date the person acquired the property in or imported the property into the state.

H.B. 3173 (Bohac) – Appraisal Process:  would provide that, if the appraised value of property in a tax year is lowered pursuant to a court determination of an excessive or unequal appraisal, the appraised value of the property as finally determined is considered to be the appraised value of the property for that tax year and the next three tax years. 

HB 3216 (Strama) – 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 that have a capacity of at least ten megawatts.  (Companion bills are H.B. 2712 by Perez and S.B. 1030 by Taylor.)

H.B. 3284 (Y. Davis) – Appraisal Districts:  would require the Texas Commission on Licensing and Regulation to adopt rules allowing a person to obtain certification as a registered assessor without passing a required certification examination if the person: (1) is registered with the department; (2) has worked as a chief appraiser for the 12 years preceding the date the person applies to the department to obtain certification; and (3) pays a fee in an amount equal to three times the annual registration fee paid by an assessor-collector. 

H.B. 3348 (E. Rodriguez) – Property Tax Exemption:  would: (1) authorize a city council to adopt the local option residence homestead exemption of either a percentage of the appraised value of an individual’s residence homestead (as authorized under current law) or a portion, expressed as a dollar amount, of the appraised value of an individual’s residence homestead, but not both; (2) require a city council that adopts either form of the residence homestead exemption to do so before July 1 of the tax year in which the exemption applies; (3) provide that a city council that adopts an exemption of a portion of the appraised value of a residence homestead, expressed as a dollar amount, may not adopt an exemption of less than $5,000.

H.B. 3441 (Otto) – Appraisal Process:  would: (1) extend the timeframe within which a property owner may appeal an appraisal review board order by filing certain information with the appraisal district from the 45th day after the date the property owner receives notice of the order to the 60th day after the date the property owner receives notice of the order; and (2) extend the timeframe within which a property owner must file the State Office of Administrative Hearings notice of appeal form with the chief appraiser from not later than the 30th day after the date the property owner receives notice of the order to not later than the 60th day after the date the property owner receives notice of the order.   

H.B. 3446 (Otto) – Appraisal Process:  would prohibit an appraisal review board from distributing a written opinion, memorandum, or analysis of law drafted for the board by an attorney who serves as the legal counsel for the board to any person who is not a member of the board, unless the appraisal review board: (1) immediately makes the document available for public inspection by any person; and (2) forwards the document on the next business day to the comptroller to be posted on the comptroller’s website. 

H.B. 3474 (Paddie) – Fraudulent Liens:  would, among other things, impose a four-year statute of limitations for an action to enjoin a fraudulent lien or claim against real or personal property. 

H.B. 3570 (Hilderbran) – Appraisal Cap:  would limit reappraisals of a parcel of real property to no more than once every three years, except that an appraisal office could reappraise a parcel of real property immediately following the year in which the property is sold.

H.B. 3703 (E. Rodriguez) – Affordable Housing:  would: (1) provide that non-exempt affordable housing projects should be appraised using the income method of appraisal; (2) require the chief appraiser to determine the property’s expenses in accordance with disbursements made for the operation and maintenance of the project.

H.B. 3767 (Coleman) – Property Tax Exemption:  would provide a property tax exemption for a charitable organization that engages in supporting the planting, growing, cultivation, or maintenance of trees located or to be located exclusively along public rights-of-way, on public easements, on public school grounds, in public parks, or on other public lands or areas available for the use and enjoyment of the public. 

H.B. 3768 (Coleman) – Appraisal Process:  would provide that, when determining the market value of a residence homestead, the chief appraiser may exclude from consideration the value of property that: (1) was sold at a foreclosure sale in the previous three years; or (2) has a market value that has declined because of a declining economy.

H.J.R. 129 (Harper-Brown) – Property Tax Exemption:  would amend the Texas Constitution to: (1) classify property as exempt under the Freeport property tax exemption if it is transported outside of the state not later than 730 days after the date the property is acquired or imported; and (2) classify property as exempt under the Super Freeport property tax exemption if it is transported to another location in this state or outside this state not later than 730 days after the date the property is acquired or imported.  (Please see H.B. 3035.)

H.J.R. 132 (Morrison) – Property Tax Exemption:  would amend the Texas Constitution to provide that oil, natural gas, and petroleum products are exempt from property taxes under the Super Freeport property tax exemption.  (Please see H.B. 3108.)

H.J.R. 133 (Harper-Brown) – Property Tax Exemption: would amend the Texas Constitution to: (1) for purposes of the Freeport tax exemption, allow a local taxing unit to extend the date by which Freeport goods must be transported outside the state from 175 days to a date not later than 730 days after the date the person acquired or imported the property in the state; and (2) for purposes of the Super Freeport property tax exemption, allow the city council to take official action to extend the date by which Super Freeport goods must be transported to another location in the state or outside the state from 270 days to a date not later than 730 days after the date the person acquired the property in or imported the property into the state. (Please see H.B. 3121.) 

H.J.R. 138 (E. Rodriguez) – Property Tax Exemption:  would amend the Texas Constitution to: (1) authorize a city council to adopt the local option residence homestead exemption of either a percentage of the appraised value of an individual’s residence homestead (as authorized under current law) or a portion, expressed as a dollar amount, of the appraised value of an individual’s residence homestead, but not both; and (2) provide that a city council that adopts an exemption of a portion of the appraised value of a residence homestead, expressed as a dollar amount, may not adopt an exemption of less than $5,000.  (Please see H.B. 3348.)

H.J.R. 142 (Ritter) – Property Tax Exemption:  would amend the Texas Constitution to authorize the legislature to exempt from property taxes or other taxes all or part of real and personal property used for, or services related to, water conservation.

H.J.R. 143 (Hilderbran) – Elimination of Property Taxes:  would amend the Texas Constitution to: (1) prohibit a political subdivision from imposing a property tax on real or personal property beginning on January 1, 2016; (2) provide that the state may impose a statewide sales tax not to exceed 11 percent of the sales price or value of the property or service; and (3) provide that the maximum combined state and local sales and use tax rate is 13 percent of the sales price or value of the property or service. 

H.J.R. 144 (Hilderbran) – Appraisal Cap:  would amend the Texas Constitution to authorize the legislature to limit the frequency with which an appraisal entity may reappraise a parcel of real property for property tax purposes.

S.B. 1455 (Taylor) – Property Tax Exemption:  would provide an exemption from property taxes for property that a person owns and leases to a school if: (1) the school uses the property exclusively for educational functions; (2) the property is reasonably necessary for the operation of the school; (3) the owner certifies by affidavit to the school that the rent for the lease of the property will be reduced by an amount equal to the amount by which the taxes are reduced due to the exemption; (4) the owner provides a disclosure statement to the school stating the amount by which the taxes are reduced by the exemption; and (5) the rent charged reflects the reduction in the amount of taxes on the property resulting from the exemption. (Please see S.J.R. 52, below.) (Companion bill is H.B. 1360 by Ritter.)

S.B. 1510 (Hinojosa) – Truth-in-Taxation:  would: (1) provide a new and simplified method of publishing notice of property tax rates to replace the method in current law; (2) require that the notice to be provided by a city that does not adopt a property tax rate that exceeds the lower of the effective tax rate or the rollback rate contain specific language  relating to: (a) the proposed rate, preceding year’s rate, and effective tax rate; (b) the amount of taxes owed by each individual taxpayer; and (c) contact information for the tax assessor-collector; (3) require that the notice to be provided by a city that adopts a property tax rate that exceeds the lower of the effective tax rate or the rollback rate contain specific language relating to: (a) the proposed rate, preceding tax year’s rate, effective tax rate, and rollback rate; (b) the amount of taxes owed by each individual taxpayer; (c) contact information for the tax assessor-collector; and (d) notice of two public hearings on the tax rate; (4) require a city to publish notice under (2) or (3), above, not later than September 1 in a newspaper having general circulation in the county in which the city is located that may not be smaller than one-quarter page of a standard-size or tabloid-size newspaper with a headline that must be in 24-point or larger type; (5) require a city to post notice under (2) or (3), above, on the Internet website of the city, if applicable, beginning not later than September 1 and continuing until the city adopts a tax rate; and (6) require a city that to provide certain tax rate information required by the Tax Code upon request.  (Companion bill is H.B. 3112 by Hilderbran.)

S.B. 1529 (West) – Property Tax Exemption:  would provide a property tax exemption for all real and personal property owned or leased by a person that is used as part or in connection with a renewable natural gas facility that converts landfill generated methane into renewable natural gas.  (Companion bill is H.B. 1736 by Anchia.)

S.B. 1657 (Williams) – 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. (Companion bill is H.B. 1913 by Bohac.)

S.B. 1662 (Eltife) – Appraisal Process:  would eliminate the expedited arbitration process for a property owner to appeal a decision of the appraisal review board.  (Companion bill is H.B. 3193 by Otto.)

S.B. 1685 (Zaffirini) – Property Tax Exemption:  would provide a property tax exemption for all or part of real and personal property that a person owns or leases and that is used, constructed, acquired, stored, or installed primarily as part of an offshore spill response containment system.  (Companion bill is H.B. 1712 by Lozano.)

S.B. 1826 (Eltife) – Appraisal Process:  would, among other things:  (1) require the comptroller to prepare model hearing procedures for appraisal review boards; (2) provide that in a county with a population of more than 120,000, an appraisal review board member may be removed for good cause; (3) require a person claiming an allocation of property taxes for property used partially outside of the state to apply to the appraisal district for the allocation; (4) authorize a taxpayer lawsuit against a taxing unit that denies an application for a property tax refund for overpayments or erroneous payments; and (5) would eliminate the expedited arbitration process for a property owner to appeal a decision of the appraisal review board.

S.J.R. 52 (Taylor) – Property Tax Exemption:  would amend the Texas Constitution to authorize the legislature to exempt from property taxes real property leased to certain schools organized and operated primarily for the purpose of engaging in educational functions. (Companion bill is H.J.R. 86 by Ritter.)(Please see S.B. 1455.)

SALES TAX

H.B. 3113 (Hilderbran) – Sales Tax Exemption:  would provide that bringing oil or gas to the surface of the earth is not considered to be exempt from sales and use taxation as manufacturing, processing, or fabricating for ultimate sale.

H.B. 3169 (Bohac) – Sales Tax Exemption:  would broaden the types of activities that can be classified as “marketing a destination” for purposes of qualifying an entity as a “qualified destination management company” that is considered to be a consumer of taxable items sold as opposed to a provider of taxable services.  (Companion bill is S.B. 1504 by Lucio.)

H.B. 3223 (Ratliff) – Sales Tax Allocation: would provide that an outlet, office, facility, or location does not exist to avoid sales taxes or to rebate a portion of sales taxes if any rebate it contracts to receive is lower than the amount of its annual payroll and the outlet, office, facility, or location provides significant business services, beyond processing invoices, to the contracting business, including logistics management, purchasing, inventory control, and other vital business services.  (Companion bill is S.B. 1533 by Carona.)

H.B 3272 (J. Davis) – 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.  (Companion bill is S.B. 862 by Taylor.)

H.B. 3387 (Hilderbran) – Sales Tax Exemption:  would exempt from sales and use taxes items used in technologies certified by the Texas Railroad Commission to reduce or eliminate fresh water usage in stimulating oil and gas production.

H.B. 3571 (Hilderbran) – Sales Tax Exemption:  would, among other things: (1) amend the definition of “newspaper” for purposes of a sales and use tax exemption to include a newsprint publication for which each copy over a 30-day period does not exceed $3.00 (Note: the threshold cost for an exemption under current law is $1.50.); and (2) would add light-emitting diode light bulbs and refrigerators under $2500 to the list of energy-efficient products that are exempt from sales and use taxes.

H.B. 3644 (Harper-Brown) – Street Maintenance Sales Tax:  would: (1) allow a city that has already held two reauthorization elections in which at least 66 percent of the voters in the last two consecutive elections approved of the tax to delay the call of an election to reauthorize the street maintenance sales tax for eight years; and (2) allow revenue from the street maintenance sales tax to be used to maintain and repair sidewalks. 

H.B. 3713 (Guerra) – Sales Tax Lawsuits:  would, among other things, authorize class action and injunction lawsuits for taxpayers to contest the payment of any tax or fee collected by the comptroller, including a local tax collected by the comptroller.

H.B. 3842 (Lucio) – Sales Tax Exemption:  would provide an exemption from sales and use taxes for tangible personal property purchased using money from a community development block grant disaster recovery program administered by the General Land Office and used to repair an improvement to real property damaged by a natural disaster or used to construct a replacement for an improvement to real property damaged by a natural disaster.  (Companion bill is S.B. 1443 by Lucio.)

S.B. 1443 (Lucio) – Sales Tax Exemption:  this bill is the same as H.B. 3842, above.

S.B. 1498 (Deuell) – Sales Tax Exemption:  would exempt certain items sold, used, or consumed by a live music presenter from sales and use taxes. 

S.B. 1504 (Lucio) – Sales Tax Exemption: this bill is the same as H.B. 3169, above.

S.B. 1533 (Carona) – Sales Tax Allocation:  this bill is the same as H.B. 3223, above.

S.B. 1633 (Deuell) – Sales Tax Exemption:  would: (1) exempt from sales and use taxes the sale of a taxable item the sales price of which is $5,000 or less by a qualified organization if: (a) the sale occurs in a fundraiser; and (b) the qualified organization purchases and receives delivery of the item from a wholesale supplier or distributor, and resells and delivers the item to a consumer, regardless of the sequence in which the product is marketed, purchased, received, sold and delivered by the organization; and (2) provide that a qualified organization that purchases a taxable item for resale in a fundraiser may claim the sale for resale exemption. 

S.B. 1634 (Deuell) – 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 city 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 city; 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 city 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; and
  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.

(Companion bill is H.B. 1923 by Thompson.)

PURCHASING

H.B. 3202 (Creighton) – Construction Manager-at-Risk:  would provide that a city’s architect or engineer for a project may not serve, alone or in combination with another person, as the construction manager-at-risk unless the architect or engineer is hired to serve as the construction manager-at-risk under a separate, concurrent, or single selection process. 

H.B. 3203 (Creighton) – Design-Build for Civil Works: relates to a city’s limited ability to use design-build for certain civil works projects and would, among other things, provide that a city: (1) may enter into a contract for aggregated projects at multiple locations; (2) shall select the design-build firm in a one-step or two-step process; (3) shall prepare a single request for proposals, in the case of a one-step process, or an initial request for qualifications, in the case of a two-step process, that includes a statement of whether the selection process is a one-step or two-step process; (4) may consider cost as a factor in the proposal process; and (5) may offer an unsuccessful design-build firm a stipend in any amount for preliminary engineering costs associated with the development of the proposal. 

H.B. 3237 (Smithee) – Purchasing Groups: would provide that: (1) a purchasing group composed primarily of employees of a political subdivision, including a county, city, or school district, may purchase first-party indemnity coverage, in addition to the liability coverage required in current law, on a group basis for other risks to which members may be exposed provided that the aggregate coverage limit per group member for the risk does not exceed three percent of the per member coverage limit for liability coverage; (2) a purchasing group shall notify the insurance commissioner of the group’s intent to purchase such coverage not later than the 60th day before the date the policy that includes the coverage is initially issued; and (3) exempt certain purchasing groups form the bill’s provisions.  (Companion bill is S.B. 1125 by Carona.)

H.B. 3416 (Flynn) – Capital Appreciation Bonds: would prohibit a county, city, special district, school district, junior college district, or other political subdivision from issuing capital appreciation bonds.  (Companion bill is S.B. 449 by Hinojosa.)

H.B. 3436 (Cook) – Public/Private Partnerships: would provide that, as it relates to a public/private partnership entered into under S.B. 1048 (2011), a responsible governmental entity may not take any formal action on a proposal or bid received before September 1, 2013.

H.B. 3681 (Smith) – Procurement:  would provide that local government may not accept a bid or award a contract that includes proposed financial participation by a person who received compensation from the local government to participate in preparing the specifications or request for proposals on which the bid or contract is based.

H.B. 3830 (Herrero) – Civil Works Design-Build:  would lower from 500,000 to 300,000 the population bracket for cities to use design-build for a certain number of civil works projects.  (Companion bill is S.B. 1430 by Hinojosa.)

S.B. 1430 (Hinojosa) – Civil Works Design-Build:  would lower the population bracket in the current law allowing a city to use design-build for a certain number of civil works projects from 500,000 to 300,000. 

ELECTIONS

H.B. 3078 (R. Miller) – Early Voting: would provide that in a county with a population of 400,000 or more, the location of a movable polling place must be fixed at one place when the polling place opens for the day and may be relocated only after a full day of early voting has ended.

H.B. 3081 (Wu) – Elections: would provide that: (1) an election officer is required to ask if a voter has changed residence; (2) if the voter’s address is not current because the voter has changed residence to a different county within 30 days of the date of an election, the voter may vote in the election precinct in which the voter is registered; and (3) in a joint election, if the voter’s address is not current because the voter has changed residence within the county, the voter may vote in the election precinct in which the voter is registered.

H.B. 3100 (Morrison) – Elections: would create eligibility requirements for a central counting station official under an election service contract or in a joint election.

H.B. 3101 (Morrison) – Elections: would provide that a filing deadline for a candidate’s application to appear on the ballot applies to a declaration of write-in candidacy for that election.

H.B 3104 (Morrison) – Elections: would, among other things, provide that: (1) a delivery, submission, or filing of a document or paper required by the Election Code 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 use the same procedures in regard to a person who is unable to enter a polling place during early voting as used on 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. (Companion bill is S.B. 910 by Duncan.)

H.B. 3499 (Perez) – Elections: would prohibit a private employer from terminating the employment of a permanent employee because the employee serves as an election judge or clerk on Election Day.

H.B. 3500 (Perez) – Early Voting: would provide that for an early voting application to be mailed outside the state, the applicant may choose to receive the application by e-mail transmission and the voter is entitled to have the balloting materials sent by electronic transmission if, the voter provides an e-mail address.

H.B. 3565 (Murphy) – Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act: would provide that a ballot sent to an applicant may not be accepted if it is determined, after sending the ballot to the applicant, that he or she was not eligible to be registered based on the information provided on the application.

H.B. 3719 (Martinez Fischer) – Voter Registration: would, among other things, provide that a person who would be eligible to vote in an election, but who is not registered, shall be accepted for voting during early voting by personal appearance for the precinct of the person’s residence if the person submits a voter registration application and presents proof of identification that establishes the person’s residence.

S.B. 1683 (Huffman) – Absentee Voting: would provide that: (1) a person may apply with a single federal postcard application for a ballot for any one or more elections in which the person is eligible to vote; (2) an application that does not identify the election for which a ballot is requested shall be treated as if it requests a ballot for: (a) each general or special election held within one year after the date the application is received in which the person is eligible to vote; and (b) the general primary election if the application indicates party preference and is received within one year before the date of the general primary election; and (3) if an application described in (2), above, indicates the person is eligible to vote in an election in which the early voting clerk who received the application does not conduct early voting, the clerk shall forward a copy of the application in a form prescribed by the secretary of state to each early voting clerk who conducts early voting for an election in which the person is eligible to vote. (Companion bill is H.B. 396 by Thompson.)

S.B. 1722 (Rodriguez) – Elections: would, among other things, provide that: (1) 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; (2) all eligible voters shall be accepted for voting if identification is provided that includes one form of photo identification or two forms of nonphoto identification; (3) the secretary of state, in cooperation with appropriate nonprofit organizations and with political parties, shall establish a statewide voter education project to provide notice of the identification requirements and to increase awareness regarding the methods of acquiring the required identification through print, radio, and television in each electronic media market beginning six months in advance of the first election for which photo identification is required; (4) the secretary of state and the attorney general must jointly conduct in at least four different geographic regions of the state, election integrity training for election officers, law enforcement personnel, and prosecutors in methods of detecting, investigating and prosecuting voter fraud and suppression; (5) the secretary of state shall conduct a study on the availability of photo identification and provide recommendations to the legislature; (6) a person commits a class B misdemeanor if the person deceives another person regarding: (a) the time, place, or manner of conducting an election; or (b) the qualifications for or restrictions governing voter eligibility for an election in the state; (7) a voter must present to an election officer at the polling place: (a) one form of acceptable photo identification; (b) two different forms of acceptable identification; or (c) the voter’s voter registration certificate; (8) an election officer shall notify the voter who does not meet the identification requirement that the voter may be accepted for voting if the voter executes an affidavit under penalty of perjury stating that the voter is the person named on the voter registration certification; (9) an election officer who determines not to accept a voter shall provide the voter with a statement signed by the election officer listing all the reason why that voter was not accepted and the circumstances under which a voter may vote a provisional ballot; (10) a person who would be eligible to vote in an election, but who is not registered, shall be accepted for voting during early voting by personal appearance for the precinct of the person’s residence, if the person submits a voter registration application and presents proof of identification that establishes the person’s residence; and (11) the Department of Transportation may not collect a fee for a personal identification certificate issued to a person who states they are obtaining the personal identification certificate for the purpose of voting.

S.B. 1723 (Patrick) – Elections: would provide that: (1) a United States citizen residing outside the United States indefinitely is entitled to vote a full ballot if (a) the person is eligible to vote; and (b) is a registered voter at the address contained on the federal postcard application; and (2) the early voting clerk shall provide notice to the voter that she or he is only eligible to vote a federal ballot. 

OPEN GOVERNMENT

H.B. 3200 (Larson) – Writ of Mandamus:  would:  (1) provide that a requestor may file suit for a writ of mandamus compelling a governmental body to make information available for public inspection only if: (a) the time period for the governmental body to request  a decision from the attorney general has elapsed; or (b) the governmental body has timely requested a decision from the attorney general and:  (i) the attorney general has issued a decision that information to which the decision applies is public information that is not excepted from disclosure; or (ii) the time period for the attorney general to issue a decision has elapsed; (2) require that a suit under (1), above, allege that the applicable time period has elapsed; (3) authorize a governmental body to file a motion to dismiss and require a court to dismiss a suit for a writ of mandamus compelling the body to making information available for public inspection that does not comply with the requirements in (1), above; and (4) allow the court to award the governmental body court costs and reasonable attorney’s fees if the court dismisses a suit as described in (3), above.

H.B. 3629 (Guillen) – Public Information: would, with regard to a suit for mandamus, require a governmental entity, including a city, to provide proof of compliance with the Public Information Act by more than a verbal or written notice.

H.B. 3630 (Morrison) – Peace Officer Communications: would: (1) except from public disclosure records of telephone calls, text messages, e-mails, or other electronic communications 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.  (Companion bill is S.B. 988 by Hegar.)

H.B. 3804 (Branch) – Open Meetings:  would:  (1) provide that the following communication or exchange between members of a governmental body about public business or policy does not constitute a meeting or deliberation for purposes of the Open Meetings Act: (a) a written communication; (b) posted on an online message board or similar Internet application viewable by the public, and (c) that is displayed in real time and displayed on the board or Internet application for no less than thirty days after the communication is first posted; (2) allow a governmental body to have no more than one online message board or Internet application to use as described in (1), above; (3) require that the online message board or Internet application described in (1), above, be owned or controlled by the governmental body, prominently displayed on the body’s primary Internet web page, and no more than one click away from the governmental body’s primary Internet web page; (4) limit users (posters) of the online message board or Internet application described in (1), above, to the governmental body and authorized staff, who must include their name and title in any posted communication; (5) provide that certain postings removed from the board or application described in (1), above, are public information and must be maintained for a period of two years; and (6) prohibit a governmental body voting or taking any action that is required to be taken at a meeting under the Open Meetings Act by communicating or posting to the message board or Internet application described in (1), above.  (Companion bill is S.B. 1297 by Watson.)

S.B. 1512 (Ellis) – Crime Scene Image:  would make a sensitive crime scene image confidential and not subject to disclosure under the Public Information Act.

S.B. 1563 (Ellis) – Public Information:  would, for purpose of the Public Information Act:  (1) define “public information” to mean information that is collected, assembled, or maintained under a law or ordinance or in connection with or related to the transaction of official business: (a)  by a governmental body; (b) for a governmental body, or in connection with any project, activity, or other matter funded wholly or partly with public funds of a governmental body, where the governmental body owns the information or has a right of access to it; or (c)  by an individual officer or employee of a governmental body, including an elected official or member of the elected official’s staff, in the course and scope of the individual’s official duties; (2) provide that the media on which public information is recorded includes, among other things, a magnetic, optical, solid state, or other device that can store an electronic signal, and any physical material on which information may be recorded; (3) provide that the general forms in which the media containing public information exist include, among other things, e-mail, Internet posting, text message, instant message, and other electronic communication; (4) apply the definition of “public information” in (1), above, to: (a)  information that is contained in a communication conducted through a device procured, provided, or purchased, wholly or partly, by a governmental body or maintained on governmental servers; or (b)  information contained on any other device if the device is used by an individual officer or employee of a governmental body, including an elected official or member of the elected official’s staff, in the course and scope of the individual’s official duties; (5) define “official business” to mean any matter over which a governmental body has any authority, administrative duties, or advisory duties; (6) add the following to the “super public list” of information:  (a)  a contract between an agency and any other person, including records and files related to the performance of a governmental function by the other person; (b)  a local government record as defined by the Local Government Records Act; and (c)  a local government record, a county record and a state record as defined by certain statutes related to the State Library and Archives Commission; (7) require that a contract between a governmental body and another person for the performance of a governmental function: (a)  provide that the governmental body is entitled to obtain from the contracting person a copy of any record or file related to the performance of the governmental function; (b)  provide that a copy of a record or file described by (a), above, may be disclosed by the governmental body; and (c)  require the contracting person to administer information relating to the performance of a governmental function under the contract as required by the Act; (8) construe a contract entered into on or after September 1, 2013, to have the requirements in (7), above, without regard to whether the contract includes those provisions on its face; and (9) prohibit a governmental body from entering into a contract that impairs the right of the public under the Act to inspect or obtain a copy of the governmental body’s information that is not confidential or not otherwise excepted from disclosure under the Act, including public information existing online or in a device or medium procured, provided, or purchased, wholly or partly, by a governmental body or maintained on governmental servers.

S.B. 1621 (Whitmire) – Criminal History Record Information:  would:  (1) exempt public information that is produced, collected, assembled, or maintained by a governmental body through the administration of criminal justice from bulk dissemination; and (2) define, for the purposes of (1), above: (a) “administration of criminal justice” to mean the detection, apprehension, detention, pretrial release, post-trial release, prosecution, adjudication, correctional supervision, or rehabilitation of an offender, and criminal identification activities and the collection, storage, and dissemination of criminal history record information; and (b) “bulk dissemination” to mean the production by a governmental body of information obtained by the body through the administration of criminal justice that relates to offenses committed by 10 or more separate individuals.

S.B. 1650 (Campbell) - Open Meetings: would require that any open meeting that is broadcast over the Internet be broadcast free of charge.

OTHER FINANCE/ADMINISTRATION BILLS

H.B. 19 (Darby) – State Appropriations (Water and Transportation Funding): would provide that the amount of $3.7 billion is appropriated for the state fiscal biennium ending August 31, 2015, from the state’s Rainy Day Fund to: (1) the credit of the state water implementation fund for Texas as money available for use by the Texas Water Development Board for the purposes of the state water implementation fund for Texas; (2) the credit of the state infrastructure bank as money available for use by the Texas Department of Transportation; and (3) the credit of roadway projects in energy development areas as money available for use by the Texas Department of Transportation.

H.B. 3084 (Sanford) – Electronic Filing: would allow a municipal clerk to file documents electronically for recoding with a county clerk that accepts electronic filing and recording.  (Companion bill is S.B. 1437 by Paxton.)

H.B. 3045 (Oliveira) – Taxes:  would: (1) require the comptroller to identify all state and local tax preferences and present a schedule to the Legislative Budget Board every odd-numbered year under which each tax preference is reviewed once during each six-year period; (2) require the Legislative Budget Board to evaluate all state and local tax preferences and make recommendations for continuing, repealing, or amending each preference; and (3) provide that each tax preference enacted by the legislature that becomes law after September 1, 2014 expires six years after the date it takes effect, unless the legislature provides an earlier or later expiration date. (Note: please see H.J.R. 130.)

H.B. 3084 (Sanford) – Filing Documents with County Clerk:  would authorize a city clerk to file documents electronically for recording with a county clerk.  (Companion bill is S.B. 1437 by Paxton.)

H.B. 3095 (Strama) – Mixed Beverage Tax:  would: (1) establish a process for certain venues to qualify as a “live music presenter” for purposes of the mixed beverage tax; and (2) provide that a tax at the rate of seven percent is imposed on the gross receipts of a mixed beverage permittee classified as a live music presenter.  (Note: under current law a tax at the rate of 14 percent is imposed on the gross receipts of a mixed beverage permittee, of which a city receives 10.7143 percent for all permitees in the city limits.)  (Companion bill is S.B. 1179 by Deuell.)

H.B. 3117 (Burkett) – Settlement Authority:  would authorize the attorney general to settle in full satisfaction of claims asserted in a civil suit brought by a local government under certain provisions of the Water Code, the Health and Safety Code, and the Occupations Code without the consent or approval of the local government, for an amount that is consistent with either the policies of the state or at the direction of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

H.B. 3151 (Capriglione) – City Debt:  would require a ballot proposition for a municipal bond election to include a separate box located beneath the ballot proposition language that states or restates: (1) the amount of bonds; (2) a plain language description of the public purpose for which the bonds are to be issued; (3) the proportion of the city’s total bonding cap that will be encumbered through the issuance of the bonds; (4) the year in which the bonds will be retired; (5) whether the issuance would require any new taxes, fees, or assessments, or an increase in existing taxes, fees, or assessments; (6) an analysis of: (a) the annual costs that each homeowner of an average-priced home or renter paying the average rent would be required to pay if the bonds are supported by ad-valorem taxes; (b) the annual costs that each resident of the city would be required to pay if the bonds are supported by sales or other use taxes; and (c) the annual costs that each affected resident of the city would be required to pay if the bonds are supported by other assessments or fees; and (7) whether any of the projects to be supported by the bonds are anticipated to require the exercise of the power of eminent domain.    

H.B. 3182 (Harper-Brown) – Events Trust Funds:  would, among other things: (1) provide that an event is eligible for funding from the major events trust fund if a site selection committee selects a site in this state as the sole site for the event in a region composed of this state and one or more adjoining states and the incremental increase in tax receipts is at least $1 million; (2) provide that a request for a determination of the amount of incremental increase in tax receipts may be submitted to the comptroller not later than 45 days before the date the event begins (as opposed to not later than three months before the event under current law); (3) provide that for either the major events trust or the events trust fund, if an obligation is incurred under an event support contract to make a structural improvement to the site or add a fixture to the site for purposes of an event, and the improvement or fixture is expected to derive most of its value in subsequent uses of the site for future events, a disbursement from the trust fund made for purposes of that obligation is limited to five percent of the cost of the improvement or fixture; (4) provide that the comptroller may not consider a subsequent request to participate in the major events trust fund program for the same event in the same endorsing city until a post event study is completed for a preceding event; (5) limit an endorsing city to only submitting one request for participation in the events trust fund in a calendar year, except for any additional events that would result in a minimum of $375,000 in incremental tax gain or draw 25,000 or more out of state visitors to an event; and (6) provide that if the comptroller determines that actual attendance count is significantly less than the projected attendance count, the comptroller may proportionately reduce the total amount that an endorsing city may be eligible to receive in total disbursement distributions from the events trust fund. 

H.B. 3231 (Coleman) – Regulation of Drugs:  would authorize the governing body of a city or county to enact an ordinance or rule prohibiting the sale of any drug or chemical that is potentially abusable and poses a threat to public health as determined by the governing body, but providing that a city or county may not enact an ordinance or rule prohibiting the sale of any substance that is approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration.

H.B. 3258 (Villalba) – Political Advertising:  would make various changes relating to political contributions and expenditures, including:  (1) defining the term “political advertising” for purposes of Title 15 of the Election Code to mean a communication expressly advocating the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate or expressly advocating support for or opposition to a measure by means of a broadcast, cable, or satellite communication, newspaper, magazine, outdoor advertising facility, electronic communication, mailing, telephone bank to the general public, text message, or any other form of general public political advertising; (2) providing that the term “political advertising” does not include:  (a) Internet communications, except for communications placed for a fee on another person’s website; or (b) electronic communications or text messages of an identical or substantially similar nature sent to fewer than 25 recipients within any 30-day period; and (3) defining “clearly identified candidate” to mean the candidate’s name, nickname, photograph, or drawing, or the identity of the candidate when otherwise apparent through an unambiguous reference, including a reference to the candidate’s status as a candidate.

H.B. 3263 (P. Miller) – Electronic Payment:  would: (1) provide that the governing body of a city may authorize a city official who collects fees, fines, court costs, or other charges to accept payment by debit card or other electronic means (in addition to credit card) and to collect and retain a fee for processing the payment; (2) require a processing fee in (1), above, to be reasonably related to the expense incurred in processing the payment by debit card or electronic means; and (3) authorize a city to charge, in addition to a processing fee, a fee in an amount equal to the amount of any transaction fee charged to the city by a vendor providing services in connection with payments made by credit card, debit card, or other electronic means.

H.B. 3264 (C. Turner) – Payday Lending:  would prohibit a credit access business from making a telemarketing call to a consumer.

H.B. 3397 (D. Bonnen) – Special Districts:  would: (1) require all special districts to conduct a comprehensive review of the district once every six years; (2) require each special district to publish a written self-evaluation report after conducting the review in (1), above, and make the report available to the public and post the report on the district’s website; (3) require each special district to conduct a public hearing at which persons interested in the self-evaluation report are given notice through a website posting and given the opportunity to be heard; (4) require certain information from the hearing to be posted on the district’s website; and (5) require every special district to maintain an Internet website to comply with the above requirements.

H.B. 3409 (Dutton) – Taxes:  would: (1) require a select commission on periodic tax preference review to identify all state and local “tax preferences” and develop a review schedule under which each tax preference is reviewed once during each six-year period; (2) require the commission to file final report on the reviews of tax preferences to the governor and the presiding officers of the senate finance committee and the house ways and means committee not later than December 1 of each even-numbered year; and (3) provide that each tax preference enacted by the legislature that becomes law on or after September 1, 2014, expires six years after the date it takes effect, unless the legislature provides an earlier or later expiration date.

H.B. 3461 (E. Rodriguez) – Payday Lending:  would provide that a credit access business may not assist 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. 

H.B. 3480 (Simpson) – Texas Bill of Rights: would prohibit a city, or other governmental entity, from imposing, collecting, enforcing, implementing, or effectuating a provision, penalty, or sanction under federal law that the legislature has determined violates Article I of the Texas Constitution, the Texas bill of rights.

H.B. 3485 (Villarreal) – Property Tax Lending:  would, among other things: (1) prohibit a property owner from waiving or limiting a requirement imposed on a property tax lender by state law; (2) provide certain requirements for any solicitation or advertisement provided by a property tax lender; (3) prohibit a person from selling, transferring, assigning, or releasing rights to a property tax loan to a person who is not licensed by the state; (4) require the Finance Commission of Texas to create a form for a lender with an existing recorded lien on the property to use to request a payoff statement; (5) provide that a contract between a transferee of a tax lien and a property owner that purports to authorize payment of taxes that are not delinquent at the time of payment, or that lacks the proper authorization from the property owner, is void; (6) prohibit the transfer of a tax lien if the real property has been financed, wholly or partly, with a grant or below market rate loan provided by a governmental program or nonprofit organization and is subject to the covenants of the grant or loan; and (7) would only allow a transferee of a tax lien to foreclose the lien using the judicial foreclosure process.

H.B. 3572 (Hilderbran) – Mixed Beverage Tax:  would, among other things: (1) replace the mixed beverage tax with a wholesale alcoholic beverage tax at a rate of 14 percent of the sale of an alcoholic beverage by a wholesaler, distributor, or package store local distributor to an alcoholic beverage permittee; and (2) require the comptroller to issue to each incorporated city at least 10.7143 percent of receipts from sales to permittees within the incorporated municipality during each quarter. 

H.B. 3622 (D. Bonnen) – Texas Windstorm Association: would provide that: (1) the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association is modified to operate as the “Texas Insurance Plan;” (2) the Commissioner of Insurance shall contract with an administrator to manage the association and administer the plan of operation not later than January 1, 2014; (3) the association shall pay losses in excess of premium and other revenue of the association from available amounts in the catastrophe reserve trust fund and member assessments.  (Companion bill is S.B. 1700 by Taylor.)

H.B. 3644 (Lavender) – Taxes:  would abolish numerous taxes, including local property taxes and sales taxes, and replace with a statewide and local value added tax.

H.B. 3646 (Harper-Brown) – Advertising and Notice:  would:  (1) require a governmental entity, including a city, conducting an advertising campaign to communicate information to the public using the advertising medium that provides the information to the largest number of people; and (2) provide that a governmental entity, including a city, may satisfy a requirement in any other law to provide notice by publication by posting the notice on its Internet website continuously from the earliest date provided for in the requirement until the day after the date the action for which notice was required occurs.

H.B. 3709 (Bell) – Health Benefits:  would: (1) prohibit the government, including a city, from imposing or collecting a penalty or sanction that relates to mandatory health coverage; (2) require the attorney general to take action against a governmental entity that violates this prohibition; and (3) protect the right of contract related to health insurance coverage. 

H.B. 3749 (Farrar) – Animal Shelters:  would:  (1) require each person operating an animal shelter to set as a goal for the shelter to release all healthy animals in its custody; and (2) require each animal shelter to consider establishing and maintaining a live release database and  a foster program. 

H.B. 3751 (Farrar) – Public Funds Investment:  would: (1) provide that a letter of credit that is an obligation of the United States or its agencies or instrumentalities is not an authorized investment under the Public Funds Investment Act: and (2) provide that a letter of credit is an “investment security” and eligible to secure a deposit of public funds under the Public Funds Collateral Act. 

H.B. 3758 (Farrar) – Municipal Management Districts:  would require a municipal management district to make its relevant books, records of account, and minutes available for investigation during business hours within 14 days of receiving a written request. 

H.B. 3777 (Isaac) – Housing Finance Corporations:  would provide that a housing finance corporation may not issue a private activity bond unless the issuance is approved by all local governments whose boundaries contain the development.

H.B. 3782 (Isaac) – Major Events Trust Fund:  would: (1) authorize revenue from the Major Events Trust Fund to be used for a national championship of an amateur sport sanctioned by the national governing body of the sport that is recognized by the Unites States Olympic Committee, an Olympic Trial event, or an Olympic community development activity; and (2) authorize the comptroller to adopt rules: (a) establishing a minimum economic impact to the state in order for a game or an event to be eligible for funding; (b) allowing for the deduction from amounts disbursed by the comptroller of an administrative fee not to exceed three percent of the rebate to process and audit applications; and (c) requiring specific documentation demonstrating that an event was the subject of a competitive bid process with other locations outside the state.

H.B. 3785 (Perry) – Federal Mandates: would provide various state-level procedures that would allow a person to attempt to avoid the mandated care provisions of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and other “federal tax levies.”

H.B. 3820 (Carter) – U