SIGNIFICANT COMMITTEE ACTIONS
H.B. 107 (F. Brown), Relating to requiring certain home-rule municipalities to obtain annexation approval from voters in the area to be annexed. Reported from the House Committee on Land and Resource Management. As reported, the bill would prohibit the cities of Bryan and College Station from annexing an area with 50 or more inhabitants unless the persons to be annexed approve the annexation through a popular vote.
H.B. 125 (Legler), Relating to the inclusion of a draft impact analysis in the notice of rules proposed by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Reported from the House Committee on Environmental Regulation. As reported, the bill would require that before adopting an environmental rule, the TCEQ shall conduct a regulatory analysis that weighs the costs and environmental effects expected to result from implementation of and compliance with the rule and include a draft impact analysis describing the anticipated effects of the proposed rule that, at a minimum: (1) identifies the problem the rule is intended to address; (2) identifies the environmental effects that the TCEQ expects to result from implementation of and compliance with the rule, including pollutant reduction; and (3) identifies and describes costs that the agency expects local governments and others will incur from implementation of and compliance with the rule. The bill would also require the TCEQ to prepare a final regulatory analysis after considering public comment and before adoption, and would allow any person who files a comment on the proposed rule to challenge the rule’s validity by filing an action for declaratory judgment if it was not proposed and adopted in strict compliance with the procedural requirements created by the bill (This is a TML priority bill.)
H.B. 331 (Guillen), Relating to the authority of the governing body of a municipality to create a municipal court equal justice and education fund and to require certain defendants to pay court costs for deposit in the fund. Reported from the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence.
H.B. 342 (Fletcher), Relating to the reinstatement of a firefighter or police officer following a decision rendered by the Fire Fighters’ and Police Officers’ Civil Service Commission or an independent third party hearing examiner. Reported from the House Committee on Urban Affairs.
H.B. 343 (Fletcher), Relating to the reporting and recording of a motor vehicle accident involving an official vehicle driven by a peace officer, firefighter, or an emergency medical services employee in the course of official duties. Reported from the House Committee on Urban Affairs.
H.B. 360 (Jackson), Relating to ballot language for a proposition to approve the imposition or increase of a tax or the issuance of bonds. Reported from the House Committee on Elections.
H.B. 533 (Villarreal), Relating to the protest of a rendition penalty. Reported from the House Committee on Ways and Means.
H.B. 564 (Craddick), Relating to inspection of portable fire extinguishers in government-owned vehicles in certain local governmental jurisdictions. Reported from the House Committee on Urban Affairs.
H.B. 611 (Murphy), Relating to the provision of certain professional services by certain governmental entities. Reported from the House Committee on Government Efficiency and Reform. As reported, the bill would provide that a governmental entity (not including a city), may not provide through its officers or employees a commercially available service (e.g., the practice of engineering or architecture, construction services, or construction management services) for an improvement to real property that is not owned or leased by the entity, with certain exceptions.
H.B. 679 (Button), Relating to change order approval requirements for certain political subdivisions of the state. Reported from the House Committee on Government Efficiency and Reform.
H.B. 725 (Callegari), Relating to the operation, powers, and duties of certain water districts. Reported from the House Committee on Natural Resources. As reported, the bill would negatively affect cities that enter into strategic partnerships with special districts.
H.B. 735 (Patrick), Relating to the events eligible to receive funding through a major events trust fund. Reported from the House Committee on Economic and Small Business Development.
H.B. 956 (Marquez), Relating to the state fire marshal’s investigation of the death of a firefighter who dies in the line of duty or in connection with an on-duty incident. Reported from the House Committee on Urban Affairs.
H.B. 1083 (Elkins), Relating to the issuance of an identification card to certain honorably retired peace officers. House Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety.
H.B. 1089 (Martinez Fischer), Relating to the authority of a county or municipality to require the removal of graffiti by a property owner. Reported from the House Committee on Urban Affairs. As reported, the bill would provide that a city may – but is not required to – first offer to remove graffiti for free prior to requiring the property owner to remove the graffiti. (This is a TML priority bill.)
H.B. 1136 (Aycock), Relating to requiring an election authority to provide notice to certain county chairs regarding certain election activities. Reported from the House Committee on Elections. As reported, the bill would require a county clerk to deliver written notice, at least 72 hours in advance, of the time and place of a meeting called by the city secretary for the purpose of discussing business related to an upcoming primary, runoff, or general election to the county chair of each political party that made nominations by primary election for the general election for state and county officers. (As originally filed, the bill would have required the city secretary to provide the written notice in the bill.)
H.B. 1137 (Darby), Relating to the transmission of records regarding over-the-counter sales of ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, and norpseudoephedrine and a person’s civil liability for certain acts arising from the sale of those products. Reported from the House Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety.
H.B. 1147 (W. Smith), Relating to notice by a governmental entity regarding certain geospatial data products. Reported from the House Committee on Technology. (Please see S.B. 442, below.)
H.B. 1215 (McClendon), Relating to the creation of the offense of unauthorized acquisition or transfer of certain financial information. Reported from the House Committee on Criminal Justice.
H.B. 1319 (Laubenberg), Relating to the calculation and reporting of water usage and conservation by municipalities and water utilities. Reported from the House Committee on Natural Resources.
H.B. 1395 (Parker), Relating to the requirements to operate personal watercraft and certain boats. Reported from the House Committee on Culture, Recreation, and Tourism. As reported, the bill would require a municipal court to dismiss a charge against a child who has been charged with the offense of driving certain watercraft without possessing proper documentation if the person makes a motion requesting permission to take a boater education course, completes the course, and provides the court with evidence that the course was completed within 90 days of the motion being granted.
H.B. 1734 (Ritter), Relating to the authority of the Texas Water Development Board to provide financial assistance for certain projects if the applicant has failed to complete a request for information relevant to the project. Reported from the House Committee on Natural Resources. (Companion bill is S.B. 370 by Seliger.)
H.B. 2139 (Guillen), Relating to the establishment of an “Adopt a Library” program. Reported from the House Committee on Culture, Recreation, and Tourism.
H.B. 2690 (Deshotel), Relating to authorizing local governments to convey real property interests to other local governments for less than fair market value. Reported from the House Committee on County Affairs.
H.B. 2866 (Harper-Brown), Relating to the electronic submission of certain documents to the attorney general and the submission of certain documents by the attorney general. Reported from the House Committee on Government Efficiency and Reform.
S.B. 18 (Estes),relating to the use of eminent domain authority. Reported from the House Committee on Land and Resource Management. As reported, the bill would do the following:
- provide that a governmental or private entity may not take private property through the use of eminent domain if the taking is not for a “public use.”
- require a record vote with specific procedures and wording to take each parcel of land through the use of eminent domain.
- require that any entity authorized to exercise the power of eminent domain must submit to the state comptroller, by December 31, 2012, a letter stating that the entity is authorized to exercise the power of eminent domain and identifying the provision or provisions of law that grant the entity that authority, and would provide that the entity’s authority to use eminent domain will be suspended if the letter is not sent by the deadline and remain suspended until the entity submits the letter.
- provide, among other things, that an entity with eminent domain authority that wants to acquire real property shall disclose to the property owner any and all appraisal reports produced or acquired by the entity relating specifically to the owner’s property and prepared in the ten years preceding the offer.
- provide that: (1) an entity seeking to acquire property may not include a confidentiality provision in an offer or agreement to acquire the property; and (2) the entity shall inform the owner of the property that the owner has the right to: (a) discuss any offer or agreement regarding the entity’s acquisition of the property with others; or (b) keep the offer or agreement confidential (subject to the requirements of the Texas Public Information Act).
- require an entity with eminent domain authority that wants to acquire real property for a public use to make a bona fide offer to acquire the property from the property owner voluntarily, and list specific criteria that must be met to meet the bona fide offer requirement.
- provide that a court that determines that a condemnor did not make a bona fide offer to acquire the property from the property owner voluntarily must abate the suit, order the condemnor to make a bona fide offer, and order the condemnor to pay costs and attorneys’ and other professionals’ fees.
- provide that a condemnation petition must state with specificity the public use for which the entity intends to acquire the property and that the city made a bona fide offer to acquire the property voluntarily.
- provide, among other things, that each party has a reasonable period to strike one of the three special commissioners appointed by the judge in the case, with the judge appointing a replacement.
- provide that the special commissioners shall consider an injury or benefit that is peculiar to the property owner and that relates to the property owner’s ownership, use, or enjoyment of the particular parcel of real property, including a material impairment of direct access on or off the remaining property that affects the market value of the remaining property, but they may not consider an injury or benefit that the property owner experiences in common with the general community, including circuity of travel and diversion of traffic.
- if the special commissioners or a court awards damages in a condemnation proceeding in an amount that is greater than 110 percent of the amount of damages the condemnor offered to pay before the proceedings began, the commissioners or the court shall award reasonable attorney's fees and other professional fees to the property owner in addition to costs that shall be awarded under current law.
- require a city, as a cost of acquiring real property, to: (a) provide a relocation advisory service for an individual, a family, a business concern, a farming or ranching operation, or a nonprofit organization that is compatible with the Federal Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act; and (b) pay moving expenses and rental supplements, make relocation payments, provide financial assistance to acquire replacement housing, and compensate for expenses incidental to the transfer of the property if an individual, a family, the personal property of a business, a farming or ranching operation, or a nonprofit organization is displaced in connection with the acquisition.
- provide that an entity that is not subject to the Public Information Act, such a gas pipeline operator, must disclose certain information relating to its use of eminent domain upon request.
- modify the current provisions that allow a property owner to repurchase the property if it isn’t used by the condemnor within ten years of the date of acquisition, and extinguish the right of repurchase under certain circumstances.
- provide that a city council may adopt a development plan for a public use project at a public hearing to toll the 10-year right to repurchase if certain criteria are met.
- modify the standard for determination of the fair value of the state’s interest in access rights to a highway right-of-way to be the same legal standard that is applied by the Texas Transportation Commission according to the Texas Transportation Code, which may include the impairment of highway access to or from real property where the real property adjoins the highway.
S.B. 100 (Van de Putte), Relating to the adoption of voting procedures necessary to implement the federal Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act. Reported from the Senate State Affairs Committee. (Please see article elsewhere in this issue.)
S.B. 309 (Harris), Relating to the events eligible to receive funding through a major events trust fund. Reported from the House Committee on Economic and Small Business Development.
S.B. 402 (West), Relating to community land trusts. Reported from the Senate Intergovernmental Relations Committee.
S.B. 442 (Wentworth), Relating to notice by a governmental entity regarding certain geospatial data products. Reported from the Senate Select Committee on Open Government. As reported, the bill would require a city to provide certain notice on each geospatial data product (including any basic map) that: (1) is created or hosted by the city; (2) appears to represent property boundaries; and (3) was not produced using information from an on-the-ground survey conducted under the supervision of a registered professional land surveyor or a land surveyor authorized to perform surveys under laws in effect when the survey was conducted. The committee substitute would exempt a city from the notice requirements provided by the bill if the geospatial data product: (1) does not contain a legal description, a property boundary monument, or the distance and direction of a property line; (2) is prepared only for use as evidence in a legal proceeding; (3) is filed with the clerk of any court; or (4) is filed with the county clerk.
S.B. 660 (Hinojosa), Relating to the review and functions of the Texas Water Development Board, including the functions of the board in connection with the process for establishing and appealing desired future conditions in a groundwater area. Reported from the Senate Committee on Government Organization.
S.B. 732 (Nichols), Relating to the prohibition of certain regulations by a municipality in its extraterritorial jurisdiction involving trees and vegetation. Reported from the Senate Intergovernmental Relations Committee. (Companion bill is H.B. 1388 by Hopson.)
S.B 758 (Deuell), Relating to sales and use tax information provided to certain local governmental entities. Reported from the Senate Finance Committee.
S.B. 908 (Fraser), Relating to requirements for businesses that offer plastic checkout bags to customers. Reported from the Senate on Natural Resources Committee.
S.B. 1082 (Hegar), Relating to strategic partnerships for the continuation of certain water districts annexed by a municipality. Reported from the Senate Natural Resources Committee.
S.B. 1494 (Uresti), Relating to reporting to the Texas Judicial Council the election or appointment of certain municipal officers. Reported from the Senate Jurisprudence Committee.
S.B. 1521 (Uresti), Relating to the distribution of money appropriated from a municipal court building security fund. Reported from the Senate Jurisprudence Committee.
S.B. 1612 (Ogden), Relating to the monitoring, oversight, and funding of certain public retirement systems. Reported from the Senate State Affairs Committee. As reported, the bill would: (1) repeal the law that allows a city to issue obligations to fund its retirement benefits; and (2) allow the pension review board to require TMRS or other public retirement systems to complete an actuarial experience study every five years.