SIGNIFICANT FLOOR ACTIONS

H.B. 11 (Cook), Relating to reports filed with the comptroller regarding certain alcoholic beverage sales.  Passed the House.

H.B. 27 (Guillen), Relating to the payment of fines and costs by indigent defendants in misdemeanor cases. Passed the House.  As passed, the bill would: (1) require that a municipal court judge who determines that the defendant cannot pay the imposed fine and costs allow the defendant to either pay the fine and costs in installments or perform community service to discharge all or part of the fine or costs; and (2) authorize a municipal court judge who makes a written determination at a hearing that an indigent defendant has failed to make a good faith effort to discharge the fines and costs either through installments or community service to order the defendant confined in jail until discharged by law.

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.  Passed the House.  (This is a TML priority bill.)

H.B. 243 (Craddick), Relating to the creation of an offense for certain uses of a wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle. Passed the House.  As passed, the bill would: (1) prohibit the operator of a motor vehicle from using a wireless communication device to write or send a text-based communication while operating the vehicle unless the vehicle is stopped; and (2) define “text-based communication” to include a text message, instant message, and electronic mail, and would exclude a communication that is voice-activated and displayed in a manner that allows the driver to view the material on the dashboard or above the steering wheel. (Companion bill is S.B. 46 by Zaffirini.)

H.B. 289 (Jackson), Relating to activity that constitutes maintaining a common nuisance. Passed the House (Companion bill is S.B. 195 by Nelson.)

H.B. 443 (Fletcher), Relating to the amount of the fee paid by a defendant for a peace officer’s services in executing or processing an arrest warrant, capias, or capias pro fine.  Passed the House.

H.B. 563 (Pickett), Relating to the purposes and designation of a transportation reinvestment zone.  Passed the House.

H.B. 571 (Huberty), Relating to the regulation of certain aggregate production operations by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.  Passed the House.

H.B. 679 (Button), Relating to change order approval requirements for certain political subdivisions of the state. Passed the House.  (Companion bill is S.B. 1558 by Carona.)

H.B. 690 (Martinez Fischer), Relating to the punishment for the offense of graffiti.  Passed the House.

H.B. 965 (Callegari), Relating to continuing education requirements for persons holding licenses issued by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.  Passed the House.

H.B. 1376 (Bohac), Relating to the definition of a junked vehicle for purposes of abatement of a public nuisance.  Passed the House.  As passed, the bill would provide that  “junked vehicle” means a vehicle that is self-propelled and displays an expired license plate or invalid motor vehicle inspection certificate or does not display a license plate or motor vehicle inspection certificate and meets certain other criteria in current law.

H.B. 1573 (Gallego), Relating to certain pretrial and post-trial procedures in a criminal case.

H.B. 1869 (Giddings), Relating to local governments that may consider a bidder's principal place of business when awarding a contract.  Passed the House.

H.B. 2690 (Deshotel), Relating to authorizing local governments to convey real property interests to other local governments for less than fair market value.

S.B. 18 (Estes), Relating to the use of eminent domain authority.  Passed the House.  As passed, the bill would, among other things:

  1. 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.”
  2. provide that a city may exercise the right of eminent domain only for a public use to acquire public or private property, whether located inside or outside the municipality, for any of an enumerated list of uses in current law, including providing, enlarging, or improving of a only municipally owned city hall or other project.
  3. require a record vote with specific procedures and wording to take each parcel of land through the use of eminent domain.
  4. require a governmental entity to provide certain documents relating to the condemnation process in English, and if requested by the property owner, in a language used for providing voter materials for a county election in the county in which the property is located as required by the Voting Rights Act.
  5. 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.
  6. provide that a property owner may, within three days, rescind a voluntary purchase agreement with an entity that has eminent domain authority, unless the property owner is represented by an attorney.
  7. provide that, before making a final offer, the condemning entity must obtain a written appraisal from an independent and certified appraiser not employed by the entity of the value of the property being acquired, and the damages, if any, to any of the property owner’s remaining property.
  8. 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.
  9. 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).
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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 in a final written offer in conformance with the bill, the commissioners or the court shall award reasonable attorney's fees and other professional fees to the   property owner in addition to costs.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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 by providing that:

    1. an entity with eminent domain authority shall disclose in writing to the property owner, at the time of acquisition of the property through eminent domain, that: (a)  the owner or the owner’s heirs, successors, or assigns may be entitled to: (i) repurchase the property; or (ii) request from the entity certain information relating to the use of the property and any actual progress made toward that use; and (b) the repurchase price is the price paid to the owner by the entity at the time the entity acquired the property through eminent domain or the fair market value of the property at the time the property owner becomes entitled to repurchase the property, whichever is less.
    2. a person from whom a real property interest is acquired by an entity through eminent domain for a public use, or that person's heirs, successors, or assigns, is entitled to repurchase the property as provided by this subchapter if: (a) the public use for which the property was acquired through eminent domain is canceled before the property is used for that public use; (b) no actual progress is made toward the public use for which the property was acquired between the date of acquisition and the 10th anniversary of that date; (c) the property becomes unnecessary for the public use for which the property was acquired, or a substantially similar public use, before the 10th anniversary of the date of acquisition; or (d) the initial use of the property is not the public use for which the property was acquired.
    3. not later than the 180th day after the date that the former property owner is entitled to repurchase the property, the entity shall send by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the property owner or the owner's heirs, successors, or assigns a notice containing – among other things – an identification of the public use for which the property had been acquired, a statement that the person has a right to repurchase the property under the bill, and an explanation of the reason under the bill the person has acquired the right to repurchase the property.
    4. a property owner or the owner's heirs, successors, or assigns may request that the condemning entity make a determination – presumably at any time – and provide a statement and other relevant information regarding:  (a)  whether the public use for which the property was acquired was canceled before the property was used for the public use; (b) whether any actual progress was made toward the public use between the date of acquisition and the 10th anniversary of that date, including an itemized description of the progress made, if applicable; (c) whether the property became unnecessary for the public use, or a substantially similar public use, before the 10th anniversary of the date of acquisition; and (d) whether the initial use of the property was the public use for which the property was acquired.
    5. as soon as practicable after receipt of a notice of intent to repurchase, the entity shall offer to sell the property interest to the person for the price paid to the owner by the entity at the time the entity acquired the property through eminent domain or the fair market value of the property at the time the property owner becomes entitled to repurchase the property, whichever is less.
    6. 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.

  19. 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.
  20. with regard to permissible roads built over an easement for an oil and gas pipeline, provide that the property owner and easement owner may agree to any terms related to the road that they wish.

S.B. 160 (Williams), Relating to the regulation of certain aggregate production operations by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.  Passed the Senate. 

S.B. 201 (Uresti), Relating to the calculation of ad valorem taxes on the residence homestead of a 100 percent or totally disabled veteran for the tax year in which the veteran qualifies or ceases to qualify for an exemption from taxation. Passed the Senate.  (Companion bill is H.B. 469 by Callegari.)

S.B. 315 (Carona), Relating to the agencies and entities responsible for compiling and maintaining information pertaining to criminal combinations and criminal street gangs.  Passed the Senate.

S.B. 326 (Duncan), Relating to the exemption from ad valorem taxation of certain tangible personal property stored temporarily at a location in this state.  Passed the Senate.

S.B. 403 (Eltife), Relating to the consideration of pension and other postemployment benefits in establishing the rates of a gas utility. Passed the Senate.  (Companion bill is H.B. 966 by Murphy.)

S.B. 432 (M. Jackson), Relating to the penalty for failure to make a timely installment payment of ad valorem taxes on property in a disaster area. Passed the Senate.  (Companion bill is H.B. 803 by Bonnen.)

S.B. 442 (Wentworth), Relating to notice by a governmental entity regarding certain geospatial data products.  Passed the Senate.

S.B. 449 (Watson), Relating to the appraisal for ad valorem tax purposes of open-space land devoted to water stewardship purposes on the basis of its productive capacity.  Passed the Senate.

S.B. 551 (Williams), Relating to liability for interest on ad valorem taxes on improvements that escaped taxation in a previous year. Passed the Senate.  (Companion bill is H.B. 234 by Otto.)

S.B. 694 (West), Relating to the regulation of metal recycling entities.  Passed the Senate.

S.B. 758 (Deuell), Relating to sales and use tax information provided to certain local governmental entities.  Passed the Senate.

S.B. 893 (Whitmire), Relating to motor fuel quality and testing. Passed the Senate.  (Companion bill is H.B. 2335 by Hardcastle.)

S.B. 898(Carona), Relating to energy efficiency programs in institutions of higher education and certain governmental entities.  Passed the Senate.

S.B. 904 (Patrick), Relating to the eligibility of certain overseas voters to receive a full ballot. Passed the Senate.  (Companion bills are H.B. 1697 by P. King and H.B. 1773 by L. Taylor.)

S.B. 937 (Lucio), Relating to priorities for restoration of electric service following an extended power outage. Passed the Senate.  (Companion bill is H.B. 3126 by Naishtat.)

S.B.  980 (Carona), Relating to communications services and markets. Passed the Senate.  (Companion bill is H.B. 2620 by Hancock.)

S.B. 1097 (Eltife), Relating to single certification in incorporated or annexed areas served by water or sewer utilities. Passed the Senate.  (Companion bill is H.B. 2128 by Geren.)

S.B. 1518 (Eltife), Relating to the powers and duties of the Texas Historical Commission.  Passed the Senate.

S.B. 1612 (Ogden), Relating to the monitoring, oversight, and funding of certain public retirement systems.  Passed the Senate.  As passed, 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.  Reported from Senate State Affairs and recommended for local/uncontested calendar.

S.B. 1613 (Ogden), Relating to public meetings and information disclosure exemptions for public power utilities. Passed the Senate.  As passed, the bill would: (1) repeal the current definition of “competitive matter” relating to public power utilities; (2) define a “competitive matter,” which can be deliberated by a public power utility in a closed meeting and is not generally subject to public disclosure, as a matter reasonably related to: (a) generation unit specific and portfolio fixed and variable costs, capital improvement plans for generation units, and generation unit operating characteristics and outage scheduling; (b) bidding and pricing information for purchased power, generation and fuel, and Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) bids, prices, offers, and related services and strategies; (c) effective fuel and purchased power agreements and fuel transportation arrangements and contracts; (d) risk management information, contracts, and strategies, including fuel hedging and storage; (e) plans, studies, proposals, and analyses for system improvements, additions, or sales, other than transmission and distribution system improvements inside the service area for which the public power utility is the sole certificated retail provider; and (f) customer billing, contract, and usage information, electric power pricing information, system load characteristics, and electric power marketing analyses and strategies; and (3) provide that a “competitive matter,” does not include, among other things: (a) any tariff of general applicability regarding rates and other matters; (b) salaries and total compensation of all employees of a public power utility; or (c) information publicly released by the ERCOT in accordance with a law, rule, or protocol generally applicable to similarly situated market participants.

S.B. 1701 (Williams), Relating to procedures for and evidence that may be presented at a criminal asset forfeiture hearing and to the forfeiture of substitute assets under certain circumstances. Passed the Senate.  As passed, the bill would:  (1) authorize a court to order the forfeiture of substitute assets, that otherwise are not subject to forfeiture, if the court finds that property that was originally ordered forfeited: (a) cannot be located; (b) has been transferred, conveyed, sold to, or deposited with a third-party; (c) has been placed beyond the jurisdiction of the court; (d) has been substantially diminished in value; or, (e) has been commingled with other property and cannot be separated without difficulty; and (2) provide that substitute assets described in (1), above, may not have a value greater than the value of the property originally ordered forfeited by the court.

S.J.R. 16 (Estes), Proposing a constitutional amendment providing for the appraisal for ad valorem tax purposes of open-space land devoted to water stewardship purposes on the basis of its productive capacity.  Passed the Senate.


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