Friday, January 12, 2007


H.B. 6 (Hilderbran) – Parks: would do the following: (1) divide cities into two groups for purposes of calculating eligibility for state grant funding for local parks—cities under 500,000 in population, and cities of 500,000 or more in population; (2) for cities under 500,000 in population, restructure the local grant funding formulas based on the sporting goods sales tax; (3) for cities of 500,000 population or more, provide restructured funding for grants from the sporting goods sales tax, but allow such grants only to satisfy a city’s match requirement for a federal grant or for other specifically defined purposes such as benefiting “underserved” populations; and (4) provide that cities of 500,000 or more in population may receive state park grants only if recommended by a regional planning commission.
H.B. 422 (Phillips) – Transportation Funding: would: (1) allocate two-thirds of the revenue generated by the $30 state traffic fine to the Texas Mobility Fund; and (2) require the state comptroller to credit traffic fines submitted by a city of less than 5,000 population (when those fines account for more than thirty percent of the city’s revenue for the preceding year) to the Texas Mobility Fund. (Companion bill is S.B. 126 by Carona.)
H.B. 438 (Hochberg) – Property Tax: would provide that the appraised value of a residential homestead may not increase by more than ten percent for the entire time period since the most recent tax appraisal, as opposed to current law, which allows up to a ten-percent increase each year. (Note: Please see H.J.R. 40 below.)
H.B. 442 (Phillips) – Tasers: would provide that the removal or attempted removal of a taser from a peace officer is a felony offense.
H.B. 447 (Callegari) – Construction Procurement: would: (1) prohibit a reverse auction procedure for a public works contract for which a performance or payment bond is required; (2) consolidate the provisions of current law relating to alternative delivery systems for construction projects (e.g., competitive sealed proposals, construction manager-agent, construction manager at-risk, design-build, job order contracting) by most governmental entities, including cities; (3)provide procedures and criteria for a governmental entity to use when selected a construction contractor using a method other than competitive bidding; (4) authorize the use of any alternative delivery method, except for design-build, for any improvement to real property; and (5) limit the use of design-build to buildings and associated structures.
H.B. 457 (Rodriguez) – Property Tax: would require the chief appraiser to deliver a notice each year to each property owner whose property is not currently receiving a homestead exemption. The notice would contain information about how to apply for a homestead exemption.
H.B. 463 (Flores) - Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractors: would create a statewide registration system, to be administered by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, for air conditioning and refrigeration technicians.
H.B. 466 (Flores) – Parks: would alter the formulas by which sporting goods sales taxes are allocated to the various parks accounts.
H.B. 476 (Vo) – Property Tax: would extend the ten-percent appraisal cap on residential homesteads to all real property. (Note: Please see H.J.R. 41 below.)
H.B. 478 (Vo) – Utility Payments: would provide that a payment for utility services is considered made on the date the envelope is postmarked if: (1) the payment is not required by law or contract to be delivered by a method other than mail; (2) the payment was mailed with sufficient postage; and (3) the envelope was properly addressed.
H.B. 486 (Driver) – Police Chief Education: would: (1) direct the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education (TCLEOSE) to create a uniform 24-month training period during which all police chiefs shall receive at least forty hours of training; and (2) direct TCLEOSE to establish a rule stating that the first continuing education training period for a police chief shall begin on the first day of the first uniform continuing education training period following the date the individual completes the TCLEOSE initial training program.
H.B. 490 (Solomons) – Pawn Shops: would do the following: (1) permit, but not require, police chiefs to place holds on pawn shop goods that are suspected of being stolen; and (2) require pawn shops that generate computerized pawn tickets to electronically transmit pawn data to the police department if required by the police chief.
H.B. 491 (Burnam) – Electric Markets: would limit the amount of generation capacity that a deregulated electric utility may own or control within the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT).
H.B. 492 (Orr) – Emergency Services Districts: would prohibit a city from removing area in its extraterritorial jurisdiction from an emergency services district.
H.B. 495 (Bonnen) - Emergency Services Personnel: would make assault on emergency services personnel a felony of the third degree.
H.B. 497 (Madden) – Construction Contracts: would provide that: (1) a dispute arising under a construction contract for non-residential construction may be referred to a “dispute board” if the contract provides for such a referral; (2) each construction contract entered into by a governmental entity that does not provide for submission of disputes arising under the contract to a dispute board must contain a provision stating that the provision was actively considered and rejected; (3) a dispute board consists of one, three, or a greater odd number of persons selected by the parties through a nomination process, and one person selected by the parties’ chosen members; (4) each member of the dispute board must meet certain qualifications related to the construction industry and meet certain training requirements; (5) a project owner (e.g., a governmental entity) shall provide a dispute board with all documents necessary to the board’s work, including conference facilities for meetings; (6) a dispute board may act in an advisory or formal decision-making capacity, as agreed by the parties; and (7) the meetings of a dispute board and its records are confidential.
H.B. 499 (Castro) - Guardrails: would require that a guardrail constructed on a bridge or overpass located on a public road or highway be at least 36 inches in height.
H.J.R. 40 (Hochberg) – Property Tax: would amend the Texas Constitution to provide that the appraised value of a residential homestead may not increase more than ten percent for the entire period since the most recent tax appraisal, as opposed to current law which allows up to a ten-percent increase each year. (Note: Please see H.B. 438 above.)
H.J.R. 41 (Vo) – Property Tax: would amend the Texas Constitution to permit the legislature to extend the ten-percent appraisal cap on residential homesteads to all real property. (Note: Please see H.B. 476 above.)
S.B. 74 (Lucio) – Open Records: would: (1) authorize a program to protect the confidentiality of a victim of stalking, sexual assault, or family violence, and allow the victim to use a post office box as an official address; and (2) require a city to accept the designated substitute post office box address in place of the individual's true residential address, with certain exceptions.
S.B. 175 (Wentworth) – Open Records: would: (1) require a requestor to make a deposit or post a bond before the tenth business day after the required date, or the request will be considered withdrawn; (2) allow the attorney general's office 45 business days to issue a decision after the date the office receives a request for a decision, with an extension period of the attorney general's action of ten business days; and (3) require a city to release information to a person with a special right of access not later than the tenth business day after the receipt of a request for information.
S.J.R. 10 (Janek) – Property Tax: would amend the Texas Constitution to permit the governing body of a political subdivision, including a city, to reduce the homestead appraisal cap from ten percent to some percentage not lower than three percent. Once lowered, the appraisal cap could be changed again by action of the governing body, but the change would take effect only after six years have expired since the first change.