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Bills of Interest

TAC legislative staff has highlighted some recently filed bills of interest to county officials.

HB 1646 by Lozano – Allows a county clerk to waive all fees for an assumed name certificate or a statement of abandonment of use of an assumed name that has been filed by a military veteran. See also SB 784 by Hinojosa.

HB 1864 by Thompson, Senfronia – Requires information relating to law enforcement procedures for traffic stops to be included in driver education and driving safety courses; requires the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement to establish a statewide education and training program on proper procedures for traffic stops, including use of force. See also SB 233 by Menéndez.

HB 1977 by Sheffield – Adds licensed physician assistants to the definition of non-physician mental health professionals for the purposes of the Texas Mental Health Code.

HB 1981 by Johnson, Eric – Prohibits local governments from including a question regarding an applicant's criminal history record information on an initial employment application form and further prohibits the consideration of criminal history record information until after it has been determined that the applicant is otherwise qualified and has conditionally been offered employment.

HB 1983 by Wray – Includes Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as a compensable injury for firefighters or peace officers only if the disorder is caused by events occurring in the course and scope of employment and a preponderance of evidence indicates that the employee's work was a substantial contributing factor of the disorder. See also SB 1722 by Whitmire.

HB 2003 by Swanson – Allows a county clerk, deputy county clerk, district clerk, or deputy district clerk to carry or possess a handgun in a courthouse if licensed.

HB 2362 by Lozano – Creates the Oil and Gas Downturn Assistance Fund to provide grants to counties where the appraised value decreased by at least 20 percent. The grant is funded by excess state general fund revenue. 

HB 2368 by Muñoz – Requires the Sunset Advisory Commission to review regional mobility authorities as if they were a state agency but does not authorize abolishment. In performing a review of the authority, the commission is required to determine the cost, and the authority is required to pay the amount promptly on receipt of a statement.

HB 2707 by White – Defines a reasonable time for a defendant to appear in court before a bond forfeiture to be not less than 72 hours.

HB 2996 by Ashby – Establishes a rural resident physician grant program as a competitive grant program to encourage the creation of new graduate medical education positions in rural and non-metropolitan areas. See also SB 1445 by Campbell.

HB 3033 by Blanco – Allows a political subdivision that commissions and employs peace officers to commission and employ an honorably discharged veteran of the armed forces who is a legal permanent resident of the United States as a peace officer.

HB 3080 by Rose – Prohibits the death penalty for persons with severe mental illness.

HB 3127 by Smithee – Implements the recommendations of the Timothy Cole Exoneration Review Commission, including provisions relating to policies on jailhouse informants, the electronic recording of custodial interrogations, and eyewitness identification. See also HB 34 by Smithee and SB 1577 by Perry.

HB 3335 by Murphy – Prescribes several requirements for ballot propositions seeking voter approval of the issuance of bonds, as well as requirements for notices of intention to issue certificates of obligation, including specified debt information. See also SB 461 by Lucio.

HB 3639 by Gervin-Hawkins – Amends Section 352.051 of the Local Government Code to allow a commissioners court to prohibit or restrict the sale or use of fireworks (and not only those that are “restricted fireworks”) in the unincorporated area of the county without the need for a drought determination. See also SB 760 by Menéndez.

HB 3686 by Swanson – Allows a county in which an election officer serves to photograph the entire face of a voter, upon casting a provisional ballot, using secure equipment and software provided by the county election board if the voter does not have the proper photo identification documentation as required in the election code. The bill increases the criminal penalties and creates a state jail felony if a voter is unlawfully accepted under certain circumstances.

HB 3751 by Scofield – Provides that temporary polling places in an election in which a bond proposition, or the increase or reduction of a tax, is submitted to the voters for approval shall be fixed at one place for the duration of the period that voting is conducted at the polling place.

HJR 98 by Murr – Proposes a constitutional amendment authorizing the denial of pretrial release of a person accused of a noncapital offense if necessary to ensure the person’s appearance in court or the safety of the community or victim. See also SJR 50 by Whitmire.

SB 259 by Huffines – Allows a written jury summons to include the electronic address of the court’s Internet website so the questionnaire may be easily printed and so the person can complete the jury summons questionnaire when the person reports for jury duty. See also HB 1755 by Neave.

SB 326 by Burton – Allows a court that grants a petition for expunction of a criminal record to order that any fee or portion of a fee in relation to the petition be returned to the petitioner. See also HB 551 by Collier.

SB 1913 by Zaffirini – Includes numerous provisions relating to court administration and defendants, including provisions relating to: the payment of fines and costs by indigent defendants; when a capias pro fine may be issued; the performance of community service in lieu of paying fines and costs; when an arrest warrant may be issued for a defendant’s failure to appear; and the repealing of certain fees, including the time payment fee.

SB 1937 by Hughes – Changes the population bracket for mandatory collection improvement programs from counties with populations of 50,000 or greater to counties with populations of 100,000 or greater.