Bills of Interest

February 08, 2019

Legislative News

  • Share this:

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

HB 1065 by Ashby – Creates the rural resident physician grant program to encourage the creation of new graduate medical education positions in rural and nonmetropolitan areas.

HB 1076 by White – Expands eligibility for orders of nondisclosure to include certain defendants convicted of certain state jail felony offenses.

HB 1318 by Moody – Allows, for a person under the age of 18, an adult who has had actual care, custody, and control of the person for the six months preceding the request, the ability to request inpatient mental health services. Expands the authority of a peace officer to take a person, regardless of age, into custody if the person is exhibiting a mental illness, is a substantial risk to themselves or others, and the officer is unable to obtain a warrant in a reasonable amount of time. See also SB 218 by Rodríguez.

HB 1380 by Murr – Increases Justice Courts’ civil case jurisdiction from $10,000 to $20,000. Increases the filing cost for civil cases to $50.

HB 1399 by Smith – Requires law enforcement agencies to obtain DNA samples from all defendants arrested for any charge that is punishable as a felony or as certain Class A misdemeanors.

SB 10 by Nelson – Creates the Texas Mental Health Care Consortium to address urgent mental health challenges and improve the mental health care system in this state. Governor Abbott has made mental health an emergency item allowing the legislature to take immediate action on this bill. See also HB 1448 by Zerwas.

SB 164 by Rodríguez – Makes early voting by mail available to all voters and expands late ballot voting. See also HB 325 by Ortega and HB 1104 by Meza.

SB 205 by Perry – Adds the attorney general to the list of entities the secretary of state should notify if deceased or disqualified voters are on quarterly statewide voter registration lists.

SB 323 by Huffman – Mandates that political subdivisions, with more than 120,000 in population, submit ballot proposition language to the regional presiding judge of the administrative judicial region, to review the language for clarity, 109 days before election day.

SB 357 by Nichols – Limits the height of outdoor advertising signs to 42 1/2 feet. See also HB 789 by Davis, Sarah.

SB 429 by Lucio – Directs the statewide behavioral health coordinating council to create a comprehensive workforce plan for mental health and substance use – for the purpose of increasing and improving the workforce to serve people with mental health and substance use issues.

SB 460 by Johnson – Reduces criminal penalties for possession of marijuana.  Provides an affirmative defense to prosecution of possession or use of drug paraphernalia if it is solely in conjunction with the possession or use of two ounces or less of marijuana.

SB 482 by Fallon – Requires voter registration applicants to show proof of citizenship to the voter registrar if the secretary of state cannot verify their citizenship. See also HB 378 by Lang.

SB 494 by Huffman – Revises certain procedures relating to the Open Meetings Act and the Public Information Act in the event of an emergency, urgent public necessity, or catastrophic event.

SB 495 by Hughes – Authorizes a commissioners court, in cooperation with the office of the attorney representing the state in the county, to establish a pretrial victim-offender mediation program for certain offenders.

SB 496 by Perry – Adds the county’s local funding capacity as measured by the total taxable value of properties within the county as a consideration for a grant or loan through the historic courthouse preservation program. See also HB 1125 by Murr.

SB 558 by Huffman – Requires the Department of Public Safety to establish a central database of defendants with an ignition interlock device. Requires reporting by magistrates and courts to submit the name of the defendant and the expiration date of the restriction to DPS for inclusion in the database. See also HB 364 by Tinderholt.

SB 628 by Whitmire – Requires a magistrate to consider the results of a pretrial risk assessment before determining bail for a defendant. Requires certain judges in each county to adopt an instrument to be used in conducting  a pretrial risk assessment of a defendant, which must be the automated pretrial risk assessment system developed by the Office of Court Administration or another instrument that meets certain specified requirements. Requires training for justices of the peace relating to certain magistration duties, including setting bail. Authorizes a judge to deny bail in certain circumstances (this particular provision is subject to voter approval of SJR 37.) See also HB 1323 by Murr.

SB 635 by Flores – Allows Justice Courts to be used as an alternative to district courts for the appeal of an appraisal review board determination in counties with a population of less than  120,000.  Requires that the dispute must be for an amount of taxes that is $5,000 or less.

SJR 37 by Whitmire – Proposes a constitutional amendment authorizing a judge or magistrate to deny bail if the judge or magistrate determines by clear and convincing evidence that requiring bail and conditions of release is insufficient to reasonably ensure the person’s appearance in court as required or to ensure the safety of the community or victim. See also HJR 62 by Murr.