TAC legislative staff has highlighted some recently filed bills of interest to county officials.
HB 110 by Canales – Requires the Office of Court Administration (OCA) to conduct a study of downgrading certain Class C misdemeanor offenses to civil violations. OCA will consult with judges, justices of the peace, municipal judges, and other agencies in gathering data for the study. The report will be due by Oct. 1, 2020.
HB 134 by Swanson – Amends the Education Code by adding that the governing board or commissioners court may not include more than one project or category of expenditure in any proposition submitted to authorize the issuance of bonds.
HB 205 by Reynolds – Allows for the attorney representing the witness who is the subject of a grand jury investigation to be present during the proceeding. The grand jury must permit the attorney or witness to interrupt at any time during questioning to step outside the hearing room to consult with one another.
HB 240 by Bernal – Allows all individuals who qualify for a homestead exemption to make installment payments on their ad valorem taxes.
HB 308 by Bernal – Requires a county to adopt a method of appointment prescribed or approved by the secretary of state for volunteer deputy registrars.
HB 344 by Dutton - Raises the age of criminal responsibility from 17 to 18 and addresses certain substantive and procedural matters related to that age.
HB 354 by Herrero - Grants an exemption from jury service to firefighters and police officers who are permanent paid employees of a municipal or county fire department or permanent paid employee of a municipal or county police department.
HB 362 by Israel – Creates a Voting System Fund to provide assistance to local governments to purchase voting equipment. The fund is an account in the general revenue fund and the money is allocated at the discretion of the legislature. The money in the fund may only be appropriated by a grant. A county or city is eligible to receive a grant equal to or not more than 50 percent of the cost of the voting equipment.
HB 381 by Holland – Makes paid law enforcement trainees eligible for the Texas Peace Officers' Memorial Monument.
HB 383 by Bohac – Limits the increase on the appraised value for residential homesteads from 10% to 5% for ad valorem taxation.
HB 404 by Thompson, Senfronia – Repeals civil asset forfeiture provisions and establishes criminal asset forfeiture for offenders convicted of certain offenses.
HB 453 by Shaheen – Allows a physician to receive an exemption on their residence homestead of up to 50 percent of appraised value for providing health care services to indigent patients in their county.
HB 463 by Springer – Requires an air ambulance subscription program to enter into a reciprocity agreement with each of the other air ambulance programs to ensure maximum area covered.
HB 470 by Paul – Limits counties with populations of over 40,000 to a rollback tax rate of 4 percent but allows counties with a population under 40,000 to remain at a rollback tax rate of 8 percent.
HB 482 by Thompson, Senfronia – Requires law enforcement agencies to adopt a cite and release policy for fine-only offenses and limits the authority of peace officers to arrest offenders for certain fine-only offenses.
HB 484 by Phelan – Allows an appraisal review board to lower the value of a residence on the tax roll for the current year or the previous two years if the residence sold at a lower value.
HB 544 by Nevarez – Expands the offense of unlawful possession of a firearm to include certain persons with judicial determinations relating to mental health.
HB 546 by Canales – Requires the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement to study certain training and education requirements. Findings and recommendations must be completed by December 1, 2020.
HB 565 by Coleman – Comprehensive healthcare coverage bill. This bill includes Medicaid expansion for acute care, health plan coverage for mental health and substance use disorders, and allows for those enrolled in STAR Health Medicaid to receive health care services until 26 years of age.
HB 651 by Springer – Authorizes a county not served by a hospital district or a public hospital to administer a county health care provider participation program. This would happen through mandating payments from each hospital in the county.
SB 204 by Huffman – Increases criminal penalties for the offense of making a firearm accessible to a child from a Class C to Class B misdemeanor, or State Jail Felony if the child discharges the firearm and causes death or serious bodily injury.
SB 247 by Hinojosa – Raises the burden of proof in asset forfeiture proceedings from preponderance of the evidence to clear and convincing. Limits the ability of law enforcement or prosecutors to transfer forfeitable property to the federal government or cooperate in a federal forfeiture action. See also HB 182 by Canales.