TAC legislative staff has highlighted some recently filed bills of interest to county officials.
HB 358 by Lang – Removes the May election date and creates a March uniform election date.
HB 407 by Price – Requires an office authorized to issue motor vehicle registrations to ask each person who registers their vehicle if they want to register as an organ donor.
HB 598 by Price – Allows for part-time appointed masters, magistrates, referees, and associate judges to use funds appropriated for continuing legal education.
HB 694 by Vo – Adds Texas-based college identification cards that include a photo to the list of acceptable voter identification requirements.
HB 705 by Geren – Allows a county to adopt a sales and use tax to replace all or a portion of the county’s property tax. This additional sales and use tax is distinct from the current local sales tax collected in certain counties. An election required to adopt the tax is called by the adoption of an order by the commissioners court.
HB 725 by Larson – Moves the date for primary elections to January and the run-off date to March. Primary candidate applications will then be due in October.
HB 740 by Reynolds – Reinstates straight-party voting. See also SB 359 by Miles.
HB 788 by Davis, Sarah – Requires the Board of Pardons and Paroles to conduct a study on the effectiveness of the assessment components of the parole guidelines used by the board in determining which inmates should be released on parole.
HB 833 by Hernandez – Creates a statewide alert system for any missing military member who suffers from a mental illness, including post-traumatic stress disorder, or a traumatic brain injury.
HB 890 by Israel – Allows state party chairs to designate a primary runoff election as by mail only. Allowed only if fewer than 100 voters voted in the county’s primary and the runoff offices are either statewide or for multi-county districts.
HB 924 by Zedler – Allows a commissioners court by order to require the owner of a concrete batch plant operating in the county to file a surety bond to cover the cost of any damages to a highway.
HB 929 by Anchia – Requires magistrates to inform the person arrested that a plea of guilty or nolo contendere for the offense charged may affect the person’s eligibility for enlistment or reenlistment in the United States armed forces or may result in the person’s discharge from the United States armed forces if the person is a member.
HB 991 by Burns – Amends the property acquisitions process. Includes minimum easement terms for utilities and pipelines; a standard easement form promulgated by the Attorney General; mandatory public hearings at the county level for projects prior to land acquisition process; expands factors that special commissioners must consider in estimating injury to property owners; and specifies penalties in the event that the special commissioners’ award is in excess of the initial offer by at least 25 percent. See also SB 421 by Kolkhorst.
HB 1020 by Moody – Requires law enforcement agencies to adopt and implement a policy regarding cite and release for certain misdemeanors. The policy must meet certain requirements.
HB 1021 by Moody – Requires judges who find a defendant or plaintiff indigent to waive all court costs and filing fees imposed in civil or criminal proceedings. Indigent is defined as an individual whose household income is at or below 125 percent of the federal poverty guidelines.
HB 1033 by Murr – Increases Justice Courts’ civil case jurisdiction from $10,000 to $20,000.
SB 55 / SJR 26 by Zaffirini – Allows an individual who would be 18 years of age at the time the general election takes place to register and vote in the immediately preceding primary election regardless of whether at the time of the primary they are 18 years of age. See also HB 512 by Howard.
SB 163 by Rodríguez – Requires a county entering into a building or construction contract to require a contractor, if using a subcontractor, to provide written proof of workers' compensation insurance coverage. See also HB 750 by Walle.
SB 201 by Huffman – Increases the penalty for arson, burglary of vehicles, and criminal trespass taking place in a disaster area or in an evacuated area.
SB 226 by Fallon – Requires a county to hold an election for approval to remove a monument, plaque or memorial, and stipulates no public dollars may be used to move the monument.
SB 244 by Creighton – Removes the limits to number of school marshals that may be appointed by a school district or an open-enrollment charter school for each school campus.
SB 277 by Menéndez – Seeks to decertify paperless direct recording electronic voting equipment by Sept. 2021. See also HB 22 by Romero, Jr.
SB 325 by Huffman – Establishes a statewide protective order registry, including emergency protective orders, with publicly accessible information and restricted access information. Requires courts to enter protective order application and order information within 12 hours after the time an application is filed. See also HB 629 by Landgraf.
SB 333 by West – Requires a court order appointing the Department of Family and Protective Services as a child's managing conservator in certain Child Protective Services Cases to provide for the continuation of the appointment of an attorney ad litem for the child for as long as the child remains in the custody of the department. Provides certain exceptions to this requirement.
SB 341 by Huffman – Provides that only certain prosecutors may be appointed as attorneys pro tem.
SB 354 by Lucio – Removes the 190,000 population bracket for counties, allowing the disbursement or direct payment of salaries and expenditures in any county without a special meeting of the commissioners court. See also HB 1047 by Guillen.
SB 396 by Perry – Proposes a comprehensive state flood plan that incorporates regional flood plans resulting in a statewide ranked list of ongoing and proposed flood control projects. Evaluates the condition of current flood control infrastructure. The Texas Water Development Board, the Texas Department of Emergency Management and the State Soil and Water Conservation Board shall adopt guiding principles. Provides requirements for specific public notice and for public input.
SB 397 / SJR 28 by Perry – Proposes a statewide 10-year repair and maintenance plan for flood control dams. Allocates $1.2 billion from the Equalization and Stabilization Fund for the State Soil and Water Conservation Board to fund the dam repair and maintenance project account.
SB 416 by Huffman – Allows the attorney general to provide legal counsel to a political subdivision, which is subject to a declared state of disaster, on issues related to disaster mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery applicable to the area subject to the disaster declaration. Requests for counsel may be submitted only by the emergency management director for the subdivision, the county judge or a commissioner of a county subject to the declaration.