Bills of Interest

January 29, 2021

Legislative News

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

HB 277 by Rep. Collier – Requires appointment of counsel for indigent defendants at magistration.

HB 309 by Rep. Collier – Requires automatic orders of nondisclosure of criminal history record information for misdemeanors not related to alcohol or more violent/serious offenses.

HB 530 by Rep. Patterson – Allows an election judge, who is licensed to carry a handgun, to carry a handgun at an early voting location or on an election day.

HB 601 by Rep. Fierro – Increases the amount a county retains for collecting vehicle sales and use taxes and penalties from 5% to 6%.

HB 741 by Rep. Allison – Requires a county to hold an election if the proposed budget allocates less money for fire protection, law enforcement or emergency medical services than the preceding year. If the election fails, the county must allocate an amount for the current fiscal year that is not less than 95% of the preceding year’s allocation.

HB 752 by Rep. Israel – Requires all unopposed candidates to be declared as elected by the governing body of a political subdivision and requires they be grouped as such on a ballot.

HB 946 by Rep. Burns – Allows a commissioners court by order to restrict a registered sex offender from going in, on or within a specified distance of a child safety zone in the unincorporated area of the county. See also SB 441 by Sen. Hughes.

HB 974 by Rep. Price – Requires the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to implement reimbursement for certain telemedicine medical services and telehealth services programs and benefits, including audio-only benefits. Outlines requirements for delivery of telecommunication services. See also SB 412 by Sen. Buckingham.

HB 982 by Rep. Howard – Requires the Texas Medical Board to create an expedited process for out-of-state nurses with good standing to apply for and obtain registration in Texas. Allows for a fee sufficient to cover the costs.

HB 1026 by Rep. Middleton – Makes the secretary of state the voter registrar of every county for the purpose of the registration of voters and maintenance of the list of registered voters.

HB 1089 by Rep. Reynolds – Amends the Texas Tort Claims Act by waiving governmental immunity for certain claims caused by a wrongful act, omission or negligence of a county jailer, peace officer, public security officer, reserve law enforcement officer, telecommunicator or school marshal. Increases local liability limits for local government units.

HB 1092 by Rep. Romero – Requires that inmates, during the intake process, be reviewed for eligibility of military veteran services and provides opportunities to eligible inmates for in-person or virtual visits with veterans county service officers or peer support coordinators at no cost to the inmate. Requires the facility to submit a daily report to the Texas Veterans Commission, applicable veteran county service officers and the court where charges are pending.

HB 1105 by Rep. Paddie – Expands the use of a digital license plate to all vehicles. Under current law, only fleet and commercial vehicles are allowed to install a digital license plate. See also SB 490 by Sen. Paxton.

HB 1138 by Rep. Oliverson – Requires the secretary of state to provide an online tracking system to allow a voter who has requested a ballot by mail and voted a ballot by mail the opportunity to track the status of the application and ballot.

HB 1282 by Rep. Deshotel – Prohibits the Public Utilities Commission and other authorities, including cities and counties, from enforcing policies that preference one utility type over another.

HB 1331 by Rep.  Canales – Excludes certain evidence as inadmissible in asset forfeiture proceedings.

SB 186 by Sen. Perry – Permits a commissioners court to issue bonds to restore or maintain a county courthouse.