Bills of Interest

January 15, 2021

Legislative News

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

HB 123 by Meza – Authorizes all counties to participate in a countywide polling place program. See also SB 99 by Menendez.

HB 114 by Toth – Prohibits a state agency from issuing a permit for a high-speed rail project or entering into a right-of-way access agreement unless the agency finds the private entity has federal and state approvals and permits.

HB 192 by Ortega – Allows commissioners to complete their continuing education requirements online.

HB 212 by Canales – Requires magistrates to sign and legibly print their name on orders.

HB 267 by Canales – Directs the Office of Court Administration to promulgate a number of standard forms that must be used by courts in criminal cases.

HB 318 by VanDeaver – Prohibits employers, including a county, from terminating or suspending an employee who is a volunteer first responder and is absent or late to work due to a defined emergency. Requires the first responder to provide notice to the employer when possible and limits the allowable days to 14 per year without prior approval from employer.

HB 459 by Shaheen – Amends Civil Practice and Remedies Code to provide that a civil action cannot be brought against a person who makes a good faith report of suspicious activity of another person if he or she believes activity is in furtherance of a crime, including terrorism.

HB 525 by Shaheen – Defines a religious organization as an essential business at all times, including during a declared state of disaster, and the organization's religious and other related activities are essential activities even if the activities are not listed as essential in an order issued during the disaster. Sovereign immunity is waived.

HB 553 by Ed Thompson – Requires an emergency service district to submit annual budgets and tax rates to commissioners courts and grants those courts the authority to reject one or both within 30 days.

HB 778 by Lozano – Extends the expiration date of Subchapters B and C of Chapter 313 of the Tax Code (Texas Economic Development Act) from Dec. 31, 2022, to Dec. 31, 2032. See also SB 144 by Powell.

HB 905 by Krause – Limits the compensation of certain public officials, including the governor and the presiding officer of a political subdivision, who restrict or prohibit regular business operations under a declaration of disaster.

HB 906 by Krause – Prohibits the governor or the presiding officer of a political subdivision from restricting a business or industry from operating during a disaster due to nonessential distinction.

HJR 32 by Shine – Proposes a constitutional amendment to restrict the power of the Legislature to mandate requirements on a municipality or county.

SB 213 by Zaffirini – Amends certain notice requirements and filing requirements in court proceedings involving persons with mental illness.

SB 251 by Paxton – Provides that, for purposes of a disaster, the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act is not considered a regulatory statute and may not be suspended and a government agency or public official may not issue an order that closes or has the effect of closing places of worship in the state or in a geographic area of the state.