TAC Legislative Services staff has highlighted some recently filed bills of interest to county officials.
HB 741 by Rep. Allison – Requires voter approval for a county or municipality budget that reduces the overall budget amount by more than 5% for public safety services. The county or municipality may order the election to be held on a date other than a uniform election date.
HB 1170 by Rep. Rosenthal – Allows a voter to use a wireless communication device while in the polling place at a voting station to access a ballot or candidate information downloaded before entering the polling location. Requires posting a notice of limited use of a wireless communication device at each polling location.
HB 1245 by Rep. Cole – Allows the county clerk to designate locations for voters to drop off marked ballots in person. The locations may be the early voting clerk’s office; any polling location open for early voting or on election day; or suitable locations that meet criteria established by the secretary of state’s office. See also SB 377 by Sen. West and HB 844 by Rep. Bucy.
HB 1580 by Rep. Rosenthal – Establishes the Office of Community Violence Intervention and Prevention for the purpose of coordinating and expanding violence intervention and prevention activities.
HB 1582 by Rep. Davis – Prohibits a health care facility from placing an inmate or resident with Alzheimer's or dementia in the same room as a resident with mental illness and a history of violence. The Texas Commission on Jail Standards shall adopt rules prohibiting such placement in county jails.
HB 2208 by Rep. Lopez – Amends the Government Code, which currently provides for the confidentiality of personal information of an applicant for disaster recovery assistance, to also include a recipient of disaster recovery assistance, including recipients of utility payment assistance.
HB 2239 by Rep. Gates – Provides automatic tax relief if any authority issues an order, proclamation or regulation, under Chapter 418 of the Government Code, that closes, prohibits individuals from patronizing or reduces operating hours or occupancy capacity of certain private businesses. The automatic tax relief is based upon the authority issuing the order as follows: If issued by the governor, the party shall not be liable for property taxes or any taxes imposed by the state on the business, including franchise tax; if issued by a municipality, the party shall not be liable for any taxes imposed by the municipality including related property taxes; and if issued by a county, the party shall not be liable for any taxes imposed by the county including related property taxes. Legislation includes automatic tax relief for landlords prohibited by the same orders from enforcing leases otherwise enforceable.
SB 865 by Sen. Creighton – Directs the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) to conduct a study on establishing a statewide disaster alert system. The study would identify the costs to local governmental entities associated with existing local disaster alert or notification systems. If, based on the findings of the study, the office of the governor and TDEM conclude the benefits of implementing the system outweigh any additional costs, the division, using money available for the purpose, shall develop and implement the alert system. As filed, SB 865 states that any local governmental entity that chooses to participate in this alert system may use available local funds for that purpose and may contract with the department for services associated with the alert system. See also HB 655 by Rep. Raymond.
SB 21 by Sen. Huffman – Revises the magistration process, eligibility of release and charitable bail organizations, and mandates education requirements for justices of the peace related to magistration. This is the bail reform priority bill for Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.
SB 570 by Sen. Springer – Requires the registrar to annually check with the U.S. Postal Service to determine if there have been any reclassifications or changes in addresses affecting the registered voters of the county. Upon receipt of any reason to believe a voter has changed residence to a location outside the county, the registrar shall deliver a confirmation notice to the voter.