Speaker Tom Craddick has assigned interim study charges to the committees of the House of Representatives. As these issues are set for public hearing, notice will be posted on the TAC list serves. County-related issues include the following:
HOUSE COMMITTEE ON CIVIL PRACTICES
Review the scope and extent of governmental immunity in contract disputes under the Texas Tort Claims Act and other laws, and consider whether there is a need for statutory changes to the process by which contract claims against governmental entities are considered.
HOUSE COMMITTEE ON CORRECTIONS
Examine the probation system and reforms debated during the 79th Legislature, including using strategies such as graduated sanctions and specialized courts for reducing revocations and recidivism. Study the organization and cost of our probation system and make recommendations about how to prioritize and strengthen general supervision.
HOUSE COMMITTEE ON COUNTY AFFAIRS
Examine the advisability and probable impacts of creating a system of graduated
ordinance-making authorities for counties with populations over one million based on
population densities and unique geographic and environmental needs.
Consider whether clarification or revision is needed to state statutes related to dormancy of office provisions and the abolition of local Constitutional offices.
Review the penalties and enforcement challenges related to public safety and the sale of fireworks.
Study cost drivers of county government functions.
Monitor the agencies and programs under the committee’s jurisdiction.
HOUSE COMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Study the use of the Texas Economic Development Act since its enactment as House Bill 1200, 77th Legislature. Examine how successful the program has been in the promotion of economic development in this state, and its use by local government entities. Make recommendations for any statutory changes needed to the program, and consider whether the Dec. 31, 2007, Sunset date should be extended.
HOUSE COMMITTEE ON ELECTIONS
Monitor the continued implementation of the federal Help America Vote Act of 2002
(HAVA) by the Office of the Secretary of State, as major HAVA deadlines occur throughout 2006.
Examine ways to improve the uniformity and efficiency of elections held by political
subdivisions, particularly by exploring market practices for leasing voting equipment.
HOUSE COMMITTEE ON GENERAL INVESTIGATING AND ETHICS
Research, review and investigate the expenditures of taxpayer money by local government and school boards to lobby the Legislature. Research, review and investigate attempts by school district officials to skirt competitive bidding requirements with respect to facility renovation and construction contracts, and other relevant contracts, through the use of improper procurement contracts with associations or other school districts. (Joint Charge with House Public Education)
HOUSE COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY
Examine the compensation of county court at law judges and recommend any needed statutory changes to address the issue of compensation uniformity following the enactment of House Bill 11, 79th Legislature, Second Called Session.
HOUSE COMMITTEE ON LAND AND RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
Consider the potential establishment of a single and uniform approach to dealing with situations involving overlapping, extraterritorial jurisdictions.
HOUSE COMMITTEE ON LOCAL GOVERNMENT WAYS AND MEANS
Research and make recommendations regarding the Central Appraisal Districts in Texas; evaluate the makeup of the board of directors; examine whether consolidation of certain appraisal districts would save money; review appraisal districts’ methodology in arriving at appraisal values; determine the impact of the Comptroller’s Office audit on the operation of the appraisal district and its derivation of appraisal values.
Compare and evaluate how counties and school districts impose (levy) property taxes, including a study and evaluation on the effective tax rate, the rollback tax rate, and rollback elections.
Study the impact of unfunded mandates by state and federal governments on cities.
HOUSE COMMITTEE ON REGULATED INDUSTRIES
Study the current repayment mechanism to the county or municipality for utility relocations in the public rights of way. Report on the number of relocations statewide each year, total estimated costs for relocations, associated impacts with relocations, and possible alternative systems for funding utility relocations and associated impacts.
HOUSE COMMITTEE ON WAYS AND MEANS
Examine alternative business taxes and other methods of finance designed to reduce the state’s reliance on local property taxes to fund public education. Examine the business taxes paid by the various industries.
Evaluate the process used by the Office of the Comptroller and the Legislative Budget
Board to evaluate and provide information on the impact of tax legislation.
For more information, please call me at 1-800-733-0699.
Jim Allison, General Counsel CJCAT