Many of the statutes adopted by the 86th Legislature were effective on Sept. 1, 2019. Some require action by the Commissioners Court to assure compliance. Below are summaries and recommendations for implementation of some of the new statutes.
Mental Health Interview: H.B. 601 by Rep. Price requires an interview and mental health report on any jail inmate suspected of mental illness. A floor amendment added a requirement that the county pay the cost of the interview and report. The Commissioners Court has three options concerning this new unfunded mandate:
- Include the cost of this service in a contract with the Local Mental Health Authority or other mental health provider.
- Adopt an order establishing a fee to be paid for each interview and report.
- Allow the judge who receives the report to set the fee.
If the Commissioners Court elects to set the fee, place an item on the agenda and adopt a motion to set the jail mental health interview and report fee.
Game Room Regulations: H.B. 892 by Rep. Kuempel extends game room regulation authority to all counties. Under Subchapter E, Chapter 234, Local Government Code, these regulations may include limiting the location and number, requiring a license or permit with a fee not to exceed $1,000, inspections by law enforcement, and civil and criminal penalties.
Tax Abatement Agreements: H.B. 3143 by Rep. Murphy extends county authority to consider tax abatement agreements under Chapter 312, Tax Code until Sept. 1, 2029. There are new requirements to conduct a public hearing and post the guidelines and criteria on the county website.
Plat Review Deadline: H.B. 3167 by Rep. Oliverson revises Chapter 232, Local Government Code and imposes a 30-day deadline for subdivision plat review with automatic approval if not disapproved within the deadline.
Cybersecurity Training: H.B. 3834 by Rep. Capriglione requires annual cybersecurity training for all county employees and officers with access to a computer. Training must be obtained from one of five private contractors approved by the state.
For additional information, please call me at 1-800-733-0699.
By Jim Allison