This Wednesday, May 24, deadlines in the Senate and House will end the floor consideration of all bills except for concurrence in amendments and conference committee reports to resolve the different versions. The governor and the legislature continue to negotiate over property tax relief and school vouchers. Saturday is the last day for House committees to report out Senate bills. Several county-related House bills remain in Senate committees, especially H.B. 3363, jail backlog relief. Problem bills continue to re-emerge as floor amendments in both chambers. Watch for immediate action alerts on these bills.
To date, approximately 500 bills have been submitted to governor; only a few have become law. The governor can hold bills received in the final 10 days of the session (excluding Sundays) and consider a veto after the session.
Please continue to review this legislation, contact the members of the committees and your legislators, and send a copy of your correspondence to CJCAT Senior General Counsel Jim Allison, email@example.com, and CJCAT Legislative Director Rick Thompson, firstname.lastname@example.org.
SB 175, Silencing County Officials – referred to House Committee on State Affairs. SB 175 passed the Senate by a vote of 19-12, with Sen. Nichols as the only Republican to oppose this legislation to silence local officials. A floor amendment was added to attempt to allow employees of statewide associations to continue to represent local officials before the legislature. Unfortunately, the amendment was incomplete, and S.B. 175 continues to prohibit a county from spending public funds “to pay a nonprofit state association or organization that: (A) primarily represents political subdivisions; and (B) hires or contracts with an individual required to register as a lobbyist…” All association employees who contact the legislature are required to register as a lobbyist. In other words, an employee of TAC or CJCAT could lobby the legislature, but a county could not spend any county funds to support TAC or CJCAT in any way. This “bait and switch” provision will continue to prohibit counties from maintaining a collective voice before the legislature. SB 175 did not receive a hearing in the House Committee on State Affairs. Therefore, it cannot be placed on the House Calendar. We need to continue to watch for floor amendments to attach these provisions to another bill.
Backlog in the County Jail and Juvenile Justice Facilities
Several bills have been filed to address the backlog in county jail by state inmates, mental health detainees and juveniles. These bills would require that the state agencies accept their responsibilities or provide reimbursement to counties. These bills have passed the House but are dying in the Senate. Please contact the Lt. Governor and your Senator to encourage them to approve these bills (include your county’s jail and juvenile costs): PLEASE SEE THE SPECIAL ALERT ISSUED ON THE NEED TO CONTACT THE LT. GOVERNOR AND THE SENATE ON H.B. 3363 – https://countyprogress.com/category/legislature-2/
HB 458 by Craddick – Requires Texas Juvenile Justice Department to accept committed juveniles within 30 days. Needs hearing in Senate Criminal Justice.
HB 479 by Hinojosa – Requires Health and Human Services Commission to accept a mentally incompetent defendant within 21 days or reimburse county in an amount equal to HHS cost. Passed House Received in Senate.
HB 1563 by Harless – Requires TDCJ to reimburse counties for their daily cost of an inmate awaiting transfer after 45 days. Pending in Senate Finance.
HB 2620 by Geren – Requires TDCJ to reimburse a county after the 45th day at the average daily cost of confinement. Voted Favorably from Senate Criminal Justice.
HB 3363 by Frank – Omnibus bill which requires the state to reimburse counties after deadlines for TDCJ inmates TDHS mental health detainees, TJJD juveniles awaiting transfer from county jail or other facilities. In Senate Finance. Needs support from the Lt. Governor.
Bills of Interest
Good Bills – Need Support
HB 103 by Murr – Allows a retired judge with 96 months of service to serve as a retired visiting judge to a constitutional county court. Placed on Senate Calendar 5/18.
HB 251 by Murr – Assess visiting statutory probate judge fees against estate. Referred to Senate Criminal Justice.
HB 1487 by Gerdes – Creates Rural County Law Enforcement Agency Grant Program which can be used for personnel costs, equipment and training. Referred to Senate Local Government
HB 1613 by Shine – Creates local government assistance account to provide state aid for 100% disable veterans tax exemptions. Pending in Senate Finance
HB 2291 by Slawson – Concealed carry by retired constitutional county judges. Referred to Senate State Affairs. Placed on Senate Calendar 5/18
HB 2779 by Leach – Includes county judge in state longevity pay supplement. Amended into bill on house floor, Removed by committee substitute in Senate Finance. Need to support House version.
HB 3282 by V. Jones – Requires identification of scrap tire with $500 fine for violation.
Needs Hearing in Senate Natural Resources/Economic Development
HB 3352 by Gerdes – Allows a county under 150K population to establish a scrap tire monitoring program. Needs Hearing in Senate Natural Resources/Economic Development
SB 22 by Springer – Rural Law Enforcement Grants. Set on Senate Calendar 5/18
Problem Bills – Need Work
HB 14 by Harris – Requires third party review of plat applications by developer engineer. Referred to Senate Committee on Local Government
HB 159 by Landgraf – Requires an additional publication in a newspaper for the county tax worksheet. Referred to Senate Local Government
HB 866 by Oliverson – Limits county development authority and requires third party review by developer engineer. Referred to Senate Committee on Local Government
HB 1709 by Canales – Extends to 4 years after final judgement a surety may file a special bill of review. Referred to Senate Criminal Justice.
HB 1977 by Morales Shaw – Mandatory juvenile diversion program for county, unless county forces community corrections to operate. Received in Senate
HB 2127 by Burrows – Waives county immunity and allows claims to be filed in any county for enforcing an invalid order or rule in fields of specified codes. Sent to Governor, Needs Veto.
HB 2350 by Harris – Restricts county regulatory authority over certain occupations. Referred to Senate Business and Commerce
HB 2965 by Vasut – Prohibits applicable state law from being waived for civil works projects. Hearing set for 5/19 8:30 Senate Business and Commerce.
HB 4082 by Goldman – Limits use of COs and tax anticipation notes. Referred to Senate Local Government.
HB 5277 by Bucy – Requires access to magistration hearings including by live streaming. Referred to Senate Criminal Justice.
SB 987 by Kolkhorst/Gerdes – Requires additional county indigent health care reporting. On House floor 5/20.
SB 1104 by Birdwell – Restricts county disaster authority. Voted favorably from House State Affairs
SB 2037 by Bettencourt – eliminates the ability of counties to adopt subdivision regulations, concerning “minimum lot sizes, lot dimensions, lot frontages, lot setbacks, or other components of lot density.” In House Calendars.