86th Legislation: Bills to Note

State Budget

While meeting many of the state’s needs, the budget remains well under the state’s spending four spending limits – the debt limit, welfare spending limit, pay-as-you-go limit, and the spending limit.

 

School Finance Reform 

House Bill 3 brings sweeping reform to our public education system by investing billions of dollars into our schools and our teachers. The Texas Plan provides $4.5 billion to student education reforms, over $5 billion in statewide property tax relief, and over $2 billion in pay raises for teachers, librarians, counselors and nurses.

 

Property Tax Reform & Transparency

Senate Bill 2 gives taxpayers the tools to make informed decisions about their property taxes and gives the voters the power to stop higher property tax rates through an election.

 

Emergency Preparedness

House Bill 5 directs the Texas Department of Emergency Management to create a catastrophic debris management plan to improve debris removal for political subdivisions, among other tasks, to prepare the state for future debris crisis.

 
School Safety & Mental Health

Senate Bill 11 improves campus security, requires emergency response plans in schools, improves mental health among students and equips law enforcement officers to intervene before another tragedy occurs. House Bill 19 allows school districts to work in tandem with local mental health authorities to provide localized solutions for schools. House Bill 18 ensures those students who struggle with mental wellness get the help they need by modifying annual district improvement plans and increasing training requirements on substance abuse and mental health.

 

Teacher Retirement

Senate Bill 12 increases the state contribution to the Texas Retirement System Pension Fund, and authorizes a “13th Check” in the 2020-2021 biennium, rewarding them for their hard work and dedication to Texas classrooms.

 

Protecting Life

House Bill 16, the Infant Born-Alive Protection Act, protects infants who survive abortion procedures, ensuring they receive the same diligent medical care given to any other child born in the hospital.

 

 

HB 389
  • As the number of game rooms continues to increase in Liberty County, so does the criminal activity. HB 389 grants regulatory authority to the county to combat illegal gambling occurring in game rooms. This bill will assist law enforcement in closing down game rooms in violation of the law, and addresses many safety concerns by providing Liberty County additional tools to effectively regulate gambling statutes. (Rep. Bailes joint-authored HB 892)

 

HB 717 by Bailes
  • Rep. Bailes filed HB 717 to help address Liberty County’s steady population growth. This bill establishes an additional court, which will allow for the county to move cases faster, lower the jail time and number of inmates housed, as well as make Liberty County safer as a whole. (included in SB 891, along with numerous other counties)

 

HB 1820 by Bailes
  • After Hurricane Harvey, Harris County needed approximately $23 billion to fix flooding issues. Taking a pro-active approach, County Judge Jay Knight brought up the idea of creating a county-wide drainage district. Areas in Liberty County are prone to flooding, and the creation of this drainage district would provide an additional funding mechanism through grants or ad valorem taxes.

  • HB 1820 will allow the voters of Liberty County to establish a county-wide drainage district via a local election. Before even being placed on the ballot, there will be a study to determine the plan. After this plan is developed and maps are drawn, a series of public hearings throughout the county will be held, and only then will it be placed on the ballot for a vote.

  • Currently there are three active drainage districts located in different areas, but they do not encompass the entire county. If the measure is passed, these existing districts will dissolve and transfer assets, debts and obligations to the Liberty County Drainage District. Once a solid plan is developed, the tax base can be set, and will be determined prior to being placed on the ballot.

  • Many people have voiced their concerns about the lack of assistance given by the county to help with flooding in Liberty, and this bill is needed to aid in fixing those issues.

 
HB 2560 by Bailes
  • Post Hurricane Harvey, it was apparent one cannot be overly prepared for such catastrophes. Many counties were left in a bind to clean up leftover debris without a defined plan for immediate recovery. HB 2560 would require the development of a debris management plan, create a model contract for debris removal services, and establish groups to study debris removal and other disaster recovery efforts.

 

HB 2621
  • This bill requires TEA to develop a common admissions application, (a similar concept to ApplyTexas for college admissions), for charter schools. This new application process ill create wait-list oversight, increase transparency and provide a more accurate number of students applying to charter schools.

  • HB 2621 was passed as an amendment to SB 2293.

 

HB 2685
  • HB 2685 addresses workers’ compensation death benefits for surviving spouses of certain first responders who were killed in the line of duty. While no amount of money or financial compensation can replace the loss of a loved one, this bill will provide benefits for surviving spouses, even if they choose to remarry.

  • HB 2685 was passed as an amendment to HB 2503.


HB 2714
  • HB 2714 changed the state licensure requirements for liquified petroleum gas (LPG) container manufacturers to meet current federal standards.


HB 3161
  • Manufacturers are engineering stronger, heavier log loading equipment. This is a common-sense bill which will address the needs of those harvesting timber in an area identified as a timber producing county.

  • HB 3161 was passed as an amendment to HB 2620.

 

HB 3838
  • HB 3838 amends the Texas Property Code which contains requirements for mandatory disclosures in offers to purchase mineral interests. Mineral and royalty owners in Texas, a high percentage of those being primarily elderly and vulnerable individuals, have been the target of a scam in which they've been deceived into selling their mineral interests rather than leasing them. Bad actors do this under the guise that the document being signed will bring a royalty owner more income from the lease, but instead the document completely separates the royalty owner from their mineral interests.

  • In summary, this bill expands the provision in the Texas Property Code for mandatory disclosures to apply to leases, not just purchases of royalties and mineral interests; makes requirements of the disclosure to be explicit; and finally expands the remedies to be able to rescind the sale and recovery of damages, including royalties and bonuses paid to the purchaser or any successor, court costs, and attorney's fees. 

HB 3865
  • Currently the Comptroller’s office manually reviews production data reported to both their office and the Railroad Commission to qualify low-producing wells and leases for gas production tax credits. This bill will allow the Comptroller’s office to “computerize” what is now a manual review of information, increasing efficiency in operations.

 

HCR 47
  • For over 50 years, the Texas Prison Rodeo was known across the state and the country. Established in 1931, the rodeo took place annually at the Texas State Penitentiary in Huntsville, traditionally being held every Sunday in October. The rodeo served as a source of income as well as entertainment for prisoners, employees and their families. HCR 47 pays tribute to the history of the Texas Prison Rodeo, and the legacy of “the Wildest Show Behind Bars.”

Ernest Bailes

- FOR TEXAS -

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