Senator Robert "Bob" Deuell, M.D.
The Texas State Senate
District 2

For Immediate Release
October 20, 2003

***CAPITOL UPDATE***

Update on Third Called Session (continued)

The Texas Legislature recently adjourned the third called session after completing work on several pieces of legislation, including a new congressional redistricting plan. Contained in this article are analyses of some of that legislation.

House Bill 2 - H.B. 3588, passed during the 78th Legislature, Regular Session, comprehensively restructures the state's transportation system. H.B. 2 further clarifies and amends provisions of the Texas Transportation Code. H.B. 2 also makes provisions regarding contingency appropriations to certain health and human services programs.

House Bill 23 - The Office of Patient Protection within the Health Professions Council was created by H.B. 2985, 78th Legislature, Regular Session, 2003. While fees were established and will be collected, no appropriation was made to the Health Professions Council for the operation of the program. H.B. 23 appropriates the fees collected under H.B. 2985 to the Health Professions Council for the administration of the Office of Patient Protection.

House Bill 24 - H.B. 1487, creating Chapter 1305 of the Occupations Code, was enacted by the 78th Legislature, Regular Session, 2003, to establish the Electrical Safety and Licensing Advisory Board, provide minimum state standards for electricians and electrical contractors, and allow the Commission of Licensing and Regulation to adopt fees to cover the cost of administering the Act. H.B. 24 authorizes fees collected by the Department of Licensing and Regulation under Chapter 1305 of the Occupations Code to be appropriated to the department for the purpose of administering that chapter.

House Bill 35 - The House Committee on Regulated Industries is a new committee that has oversight of electric utility issues. H.B. 35 changes the composition of the electric utility restructuring legislative oversight committee to reflect the new house committee by replacing the chair of the House Committee on State Affairs with the chair of the House Committee on Regulated Industries as a member of the oversight committee.

House Bill 37 - H.B. 1365, enacted in the 78th Regular Session, provides funding for the Texas Emissions Reduction Plan. H.B. 1365 contained a provision intended to allow state agencies and governmental agencies in areas that are in nonattainment or near nonattainment in the Clean Air Act to give a limited preference to a vendor that uses heavy-duty trucks and equipment that meet or exceed existing state or federal environmental standards. The language in H.B. 1365, "affected counties," could be interpreted to apply only to near nonattainment counties and to exclude the nonattainment counties. H.B. 37 adds nonattainment counties to the list of counties eligible to give preference to a vendor that uses heavy-duty trucks and equipment that meet or exceed existing state or federal environmental standards and provides that the duties of the Texas Council on Environmental Technology are transferred to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

To contact Sen. Deuell about the legislative process, contact the Capitol Office at (512) 463-0556 or mail to Sen. Bob Deuell, Texas Senate, P.O. Box 12068, Austin, TX 78711.  The website for the Texas Senate is www.Senate.state.tx.us.  The e-mail address for Sen. Deuell is: bob.deuell@senate.state.tx.us.

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