Deuell Bills Passed in 79th Session
The Texas Legislature is currently in the first called special session of the 79th Legislature to address school finance issues. We are just getting started hearing bills, and the first pieces of legislation will be heard on the Senate Floor beginning this week. I will give updates as to the progress of the special session in future releases, but this week I will continue to outline some of the bills I passed during the regular session. In this issue of the Capitol update, I will continue to highlight the Senate Bills I passed. Beginning next week, I will highlight some of the House Bills I sponsored in the Texas Senate.
Senate Bill 567 - Relating to requiring a taxing unit to include in the public notice of a hearing on the adoption of an ad valorem tax rate certain information relating to the taxing unit's budget and appraisal roll. Currently, a newspaper notice of a public meeting to discuss a proposed budget and tax rate will reflect only the intentions of a tax rate and taxpayers may be misled into thinking their taxes will not be increased. When they receive the tax bill, it is too late. This is a "truth in advertising bill." S.B. 567 provides accurate and useful notices to taxpayers regarding tax rates, budgets, and appraisal increases, and allows taxpayers to interact at the appropriate time with the budget process at meetings of taxing entities such as cities, counties, and school boards.
Senate Bill 568 - Relating to private security and personal emergency response system providers; providing penalties. Regulation of personal emergency response services, previously regulated by the Texas Commission on Private Security (CPS), was transferred during the 78th Legislature, 3rd Called Session, 2003, to the Department of State Health Services (DSHS). Following the implementation of the transfer, the state agency and the industry worked to implement the transfer and adopt rules. S.B. 568 seeks to eliminate statutory provisions that are no longer relevant and to update the terms and nomenclature to reflect current use and best practice.
Senate Bill 702 - Relating to authorizing certain uses for student center complex fees charged to students enrolled in component institutions of The Texas A&M University System. Texas A&M-Commerce is planning to build a new student center. A vote of the student body last fall authorized use of the student center complex fee for this construction. All Texas A&M component institutions now fall under Section 54.52 (University Center Student Fee; Stephen F. Austin University), Education Code, which may not allow for the fee to be used for construction of entirely new student centers. S.B. 702 allows the use of the student center complex fee for the construction of a student center at a component institution of The Texas A&M University System.
Senate Bill 812 - Relating to the powers of a community center. The mental health and mental retardation services that local community MHMR centers provide historically have been funded by a mix of "payment in arrears" fees for services and "payment in advance" quarterly state general revenue payments. Client care disruptions caused by delays or interruptions in either type of funding have been averted through securing "line of credit" notes. However, since there is no clear authority for community MHMR centers to secure such notes, confusion in processing the notes may result. The risk is heightened by anticipated changes in state funding to "fee for service" models. Senate Bill 812 expressly provides a process by which community MHMR centers may issue cash flow anticipation notes to pay current and other expenses in anticipation of future revenues.
Senate Bill 1211 - Relating to providing information about respiratory syncytial virus under certain continuing education programs. Infection with Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is one of the most common causes of bronchiolitis and pneumonia in young children. While infection with this organism generally manifests itself in older children and adults as a mild upper respiratory tract infection, it can cause severe and even fatal disease in immunocompromised individuals, those with underlying cardiopulmonary disorders, preterm infants, and other vulnerable groups. S.B. 1211 requires active education efforts on the part of the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) targeted to parents and providers, to share current information on prevention and treatment and methods of prophylaxis of RSV in high risk individuals. This bill also mandates that, in the course of providing information on immunizations to parents and providers, DSHS also provide information on RSV, including the prevention of infection with this virus.
Senate Bill 1518 - Relating to validation of the creation of and certain acts taken by the Rockwall County Public Safety and Fire Assistance District. S.B. 1518 validates the November 7, 2000, election which created the Rockwall County Public Safety and Fire Assistance District in accordance with Chapter 387, Local Government Code. It also creates an allowance for collecting an additional one-half percent sales tax in areas of Rockwall County not currently subject to the maximum two percent. These measures were approved by voters and certified by the commissioners court of Rockwall County.
Senate Bill 1772 - Relating to the validation and confirmation of the boundaries and acts of Dallas County Water Control and Improvement District No. 6. Dallas County Water Control and Improvement District No. 6 (district) is requesting that its existing boundaries be validated by legislation. The district believes that the territory in the district has been properly annexed. The district does not intend this legislation to expand its boundaries or add any additional territory with any proposed legislation. The district only desires to correct any possible surveying errors made in annexing land since the last legislative validation in 1991.
To contact Sen. Deuell about the legislative process, contact the Capitol Office at (512) 463-0102 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: firstname.lastname@example.org.