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State Water Plan - S.B. 1

by Senator Brown, et al.

House Sponsor: Representative Lewis

§ Addresses Texas water policy in six general areas: drought response management; water management, marketing, and transfers; surface water and groundwater supplies; financial assistance to local governments; small communities assistance; and water data collection and dissemination.

Article 1 - Water Planning: Drought, Conservation, Development, and Management

§ Requires the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) to adopt a comprehensive state water plan every five years beginning September 1, 2001, to provide for the orderly development, management, and conservation of water resources, and the preparation for and response to drought conditions.

§ Requires TWDB to adopt guidance principles for the state water plan which reflect the public interest of the entire state.

§ Requires TWDB to designate regional water planning areas by September 1, 1998.

§ Authorizes the legislature to designate certain river or stream segments or sites for conducting a reservoir as being of unique value and prohibits a state agency or political subdivision from obtaining a fee title or easement that would negatively impact this unique value.

§ Requires regional water planning groups to submit regional water plans by September 1, 2000, that include specific provisions for water management strategies to be used during times of drought, and legislative recommendations to facilitate voluntary water transfers.

§ Requires TWDB to provide technical and financial assistance to regional water planning groups for the development of plans, and to simplify planning requirements in regions with abundant water resources.

§ Authorizes the development of a local management plan or project to be submitted to the regional water planning group.

§ Requires the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (TNRCC), and TPWD to provide, where appropriate, technical and financial assistance for water resource management, conservation, and drought planning.

§ Requires certain water right holders, groundwater districts, special districts, irrigation districts, and other water users to ensure that their individual plans are not in conflict with applicable approved regional plans for their regions.

§ Requires the Division of Emergency Management of the Office of the Governor to coordinate the drought response portion of the state water plan, and creates a drought response and monitoring committee.

§ Authorizes TWDB to take all necessary action to qualify for federal assistance in financing development and improvement of regional water plans.

§ Requires surface water right holders having an annual appropriation of 1,000 acre-feet a year or more for municipal, industrial, and other uses, and 10,000 acre-feet a year or more for irrigation uses, to develop, submit, and implement a water conservation plan, and all public water suppliers and irrigation districts to develop drought contingency plans.

§ Authorizes TWDB to provide money to Texas political subdivisions for conservation, management, and development of water resources outside the state if is beneficial to the state.

§ Authorizes TWDB to provide financial assistance to political subdivisions that are representatives of regional water planning groups, to pay for all or part of regional water management planning.

Article 2 - Water Management, Marketing, and Transfers

§ Authorizes water supply and wastewater treatment facility contracts to require the purchaser to develop alternative or replacement supplies prior to the expiration of the contract. Clarifies that if a water supply contract provides express expiration provisions, no continuation of the service obligation is implied.

§ Authorizes TNRCC to appropriate a single amount or volume of water for multiple uses.

§ Requires a person who wishes to discharge and then subsequently divert and reuse the person's existing return flows from privately owned ground water to obtain TNRCC authorization.

§ Provides that water discharged in a state watercourse or stream may not cause a stream segment's water quality classification to be lowered.

§ Requires a person who wishes to convey and subsequently divert water in a watercourse or stream to first obtain a "bed and banks" authorization from TNRCC.

§ Authorizes TNRCC to provide for the use of surplus water and for the use and reuse of water by water rights holders prior to its return to a watercourse or stream.

§ Requires TNRCC to use defined criteria in determining whether an application for an interbasin transfer should be granted.

§ Requires TNRCC to consider defined criteria in determining what constitutes reasonable diligence or a justified nonuse for water rights holders.

§ Requires TWDB to establish the Texas Water Trust to hold water rights dedicated to environmental needs.

Article 3 - Emergency Authorizations; Enforcement

§ Authorizes TNRCC to assess administrative penalties for violations of certain laws, rules, or orders, not to exceed $5,000 per day.

§ Authorizes TNRCC, under emergency conditions, to transfer surface water from a permittee holding a permit for other than those for domestic or municipal use, to a retail or wholesale water supplier for public health and safety purposes.

§ Requires TNRCC to establish and enforce rules and orders to provide for the safe construction, maintenance, repair, and removal of levees.

Article 4 - Surface Water and Groundwater Supplies

§ Requires TNRCC to consider the hydrological connection between surface water and groundwater, and consistency with the state water plan or an approved regional water plan before approving a water right permit.

§ Authorizes TNRCC to issue permits or permit amendments authorizing the storage of water in aquifers only where completed pilot projects or historically demonstrated projects have been shown to be feasible.

§ Authorizes TWDB to make loans to groundwater conservation districts and irrigation districts for brush control activities, precipitation enhancement, and buying and installing irrigation water-flow meters on public or private property.

§ Sets forth procedures for identifying, designating, and delineating priority groundwater management areas (PGMA). Requires TNRCC and TWDB to report to the state leadership every odd-numbered year, on the designation of PGMAs, and the creation and operation of districts.

§ Sets forth procedures for the water management plan to be developed by districts. Requires a district, in coordination with surface water management entities on a regional basis, to develop a comprehensive management plan.

§ Authorizes a district to promulgate rules requiring a person to obtain a permit from the district for the transfer of groundwater out of the district.

§ Creates the groundwater district loan assistance fund, to be funded by direct appropriation and by the TWDB from the water assistance fund. Authorizes the fund to be used by TWDB to provide loans to newly confirmed districts and certain legislatively created districts.

§ Expands the current sales tax exemption for the purchase of pollution control equipment to include water conservation and reuse equipment.

Article 5 - Financial Assistance for Water Needs and Conservation

§ Authorizes TWDB to use money maintained as principal in the agricultural trust fund to provide loans to certain districts for agricultural water conservation purposes.

§ Authorizes TWDB to issue water financial assistance general obligation bonds of the state in an aggregate principal amount not to exceed $250,000,000. Sets forth conditions for issuance, administration, and repayment of water financial assistance bonds.

§ Creates the Texas Water Development Fund II (fund) to consolidate existing TWDB bond authorizations and to give the fund flexibility.

§ States the fund consists of a state participation account, an economically distressed areas program account, and a financial assistance account.

§ Requires all state agencies to give preference to Texas vegetation native to the region for landscaping purposes, if cost is not greater and quality is not inferior.

§ Requires a wholesale water supplier for a retail public utility to provide TNRCC with a contract within 30 days of execution.

Article 6 - Small Communities Assistance

§ Allows a regulatory authority to develop methodologies for water or sewer rates which will ensure improved quality or service, encourage regionalization, or maintain financially stable and technically sound utilities.

§ Requires the regulatory authority to assure that rates, operations, and services are just and reasonable to consumers and to utilities.

§ Requires TNRCC to use certain guidelines in granting or amending a certificate of public convenience and necessity (CCN).

§ Allows TNRCC to revoke or amend an existing CCN without the CCN holder's consent.

§ Allows TNRCC to require retail public utilities, with their consent, to serve an area that is decertified.

§ Expands TWDB's authorization relating to financial assistance for public water systems, and enacts special provisions at the state level to comply with the 1996 Amendments to the federal Safe Drinking Water Act.

§ Requires TNRCC to encourage regional and area-wide drinking water supply systems, ensure such systems are financially stable and technically sound, and consider compliance history in determining issuance of any authorization under the Texas Water Assistance Program.

§ Requires a person who wants to build a new public drinking water supply system to submit a business plan to TNRCC for review and approval before beginning construction. Allows TNRCC to require financial assurance of the ability to operate the system in accordance with applicable rules.

§ Allows TNRCC to require business plans and financial assurance from existing public drinking water supply systems that were constructed illegally, have a history of non-compliance, or are under a TNRCC enforcement action.

D Allows TNRCC to order a public water supply system to stop operations if it presents an imminent health hazard to its customers.

§ Requires a municipality that makes a wholesale sale of water to a constitutionally created special district to determine the rates for that sale on the same basis as for other similarly situated wholesale purchaser of the municipality's water.

§ Creates the water utility improvement account to be used for capital improvement to water or sewer systems or for capital improvements and operating and maintenance expenses for a utility placed in receivership or under a temporary manager.

§ Allows certain home rule municipalities to construct and extend a water system that can be used for fire fighting purposes.

Article 7 - Water Data Collection and Dissemination

§ Requires TWDB to lead a statewide effort, in coordination with other state and federal agencies and interested parties, to collect and disseminate water resource-related information.

§ Requires TWDB to determine suitable, cost-effective, water supply alternatives on a regional basis; monitor instream flows and the effects of freshwater inflows into bays and estuaries; develop a network for collecting and disseminating water resource-related information; and consider advice from TPWD.

§ Requires TNRCC to provide water data to water rights holders and water suppliers so the holders and suppliers can make informed decisions in the management and conservation of water resources.

§ Creates the Texas Geographical Information Council to provide strategic planning and coordination in the acquisition and use of geo-spatial data and related technologies.

Article 8 - Interim Committee on Water Resources Development and Management

§ Creates the Interim Committee on Water Resources Development and Management (committee) and sets forth the composition of the committee. Requires the committee to review water-related issues in Texas and develop recommendations.

Article 9 - Repealer; Effective Date; Saving; Emergency

§ Repeals the Wagstaff Act, which allows a city or town to take any appropriation of water granted after May 17, 1931, for other than municipal or domestic use, without compensation.

Note: The constitutional amendment for this bill is S.J.R. 17.


State Water Plan Funding - S.J.R. 17

by Senator Brown

House Sponsor: Representative Lewis

§ Creates the Texas Water Development Fund II and authorizes TWDB to administer the fund and issue general obligation bonds for the purposes of the fund. Ballot Date: November 4, 1997.

§ Allows TWDB to utilize loan repayments which enter the fund after the end of the fiscal year to make bond debt service payments.

Note: The enabling legislation for this constitutional amendment is S.B. 1.


Disclosure of Environmental Rules - S.B. 633

by Senator Brown

House Sponsor: Representative Uher

§ Requires state agencies that want to propose major environmental regulations that exceed federal regulations, to fully disclose the proposed regulations and prepare a draft impact analysis describing their anticipated effects.

§ Allows state agencies to bypass this regulation when rules are proposed or adopted on an emergency basis to protect the environment or to reduce risks to human health from environmental exposure.


Oil-Field Cleanup Fund - S.B. 635

by Senator Brown

House Sponsor: Representative Holzheauser

§ Allows the Railroad Commission (RRC) to use money in the Oil-Field Cleanup Fund for conducting site investigations or environmental assessments in determining contamination.

§ Allows RRC to seek recovery of expenditures from the Oil-Field Cleanup Fund from the responsible party.


Alternative Fuels - S.B. 681

by Senator Armbrister

House Sponsor: Representative Stiles

§ Redefines "fleet vehicle" in order to exclude school buses, vehicles used in the maintenance or repair of underground mass transit facilities, and law enforcement or emergency vehicles from alternative fuel requirements.

§ The exclusion applies to areas of the state that are considered a serious, severe, or extreme nonattainment areas under federal national ambient air quality standards.

§ Requires the mass transit authority to have 50 percent of its fleet vehicles capable of using alternative fuel.


Municipal Solid Waste Facilities - S.B. 1393

(Died in the House)

by Senator Lindsay

§ Prohibits issuance of a permit for a new or areal expansion of an existing municipal solid waste facility if the boundary of the landfill is to be located within 1,000 feet of an established residence, place of worship, school, day-care center, surface water body used for public drinking water supply, or dedicated public park, unless a site-specific, risk-based evaluation indicates otherwise.

Scrap Tire Recycling Program - S.B. 1586

(Died in the House)

by Senator Brown

§ Requires TNRCC to require persons who transport scrap tires for end use to maintain certain records to assure the scrap tires are transported to a registered end user.

§ Requires persons selling new tires not for resale to collect scrap tire recycling fees.

§ Requires end users, facilities, storage facilities, transporters, processors, generators, or reclamation projects for scrap tires to register with TNRCC. Prohibits TNRCC from registering, renewing, or amending the registration of an applicant who has not submitted evidence of fiscal responsibility, with certain exceptions.

§ Requires the scrap tire recycling fund (fund) to be used only to pay end users, certain administrative costs of TNRCC and the Comptroller of Public Accounts (comptroller), the cleanup of priority enforcement list sites, and up to $3 million in grants to generate new end uses.

§ Sets out when and in what amounts TNRCC must pay eligible end users and certain contractors who transport scrap tires.

§ Prohibits TNRCC from authorizing a scrap tire energy recovery facility or recycler to burn, recycle, or store scrap tires or tire pieces until TNRCC has determined that the entity is in compliance with all applicable requirements.

§ Prohibits TNRCC from authorizing a scrap tire processor to process or store scrap tires at a site until TNRCC has determined such entity is in compliance with all applicable requirements.

§ Sets out the procedure that an end user must follow to obtain payment from TNRCC.

§ Changes the limits on what TNRCC and comptroller may expend for performing certain duties related to the scrap tire program.

§ Allows TNRCC to periodically audit a facility.

§ Requires TNRCC to have a lien on a site, in favor of the state, for all remediation costs incurred by TNRCC for cleanup.

§ Requires scrap tire processors, end users, and transporters to give TNRCC notice of voluntary or involuntary bankruptcy.

§ Makes it a state jail felony to burn or dump scrap tires or tire pieces, except as authorized by TNRCC. Provides for a civil penalty.

§ Provides for an administrative penalty in an amount not to exceed $10,000 for each violation.

§ Establishes the method by which any unexpended money in the scrap tire recycling fund as of September 1, 1997, is to be appropriated and used.


Boll Weevil Eradication Program - S.B. 1814

by Senator Duncan, et al.

House Sponsor: Representative Junell, et al.

§ Requires the Department of Agriculture (department) to recognize the Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation, Inc. (foundation) as the entity to plan, carry out, and operate boll weevil and pink bollworm eradication programs under the department's supervision.

§ Sets out statutory eradication zones.

§ Authorizes the commissioner of agriculture (commissioner) to designate proposed eradication zones and to hold public hearings concerning the geographic boundaries of such zones. Requires a referendum to determine whether cotton growers within that zone desire to establish a zone.

§ Authorizes the commissioner to designate an interim advisory group for each statutory or proposed eradication zone to gather advice, guidance, and input from cotton growers.

§ Requires the commissioner to propose the maximum assessment to be paid by growers within an eradication zone. Sets out the criteria the commissioner must use in proposing an assessment.

§ Requires the commissioner to conduct a certain referenda in proposed or established eradication zones, such as the approval of a proposed maximum assessment and the election of board members.

§ Sets forth board membership requirements, rights, and duties.

§ Expands the authority of the commissioner, requiring the commissioner to approve certain acts of the board. Gives the commissioner, on petition by 30 percent of cotton growers eligible to vote within a proposed area, the power to transfer an area from one statutory zone to another.

§ Requires the commissioner to establish informal procedures for resolving claims arising from acts by the foundation. Provides for appeal and judicial review.

§ Sets out liability of certain individuals who contract with the foundation to apply pesticides or chemicals as part of an eradication program. Requires the foundation to carry certain liability coverage.

§ Requires that a cotton grower who fails to pay an assessment be granted an opportunity for a hearing.

§ Requires the commissioner to set the penalty for failure to pay an assessment, and sets out the criteria for determining the amount of the penalty. The commissioner may reduce or waive assessment penalties as appropriate and necessary.

§ Requires the department to give notice by publication in newspapers of the planned schedule for the entry by the department, foundation, or their representatives onto cotton growers' premises.

§ Requires the commissioner to approve any agreements entered into by the foundation with another party to carry out boll weevil eradication. Certain agreements must be approved by referendum.

§ Transfers rulemaking authority from the foundation to the commissioner.

§ Requires the board to issue an annual report on its eradication efforts.

§ Sets out the foundation's exemption from lawsuits, liability, taxation, and legal process as a quasi-governmental entity.

§ Requires the commissioner to adopt rules for the use of biological, botanical, and non-synthetic pest control methods.

§ Ratifies previous agreements made, obligations incurred, and assessments imposed by the foundation and certain rules adopted by the commissioner.

§ Requires retention, board, or eradication referenda to be held in a certain zones by set dates.

§ Requires the foundation, not later than 30 days after the effective date of this Act, to make necessary changes to its board so that the commissioner may appoint members as set out in the Act. If the foundation fails to do so, the commissioner may cancel the foundation's designation and designate another nonprofit organization.

§ Reenacts certain sections of Chapter 74 of the Agriculture Code (Cotton diseases and pests), including:

§ conduct of eradication zone referendum and board elections;

§ board duties and compensation;

§ discontinuance of the eradication program and foundation;

§ authority of the commissioner to ban the planting of cotton and require participation in an eradication program;

§ authority of the department to destroy, treat, or quarantine cotton;

§ the requirement that the commissioner adopt rules to protect persons, livestock, and wildlife in an eradication zone;

§ authority of the department to issue permits and certificates; and

§ sunset provisions providing that the board is abolished September 1, 2004, unless otherwise continued.


Inspection of Certain Motor Vehicles for Air Pollution Control - S.B. 1856

by Senator Wentworth

House Sponsor: Representative Chisum

§ Amends the Clean Air Act of the Health and Safety Code:

§ Sets out which gasoline-powered vehicles are subject to the emissions inspection and maintenance program (program).

§ Requires the Department of Public Safety (DPS) and TNRCC to jointly develop a program for enforcing emission standards using remote or automatic emissions detection and analysis equipment in counties designated as nonattainment areas under the federal Clean Air Act.

§ Authorizes TNRCC by rule to adopt standards and specifications for motor vehicle testing equipment, record keeping and reporting procedures, and emissions standards.

§ Requires DPS by rule to adopt testing procedures in accordance with motor vehicle emissions testing equipment specifications and procedures for issuing or denying an emissions inspection certificate.

§ Requires DPS to ensure compliance with the motor vehicle emissions program through a vehicle inspection sticker-based enforcement system, except as otherwise provided.

§ Requires the Public Safety Commission (PSC) to establish a program as required by federal law or the state's air quality implementation plan.

§ Allows a facility that performs safety inspections to also perform vehicle emissions inspections if the facility is authorized and certified by DPS to perform safety and emission inspections.

§ Requires PSC to develop and impose requirements to ensure that an inspection certificate is not issued to a vehicle subject to a program unless the vehicle has passed a motor vehicle emissions inspection at a facility authorized and certified by DPS.

§ Allows DPS to authorize and certify inspection stations as necessary to implement the program, and to impose inspection fees and sets out the costs such fees must be based on.

§ Requires DPS to provide inspection certificates for distribution and issuance at certified inspection stations.

§ Provides that the owner of a motor vehicle registered in a nonattainment area commits an offense if the vehicle emits certain pollutants in excess of U.S. environmental laws.

§ Expands when DPS may deny, revoke, or suspend a certificate for an inspection station or inspector and place on probation or reprimand persons holding certificates. Sets out penalties, notification requirements and hearing procedures. Allows DPS to provide that revocation or suspension takes effect upon the receipt of notice for certain offenses in order to remedy a threat to public health, safety, or welfare.

§ Expands the provision concerning general offenses, setting out specific offenses and including inspectors and inspection stations. Makes an offense a Class C misdemeanor, unless otherwise specified in the chapter.

§ Expands provisions making it an offense to display fictitious inspection certificates to include counterfeit or altered certificates or insurance documents and includes additional offenses. Sets out penalties.

§ Provides that a record created during a motor vehicle emissions inspection relating to an individual owner or vehicle is exempt from certain open records requirements.


Regulation of Poultry Operations - S.B. 1910

by Senator Ratliff

House Sponsor: Representative Glaze

§ Requires persons owning or operating a poultry facility to ensure that the facility has adequate means to handle and dispose of poultry carcasses, litter, and other waste, regardless of whether the person owns the poultry.

§ Requires TNRCC to adopt rules to regulate the safe and adequate handling, storage, transportation, and disposal of poultry carcasses. Sets out what the rules must contain.

§ Requires a person to obtain a permit as required under other law before disposing of poultry carcasses.


Licensing of Waste Haulers by Certain Counties - H.B. 473

by Representatives Howard and Olivo

Senate Sponsor: Senator Armbrister

§ Expands to counties with populations of less than 375,000 provisions authorizing the commissioners courts to implement a licensing program for waste haulers transporting waste to unincorporated areas of the county.


Regulating the Disposal or Temporary Storage of Litter or Solid Waste - H.B. 717

by Representatives Bosse and Krusee

Senate Sponsor: Senator Whitmire

§ Authorizes TNRCC to regulate, by rule, temporary storage for future disposal of litter or solid waste by a person on land owned by that person or that person's agent.

§ Exempts an individual's disposal of litter or solid waste if:

§ the litter or solid waste is generated on the land owned by that individual;

§ the litter or solid waste is not generated as the result of activity related to a commercial purpose;

§ the disposal is on land owned by the individual; and

§ the disposal is not for a commercial purpose.


Regulation of Herbicides and Pesticides - H.B. 1144

by Representative Turner, et al.

Senate Sponsor: Senator Brown

§ Consolidates laws regulating the use of herbicides and pesticides under the jurisdiction of the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA).

§ Provides that registration of a pesticide is not required if the pesticide is not for use in this state and is being manufactured, transported, or distributed for use only outside of this state.

§ Prohibits the Texas Feed and Fertilizer Control Service from registering a fertilizer that contains a pesticide that must be registered with TDA unless the constituent pesticide is first registered with TDA. Requires a registered pesticide to continue to be registered as long as the pesticide remains in the channels of trade in this state.

§ Prohibits a pesticide dealer from distributing a restricted-use or state-limited-use pesticide or a regulated herbicide except to certain persons.

§ Requires a person required to obtain a dealer's license to record each distribution of a restricted-use or state-limited-use pesticide or regulated herbicide and maintain a copy of the record for at least two years after the date of distribution.

§ Prohibits a person from purchasing a restricted-use or state-limited-use pesticide or regulated herbicide unless the person is licensed or a certified applicator or authorized by a licensed or certified applicator to purchase or take delivery for the applicator.

§ Requires TDA to approve appropriate training courses for an original private applicator license developed under the coordination of the Texas Agricultural Extension Service and to be conducted by other governmental agencies or nongovernmental entities. Prohibits a certified private applicator from supervising the use of restricted-use and state-limited-use pesticides or regulated herbicides.

§ Allows TDA to require each commercial or noncommercial applicator licensee to keep records of the licensee's application of a specific restricted-use or state-limited-use pesticide or regulated herbicide and requires those records to be kept separate from other business records. Requires each private applicator to maintain records of regulated herbicide and state-limited-use pesticide applications and to maintain those records of restricted-use pesticide applications required by federal law.

§ Prohibits a person who is licensed to practice veterinary medicine by the State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners and who is only using a restricted-use or state-limited-use pesticide or a regulated herbicide as a drug or medication during the course of the veterinarian's normal practice or as a private applicator from being required to obtain a license under this chapter to purchase or use the restricted-use or state-limited-use pesticide or regulated herbicides.

§ Requires certain information regarding stored pesticides to be furnished to the fire chief of the fire department having jurisdiction over the storage place. Authorizes the fire chief to conduct on-site inspections of the pesticides stored for the sole purpose of preparing fire department activities in case of an emergency.

§ Sets forth procedures for regulating the use of certain herbicides.

§ Sets forth procedures to be followed following the filing of a complaint by a person claiming adverse effects from an application of a pesticide. Provides that failure to file a complaint does not bar a civil or criminal action from being filed and maintained.

§ Provides that a person commits an offense if the person violates Section 76.071(a) (illegal distribution of certain pesticides and herbicides), has a permit to apply a powder or dry-type regulated herbicide and applies a herbicide that does not meet certain requirements, violates a rule adopted under this chapter, or fails to keep or submit records in violation of this chapter.


Texas Clean Rivers Act - H.B. 1190

by Representative Counts, et al.

Senate Sponsor: Senator Armbrister

§ Makes substantial changes to the Texas Clean Rivers Act to implement the recommendations of the Clean Rivers Stakeholders Workgroup. Continues the funding mechanism for the Clean Rivers Program.

§ Requires TNRCC, in order to ensure clean water, to establish the strategic and comprehensive monitoring of water quality and the periodic assessment of water quality in each watershed and river basin of the state.

§ Provides that the water quality monitoring and reporting duties apply only to a river authority that has entered into an agreement with TNRCC to perform those duties.

§ Requires a river authority, in order to assist in the coordination and development of assessments and reports, to organize and lead a basin-wide steering committee.

§ Provides that the purpose of the monitoring and assessment is to identify significant issues affecting water quality within each watershed and river basin of the state, rather than to mandate exhaustive and detailed water quality studies.

§ Requires TNRCC to ensure that program funds are equitably apportioned among basins.

§ Requires costs recovered by TNRCC to be deposited to the water quality fund and to be used only to accomplish watershed monitoring.

§ Requires water quality management functions to be oriented on a watershed basis in consideration of the priorities identified by river authorities and basin steering committees.

§ Requires TNRCC to adopt rules to make the optimum use of state and federal funding and grant programs related to water quality programs of TNRCC.

§ Requires TNRCC to develop standards based on all quality assured data obtained by TNRCC, including the local watershed and river basin database.

§ Sets forth provisions applicable if the watershed water quality assessment reports or other TNRCC assessments or studies identify water pollution attributable to non-permitted sources in a city that has a population of 10,000 or more.


Regulations for Consolidated Permit Processing by TNRCC - H.B. 1228

by Representative Jackson, et al.

Senate Sponsor: Senator Brown

§ Provides regulations for consolidated permit processing by TNRCC.

§ Sets forth procedures to be followed for issuing and renewing one consolidated permit to a plant, facility, or site that is required to have more than one permit issued by TNRCC.

§ Authorizes an applicant to request that consolidated applications be processed separately as determined by the executive director.

§ Requires TNRCC, in determining whether an urgent public necessity exists for the permitting of a hazardous waste injection well in a solution-mined salt dome cavern, to find that there is a substantial public need, for additional hazardous waste disposal capacity.


Agricultural Fences - H.B. 1630

by Representative Berlanga

Senate Sponsor: Senator Armbrister

§ Requires a fence, in order to be sufficient, to be built and maintained according to generally accepted agricultural practices for the purpose of keeping animals out of a tract of land.

§ Removes existing requirements for agricultural fences, including a provision allowing the freeholders of a county or area to petition the commissioners court for an election to determine alternate requirements for barbed wire fences.


Illegal Poaching - H.B. 1941

by Representative Place, et al.

Senate Sponsor: Senator Armbrister

§ Sets forth several penalties for poaching including:

§ First time violation - A person commits a Class B Parks and Wildlife Code misdemeanor and is punishable in addition by the revocation or suspension of hunting and fishing licenses and permits.

§ Second time violation - A person commits a Class A Parks and Wildlife Code misdemeanor and is punishable in addition by the revocation or suspension of hunting and fishing licenses and permits.

§ Third time or subsequent violation - A person commits a state jail felony and is punishable in addition by the revocation or suspension of hunting and fishing licenses and permits.

§ Sets forth provisions regarding the automatic revocation of hunting or fishing license or permit.


Revision of Parks and Wildlife Provisions - H.B. 2542

by Representative Kuempel

Senate Sponsor: Senator Brown

§ Provides regulations regarding drawings to select applicants for public fishing and other special events privileges.

§ Revises regulations regarding the handling of certain animals killed as a result of hunting.

§ Sets forth regulations regarding deer management permits.

§ Prohibits a person from intentionally applying contraceptives to any vertebrate wildlife resource unless the person first obtains written authorization from the TPWD.

§ Sets forth regulations regarding hunting and fishing by persons under the age of 17.

§ Requires TPWD to implement a crab license management program. Sets forth regulations regarding the program.


Regulation of State Superfund Sites - H.B. 2776

by Representative Jackson

Senate Sponsor: Senator Brown

§ Authorizes the executive director (director) of TNRCC to use the hazardous and solid waste remediation fee fund (fund) for the cleanup or removal of a spill, release, or threat of a hazardous substance on certain sites if:

§ an immediate action is appropriate to protect human health or the environment and it is likely that the cleanup or removal will prevent the site from being listed in the state registry of sites that may constitute an endangerment to public health and safety; or

§ the cleanup or removal can be completed without extensive investigation and planning and will achieve a significant cost reduction for the site.

§ Prohibits TNRCC from using certain funds for cleaning up a waste tire recycling facility, municipal solid waste facility, petroleum storage tank, or certain used oil collection and recycling sites.

§ Requires the director, before listing a facility in the state registry, to determine whether the potential endangerment can be resolved through a voluntary cleanup program.

§ Sets forth the terms under which the director is required to hold a public meeting regarding the appropriate use of land on which a facility is located that is subject to a remedial investigation/feasibility study.

§ Allows the director to request that TNRCC delete a facility from the state registry.

§ Requires the director to determine whether to prepare an affidavit to impose a lien for remedial costs on real property.

§ Requires TNRCC to file a cost recovery action against each responsible party for the total costs of certain actions taken to cleanup or remove spills or releases of hazardous wastes.

§ Requires the court, in apportioning costs of eliminating a release of hazardous wastes, to credit a responsible party for that party's expenditures related to the cleanup if the cleanup was approved by the director of TNRCC.

§ Allows a person conducting a remedial action approved by TNRCC to bring suit to recover the reasonable and necessary costs of the action.

§ Sets forth the liability of a fiduciary, a lender, and an innocent owner or operator of property for the release of solid waste from a solid waste facility.

§ Provides that TNRCC is delegated all purchasing functions relating to the registry and clean-up of certain hazardous waste facilities.


Electric Utility and Maintenance Contracts by TNRCC - H.B. 3059

by Representative King

Senate Sponsor: Senator Wentworth

§ Requires an electric utility to compile a weekly list of addresses located in an unincorporated area of the county for each county in the state at which the utility has made new electric service connections during the preceding week.

§ Allows TNRCC to require a property owner to repair a malfunctioning on-site sewage disposal system on the owner's property.

§ Sets forth provisions regarding the maintenance of contracts and the issuance of performance bonds for sewage disposal systems by TNRCC.


Management of White-Tailed Deer - H.B. 3061

by Representative Hightower, et al.

Senate Sponsor: Senator Armbrister

§ Authorizes the Parks and Wildlife Department to issue a permit for the management of the wild white-tailed deer population on acreage enclosed by a fence capable of retaining white-tailed deer and capable of preventing entry by a white-tailed deer.

§ Provides that the deer managed under the permit remain the property of the people of the State of Texas, and the holder of the permit is considered to be managing the population on behalf of the state.

§ Sets forth penalties for violating the regulations and permits issued relating to the management of the deer population.


Environmental Health and Safety Audits - H.B. 3459

by Representative Chisum

Senate Sponsor: Senator Brown

§ Amends the Texas Environmental, Health, and Safety Audit Privilege Act (Act).

§ Strikes provisions providing that audit reports are privileged and are not admissible in criminal proceedings or enforcement actions.

§ Prohibits the Act from being construed to circumvent protections provided by federal or state law for individuals who disclose information to law enforcement authorities.

§ Provides that obtaining, using, or reviewing of an audit report in a criminal proceeding or a review by a regulatory agency under specific state or federal law does not waive the administrative or civil evidentiary privileges created by the Act, and sets out procedures for suppressing such evidence in civil proceedings.

§ Subjects a public entity, official, or employee who discloses an audit report disclosed under a claim of confidentiality to a governmental official or agency to a penalty under Texas open records law.

§ Provides for a fine not to exceed $10,000 if a court finds that a person intentionally or knowingly claimed a privilege under the Act for unprotected information.

§ Requires a governmental authority to notify a person claiming privilege under the Act of the potential for public disclosure when a specific state or federal law requires the information to be made available to the public.

§ Deprives a person who makes a voluntary disclosure of a violation of an environmental or health or safety law of immunity from a civil or administrative penalty when the violation resulted in a substantial economic benefit, which gave the violator a clear advantage over its business competitors.