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Defense Economic Readjustment Zones - S.B. 226

by Senator Madla, et al.

House Sponsor: Representative Delwin Jones

§ Sets forth the procedure for designation of an area as a defense economic readjustment zone.

§ Requires an area to have certain physical properties in order to be designated as a readjustment zone.

§ Provides that an area is not prohibited from being included in a readjustment zone because the area is also included in an enterprise zone.

§ Provides that a municipality or county is an adversely affected defense-dependent community if the Texas Department of Commerce determines that the municipality or county requires assistance under certain conditions, or is expected to experience a direct loss of a certain percentage of defense worker or civilian jobs.

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Defense-Dependent Community Loans - S.B. 227

by Senator Madla, et al.

House Sponsor: Representative Delwin Jones

§ Provides assistance to local areas adversely affected by a reduction in defense-related activity.

§ Authorizes the Texas Department of Commerce to make a grant to an eligible local government entity to allow the entity to meet a matching money or investment requirement in order to receive assistance from the federal government.

§ Requires the department to establish a defense economic adjustment assistance panel within the department.

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Trademarks - S.B. 228

by Senator Armbrister

House Sponsor: Representative Hightower

§ Sets forth criminal sanctions, including the forfeiture of property, for the counterfeiting of trademarks, service marks, and identification marks in the manufacture and sale of goods and services.

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Relating to Construction Contracts and Accounts - S.B. 241

by Senator West, et al.

House Sponsor: Representative Giddings

§ Provides that a reasonable fee specified in a written construction contract payable to the contractor is not considered a trust fund.

§ Requires a contractor entering into a written contract in an amount exceeding $5,000 for improvements to a residential homestead to deposit trust funds received in connection with the improvements in a construction account in a financial institution. A reasonable fee payable to the contractor under the contract is not considered trust funds.

§ Sets out the requirements for the management of the account, including the maintenance of records showing the source, amount, and date of all funds deposited or disbursed from the account. Information required to be maintained cannot be destroyed before the first anniversary of the date the improvement was completed.

§ Makes it a Class A misdemeanor to fail to establish, maintain, or properly manage a construction account.

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Loan Administrative Fees - S.B. 251

by Senator Carona

House Sponsor: Representative Thompson

§ Allows an administrative fee of $10 for a loan of $1,000 or less or $25 for a loan of more than $1,000 when the loan is made, and $10 for a loan of $1,000 or less or $25 for a loan of more than $1,000 if the loan is refinanced.

§ Provides that such a fee at the time of refinancing cannot be charged or received by the lender more than once every 180 days.

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Linked Deposit Program for Child Care - S.B. 265

by Senator Ellis, et al.

House Sponsor: Representative Giddings

§ Provides a linked deposit program, which encourages commercial lenders to lend for the purpose of providing quality, affordable child care.

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Small Businesses - S.B. 266

by Senator Ellis, et al.

House Sponsor: Representative Oliveira, et al.

§ Establishes a Capital Access Program in the Texas Department of Commerce to secure certain loans made to small and medium-sized businesses and nonprofit organizations.

§ Provides for a transfer of money from the Exporter Loan and the Rural Economic Development Loan funds to the Capital Access Fund.

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Certificates of Deposit - S.B. 652

by Senator Carona

House Sponsor: Representative Marchant

§ Allows nonnegotiable certificates of deposit to be used as collateral without certain filing requirements.

§ Amends the definition of "instrument" to include a nonnegotiable certificate of deposit, which can be perfected by possession for purposes of secured transactions.

§ Provides for how a party establishes possession of a nonnegotiable certificate of deposit in which the secured party is the issuer of the document.

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Electronic Procurement - S.B. 820

by Senator West, et al.

House Sponsor: Representative Sylvester Turner

§ Requires the General Services Commission to establish and manage an electronic procurement database, and an electronic procurement marketplace for state government business.

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Commerce Department Reorganization - S.B. 932

by Senator Sibley

House Sponsor: Representative Oliveira, et al.

§ Abolishes the Department of Commerce and creates the Texas Department of Economic Development.

§ Replaces the policy board with a governing board that has the authority to hire an executive director.

§ Provides for the privatization of certain economic development programs and services.

_ Requires the agency to upgrade its current business information and referral program.

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Creation of a Trade Task Force - S.B. 1041

by Senator Truan

House Sponsor: Representative Hunter, et al.

§ Provides for the creation, powers, and duties of an International Trade Task Force within the Texas Department of Commerce and the promotion and development of international trade. Powers and duties of the task force include:

§ advising and assisting the department in promoting and developing international trade; and

§ developing a strategic plan that includes state goals for export of goods and services, attraction of foreign investment, and increased foreign representation.

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Stock Insurance Companies - S.B. 1447

by Senator Harris

House Sponsor: Representative Brimer

§ Sets forth regulations and guidelines for the conversion of a mutual insurance company to a stock insurance company.

§ Provides safeguards for policyholders of the mutual insurance company.

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Texas Affordable Housing Task Force - S.B. 1852

by Senator Armbrister

House Sponsor: Representative Hill

§ Creates the Texas Affordable Housing Task Force to identify state and local regulations and policies that unnecessarily increase the cost of constructing or rehabilitating affordable housing.

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Multi-Bank Development Corporations - S.B. 1877

by Senator Wentworth, et al.

House Sponsor: Representative Greenberg, et al.

§ Creates the Texas Community Investment Program to create multi-bank community development corporations to invest in or loan funds to businesses that employ low- and moderate-income persons and are located in distressed areas.

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Investments in South Africa and Namibia - S.J.R. 39

by Senator Ellis

House Sponsor: Representative Giddings

§ Repeals the current constitutional amendment requiring disclosure by companies that invest in South Africa or Namibia, since these countries no longer operate under a system of apartheid. Ballot Date: November 4, 1997.

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Financing of Sports and Community Venues - H.B. 92

by Representative Brimer, et al.

Senate Sponsor: Senator Whitmire

§ Sets forth provisions regarding the financing of sports and community venues and related infrastructure, and authorizes the imposition of certain local taxes and the issuance of local bonds.

§ Provides municipalities limited authority to use the following taxes for venue projects, with voter approval: a 5 percent car rental tax; a 2 percent hotel room tax; a 10 percent event-ticket tax; and a $3 event-parking tax.

§ Allows municipalities with mass transit to shift a half-cent of that sales tax to venue projects, but requires such cities to hold an election to opt out of regional transit.

§ Allows municipalities to charge professional athletes a facility usage fee.

§ Allows municipalities to create development corporations to build venue projects.

§ Establishes an "anti-portability" provision to discourage Texas cities from luring each other's sports teams until November 1, 1998.

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Texas Manufacturing Institute - H.B. 1168

by Representative Greenberg

Senate Sponsor: Senator Sibley

§ Establishes the Texas Manufacturing Institute, currently an advisory committee to the Texas Department of Commerce providing assistance to small manufacturers, as a nonprofit corporation.

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Voter Authorization for Use of Certain Funds for Projects - H.B. 1525

by Representative Oliveira

Senate Sponsor: Senator Sibley

§ Authorizes a city that creates or has created a development corporation for the purpose of developing a general aviation business service that is an integral part of an industrial park or developing port-related facilities to support waterborne commerce to submit to the voters a ballot proposition that authorizes the corporation to use certain sales and use taxes raised for a city-created civic development corporation.

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Reinvestment Zone Registries - H.B. 1526

by Representative Oliveira

Senate Sponsor: Senator Sibley

§ Transfers the maintenance of a central registry of reinvestment zones and of ad valorem tax abatement agreements from the Texas Department of Commerce to the Comptroller of Public Accounts.

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Texas Enterprise Zone Program - H.B. 2001

by Representative Oliveira

Senate Sponsor: Senator Sibley

§ Makes several technical changes to the Texas Enterprise Zone Program including:

§ making program benefits available for job retention;

§ modifying the criteria used to designate "enterprise zones" and "enterprise projects";

§ modifying the utility rate incentive; and

§ expanding the list of items eligible for sales tax refunds.

§ Authorizes the Texas Department of Commerce to designate 65 enterprise projects during each of the next two biennia.

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Trademark Applications - H.B. 2569

by Representative Woolley

Senate Sponsor: Senator Ratliff

§ Revises the state trademark application process to bring it in line with provisions of the revised Model State Trademark Bill recommended by the International Trademark Association.

§ Codifies trademark examination and review procedures established by administrative rules already adopted by the secretary of state.

§ Deletes the requirement that an application for registration or renewal be verified by the applicant or registrant and would clarify the authority of the secretary of state to adopt administrative rules regarding trademark applications.

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Merger of a Federal Bank Into a Domestic or Foreign Bank- H.B. 3077

by Representative Oliveira

Senate Sponsor: Senator Sibley

§ Provides that a federal savings bank or a federal savings association domiciled in Texas, which merges with or converts to a domestic or foreign savings bank or association, is entitled to retain its branches in Texas and to have all powers, duties, rights, and privileges held by a Texas savings bank.