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HB 4 by Puente/Averitt - Relating to water conservation.   Section 9 of the bill directs the Coordinating Board to encourage each institution of higher education to develop curriculum and provide related instruction regarding on-site reclaimed system technologies, including rainwater harvesting, condensate collection, or cooling tower blow down.

Section 10 of the bill also states that procedural standards adopted by SECO must require that on-site reclaimed system technologies, including rainwater harvesting, condensate collection, or cooling tower blow down, or a combination of those system technologies, for nonpotable indoor use and landscape watering be incorporated into the design and construction of:
(1)  each new state building with a roof measuring at least 10,000 square feet; and
(2)  any other new state building for which the incorporation of such systems is feasible.

However, the procedural standards required do not apply to a building if the state agency or institution of higher education constructing the building determines that compliance with those standards is impractical and notifies the state energy conservation office of the determination and provides to the office documentation supporting the determination.
Section 10 of this Act takes effect September 1, 2009.

HB 34 by Solomons/Brimer - Relating to the prohibition of certain payments or other inducements regarding a workers' compensation claim; providing an administrative violation.   HB 34 prohibits paying, allowing, or offering fees, rebates, or other considerations in exchange for the referral of medical or case management services on a claim

HB 66 by Leibowitz/Watson - Relating to power management software for state agencies.  HB 66 requires the Department of Information Resources (DIR) to select by competitive bid a power management software program for state computer networks and personal computers. 
Institutions of higher education will only have to purchase or lease such software if DIR, in consultation with the Information Technology Council for Higher Education, determines that the institution's use of software would provide cost savings. 

HB 85 by Branch/Van de Putte - Relating to credit card marketing activities at postsecondary educational institutions; providing a civil penalty. HB 85 prohibits marketing outside times and locations, if any, that are approved by institutions' governing boards,  requires credit counseling and financial educational materials to be provided during new student orientation at an institution that has designated a location for a campus credit card marketing activity, and ensures that students receive additional credit usage information. HB 85 provides a civil penalty for persons who intentionally violate the provisions.

HB 374 by Pickett/Zaffirini - Relating to use of state buildings and grounds by a television or film production company.  A state agency or other state governmental entity may allow a production company to use a state building or grounds under the agency's or other entity's charge and control to produce a film, national broadcast, episodic television series, or commercial that is approved by the Music, Film, Television, and Multimedia Office.  The bill authorizes the MFTMO to approve a proposal, subject to the final approval of the state agency or other state governmental entity that occupies the building or uses the grounds, if the office makes certain determinations and the production company provides a certificate of insurance covering certain aspects of the production.  HB 374 requires a state agency or other state governmental entity to notify the production company in writing of any cost subject to reimbursement.  The bill requires the production company to reimburse the cost not later than the 21st day after the date on which it receives notice from the agency or other entity.

VETOED: HB 447 by Callegari/Jackson - Relating to contracts by governmental entities and related professional services and to public works performance and payment bonds.   HB 447 creates a new section of the Government Code (2264) that consolidates alternate project delivery processes for most governmental entities into a single chapter of the Government Code and expands the types of entities that may use these procedures and the types of projects for which these procedures are used.  However, institutions of higher education (not including community colleges) are exempt from the new statue; Subchapter T of Chapter 51, Education Code is not amended and will continue to be the governing law.

The bill also amends the small contractor participation assistance program run by the Texas Building and Procurement Commission to ensure full opportunity for participation in public works projects by small contractors (also passed via SB 704); the focus on assistance is in the bonding aspect of contracting.  This section does not affect higher education since it only applies to those projects that TBPC administers.

HB 462 by Miller/Fraser - Relating to the authority of certain municipalities to collect an infrastructure fee from certain governmental entities.  The 78th Legislature passed legislation that removed the burden of storm water drainage fees from colleges and universities.  Some small communities say this has become a financial strain for funding water drainage projects where large use of storm water drains comes from colleges and universities.  HB 462 allows the city of Stephenville to collect storm water drainage fees from Tarleton State University.

HB 473 by Solomons/Van de Putte - Relating to benefits provided under the workers' compensation system, including fee guidelines for medical benefits and payment of benefits under interlocutory orders.  HB 473 clarifies the Labor Code to fit the law authorizing deviations from the medical fee guidelines to its original intent and to close the loophole under which voluntary networks have been operating.

HB 724 by Solomons/Jackson - Relating to workers' compensation claims for certain medical benefits, death benefits, and burial benefits. Prior to HB 7, a party to a medical dispute who disagreed with the decision of an independent review organization could request a contested case hearing.  HB 7 changed this where any party that disputed an independent review organization decision must file a request for judicial review in Travis County.  This bill adds the right for a party to a medical dispute who disagrees with an independent review organization to request a contested case hearing.

HB 860 by Paxton/Williams - Relating to management, investment, and expenditure of institutional funds and adoption of the Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act (UMIFA).  HB 860 replaces the UMIFA with the Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act in order to provide modern articulations of the prudence standards for the management and investment of charitable funds and for endowment spending.  The bill also provides guidance and authority to charitable organizations concerning the management and investment of funds held by those organizations and provides for additional duties for individuals who manage and invest such funds.

HB 1003 by Giddings/Watson - Relating to professional licensing requirements for independent review of certain medical decisions regarding workers' compensation claims.  Previously, independent review organizations that review workers’ compensation cases are authorized to use doctors not licensed in this state. However, this limits the ability of the division of workers’ compensation of the Texas Department of Insurance to sanction reviewing doctors for misconduct, if misconduct is found.
HB 1003 requires an independent review organization that uses doctors to perform reviews of health care services in workers’ compensation cases to use only doctors licensed to practice in Texas. 

HB 1005 by Giddings/Van de Putte - Relating to the timely submission of a claim for payment by a workers' compensation health care provider.    HB 1005 provides that a health care provider of workers' compensation health care services does not forfeit his or her right to reimbursement if the claim for payment is timely filed, but erroneously filed with the wrong insurer. The bill also allows extension of the deadline by agreement of the parties or in catastrophic situations.

HB 1188 by Morrison/Shapiro - Relating to the Texas emerging technology fund.  This bill permits appropriated amounts from the Emerging Technology Fund be used for staff and administration of Emerging Technology Fund activities, not to exceed $600,000 per year. 
The bill changes from 25 percent to 16.67 percent the amount from the Texas Emerging Technology Fund to be used to match funding from research sponsors, and changes from 25 percent to 33.33 percent the amount from the Texas Emerging Technology Fund to be used to acquire new or enhance existing research superiority at public institutions of higher education. The bill provides that no more than 2.0 percent of the amount allocated for incentives for commercialization activities may be invested directly in a regional center of innovation and commercialization. In addition, the bill permits the Office of the Governor to use the Emerging Technology Fund to make loans and charge interest and to take an equity position in the form of stock or other security when considering granting an award from the fund and sell or trade a security for the benefit of the fund.

HB 1495 by Callegari/Nichols -Relating to a bill of rights for property owners whose property may be acquired by governmental or private entities through the use of eminent domain authority.  HB 1495 would establish the Landowner’s Bill of Rights Act in Government Code, sec. 402.031. The bill would charge the Attorney General with preparing a written bill of rights for an owner whose property could be acquired by a governmental or private entity through eminent domain.  Entities with eminent domain power would be required to send or provide the bill of rights document to the person listed as the most recent owner prior to commencing negotiations for the acquisition of a property. The statement would have to be printed in an easily readable manner and, if possible, posted on the web, if the condemning authority were a governmental entity. When filing a petition to commence eminent domain proceedings, the condemning authority would state that it supplied the subject property owner with a bill of rights statement as provided in the bill. The bill would take effect September 1, 2007.

HB 1788 by Pitts/Hegar  - Relating to the planning, reporting, and review of the state's information resources.   HB 1788 would require state agencies to submit an information resources deployment review no later than December 1 of each odd-numbered year which would include an inventory of the agency's major information systems, major databases and applications; and a description of the agency's existing and planned telecommunications network configuration.  The Information Technology Council of Higher Education (ITCHE) will work with DIR and review all rules that are modified in regard to the impact upon higher education.

HB 1789 by Pitts/Hegar - Relating to the management and oversight of information resources projects.   HB 1789 defines and requires the use of IT project management practices, requires state agencies to use IT project management practices that are consistent with DIR guidelines, and clarifies the role of the Quality Assurance Team, which includes the Legislative Budget Board, State Auditor's Office, and DIR, regarding the evaluation of major information resources projects.  The bill also deletes the Electronic Government Program Management Office as a required entity within DIR.  The ITCHE will review all rules that are modified in regard to the impact upon higher education.

HB 1886 by Callegari/West - Relating to the procurement methods of certain political subdivisions and certain other entities for the construction, rehabilitation, alteration, or repair of certain projects.  This bill requires governmental entities to designate or select architects or engineers for job order contracting projects and prohibits the procurement of design services through interlocal agreements except in certain circumstances.  Section 10, 11, and 12 of the bill deal with these issues as they relate to institutions of higher education.  

VETOED: HB 2006 by Woolley/Janek - Relating to the use of eminent domain authority.  HB 2006 provides for certain changes, additions, and deletions to various codes and provisions in Texas law in order to reform the limitations, process, and other aspects of the power of eminent domain and condemnation in this state.

HB 2365 by Truitt/Duncan - Relating to financial accounting and reporting for this state and political subdivisions of this state.  HB 2365 would create Chapter 2264 of Subtitle F, Title 10, Government Code to provide guidelines for financial accounting and reporting standards. The bill sets requirements under the chapter regarding the accounting and reporting of financial activities for the state and its political subdivisions. The language permits the state and its political subdivisions to account for other post-employment benefits (OPEBs) on a pay-as-you-go basis. The Governmental Accounting Standards Board has issued Statements 43 and 45 creating accounting standards for OPEBs, including retiree health. It would require pension systems and their governmental sponsors to disclose both prior service liabilities, and an ongoing net OPEB obligation reflecting liability for any funding shortfalls. The reporting of OPEBs under the provisions of the bill is permitted to follow either a pay-as-you go basis or the GASB reporting standards.

The bill would require the Employees Retirement System (ERS), the Teacher Retirement System (TRS), the Texas A&M University System and the University of Texas System to communicate to its members the extent of the system’s commitments regarding OPEBs. Also, certain disclosures about OPEBs would be required in financial reports of the state and its political subdivisions and the governmental entity would disclose the accounting, financing and funding policy used to report OPEBs.

HB 2365 takes effect for the A&M System effective FY 2008; the communication to A&M System employees regarding OPEBs must occur by December 1, 2008.

HB 2625 by Murphy/Hegar - Relating to the determination of prevailing wage rates in Texas counties.  Current statute allows political subdivisions to use the locally adjusted Department of Labor Davis-Bacon wage rates in lieu of conducting their own surveys, provided these wage rates were determined within a three-year period of bidding on a public works project. However, the Davis- Bacon wage rates are set by the federal government and are not always adjusted in a timely manner. This presents a problem for a political subdivision that has chosen to use them.

HB 2625 allows political subdivisions to use the most current Davis-Bacon wage rates available for their area. The change in law would lead to consistency between state and federal law.

HB 2639 by Smithee/Duncan - Relating to risk management programs for members of fraternities and other student organizations at public and private postsecondary educational institutions and to certain insurance requirements for fraternities.  HB 2639 requires institutions of higher education to provide a risk management program for members of fraternities and of other student organizations recognized at the institution.  The bill makes attendance at this risk management seminar mandatory for certain individuals.  In addition, the bill requires the Texas Department of Insurance to study what insurance is currently available to fraternities that adequately cover certain risks.  The study must consider levels and types of coverage and methods of attainment, and to report the findings to certain elected officials not later than January 1, 2009.

HB 2918 by Isett/Deuell - Relating to state information technology contracting and procurement practices.  HB 2918 eliminates redundancies in authority for information technology purchases, streamlines and clarifies information technology purchase methods, and  allows "assistance organizations" to use DIR's cooperative contracts. The bill also requires that the project delivery framework be used for contracts over $1 million in value that involve outsourcing a function or process.

HB 3106 by Isett/Hegar - Relating to the implementation of enterprise resource planning by the comptroller.  The bill would amend and transfer the responsibility for enterprise resource planning from the Department of Information Resources' Electronic Government Program Management Office to the Comptroller of Public Accounts (CPA). The bill would also require the CPA to ensure that the uniform statewide accounting project included enterprise resource planning and allow the CPA to require state agencies to modify, delay, or stop the implementation of individual enterprise resource planning systems, or to replace or modify their internal enterprise resource management planning systems to provide uniformity.
The bill would also create the Enterprise Resources Planning Council which would consist of representatives from the Department of Information Resources, the Health and Human Services Commission, and the Information Technology Council of Higher Education, among others. The council would develop a plan that contains key requirements, constraints, and alternatives for the Comptroller's implementation of enterprise resource planning standards. In addition, the Comptroller would report to the Legislature before each legislative session concerning the status of the implementation of the council's plan.

HB 3290 by Otto/Nichols - Relating to expanding the scope of an audit by the state auditor when the state auditor finds evidence of gross mismanagement. HB 3290 requires the State Auditor’s Office, in the course of an audit of the operations of a state agency or institution, to expand the scope of the audit to other aspects of the agency's operation upon a finding of gross mismanagement or grossly improper management oversight practices.

HB 3430 by Strama/Hegar - Relating to the availability of information about state expenditures and rules, including the creation of a state database containing information on state expenditures, and to certain comptroller reports, and to certain amounts received by institutions of higher education.  The bill requires the Comptroller, with the cooperation of other state agencies, to create a database of state expenditures, including contracts and grants, the amount, date, payor, and payee of expenditures, and a listing of state expenditures.  The Comptroller is directed to present the information in a searchable, downloadable, and intuitive manner.  The database will exclude any private, personal, or confidential information.  The Department of Information Resources will have to provide a prominently displayed link to the database on the home page of the "TexasOnline" project.  The bill requires each state agency that maintains a generally accessible Internet site to provide a link to the expenditure database.
HB 3430 also requires each state agency to provide the Legislative Budget Board
copies of each major contract entered into by the agency and each request for proposal,
invitation to bid, or comparable solicitation related to the major contract. The bill also requires the LBB to post on the Internet, rather than to include in the information posted on the electronic procurement marketplace, each major contract of a state agency and each request for proposal, invitation to bid, or comparable solicitation related to the major contract.   This section does not apply to institutions of higher education.

The bill also includes a section related to student health centers; it requires that revenues received by higher education student health to be used for the construction, maintenance, and operation of such student health centers.

HB 3560 by Swinford/Janek - Relating to transferring to the comptroller the duties of the Texas Building and Procurement Commission that do not primarily concern state facilities and renaming the commission the Texas Facilities Commission.   This bill divides the duties and responsibilities of the Texas Building and Procurement Commission (TBPC) between the Comptroller of Public Accounts (Comptroller) and a new state agency, to be named the Texas Facilities Commission (TFC).   All powers and duties of TBPC that relate to the following areas are to be performed by TFC: charge and control of state buildings, grounds, or property; maintenance or repair of state buildings, grounds, or property; construction of a state building; purchase or lease of buildings, grounds, or property by or for the state; child care services for state employees; and surplus and salvage property.  All other powers and duties of TBPC will be transferred to the Comptroller, including: statewide procurement; training and compliance; statewide HUB program; travel procurement; fleet management; and support services.

The bill increases the membership of the State Council on Competitive Government (CCG) by one, to include the state’s land commissioner. The bill also replaces the TBPC presiding officer with the presiding officer of the Texas Facilities Commission as a member of the CCG.
The bill requires the functions and responsibilities assigned to the Texas Facilities Commission to undergo Sunset review, with a report, containing evaluation and recommendations, presented to the 81st Legislature. The bill requires the functions and responsibilities transferred to the Comptroller to undergo Sunset review, with a report, containing evaluation and recommendations, presented to the 82nd Legislature.

The bill also requires local governments and nonprofit organizations who agree to certify minority/women-owned businesses as HUBs to make online searchable databases of certified businesses available to the public.

HB 3560 creates new HUB requirements for state agencies, including establishing HUB goals as part of the good faith effort.  Also, the SAO will now be required to consider whether or not HUB goals have been met when auditing agencies for HUB program compliance.  Compliance with the HUB program will now be considered a key performance measure in the appropriations process.  As a result, additional HUB information will be required as part of the LAR. 

HB 3560 also creates two new purchasing preferences for vendors; one is for goods produced or offered by a Texas bidder that is owned by a service-disabled veteran (as defined by 38 U.S.C. Section 101(2) and who has a service-connected disability as defined by 38 U.S.C. Section 101(16)) and goods.  The other is for contractors providing foods of higher nutritional value for consumption in a public cafeteria; preference may be give to contractors who provide foods of higher nutritional value and who do not provide foods containing trans-fatty acids for consumption in the cafeteria (using the Department of Agriculture’s nutrition standards).

HB 3693 by Straus/Fraser - Relating to energy demand, energy load, energy efficiency incentives, energy programs, and energy performance measures.  Omnibus energy efficiency bill that impacts institutions of higher education.  Sections 3 and 6 of the bill direct institutions of higher education to purchase the most commercially available, cost-effective light fixture for educational or housing facilities that:
(1) is compatible with the light fixture;
(2) uses the fewest watts for the necessary luminous flux or light output.

Section 8 of the bill directs institutions of higher education to track the use of electricity, water, or natural gas and report the information on a publicly accessible Internet website, if available, or another publicly accessible location.

Section 12 of the bill includes institutions of higher education and state agencies in energy efficiency programs, relating to Texas building energy performance standards; each institution of higher education is to establish a goal to reduce the electric consumption by five percent each state fiscal year for six years, beginning September 1, 2007. However, this section does not apply to an institution of higher education that the State Energy Conservation Office determines that, before September 1, 2007, adopted a plan for conserving energy under which the agency or institution established a percentage goal for reducing the consumption of electricity.

SB 12 by Averitt/Bonnen - Relating to programs for the enhancement of air quality, including energy efficiency standards in state purchasing and energy consumption; providing penalties.  This bill includes similar language to what is included in Section 12 of HB 3693; each institution of higher education is to establish a goal to reduce the electric consumption by five percent each state fiscal year for six years, beginning September 1, 2007. However, this section does not apply to an institution of higher education that the State Energy Conservation Office determines that, before September 1, 2007, adopted a plan for conserving energy under which the agency or institution established a percentage goal for reducing the consumption of electricity.

SB 297 by West/Lucio - Relating to the composition of the committee appointed to review the uniform general conditions of state building construction contracts.  The Texas Building and Procurement Commission is required to appoint a committee to review the uniform general conditions of state building construction contracts.  This committee was comprised of twelve members nominated by a variety of state agencies and associations as representatives from various parts of the construction trade. SB 297 designates two individuals appointed by the Texas Building and Procurement Commission each representing a different minority contractors association, to the composition of the committee and removes the appointment to the committee by the commission from the list submitted by the executive director of the National Association of Minority Contractors.

SB 324 by Deuell/Fraser – Relating to contingent payment clauses in certain construction contracts.  SB 324 governs the enforceability of contingent payment clauses in construction contracts.  It deals primarily with the relationship between a contractor and its subcontractors providing work or materials for both public and private improvements.  The following provisions directly affect the System.  (1) The System, as the property owner or contracting authority, must furnish certain information upon request of the contingent payor (most often the contractor).  The information includes name, address, telephone number, etc. of the System, but also a statement that funds are available and have been authorized for the full amount of the construction contract.  (2) If the System fails to provide the required information, the contingent payor (most often the contractor), contingent payee (subcontractor) and sureties are relieved of any further performance under their contracts. (3) States that the System cannot prohibit a payor from using a contingent payment clause in its contract with subcontractors.

SB 470 by Brimer/Keffer – Relating to the submission of uniform financial reports.
State agencies report financial information (including expenditures) utilizing the Uniform Statewide Accounting System (USAS). While the format for agency data is standardized at the USAS level, it is not standardized for more detailed reporting, due to the fact that agencies utilize different internal financial systems.  SB 470 authorizes the comptroller of public accounts to design a new data collection system that will allow all agency financial data to be collected and reported in a uniform structure.  SB 470 grants the comptroller's office rulemaking authority to implement the system.

SB 471 by Brimer/Eiland – Relating to certain information reporting requirements regarding workers' compensation claims. SB 471 requires the collection of workers' compensation data through rule instead of statute and removes specific data elements and reporting requirements in statute.

SB 737 by Williams/Kolkhorst - Relating to the amount of hazardous duty pay for certain state employees.  SB 737 provides that a full-time state employee’s hazardous duty pay for a particular month is $10 for each 12- month period of lifetime service credit accrued by the employee, rather than the lesser of either that amount or $300 (previous cap).

SB 757 by Heger/Callegari - Relating to the planning and management of state telecommunications services by the Department of Information Resources.  Previously, management of the state telecommunications system was governed by the
Telecommunications Planning and Oversight Council (council). This bill transfers some of the authority of the council to the board of directors of the Department of Information Resources (DIR) and also requires the council to consult with DIR under certain circumstances.  This bill amends the Government Code by requiring the Department of Information Resources (DIR) to establish plans and policies for the system of telecommunications services managed and operated by DIR.  DIR is required by the bill to provide the information collected under this section to the council in a manner consistent with state and federal security restrictions. The bill requires the council to consult with DIR to establish plans and policies for a system of telecommunications services. The bill requires DIR to consult with the council regarding telecommunications elements of the State Strategic Plan.

SB 968 by West/Chisum - Relating to financing tools for certain obligations for public improvements and for certain obligations of The University of Texas System.  SB 968 updates Chapter 1371, Government Code, (a) to authorize state agency and other local government issuers of debt obligations to employ modern interest rate management products in order to reduce borrowing costs, manage interest rate risks, or both and (b) to require that they observe prudent financial practices in authorizing and monitoring interest rate management agreements.

SB 1046 by Wentworth/Morrison – Relating to the provision of notice to institutions of higher education of meetings of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and to certain telephone conference meetings of the board and other boards of institutions of higher education.  SB 1046 includes the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board under the same provisions as governing boards of institutions with regard to holding telephone conference calls. SB 1046 also decreases the advance notice required for the board meetings from 30 days to seven days.

SB 1310 by Wentworth – Relating to the reimbursement of travel expenses for state employees.  SB 1310 requires state agencies to process travel reimbursement requests within 45 days of submission, if the expenses are not in dispute. This bill also requires state agencies to reimburse state employees for reimbursable travel expenses within 30 days of any resolution of a dispute between the agency and employee in regard to travel expenses.  Effective 6/16/2007.

SB 1138 by Duncan/Smithee - Relating to risk management programs for members of fraternities and other student organizations at public and private postsecondary educational institutions and to certain insurance requirements for fraternities.  SB 1138 requires institutions of higher education to provide a risk management program for members of fraternities and of other student organizations recognized at the institution.  The bill makes attendance at this risk management seminar mandatory for certain individuals.  In addition, the bill requires the Texas Department of Insurance to study what insurance is currently available to fraternities that adequately cover certain risks.  The study must consider levels and types of coverage and methods of attainment, and to report the findings to certain elected officials not later than January 1, 2009.

SB 1332 by West/Chavez - Relating to the establishment of debt management policies and guidelines by the Bond Review Board, including the approval by the board of certain interest rate management agreements, and to other matters affecting public finance.  SB 1332 requires the Bond Review Board to complete an annual debt affordability study (DAS) regarding the state's current debt burden, to identify additional not self-supporting debt that the state can accommodate and monitor how annual changes and new debt authorizations affect certain economic indicators.   The bill also sets forth requirements for hiring financial advisors for the issuance of public securities and related matters and investment consultants for the investment of debt proceeds.  

SB 1615 by Averitt/Isett - Relating to the collection of delinquent obligations owed to the state.  SB 1615 authorizes the attorney general to authorize a requesting state agency to employ, retain, or contract, subject to approval by the attorney general, and subject to the agency's compliance with applicable guidelines established by the attorney general, one or more persons, to collect the obligation; or if the attorney general determines it to be economical and in the best interest of the state, to contract with one or more persons to collect the obligation.