Engineering - Transportation
HB 55 by Branch/Carona - Relating to an offense of using a wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle. HB 51 prohibits an operator of a motor vehicle from using a wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle within a school crossing zone unless the vehicle is stopped or the wireless device is used with a hands-free device. An offense would be a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than $50.
HB 339 by Phillips/Carona - Relating to driver education and driver's licensing requirements for minors. HB 339 strengthens current standards for driver education and the state's graduated driver license (GDL) law. Most notably, the bill requires additional hours of behind-the-wheel instruction during both daytime and nighttime hours, doubles the driving restriction phase to 12 months, and reinstates the on-road driving test that was suspended by DPS in 1995. The bill also mandates data analysis to determine crash rates associated with each form of driver education currently available.
HB 646 by Hughes/Eltife - Relating to the participation of this state in the Southern High Speed Rail Compact. HB 646 allows the Governor to execute a compact with other states to study the feasibility of rapid rail transit service between certain states and to establish a joint interstate commission.
HB 2142 by McClendon/Carona - Relating to the promotion of toll projects by the Texas Department of Transportation. HB 2142 authorizes TxDOT to conduct informational campaigns about the status of pending or ongoing state highway toll projects, rather than promotional campaigns for the development and use of toll projects or toll roads. The bill explicitly states that the department is not authorized to engage in marketing, advertising, or other activities for the purpose of influencing public opinion about the use of toll roads or the use of tolls as a financial mechanism.
SB 61 by Zaffirini/Vaught - Relating to the offense of failure to secure a child passenger in a motor vehicle and to fines for the offense. SB 61 changes the requirements for securing a child in a motor vehicle. Under current statute, a child under the age of five years and less than 36 inches in height is required to be secured in a child safety seat. The bill would require a child younger than the age of eight years, unless the child is taller than four feet, nine inches, to be secured in a child safety seat. This requirement would not be enforceable until June 1, 2010.
SB 334 by Carona/Pickett - Relating to the repeal of the authority of TxDOT to regulate air carriers. SB 334 repeals the statute that grants authority to TxDOT to regulate air carriers as Federal law preempts a state's economic regulation of air carriers.
SB 434 by Wentworth/Bolton - Relating to the establishment and operation of a motor-bus-only lane pilot program in certain counties. SB 434 requires the Texas Department of Transportation, in consultation with the Department of Public Safety and certain mass transit authorities and municipalities, to establish and operate a public transit motor bus-only lane pilot program for highways in Bexar, Denton, El Paso and Travis Counties that are part of the state highway system and have shoulders of sufficient width and structural integrity to provide for use by public transit motor buses of highway shoulders as a low-speed bypass of congested highway lanes.
SB 883 by Carona/Pickett - Relating to the use of the state highway fund to participate in the costs associated with a toll facility of a public or private entity. SB 883 specifies that the Texas Department of Transportation may not pledge or encumber money in the State Highway Fund to guarantee a loan obtained by a public or private entity for costs associated with a toll facility of the public or private entity, with certain exemptions; or insure bonds issued by a public or private entity for costs associated with a toll facility of the public or private entity. The provisions of the bill would only apply to an agreement entered into on or after the effective date of the bill.
SB 970 by Seliger/Phillipis - Relating to the qualifications required of the executive director of TxDOT. SB 970 removes the requirement that the executive director of TxDOT be a registered professional engineer and adds the requirement that he or she have organizational management experience and skills.
SB 1218 by Averitt/Pitts - Relating to the collection of data by the TxDOT regarding bridge collapses. SB 1218 requires TxDOT to report, at least annually, fatalities caused by a bridge collapse.
SB 1317 by Wentworth/T. Smith - Relating to education and examination requirements for the issuance of a driver's license to certain persons. SB 1317 requires driver education for all persons under the age of 25, and establishes new standards and a curriculum for that instruction.
SB 1382 by Carona/McClendon - Relating to the coordination of the planning, construction, operation, and maintenance of a statewide passenger rail system by TxDOT. S.B. 1382 requires the Texas Department of Transportation to create a long-term plan for a statewide passenger rail system, which is required to include annual updates on existing and proposed passenger rail systems, analysis of potential interconnectivity problems, and ridership projections. The bill requires TxDOT to coordinate the planning, construction, operation, and maintenance of a statewide passenger rail system and to coordinate with local entities involved with passenger rail responsibilities.
Engineering - Energy:
HB 469 by P. King/Seliger - Relating to the establishment of incentives by this state for the implementation of certain projects to capture and sequester carbon dioxide that would otherwise be emitted into the atmosphere. HB 469 The bill would provide tax incentives to organizations that participate in research and development activities related to a "clean energy project", defined as the construction of a coal-fueled or petroleum coke-fueled electric generating facility, including a facility in which the fuel is gasified before combustion, that: (1) has a capacity of at least 200megawatts; (2) meets various emission limits outlined in the bill; (3) will capture at least 70 percent of the carbon dioxide resulting from the generation of electricity by the facility; (4) is capable of permanently sequestering the captured carbon dioxide in a geological formation; and (5) is capable of supplying the carbon dioxide for use in an Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) project.
SB 184 by Watson/Chisum - Relating to "no regrets" greenhouse gas emissions reduction strategies. SB 184 requires TCEQ to develop and present a report to the legislature by December 31, 2010, that outlines strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that, over the lifetime of the strategy, will result in no financial cost to businesses and consumers of the state.
Engineering - Economic Development:
HB 394 by Rose/Van de Putte - Relating to use of money from the Texas Enterprise Fund to benefit certain small businesses and certain projects. HB 394 requires that the Governor consider making grants from the Texas Enterprise Fund to small businesses in Texas that commit to creating additional jobs, for the relocation of small businesses from outside the state, or for individual projects that create 100 or fewer additional jobs.
HB 2531 by Chavez/Shapiro - Relating to a reporting requirement regarding the Texas emerging technology fund. HB 2531 requires the governor to submit an annual report containing performance metrics such as the aggregate amount of private sector investment, federal government funding, and contributions from other sources obtained in connection with awards made under any of the Emerging Technology Fund's (ETF) programs; as well as the amount of ETF awards received by each award recipient for the past three fiscal years. The annual report would be distributed to the legislature and posted on the governor's office website no later than January 1 of each year. The bill also requires ETF annual reports to identify the planned and actual outcomes associated with the commercialization program for the last two fiscal years. Finally, the bill requires ETF annual reports to provide a brief description of the equity position which the governor may take in companies that get commercialization awards, and the names of companies in which the governor has taken an equity position during the past three fiscal years.
Engineering - Emergency Response/Homeland Security:
HB 4102 by Eiland/Carona - Relating to the disaster contingency fund and relief for school districts located in a disaster area. HB 4102 allows a state or local government entity that participates in disaster preparation or disaster recovery to request and receive funding from the disaster contingency fund to pay for costs incurred in preparing for or recovering from a disaster. If state or local government entities receive reimbursement from the federal government, then the entities are required to reimburse the disaster contingency fund by the amount received from the federal government.
HB 4560 by Naishtat/Deuell - Relating to certain diseases or illnesses suffered by certain emergency first responders. HB 4560 requires that notification of a possible exposure to certain diseases or illnesses shall be given (1) by the hospital to the local health authority; and (2) by the local health authority to the director of the appropriate department of the entity that employs the emergency medical service personnel, peace officer, detention officer, county jailer, or fire fighter.
SB 1328 by Nelson/Naishtat - Relating to a study on the feasibility of providing vaccines to first responders deployed to a disaster area. SB 1328 requires the Department of State Health Services to conduct a study assessing the feasibility of providing vaccines to a first responder who may be exposed to certain diseases during deployment to a disaster area, the vaccination status of first responders and their families, workplace immunization policies and insurance coverage for first responders, the current ability of DSHS to provide vaccines to this population, possible funding sources for such a vaccination program, and ways to educate first responders about available options to vaccinate themselves and their families.
Engineering - Other:
HB 2013 by Keffer/Hegar - Relating to tuition and laboratory fee exemptions at public institutions of higher education for certain volunteer firefighters enrolled in fire science courses. HB 2013 extends the exemption program for firefighters enrolled in fire science curricula to volunteer firefighters who hold an Accredited Advanced level of certification or an equivalent under the State Firemen's and Fire Marshal's Association of Texas volunteer certification program or a phase V certification or equivalent successor certification under the Texas Commission on Fire Protection's voluntary certification program.
HB 2347 by Thibaut/Whitmire - Relating to tuition and fee exemptions at public institutions of higher education for certain peace officers enrolled in criminal justice or law enforcement course work and for certain educational aides. HB 2347 extends the tuition and laboratory fee exemption program, currently only applicable to firefighters enrolled in fire science curricula, to peace officers employed by political subdivisions of the state who enroll in a course or courses offered as part of a criminal justice or law enforcement management-related curriculum designed for peace officers.
HB 2425 by Morrison/Averitt - Relating to engineering recruitment programs established by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. HB 2425 allows private and independent institutions of higher education to participate in the engineering recruitment program administered by the Higher Education Coordinating Board. The bill also directs the Coordinating Board to study the success of baccalaureate degree programs offered at public community colleges.
HB 3389 by Harper-Brown/Deuell - Relating to the continuation and functions of the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education. HB 3389 is the Sunset legislation. Among other things, the bill requires all peace officers to take a continuing education course on state and federal law every twenty-four months and eliminates the requirement for every peace officer to take continuing education topics on civil rights, racial sensitivity, and cultural diversity every four years, limiting these provision to only those peace officers that have not yet obtained intermediate proficiency.
SB 1011 by Estes/B. Brown - Relating to the continuation and functions of the Texas Commission on Fire Protection. SB 1011 is the Sunset legislation. The bill changes the name of the agency to the Texas Fire Protection Agency and transfers the commission's grant program to the Texas Forest Service.