HB 432 by Lucio/Estes - Relating to the acquisition by state agencies of low-emissions vehicles and vehicles using alternative fuels. This bill amends Chapter 2158 of the Government Code. Higher education is granted delegated purchasing authority from this chapter of the Government Code; however, many of the rules that institutions have adopted reflect Chapter 2158 statute.
HB 432 modifies what is reported in the annual financial report; it requires that agencies report the availability of alternative fuels and provide the information reasonably needed to determine certain air quality benefits.
The legislation also sets forth the following:
- HB 432 amends the Government Code to require agencies to purchase or lease certain vehicles only if they use the following alternative fuels: compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas (Propane), liquefied petroleum gas, methanol or methanol/gasoline blends of 85 percent or greater, ethanol or ethanol/gasoline blends of 85 percent (E85) or greater, biodiesel or biodiesel/diesel blends of 20 percent or greater, or electricity, including electricity to power a plug-in hybrid motor vehicle. This requirement would apply to agencies purchasing or leasing certain large vehicles used primarily for the transportation of individuals and to agencies operating a fleet of more than 15 vehicles, excluding law enforcement and emergency vehicles. By September 30, 2010, agencies operating a fleet of more than 15 vehicles, excluding law enforcement and emergency vehicles, would be required to have a fleet consisting of vehicles of which at least 50 percent use the same alternative fuels specified above. This requirement does not apply to higher education.
- Purchasing requirements relating to alternatively fueled vehicles does not apply if a state agency demonstrates that the state agency would incur additional net costs.
HB 605 by Farabee/Estes - Relating to mileage reimbursement for state employees. H.B. 605 amends current law relating to mileage reimbursement for state employees. Current law concerning a state employee's mileage reimbursement does not account for employee safety in route planning by employees traveling on state business. In considering only the most cost-effective route, state employees are prohibited from seeking reimbursement if they deviate from such a route, even if safety is a concern, such as poorly lit roads or extreme weather. HB 605 allows for the state to take into account reasonable safety measures when calculating a state employee's mileage reimbursement and allows alternate routes to be taken in order to account for safety concerns.
HB 1705 by Geren/Ellis - Relating to the Department of Information Resources, including the abolition of the telecommunications planning and oversight council, the electronic commerce network, and the electronic procurement marketplace and standards for certain school district software. HB 1705 abolishes the telecommunications planning and oversight council (TPOC) and requires the Department of Information Resources (DIR) to fulfill various telecommunication related planning, reporting and oversight activities, including the review of the status of all projects and the financial performance of the consolidated telecommunications system and the centralized capitol complex telephone system.
HB 1705 repeals various sections of the government code, including the statutes related to TPOC and the requirement of DIR to establish an electronic commerce system. The bill permits DIR to contract with assistance organizations, and non-profits receiving state funds through a current state contract or grant, to use the consolidated telecommunications system.
HB 1830 by Corte/Ellis - Relating to information technology security practices of state agencies.
HB 1830 adds computer infrastructure to the open records exception listing; specifically restricted information pursuant to Section 2059.055, Government Code. The bill allows the governing board of DIR to deliberate certain security or infrastructure issues in a closed meeting. HB 1830 also allows DIR to disclose information related to security or infrastructure issues to a bidder if the governing board determines that providing the information is necessary for the bidder to provide an accurate bid.
HB 1830 requires state agencies, including institutions of higher education, to provide, upon completion, an electronic copy of its vulnerability report to DIR, the state auditor, the agency's executive director, and any other information technology security oversight group specifically authorized by the legislature to receive the report.
HB 1831 by Corte/Carona - Relating to disaster preparedness and emergency management and to certain vehicles used in emergencies. Article 6 of the bill deals with higher education institutions. Institutions of higher education, not including community colleges, shall adopt and implement a multi-hazard emergency plan that addresses mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery. At least once every three years, institutions must conduct a facility safety and security audit; the audit must be sent to the institution's board of regents and the Division of Emergency Management in the Governor's Office. Information collected, developed, or produced by the audit is not subject to open records requests unless it meets certain provisions set for in the legislation.
Article 4 of the bill also adds a provision regarding the lodging expenses of certain state emergency services personnel so that they can be reimbursed for actual lodging expenses if there is not room available at the state rate.
HB 2004 by McCall/Ellis - Relating to a breach of computer security involving sensitive personal information and to the protection of sensitive personal information and certain protected health information. HB 2004 requires state and local agencies, including institutions of higher education, to notify individuals when their sensitive personal information has been acquired as a result of an unauthorized breach. The legislation amends current law relating to a breach of computer security involving sensitive personal information and to the protection of sensitive personal information and certain protected health information.
HB 2521 by Pickett / West - Relating to a preference in state purchasing for certain media-related
services offered by businesses based in Texas. HB 2521 amends Chapter 2155 of the Government Code to require the Comptroller of Public Accounts and each state agency conducting an advertising campaign that includes a commercial to give preference to a company located in Texas if the services meet state requirements regarding service and quality, and if the cost does not exceed the cost of similar services from outside the State.
HB 2547 by Giddings/Deuell - Relating to the use of a description of employment in determining the safety and appropriateness of a return to employment by an injured employee. HB 2547 will impact the A&M system workers compensation program. The bill places the treating doctor in a more active role in determining what duties employees can perform when they return to work in restricted duty. The legislation requires the commissioner of workers' compensation (commissioner) to prescribe a form to provide information from an employer to a treating doctor concerning the functions and physical responsibilities of an injured employee's job. The bill requires the form prescribed under this subsection, to the extent possible, to be one page, use a check box format as appropriate, and be compatible with electronic mail. Requires that the form include: (1)the name and address of the employer and the contact information and availability of the individual representing the employer who has knowledge of the injured employee's job; (2)the scope of the injured employee's employment, including any specific tasks, job duties, or work activities that the injured employee was required to perform at the time the employee sustained the injury; and(3)an area for additional comments or information by the employer or individual representing the employer concerningthe injured employee's job orthe availability, if any, of other jobs that the employer may have that the employer would like the treating doctor to consider in determining whether an injured employee is able to return to work.
HB 2820 by Chisum/Wentworth - Relating to contracts by governmental entities for professional services relating to geoscience and landscape architecture. HB 2820 would amend the Government Code relating to contracts by governmental entities for professional services relating to geoscience and landscape architecture.
HB 2893 by Hochberg/ Shapleigh - Relating to the technology demonstration sites project and to a computer lending pilot program. HB 2893 would require that if the surplus or salvage data processing equipment of an institution or agency of higher education is not disposed of under other law, the entity make the equipment available to the commissioner of education for use in the computer lending pilot program. The pilot program and its enabling legislation would expire September 1, 2014.
HB 3632 by Geren/Averitt - Relating to the authority of the state to acquire, sell or exchange certain land. HB 3632 primarily deals with the General Land Office's power and authority to accept real or personal property on behalf of the state. This bill does include language that provides if an institution of higher education notifies the Texas Historical Commission in a timely manner that it protests the proposed designation of land, the matter becomes a contested case under the provisions of Section 12 through 20 of the Administrative Procedures and Texas Register Act. The current law is only applicable to a building.
HB 3756 by Howard, D. / Ellis - Relating to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC). HB 3756 updates statutes related to the operations of TSLAC by deleting obsolete provisions and modernizing definitions and terms to reflect current practices and standards related to TSLAC's Talking Book Program, the "Texas Reads" license plate, the Library Systems Act, the TexShare program, the local records division, and the archives division. The bill also enables TSLAC to expand the membership of the TexShare program and its advisory board through rulemaking authority and allows regional library systems to serve various types of libraries. HB 3756 also details TSLAC's right of recovery of state archival records by broadening the definitions of "state archival records" and granting TSLAC retroactive authority to retrieve Texas historical records created pre-statehood. Finally, the bill repeals county librarian certification references in statute and corrects drafting errors in legislation from the 80th Legislature, Regular Session, 2007, regarding the reauthorization of TSLAC.
HB 4127 by Hartnett/Carona - Relating to the expenditure of public funds for certain playground facilities. The statute governing compliance with safety standards for publicly funded playgrounds, enacted in 1995, references a standard published in the Handbook for Public Playground Safety published in 1994 by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (Publication No. 325). Today, the standard that is recognized and followed by the industry is set by the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM). HB 4127 updates current law relating to the expenditure of public funds for certain playground facilities to meet the new standard followed by the industry.
HB 4189 by Rose/Watson - Relating to the conduct of compliance programs by institutions of higher education and to the vaccination of students of institutions of higher education against bacterial meningitis. HB 4189 would allow institutions of higher education that maintain a compliance program to establish procedures to provide private access to a compliance office, maintain anonymity of individuals who make a compliance report or participate in a compliance investigation, and preserve confidentiality of communications. Under provisions of the bill, certain information would be confidential if the related individual does not consent to its disclosure. Information produced that would interfere with an ongoing compliance investigation would be excepted from disclosure under Government Code Chapter 552. The information would be available to a law enforcement agency or prosecutor for official purposes.
HB 4189 was amended to address vaccinations re bacterial meningitis; before registering a student must provide a certificate evidencing that the student has been vaccinated against bacterial meningitis. The bill applies to first-time students, including transfer students, who reside in an on-campus dormitory or housing facility at the institution. A student is not required to comply if an affidavit or a certificate is presented stating that the vaccination would be injurious to the health and well-being of the student or stating that the vaccination has been declined for reasons of conscience.
HB 4409 by Taylor/Jackson - Relating to emergency preparation and management. This legislation was the vehicle for the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA). HB 4409 would require TDI to adopt rules relating to the implementation of the bill; the bill would restructure the revenues collected and deposited into the Catastrophe Reserve Trust Fund. HB 4409 bill would require the Sunset Advisory Commission (SAC) to review TWIA, but does not subject the entity to abolishment. The bill would require that the review be conducted as if the association were scheduled to be abolished September 1, 2015. HB 4409 would require TWIA to pay the costs incurred by the SAC upon receipt of a statement from the SAC. The legislation would create the windstorm insurance legislative oversight board to monitor TWIA and review proposed legislation and requires the board to produce a biennial report on the board's recommendations.
Section 26 of the bill requires those that those that apply for a TWIA policy show a "diligent effort" to obtain property insurance through the voluntary market; once declination from an insurer will be required with an application for renewal of a TWIA policy.
SB 28 by Zaffirini/Deshotel - Relating to the use of a computer for an unauthorized purpose; providing a civil penalty. The bill would amend the Business and Commerce Code and provide that a person other than the owner of a computer may not knowingly cause or offer to cause a computer to send unsolicited electronic mail or attack a computer system or network; adds creation of botnets and zombies as specific instances of prohibited activities.
SB 194 by Shapleigh/Howard D. - Relating to a prohibition against certain activities by a person employed in the financial aid office of a public institution of higher education or of a career school or college. SB 194 prohibits a person employed in the financial aid office of an institution of higher education or a career school or college from owning stock or other ownership interest in a student loan lender, other than through ownership of shares in a publicly traded mutual fund or a similar investment vehicle. The bill also prohibits such a person from soliciting or accepting any gift from a student loan lender.
SB 745 by Duncan/Solomons - Relating to state travel policies and procedures for the reimbursement or payment of travel expenses. Current law requires a state employee, including an employee of an institution of higher education, to certify travel expenses for which the employee seeks reimbursement by approving a completed travel voucher. The voucher contains coding elements used for accounting that are not relevant to the employee's declaration of expenses incurred and trip purpose. If a travel voucher's coding elements need correction, the employee must reapprove the corrected voucher even if there is no change to the employee's travel details, which causes travel vouchers to be sent back and forth between accounting staff and traveling employees. This process delays travel voucher processing, creates barriers for electronic travel vouchers, and requires an employee to certify elements, such as USAS coding elements, that are generally unknown to the employee. SB 745 revises procedures and requirements relating to advance written approval, and completion and submission of vouchers, for state employee travel.
SB 1003 by Deuell/Flynn - Relating to the continuation and functions of the Office of State-Federal Relations and the administrative attachment of that agency to the office of the governor. SB 1003 requires all state agencies and political subdivisions of the State of Texas, including institutions of higher education and river authorities, to report to the Office on contracts with federal-level government relations consultants. The legislation requires that entities report federal-level consultant contracts within 30 days of entering into a contract and within 30 days of a contract termination. The legislation also contains a provision that requires a state agency or political subdivision that has a contract before the effective date of the bill to report to the Office on the contract before September 30, 2009.
SB 1003 requires information in such reports to include the name of the consultant or firm contracted with, the issue the firm was hired to work on, and the amount of compensation paid or to be paid to the consultant under the contract; it also requires state agencies to report any subcontracts of a contract with a federal-level government relations consultant to the Office. Finally, the legislation provides that the new contract reporting requirements do not apply to a political subdivision whose federal-level government relations consultant is required by other law to disclose or report the information to the public and a federal or state entity.
SB 1796 by Zaffirini/Castro - Relating to the approval of certain construction, repair, or rehabilitation projects at public institutions of higher education in this state. SB 1796 bill amends the Education Code to increase the cost thresholds that determine whether the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board approval is required for certain construction, repair, or rehabilitation projects at public institutions of higher education. The bill increases from $1 million to $4 million the total project cost threshold for board approval for new construction and from $2 million to $4 million the total cost threshold for board approval for major repair and rehabilitation of buildings and facilities. SB 1796 makes conforming changes to incorporate the $4 million total cost threshold in provisions limiting the board's consideration and determination of approval to certain factors. SB 1796 authorizes the board, by rule, to increase the total cost thresholds required for board approval for all projects as delineated by the bill, as necessary to ensure that the board is required to approve only substantial construction, repair, or rehabilitation projects at institutions of higher education.
SB 2381 by West/Dukes - Relating to the fee charged for registration on the master bidders list. SB 2381 amends Section 2155.202, Government Code,to authorize the Comptroller of Public Accounts rather than the Texas Facilities Commission, to charge a person applying for registration on the master bidders list a registration fee. SB 2381 authorizes the Comptroller to charge a registrant a biennial renewal fee in an amount designed to recover the comptroller's, rather than the commission's, costs. SB 2381 requires the comptroller, in addition to the fee above, to also collect $20 from each registrant to be used for the purpose of enforcing compliance with requirements of state purchasing statutes and the prevention of fraud in the Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) program as set forth in Chapter 2161.
SB 2442 by Uresti/Gallego - Relating to the exemption from ad valorem taxation of property owned by certain charitable organizations. SB 2442 amends Section 11.18 of the Tax Code to exempt from property taxes real property owned by a charitable organization and leased to an institution of higher education. The property would be exempt to the same extent that it would be exempt if the institution of higher education owned the property.