Legislative Report

 

78th Legislature, Regular Session

 

Texas Tech University System

 

 

 

Office of Governmental Relations

 

September 4, 2003

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


TEXAS TECH BILL BRIEFS - 2003

78TH REGULAR SESSION

INDEX

 

 

 

Academic Affairs.........................................................................................................................SB 286, SB 976, SB 1152, HB 256,

.................................................................................................................................................................................. HB 2425, SCR 12

 

Accounts Payable............................................................................................................................................... HB 2397, HB 2425

 

Admissions............................................................................................................................................................ HB 944, HB 1882

 

Alumni Associations............................................................................................................................................................. SB 833

 

Annual Financial Report..................................................................................................................................................... HB 2425

 

Appropriations................................................................................................................. SB 1652, SB 1771, HB 1, HB 7, HB 651,

................................................................................................................................................................................ HB 2292, HB 3126

 

Auditing...................................................................................................................................... SB 19, SB 261, SB 1694, HB 2485

 

Bonding Authority.............................................................................................................................. SB 1297, HB 1941, HB 2522

 

College of Education........................................................................................................................................................... HB 2455

 

College Savings Plans........................................................................................................................ SB 1588, HB 2425, HB 3015

 

Community Colleges................................................................................................................. SB 286, SB 968, SB 976, SB 1546,

................................................................................................................................................................................  HB 415, HB 1621

 

Comptroller of Public Accounts........................................................................................................................ SB 1652, HB 2425

 

Computer Equipment.............................................................................................................................................................. SB 912

 

Constitution.................................................................................................................................................. SJR 19, HJR 3, HJR 54

 

Contracting.............................................................................................................................. SB 19, SB 1652, HB 1171, HB 2376,

 ............................................................................................................................................................................... HB 2397, HB 3042

 

Coordinating Board................................................................................................................... SB 286, SB 968, SB 976, HB 3015

 

Correctional Managed Health Care................................................................................................................................... HB 2455

 

Department of Information Resources................................................................................................. SB 349, SB 775, SB 1152,

............................................................................................................................................................................... SB 1652, HB 2455

 

Distance Education.............................................................................................................................................................. SB 1152

 

Economic Development......................................................................................................................................... SB 275, SB 1771

 

Employees Retirement System.......................................................................................................................... HB 2359, HB 3459

 

Energy Conservation........................................................................................................................................................... HB 2425

 

Engineering............................................................................................................................................. SB 277, SB 1876, HB 2081

 

Ethics..................................................................................................................................................................................... HB 1606

 

Facilities (Public) and Facilities Planning............................................................................ SB 599, SB 1090, SB 1331, SB 1652

 ................................................................................................................................................................. HB 219, HB 1171, HB 2081

 

Fees (student)........................................................................................................ SB 1230, SB 1367, SB 1546, SB 1652, HB 882,

............................................................................................ HB 1055, HB 1537, HB 1649, HB 1650, HB 1817, HB 2379, HB 2457

 

 Financial Aid.................................................................................................................. SB 4, SB 286, SB 968, SB 1007, SB 1128,

................................................................................................................. SB 1366, SB 1652, SB 1876, HB 529, HB 1420, HB 1882,

..............................................................................................................................................  HB 2971, HB 3015, HB 3126, HB 3318

 

Fiscal Affairs............................................................................................................... SB 235, SB 996, SB 1652, HB 736, HB 826,

............................................................................................................. HB 1420, HB 1890, HB 2240, HB 2241, HB 2425, HB 2971

 

Formula Funding.................................................................................................................................................................... HB 415

 

Funds Dedication................................................................................................................................................................. HB 3318

 

Governing Boards.................................................................................................................................. SB 287, SB 1652, HB 1606

 

Health Maintenance Organizations..................................................................................................................................... SB 418

 

Higher Education Authorities............................................................................................................................... SB 286, SB 1652

 

HUBS...................................................................................................................................................................... SB 1652, HB 2033

 

Indirect Costs....................................................................................................................................................................... HB 1887

 

Information Technology........................................................................................................... SB 349, SB 775, SB 912, SB 1151,

 ..............................................................................................................................................................  SB 1152, SB 1652, HB 1075

 

Institutions of Higher Education......................................................................................... SB 800, SB 1127, SB 1297, SB 1642,

 ................................................................................................ SB 1652, SB 1942, HB 85, HB 1363, HB 1566, HB 2116, HB 3552

 

Insurance................................................................................................................................................................. SB 418, SB 1370

 

Interim Studies........................................................................................................................................ SB 286, SB 1652, HB 3015

 

Investments........................................................................................................................................ HB 2033, HB 2240, HB 2241

 

Junior Colleges - See Community Colleges....................................................................................................................................

 

Legal Affairs............................................................................................................... SB 833, SB 1652, HB 4, HB 1297, HB 1306,

.................................................................................................................................................. HB 2044, HB 2933, HB 3042, HJR 3

 

Libraries................................................................................................................................................................................. SB 1154

 

Loan Repayment Assistance..................................................................................................................... SB 4, SB 286, HB 1420

 

Medicaid................................................................................................................................................................................ HB 2292

 

Medical Licenses...................................................................................................................................................... SB 104, SB 558

 

Medical Records..................................................................................................................................................... SB 330, SB 1136

 

Medical Schools..................................................................................................................... SB 160, SB 1128, SB 1419, SB 1642

................................................................................................................................. HB 85, HB 1420, HB 1567, HB 2292, HB 3011

 

Nursing................................................................................................................................................... SB 160, HB 1483, HB 3126

 

Open Meetings Act.................................................................................................................................................................. HB 9

 

Optional Retirement Program.............................................................................................................................................. HB 264

 

Payroll................................................................................................................................................................... SB 1652, HB 2425

 

Personnel...................................................................................................... SB 89, SB 674, SB 871, SB 1652, SB 1669, SB 1800,

 .........................................................................................  HB 76, HB 89, HB 174, HB 258, HB 264, HB 826, HB 1075, HB 2001,

 ..........................................................................................  HB 2169, HB 2251, HB 2376, HB 2425, HB 2622, HB 2933, HB 3442

 

Physical Plant............................................................................................................ SB 599, SB 1090, SB 1652, HB 219, HB 627,

 ............................................................................................................................................. HB 1171, HB 1567, HB 2081, HB 2425

 

Physicians................................................................................................................................... SB 104, SB 286, SB 558, HB 1877

 

Police................................................................................................................................ SB 871, HB 9, HB 627, HB 736, HB 2376,

 ............................................................................................................................................................................... HB 2622, HB 2650

 

Prescription Drugs................................................................................................................................................................ SB 1173

 

Privacy...................................................................................................................................................... SB 330, SB 1136, SB 1652

 

Public Information Act (Open Records Act)........................................................................... SB 84, SB 653, SB 919, SB 1652,

 .................................................................................................................. HB 9, HB 1306, HB 2032, HB 2455, HB 2622, HB 3011

 

Purchasing................................................................................................................ SB 261, SB 1155, SB 1652, HB 845, HB 3042

 

Real Property........................................................................................................................................................ SB 1652, HB 2044

 

Reports..................................................................................................................................... SB 286, SB 1000, SB 1154, SB 1652

 

Research....................................................................................................................... SB 330, SB 1419, HB 43, HB 627, HB 1567,

............................................................................................................................................................................... HB 2019, HB 3526

 

Risk Management.................................................................................................................................... SB 147, SB 599, HB 2376

 

Rural Issues............................................................................................................................................................ HB 649, HB 1877

 

Security Issues............................................................................................................................................................ HB 9, HB 627

 

Social Security Numbers......................................................................................................................... SB 473, SB 611, HB 1053

 

State Agencies........................................................................................................... SB 674, SB 1151, SB 1652, HB 425, HB 651

 ................................................................................................................................................................ HB 736, HB 2947, HB 3024

 

State Records.......................................................................................................................................................................... SB 394

 

Strategic Plans......................................................................................................................................................... SB 147, SB 1652

 

Student Affairs...................................................................................................................................................... HB 2292, SCR 12

 

Surplus Property.................................................................................................................................................... SB 912, HB 3042

 

TASP.......................................................................................................................................................................... SB 286, SB 814

 

Teacher Retirement System............................................................................................................................... HB 2169, HB 3459

 

Telecommunications............................................................................................................................................................ HB 1576

 

Telecommunications Infrastructure Fund........................................................................................................................ HB 3459

 

Telemedicine............................................................................................................................................................................ SB 691

 

Texas Tech University......................................................................................................................................................... SB 1367

 

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center............................................................................................................... SB 1367

 

Travel...................................................................................................................................................................... HB 898, HB 3042

 

Tuition.......................................................................................................................... SB 4, SB 286, SB 1521, HB 1621, HB 1890,

................................................................................................................................................................................ HB 2425, HB 3015

 

Tuition and Fee Exemptions and Waivers........................................................................................... SB 258, SB 1652, HB 261

 

Unclaimed Property............................................................................................................................................................... HB 826

 

Uniform Group Insurance Program.................................................................................................... SB 1173, SB 1370, HB 2359

 

Vehicles.................................................................................................................................................................................. HB 3042

 

Worker's Compensation....................................................................................................................................................... SB 1652

 

Youth Camps............................................................................................................................................................................ SB 253

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


TEXAS TECH BILL BRIEFS – 2003

 

78th Legislature, Regular Session

 

 

 

HB 1 – Heflin/Bivins.  General Appropriations Bill.

 

 

HB 4 – Nixon/Ratliff.  Relating to reform of certain procedures and remedies in civil actions.

 

Amends numerous sections of various codes including Civil Practice and Remedies Code, Sections 101.106 and 108.002(a) and (b); repeals Section 108.002(c).  This bill contains many changes to the civil justice system with particular emphasis on medical malpractice claims.  One key provision limits the personal liability of health care providers employed by governmental units to $100,000.  The bill also refines the election of remedies section in the Tort Claims Act that will prohibit a suit against an employee or the governmental unit if a judgment or settlement has been reached in a prior suit against the employee or the governmental unit.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

                     

HB 7 – Heflin/Bivins.  Relating to making supplemental appropriations and making reductions in current appropriations.

 

This bill implements the seven percent reductions for FY 2003.  The reductions for:

 

          Texas Tech University System Administration is $35,000

          Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center is $6,352,655

          Texas Tech University is $7,375,114

 

from general revenue funds.  These are the amounts submitted by the TTUS components in response to the leadership’s seven percent reduction letter.

 

This bill also appropriates $295 million to the Texas Enterprise Fund to be administered by the governor.  See SB 1771, Brimer.  Effective date:  June 22, 2003.

 

 

HB 9 – Flores/Shapiro.  Relating to homeland security.

 

Amends Government Code, Sections 418.175(a), 431.051 and 431.052(b); adds Sections 418.176-418.183, 662.050 and Chapter 421; amends Health and Safety Code, Section 81.042(a) and Agriculture Code, Section 161.101; amends Occupations Code by adding Section 562.055.  This bill defines agency as any governmental entity.  The bill also defines critical infrastructure to include all public or private assets, systems, and functions vital to the security, governance, public health and safety, economy, or morale of the state.  The bill directs the Governor to develop a statewide homeland security strategy that improves the state’s ability to detect and deter threats to the homeland security, respond to homeland security emergencies, and recover from homeland security emergencies.  The bill establishes the Critical Infrastructure Protection Council that is composed of the Governor or his designee and a representative of thirteen entities of state government.  No one representing higher education is included.  The council is required to advise the Governor on the development and coordination of a statewide critical infrastructure protection strategy, the implementation of the Governor’s homeland security strategy and other measures relating to the planning, development, coordination, and implementation of initiatives to promote the Governor’s homeland security strategy.  The bill directs the Department of Public Safety to provide facilities and administrative support for the Texas Infrastructure Protection Communications Center to plan, coordinate, and integrate government communications capabilities.

 

The bill establishes the confidentiality of certain information relating to emergency response providers, risk or vulnerability assessment, construction or assembly of weapons, certain encryption codes and security keys for communications systems, information prepared for the United States, critical infrastructure, and security systems.  The amendments authorize the release of these types of confidential information if the agency head believes that another person or entity has a legitimate need for the information.  A governmental body may conduct a closed meeting to deliberate these types of confidential information if a tape recording is made of the proceeding.  Effective date:  June 22, 2003.

 

 

HB 43 – Chisum/Armbrister.  Relating to the funding of and the making of grants by the Texas Council on Environmental Technology.

 

Amends Health and Safety Code, Sections 387.002(b), 387.003, 387.005, and 387.008(a).  This bill establishes the criteria by which a member of the Texas Council on Environmental Technology may abstain from a vote to award a grant to the member’s company or employer.  This bill would be beneficial to TTU because the university currently has two faculty members on the council.  Effective date:  May 14, 2003.

 

 

HB 76 – Wise/Van de Putte.  Relating to procedures adopted by a state entity to ensure an employment preference for veterans.

 

Amends Government Code, Chapter 657.  This bill requires public entities to prepare and make available for public inspection a statement of any measures taken by the entity to ensure that veterans receive the employment preferences required by law and any remedies available when a veteran is not hired or appointed to a position with the entity.  Effective date:  Vetoed.

 

 

 

HB 85 – McClendon/West.  Relating to the establishment of an undergraduate medical academy at Prairie View A&M University.

 

Amends Education Code by adding Section 87.108.  This bill establishes the Prairie View A&M Undergraduate Medical Academy to prepare students for medical school. The bill sets forth the eligibility requirements for the students and the services to be provided by the academy.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

 

HB 89 – McClendon/Barrientos.  Relating to a leave of absence for certain state employees who are donating an organ, bone marrow, or blood.

 

Amends Government Code by adding Sections 661.916 and 661.917.  This bill provides for a paid leave of absence to serve as a bone-marrow or organ donor.  Five working days in a fiscal year are granted to serve as a bone-marrow donor and thirty working days to serve as an organ donor.  A state agency is also required to allow an employee sufficient time off without a deduction in salary or accrued leave to donate blood.  The leave to donate blood cannot exceed four times in a fiscal year.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

 

HB 174 – Howard/Estes.  Relating to benefits for members of the state military forces called to active state duty.

 

Amends Government Code by adding Section 431.017.  This bill will ensure that a member of the state military forces who is ordered to active state duty by the governor or by other proper authority is entitled to the same benefits and protections provided to persons performing service in the uniformed services by the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act and to persons in the military service of the United States as the laws existed on April 1, 2003.  See SB 1669, Averitt and SB 1800, Van de Putte.  Effective date:  June 18, 2003.

 

 

HB 219 – Hope/Staples.  Relating to the display of the United States national motto in public elementary and secondary schools and institutions of higher education.

 

Amends Education Code by adding Section 1.004.  This bill allows a public school or an institution of higher education to display the United States national motto, “In God We Trust,” in each classroom, auditorium, and cafeteria beginning with the 2003-2004 school year.  Effective date:  June 20, 2003.

 

 

HB 256 – Hochberg/Shapiro.  Relating to excused absences for religious holy days for students in institutions of higher education.

 

Amends Education Code, Section 51.911(b) and repeals Subsection (c).  These amendments will require an institution of higher education to excuse a student from attending classes for the observance of a religious holiday, including travel for that purpose. The bill eliminates the requirement that the student notify the professor in writing not later than the 15th day after the first day of the semester.  Effective date:  June 18, 2003.

 

 

HB 258 – Pickett/Madla.  Relating to correcting errors in the distribution of benefits by a public retirement system.

 

Amends Government Code by adding Section 802.1024; V.T.C.S. Article 6243n, Section 12(b); Article 6243n-1, Section 10.02 and Article 6243o, Section 3.03(d).  This bill directs the governing body of a public retirement system to correct an error in the records and to adjust future payments so that the actuarial equivalent of the benefit is paid to the person entitled.  An overpayment may only be corrected for the three years preceding the date the governing body of the system discovers the overpayment.  Effective date:  June 20, 2003.

 

 

HB 261 – Hupp/Fraser.  Relating to the eligibility of armed forces personnel and their family members to pay tuition and fees at the rate provided to Texas residents.

 

Amends Education Code, Section 54.058, Subsections (c), (f), and (g), and adds Subsection (j).  This bill revises three of the waiver of non-resident tuition sections for the spouse and children of a member of the armed forces of the U.S.  These sections relate to a spouse or child who continuously resides in Texas, to a spouse or child of a deceased member, and to a spouse or child who files a letter of intent to establish a residence in Texas.

 

This bill authorizes a new waiver of non-resident tuition for a member of the armed forces of the United States or the child or spouse of a member who is entitled to pay tuition and fees at the rate provided for Texas residents under another provision of this section while enrolled in a degree or certificate program to be entitled to pay tuition and fees at the rate provided for Texas residents in any subsequent term or semester while the person is continuously enrolled and the person’s eligibility does not terminate because the person is no longer a member of the armed forces.  Effective date:  June 20, 2003.

 

 

HB 264 - Brown, F./Hinojosa.  Relating to supplemental contributions to the optional retirement program by institution of higher education.

 

Amends Government Code by adding Section 830.2015.  This bill authorizes a governing board of an institution of higher education to make a contribution to the optional retirement program in any amount that is equal to or less than the difference between the amount that the state is required to contribute (eight and one-half percent) to the benefit of each participant employed by the institution and the amount the state appropriates for that purpose (currently six percent). The governing board may use any source of funds for the contribution.  Effective date:  June 20, 2003.

 

 

 

HB 415 – Flores/West, R.  Relating to state funding of courses offered for joint high school and junior college credit.

 

Amends Education Code by adding Section 42.005(g) and repeals Section 130.008(d).  This bill repeals the section that requires the commissioner of education and the commissioner of higher education to develop a mechanism to identify and eliminate duplication of state funding for courses taken for joint high school and junior college credit. Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

 

HB 425 – Christian/West, R.  Relating to procedures to help ensure that certain state agency actions are consistent with the meaning and intent of applicable legislative enactments.

 

Amends Government Code, Sections 2001.024(a), 2001.032, and 2001.033; adds Section 322.015.  This bill requires each state agency before giving notice of intention to adopt a rule to determine whether the proposed rule is consistent with the legislative history in enacting or otherwise affecting the law and by informing the primary author and sponsor of the legislation that the rule is being considered.  Each state agency is required to deliver a copy of the proposed rules to the author and sponsor of the legislation.  Effective date:  Vetoed.

 

 

HB 529 - Brown, B./Deuell.  Relating to the ineligibility of a delinquent child support obligor to receive state-funded or state-administered student financial assistance.

 

Amends Family Code, Section 231.006.  These amendments prohibit an individual who is a child support obligor who is more than six months delinquent in paying child support from receiving state-funded or state-administered student financial assistance.  The obligor may file a sworn affidavit stating the obligor is current on the payments and a written statement requesting that the records be corrected in order to avoid the finding of ineligible.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

 

HB 627 – Reyna/Deuell.  Relating to an area quarantine in response to the introduction of an environmental or toxic agent into the environment; providing a criminal penalty.

 

Amends Health and Safety Code by adding Chapter 508.  This bill defines environmental or toxic agent as any bacterium or other disease-producing organism, toxic substance, radioactive substance, or other hazardous substance capable of causing widespread human illness, death, or substantial negative economic impact.  The commissioner of health or another health authority may establish an area quarantine if a determination is made that an environmental or toxic agent has been introduced into the environment.  This bill establishes a criminal penalty for an individual who violates an area quarantine established by the commissioner of health or a health authority.  Effective date:  June 20, 2003.

 

 

HB 649 - Keffer, J./Estes.  Relating to creating an interagency work group on rural issues.

 

Amends Government Code, Section 487.054(a) and adds Section 487.0541.  This bill adds members (primarily executive directors or commissioners of state agencies) to the interagency work group on rural issues.  The commissioner of higher education is currently a member of this working group.  This group is required to meet annually to discuss rural issues and to provide information showing the impact each agency has on rural communities.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

 

HB 651 – Pitts/Williams.  Relating to the creation of a savings incentive program for state agencies.

 

Amends Government Code by adding Sections 2108.101-2108.104.  This bill requires a state agency that spends less undedicated general revenue derived from nonfederal sources than is appropriated to the agency for a fiscal year to send notice to the comptroller before October 30th of the savings realized.  The comptroller shall verify the amount.  The affected agency will be allowed to retain one-fourth of the amount of the savings, not to exceed one percent of the amount of undedicated general revenue derived from nonfederal sources appropriated to the agency for the fiscal year.  Savings retained may only be appropriated by the legislature to the agency.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

 

HB 736 – Denny/Shapiro.  Relating to use of the internal mail system of a governmental agency to deliver political advertising; providing a criminal penalty.

 

Amends Election Code by adding Section 255.0031.  This bill creates a new criminal offense for use of the internal mail system of a state agency for the distribution of political advertising.  This would not apply to distribution of mail received through the United States Postal Service.  The offense is a Class A misdemeanor.  State agency is defined to include a university system or an institution of higher education.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

 

HB 826 - Davis, Y./Carona.  Relating to the disposition of certain unclaimed wage payments.

 

Amends Labor Code by adding Sections 61.101-61.104 and Property Code, Sections 74.001(a), 74.101(a) and 74.301(a).  This bill amends the procedures relating to disposition of unclaimed wages or wage payments made by check based upon the amount of the check (whether it is for $100 or less or whether it is for greater than $100).  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

 

HB 845 – Howard/Carona.  Relating to preferences in state purchasing.

 

Amends Government Code, Sections 2155.444 and 2155.445.  This bill establishes purchasing preferences for Texas bidders and recycled steel products for those state agencies that are subject to the Texas Building and Procurement Commission purchasing statutes.  Higher education institutions are exempt from those statutes.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

 

HB 882 – Christian/Staples.  Relating to student center fees at Stephen F. Austin State University.

 

Amends Education Code, Section 54.520.  This bill authorizes an increase in the university center fees from $15 per student per semester to an amount of 9$ for each semester credit hour, in a total amount of at least $35 but not to exceed $85 per student for each semester.  It expands the purposes for which the fees may be used to include acquiring, constructing, or renovating the center.  A decision to levy a fee will require a majority vote of the students participating in a general student election called for that purpose.  Effective date:  June 20, 2003.

 

 

HB 898 – Hamilton/Staples.  Relating to the use of state travel services by public junior colleges and school districts.

 

Amends Government Code, Section 2171.055 by adding Subsection (f).  This bill allows an officer or employee of a public junior college or a school district who is engaged in official business to participate in the Texas Building and Procurement Commission’s contracts for travel services.  The bill restricts reimbursements for these employees for travel services to the applicable amounts determined by the Comptroller’s state travel allowance guide.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

 

HB 944 – King/Estes.  Relating to the admission to public institutions of higher education of students with nontraditional secondary educations.

 

Amends Education Code by adding Section 51.9241.  Nontraditional secondary education is defined as a course of study at the secondary school level in a non-accredited private school setting, including a home school.  This bill requires an institution of higher education to treat an applicant for admission to the institution as an undergraduate if the student presents evidence that the person has successfully completed a nontraditional secondary education according to the same general standards as other applicants who have graduated from a public high school.  The institution is prohibited from requiring the applicant to obtain or submit evidence that the person has obtained a general education development certificate, certificate of high school equivalency, or other credentials equivalent to a public high school degree; or take an examination or comply with any other requirement not generally applicable to other applicants for undergraduate admission.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

 

HB 1053 – Rodriguez/Ellis, R.  Relating to the confidentiality of social security numbers in certain circumstances.

                                                                 

Amends Civil Practice and Remedies Code by adding Sections 145.001-145.005.  These new sections do not apply to governmental bodies subject to the Public Information Act.  The bill prohibits the public display, transmission, or printing of an individual’s social security number unless required by state or federal law.  These new sections do not apply to court records or public records.  The bill does have an exception for institutions of higher education, but the exception references a section of new law that was not adopted by the legislature.  See SB 473, Ellis and SB 611, Nelson.  Effective date:  Vetoed.

 

 

HB 1055 – Luna/Hinojosa.  Relating to an intercollegiate athletics fee at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

 

Amends Education Code, by adding Section 54.5391.  This bill authorizes the board of regents of the Texas A&M University System to impose an intercollegiate athletics fee on each student enrolled at Texas A&M University—Corpus Christi.  The fee cannot exceed $8 per semester credit hour for each semester or summer session unless the amount is approved by a majority vote of the students participating in a general student election or, if the amount of the increase does not exceed five percent, by a majority of the legislative body of the student government of the university.  The fee is capped with a 13 semester credit hour limit on the charge.  Effective date:  May 20, 2003.

 

 

HB 1075 – McCall/Ellis, R.  Relating to criminal history record information for state agency information technology personnel.

 

Amends Government Code by adding Section 411.1405.  This bill applies to all state agencies, including a university system or institution of higher education.  Prior to obtaining criminal history information, each state agency is required to adopt policies and procedures that provide that evidence of a criminal conviction or other relevant information obtained from the criminal history information does not automatically disqualify an individual from employment.  The attorney general is required to review the policies and is allowed to charge for the review. The elements of the policies and procedures are set forth in the new section.  The bill allows a state agency to obtain from the Department of Public Safety the criminal history information maintained by the department that relates to a person who is an employee, applicant for employment, contractor, subcontractor, or intern or other volunteer with the state agency or with a contractor or subcontractor for the agency, and has access to information resources or information resources technologies, other than a desktop computer or telephone station assigned to the person.  The state agency is prohibited from releasing or disclosing the information except in certain situations.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

 

HB 1171 – Madden/Ratliff.  Relating to the notice required to be given to a governmental entity to recover in a suit on a payment bond.

 

Amends Government Code, Section 2253.027.  This amendment applies when a governmental entity fails to obtain from the prime contractor a payment bond.  The governmental entity is subject to the same liability that a surety would be liable if a payment bond had been procured and the only notice that will be required is written notice mailed on or before the fifteenth day of the third month after each month in which any of the claimed labor was performed or any of the claimed material was delivered.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

 

HB 1297 – Allen/Armbrister.  Relating to limits on indemnification of state employees and officials.

 

Amends Civil Practice and Remedies Code, Section 104.003.  This bill adds a definition for “occurrence.”  A claim arises out of a single occurrence, if the claim arises from a common nucleus of operative facts, regardless of the number of claimants or the number of separate acts or omissions.  Effective date:  June 20, 2003.

 

 

HB 1306 – Marchant/Wentworth.  Relating to the confidentiality of certain information relating to real property purchased or sold by certain state entities.

 

Amends Natural Resources Code, Section 11.084 and Education Code, Section 51.961(a).  Current law protects information relating to the sale of real property by the School Land Board, Veterans’ Land Board, land office, Land Commissioner or an institution of higher education until a formal award of a contract for the purchase or sale of the property is executed.  This bill extends the period of confidentiality until a deed has been executed.  Effective date:  June 20, 2003.

 

 

HB 1363 – Crownover/Estes.  Relating to funding for the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science.

 

Amends Education Code, Section 105.301(e).  This bill changes the funding for the Texas Academic of Mathematics and Science at the University of North Texas.  The bill removes the requirement that the academy have a local share applied that is equivalent to the local fund adjustment for the Denton Independent School District.  The bill develops a new formula for funding the academy.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

 

HB 1420 – Hardcastle/Madla.  Relating to the use of a portion of medical school tuition for student loan repayment assistance for physicians.

 

Amends Education Code, Section 61.539.  Current law requires each medical school to set aside two percent of the tuition charges for resident students to fund the physician loan repayment program.  This bill expands that set aside to add two percent of the tuition charges for each medical student.

 

The bill requires the comptroller to prepare a report for the fiscal year of the number of students registered in each medical school, the total amount of tuition charges collected, the total amount transferred to the treasury for the student loan repayment program for physicians, and the total amount available for repayment of student loans of physicians.  The comptroller is required to deliver the report to the Governor, Lt. Governor, and Speaker not later than January 1.  Effective date:  June 18, 2003.

 

 

HB 1483 – Allen/Nelson.  Relating to the regulation of the practice of nursing by the Boards of Nurse Examiners and to the abolition of the Board of Vocational Nurse Examiners and the transfer of the functions of that agency to the Board of Nurse Examiners.

 

Amends Occupations Code, Chapter 301 and repeals Chapter 302.  This bill combines the jurisdiction of the Board of Nurse Examiners and the Board of Vocational Nurse Examiners.  The bill establishes a single licensing act to regulate the practice of nursing in Texas.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

 

HB 1537 – Dukes/Barrientos.  Relating to a fee for statues of Barbara Jordan and Cesar Chavez and related scholarships at the University of Texas at Austin.

 

Amends Education Code by adding Section 54.5135.  This bill authorizes the board of regents of the University of Texas System to charge and collect from students registered at UT Austin a fee of $2 for any semester or summer session until August 31, 2007, to construct a statue of Barbara Jordan and Cesar Chavez.  If additional monies from these fees exist, the bill authorizes the institution to create scholarships in the names of these individuals.  Effective date:  June 20, 2003.

 

 

HB 1566 – Telford/Ratliff.  Relating to lower-division and upper-division courses offered by Texas A&M University-Texarkana.

 

Amends Education Code, Section 87.571.  This bill removes the designation on Texas A&M University—Texarkana as an upper-level institution.  The institution is authorized to offer lower-division courses.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

 

HB 1567 – West, B./Bivins.  Relating to the disposal of low-level radioactive waste; authorizing the exercise of the power of eminent domain.

 

Amends Health and Safety Code, Chapters 401 and 403; repeals Chapter 402.  This bill allows the Department of Health to issue a license to a private company to construct and administer the low-level radioactive waste disposal facility.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

                                                                 

HB 1576 – Gallego/Shapleigh.  Relating to the telecommunications planning and oversight council.

 

Amends Government Code, Sections 2054.201 and 2054.206, and adds Sections 2054.2025.  Repeals Government Code, Section 2054.205(c).  This bill adds a representative of the Health and Human Services Commission to the telecommunications planning and oversight council.  The bill also eliminates any liability of a member of the council in a civil action for an act performed in good faith.  The bill develops staggered terms for the members of the council.  Effective date:  June 20, 2003.

 

 

 

 

 

 

HB 1606 – Wolens/Ellis, R.  Relating to ethics of public servants, including the functions and duties of the Texas Ethics Commission; the regulation of political contributions, political advertising, lobbying, and conduct of public servants; and the reporting of political contributions and personal financial information; providing civil and criminal penalties.

                                                                 

This bill amends numerous sections of the Government Code, Local Government Code and Election Code.  The bill amends the section regarding financial disclosures by state officers and employees by adding to the list of required information the identification by name and the category of the number of shares of any mutual fund held, acquired or sold.  The amendments expand the list of individuals required to file financial disclosures by adding school board members and municipal officers.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

                                                                 

 

HB 1621 – Flores/West, R.  Relating to use of certain fees and tuition charged by public junior colleges and to the waiver of a portion of the tuition and fees for a student enrolled in a course for joint high school-junior college credit.

                                                                 

Amends Education Code, Sections 56.033(a), 130.008(b) and (c), and 130.123(e).  This bill authorizes a junior college to waive all or part of the tuition and fees for high school students enrolled in a course for which the student may receive joint credit.  The amendments increase the amount of tuition at junior colleges that may be pledged to the payment of bonds and refines the amount of tuition at junior colleges that is set aside for the TPEG program to exclude out-of-district charges.  Effective date:  June 20, 2003.

 

                                                                 

HB 1649 – Mercer/Van de Putte.  Relating to student fees charged at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

 

Amends Education Code by adding Sections 54.5321 and 54.5322. This bill authorizes the board of regents of the University of Texas System to impose on each student enrolled at UT at San Antonio a transportation fee not to exceed $50 for each regular semester and not to exceed $25 for each summer session for the sole purpose of financing transportation services for students at the institution.

 

The bill also authorizes the board of regents to impose a mandatory intercollegiate athletics fee on each student enrolled at the institution in an amount not to exceed $7 per semester credit hour for each regular semester, not to exceed a total of $84 per semester.  Neither of these fees can be increased unless the amount of the increase is approved by a majority vote of the students participating in a general student election held for that purpose.  Effective date:  June 20, 2003.

 

                                                                 

HB 1650 – Mercer/Van de Putte.  Relating to student fees charged at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

                                                                 

Amends Education Code, Section 54.532(a) and 54.543.  This bill authorizes the board of regents of the University of Texas System to establish a new maximum amount for the student union fee at UT at San Antonio of $150 for each semester or summer session.  The bill also authorizes an increase in the maximum amount for the institution’s recreational facility fee to an amount not to exceed $100.  Neither of these fees can be increased unless the amount of the increase is approved by a majority of the students participating in a general student election held for that purpose.  Effective date:  June 20, 2003.

 

                                                                 

HB 1817 – Ritter/Duncan.  Relating to student fees at institutions in the Texas State University System.

                                                                 

Amends Education Code, Sections 54.5089, 54.511, 54.523, and 54.538.  This bill authorizes the board of regents of the Texas State University System to establish increased caps for the medical services fee, the student center fees, the recreational sports fee, and the student bus service fee for the components of TSUS.  The medical services fee cap increases from $55 to $100; the student bus service fee cap increases from $46 to $100; the student center fee cap increases from $70 to $100; and the recreational sports fee cap increases from $50 to $100.  Effective date:  June 20, 2003.

 

                                                                 

HB 1877 – Hardcastle/Madla.  Relating to creating the rural physician relief program.

                                                                 

Amends Education Code, Section 61.0899; Government Code, Chapter 487; and Health and Safety Code, Chapter 110; repeals Sections 106.025(a), 106.029, and 106.043(b).  This bill authorizes the Office of Rural Community Affairs to establish a rural physician relief program for physicians practicing in communities in a county with a population of less than 50,000 or a medically underserved area.  The program will be supported by fees paid by rural physicians who participate in the program and any gifts, grants, donations, or contributions received.  The bill has several other amendments that are cleanup amendments transferring rural heath care programs to the Office of Rural Community Affairs.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

                                                                 

HB 1882 – Deshotel/Lucio.  Relating to incentives for certain high schools and high school students to participate in and to student eligibility requirements under the Early High School Graduation Scholarship program.

                                                                 

Amends Education Code, Sections 28.025, 56.202—56.207; 54.213(b) and adds Section 56.2075.  This bill expands the Early High School Graduation Scholarship Program to provide assistance for tuition and mandatory fees; currently only tuition.  The amendments change the eligibility criteria by requiring that a student complete the advanced or recommended high school curriculum.  The amendments lengthen the time period from thirty-six consecutive months to forty-one consecutive months for the student to complete the high school curriculum.  If the student has at least thirty hours of college credit, the student may have forty-five months to get the high school diploma.  The amendments also increase the amount of the scholarship:

 

1.        $2,000 for 36 months in high school and an additional $1,000 if the student graduated with 15 hours of college credits;

2.        $500 for 36-41 months in high school and an additional $1,000 if the person graduated with at least 30 hours of college credits; or

3.        $1,000 for 41-45 months in high school with at least 30 hours of college credit.

 

The bill provides for a one-time credit for public schools for certain students graduating eligible for this scholarship program.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

                                                                 

HB 1887 – Morrison/Ratliff.  Relating to funds received by institutions of higher education to cover overhead expenses of conducting research.

                                                                 

Amends Education Code, Section 145.001(c).  This bill eliminates the current requirement that not more than fifty percent of the funds for indirect cost recovery be used in the General Appropriations Act to reduce the amount of general revenue an institution receives.  Thus, general academic institutions will be treated like the health related institutions by retaining 100 percent of indirect cost recoveries from research grants and contracts without a reduction to its general revenue funding.  Effective date:  June 18, 2003.

 

                                                                 

HB 1890 – Morrison/Williams.  Relating to tuition rebates to certain undergraduate students who graduate from an institution of higher education without excessive semester credit hours.

                                                                 

Amends Education Code, Section 54.0065(a).  Current law counts transfer credits and course credit earned exclusively by examination in the number of hours attempted when determining if a student is eligible for the $1,000 rebate of undergraduate tuition.  This bill limits the number of hours attempted for course credit earned exclusively by examination to the number of hours in excess of nine semester credit hours.  Effective date:  June 20, 2003.

 

                                                                 

HB 1941 – Woolley/Ellis, R.  Relating to authorizing the issuance of revenue bonds to finance certain facilities and projects at certain public institutions of higher education and exempting the facilities and projects financed by the bonds from prior approval by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

                                                                 

Amends Education Code, Sections 55.1732(a), 61.0572(e) and 61.058(b); adds Sections 55.1741, 55.1742, and 55.1743.  This bill authorizes the board of regents of the UT System to issue tuition revenue bonds in an amount not to exceed $20 million for a biotechnology research and development facility at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center; in a principal amount not to exceed $56 million to finance a biomedical research facility at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas; and in an amount not to exceed $64.9 million to cover damage caused by Tropical Storm Allison and to replace research and academic facilities lost in Tropical Storm Allison.

 

The bill authorizes the Texas A&M University System board of regents to issue tuition revenue bonds in a principal amount not to exceed $12.5 million to finance facilities for Texas A&M International University.

 

This bill also authorizes the board of regents of the University of Houston System to issue tuition revenue bonds in an amount not to exceed $25 million.  The purpose of these bonds is to recover losses due to Tropical Storm Allison.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

                                                                 

HB 2001 – Dutton/Harris.  Relating to notice to an employer of a court order requiring an employee to provide medical support for the employee’s child; providing penalties.

                                                                 

Amends Family Code, Sections 154.186 and 154.187.  This bill requires the state’s Title IV-D agency to use the national medical support notice to notify employers of their duty to comply with the medical support for the employee’s child when an obligor is ordered to provide health insurance coverage for a child.  The employer is required to comply with the requirements of the notice.  Effective date:  July 1, 2003.

 

                                                                 

HB 2019 – Griggs/Harris.  Relating to the creation of a state advisory council with authority to promote research, education, treatment, and support activities related to persons with traumatic brain injuries.

 

Amends Health and Safety Code, Chapter 92.  This bill establishes the Texas Traumatic Brain Injury Advisory Council that will be composed of designated representatives from various state agencies and consumer and professional members appointed by the commissioner of health and human services to inform and recommend to state leaders policies and programs that will aid persons with a traumatic brain injury and their primary family care givers.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

                                                                 

HB 2032 – Hochberg/Wentworth.  Relating to the confidentiality of e-mail addresses under the public information law and legislative use of certain confidential information; creating an offense.

                                                                 

Amends Government Code, Sections 552.137 and 552.352.  This bill provides exceptions to the Public Information Act regarding the confidentiality of e-mail addresses.  The exceptions apply to e-mail addresses provided by contractors, vendors, respondents to a request for bids or proposals with a governmental body, or e-mail addresses provided to a governmental body that are shown on a letterhead, coversheet, printed document, or other documents made available to the public.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

                                                                 

HB 2033 – Menendez/Fraser.  Relating to historically underutilized businesses that perform investment brokerage services for a state agency.

                                                                 

Amends Government Code, Section 2161.001 by adding subdivision (4).  This bill defines contract to include an arrangement under which a state agency receives professional or investment brokerage services.  This amendment requires state agencies to use the HUB statutes when procuring professional or investment brokerage services.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

                                                                 

HB 2044 – McReynolds/Staples.  Relating to the powers and duties of the General Land Office and the accounting and disposition of state-owned real property.

                                                                 

Amends Natural Resources Code, Chapters 31, 51 and 53.  This bill clarifies the powers and duties of the General Land Office and in particular, the asset management division of the General Land Office regarding accounting for and disposition of state-owned real property.  The bill continues the authority of institutions of higher education to maintain the inventory records of the real property owned by each institution.  The bill continues the exemption for real property of an institution of higher education from the review and verification by the asset management division regarding property that is unused or substantially underused.  Effective date:  June 20, 2003.

 

                                                                 

HB 2081 –McReynolds/Ratliff.  Relating to an exemption from the Engineering Practices Act for certain public works.

                                                                 

Amends Occupations Code, Section 1001.053.  Currently, certain public work projects that involve structural engineering are exempt from the Texas Engineering Practice Act depending on the value of the completed project.  This amendment requires all structural engineering projects to comply with the Engineering Practice Act.  Effective date:  June 18, 2003.

 

                                                                 

HB 2116 - Brown, F./Ogden.  Relating to the operation of Texas Task Force 1.

                                                                 

Amends Education Code by adding Sections 88.301—88.303 and Labor Code, Sections 408.0445, 501.001(5) and 501.002.  This bill establishes the Texas Task Force 1 as a program of the Texas Engineering Extension Service to provide training and responding to assist in search, rescue, and recovery efforts following natural or man-made disasters.  The purpose of the bill is to provide members of the task force with employee benefits during state-activated deployments.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

                                                                 

HB 2169 – Telford/Shapiro.  Relating to the payment of retirement benefits to retirees who are employed by certain public educational institutions and to the participation of the commissioner of education in certain state retirement systems.

                                                                 

Amends Government Code, Section 824.601 and adds Section 822.0015.  This bill defines third-party entity to mean an entity retained by a Texas public educational institution to provide personnel to the institution that perform duties or provides services that employees of the institution would otherwise perform or provide.  A retiree in the Teacher Retirement System is not entitled to a benefit payment if the retiree is employed by a third-party entity and performs duties or provides services on behalf of or for the benefit of the institution.  Effective date:  June 20, 2003.

 

                                                                 

HB 2240 – Paxton/Harris, C.  Relating to the management of certain trusts and the adoption of the Uniform Prudent Investor Act.

                                                                 

Amends Property Code, Sections 111.004, 113.006, 113.053, 113.055, 113.056, 114.001 and adds Chapter 117; Education Code, Section 45.107; Government Code, Sections 815.307, 825.301, 840.303, and 845.301; Probate Code, Sections 333(b) and 856(a).  Repeals Property Code, Sections 113.003, 113.056(b) and (c), and 113.060.  This bill establishes the Uniform Prudent Investor Act and sets forth the prudent investor rule, rather than prudent person rule, as the default rule for investments.  Effective date:  January 1, 2004.

 

                                                                 

HB 2241 –Paxton/Harris, C.  Relating to adoption of the Uniform Principal and Income Act.

                                                                 

Amends Property Code by adding Chapter 116.  This bill establishes the Uniform Principal and Income Act regarding trusts.  Effective date:  January 1, 2004.

 

                                                                 

HB 2251 – Flores/Van de Putte.  Relating to allowing supplemental pay for members of the Texas National Guard who are called to active duty when active duty service imposes an economic hardship.

                                                                 

Amends Government Code, Section 431.082 and adds Section 431.0821.  This bill authorizes the comptroller to establish an account in the general revenue fund to make payments to members of the Texas National Guard who are called to active duty and suffer an economic hardship as a result of serving on active duty.  The adjunct general will determine eligibility and the amount of supplemental pay members should receive.  The adjunct general is required to adopt rules to implement this section.  Effective date:  June 18, 2003.

 

                                                                 

HB 2292 – Wohlgemuth/Nelson.  Relating to the provision of health and human services in this state, including the powers and duties of the Health and Human Services Commission and other state agencies; providing penalties.

                                                                 

Amends numerous sections of several codes, including Education, Section 51.933; Government Code, Section 466.408 (b); Human Resources Code, Section 32.0315(a); and Health and Safety Code by adding Chapter 112, and Section 161.0041.  This bill reduces the current allocation of $40 million to $20 million in unclaimed lottery prize money appropriated to the University of Texas Medical Branch and allocates $5 million of the remaining money to the hospitals located in the border counties for inpatient hospital services and any remaining money is to be deposited in general revenue.  This eliminates funding for other tertiary care facilities.  The bill also makes graduate medical education funding dependent on an appropriation of state funds.

 

The bill also establishes the border health foundation.  A board of five directors appointed by the Texas Board of Health will govern the foundation.  The foundation will be required to raise money from other foundations, governmental entities, and other sources to finance health programs in this state in areas adjacent to the border with the United Mexican States.   The bill will authorize an institution of higher education to contract with the foundation to finance these health care programs.

 

This bill also amends the section relating to immunization required before a person is admitted to an institution of higher education.  Current law allows a physician to sign an affidavit stating that the immunization required would be injurious to the health and well-being of the applicant or allows an affidavit signed by the applicant or the applicant’s parent or guardian stating that the immunization conflicts with the tenets and practice of the applicant’s religious denomination.  These amendments lessen the requirements of the affidavit from the physician to only state that the physician believes the immunization poses a significant risk to the applicant and the affidavit from the applicant or the applicant’s parent or guardian must state that the applicant declines immunization for reasons of conscience, including a religious belief.  The affidavit must be on forms prepared by the Department of Health.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

 

HB 2359 – Ritter/Armbrister.  Relating to the programs and systems administered by the Employees Retirement System of Texas.

                                                                 

Amends Government Code, Chapters 609, 615, 659, 811, 812, 813, 814, 815, 838 and 840; Insurance Code, Sections 1551.063(a), 1551.102(d), 1551.209, 1551.351(d), 1551.355(b), 1551.356, 1551.357, and 1551.359; repeals eight sections of the Government regarding ERS statutes and Insurance Code, Section 1551.054.  This bill clarifies existing laws relating to the employee retirement system by making minor changes in an attempt to make the benefits of the retirement system more uniform and consistent.  Amendments to the Insurance Code include an amendment regarding retirees under the optional retirement program by requiring at least ten years of eligible service in order to qualify for health insurance as a retiree.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

                                                                 

HB 2376 – Elkins/Averitt.  Relating to the correction or removal from the statutes of obsolete references regarding the surety bonds of state officers and employees.

                                                                 

This bill amends over thirty sections of the various codes including Education Code, Section 51.203(d) and 88.103, and repeals 4 other sections.  This bill eliminates the requirement that a peace officer employed by an institution of higher education furnish a $1,000 surety bond.  The amendments also eliminate the requirement that an individual whose service as a notary public is performed primarily as a state officer or employee execute a $10,000 notary bond.  The bill brings the statutes into conformity with the bill passed by the 77th Legislature giving the State Office of Risk Management authority regarding surety bonds for all state officers and employees.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

                                                                 

HB 2379 – Hill/Shapiro.  Relating to the recreational facility fee charged at the University of Texas at Dallas.

                                                                 

Amends Education Code, Section 54.544.  This bill increases the cap on the current recreational facility fee at the University of Texas at Dallas from $40 to $65 for a regular term and from $26.67 to $43.33 for a summer session.  Effective date:  June 20, 2003.

 

                                                                 

HB 2397 – Corte/Williams.  Relating to a vendor’s or subcontractor’s remedy for nonpayment of certain contracts.

                                                                 

Amends Government Code, Section 2251.002(a) and adds Sections 2251.004 and 2251.051-2251.055.  These amendments authorize a vendor to suspend performance of a contract with a governmental entity if the governmental entity has not paid the vendor an undisputed amount within the time limits and the vendor gives the governmental entity written notice that the governmental entity has not made payment and stating the intent of the vendor to suspend work.  The bill also authorizes a subcontractor to suspend performance if the vendor has not paid the subcontractor an undisputed amount within the time provided. The subcontractor is required to furnish the same notice as a contractor to the governmental entity.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

                                                                 

HB 2425 – McCall/Duncan.  Relating to state and certain local fiscal matters; making appropriations.

                                                                 

Amends numerous sections of various codes including Education Code, Sections 51.927, 53.02, 53.33, 53.34, 53.35(b), 53.48, 54.619, 54.624, and 55.1731(a); Government Code, Sections 403.020, 447.001-447.009, 659.104(a), 659.110, 659.131, 659.146, 659.150, 661.152(d), 2101.0115, 2113.205(b), 2251.025(b) and adds Sections 609.014 and 659.1031.  The bill amends the sections regarding energy savings performance contracts for institutions of higher education.  Current law allows these contracts to be procured under competitive sealed proposal procedures; this bill changes the procurement process to the same method for procuring professional services.

 

This bill does limit higher education authorities ability to acquire, own, operate, or lease educational and housing facilities unless the authorities meet the qualifications set forth in these amendments.  The bill adds additional requirements regarding notices to local taxing entities of planned facilities. 

 

The bill also authorizes the Prepaid Higher Education Tuition Board to suspend new enrollment in the program to ensure the actuarial soundness of the fund.  The amendments will also require public senior colleges to accept as payment in full of a student’s tuition and required fees the lesser of (1) the amount of the tuition and required fees charged by the institution or (2) the amount paid under the contract equal to the weighted average amount of tuition and required fees of all public senior colleges and universities for that semester or other academic period.  Each public senior college or university will be required to furnish to the Prepaid Higher Education Tuition Board on or before June 1 of each year the weighted average amount of tuition and required fees for the upcoming academic term. 

 

This bill authorizes the comptroller to conduct performance reviews of public junior colleges and general academic teaching institutions either on the initiative of the Governor or the Legislative Budget Board or the governing body or president of the institution.  Institutions will be required to pay twenty-five percent of the cost incurred in conducting the review in the same manner as public school districts.

 

This bill consolidates various sections regarding the State Energy Conservation Office and eliminates conflicting provisions.

 

This bill adds a new provision relating to employees of institutions of higher education participating in the group benefits program allowing them to participate only in the deferred compensation plan administered by the Employees Retirement System.  Another new provision authorizes employees of state agencies or institutions of higher education to allow a deduction from the employee’s salary for a membership fee in the Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education.

 

This bill also increases the vacation accrual by one hour per month and increases the fiscal year maximum vacation carry forward by twelve hours.  The bill changes the current permissive authority for an employee to use eight hours of sick leave each calendar year to allowing the employee to use eight hours of sick leave each fiscal year to attend parent-teacher conference sessions. 

 

Regarding the annual non-financial report that the comptroller currently prescribes the instructions for, the comptroller will be removed from that responsibility and will no longer receive a copy of the report.  The report will be due each December 31. 

 

The bill also establishes the rate of interest that will accrue on an overdue payment at the rate in effect on September 1 of the fiscal year in which the payment becomes due.  The rate in effect on September 1 is equal to the sum of one percent plus the prime rate as published in the Wall Street Journal on the first day of July of the preceding fiscal year that does not fall on a Saturday or Sunday.  Effective date:  June 20, 2003.

 

                                                                 

HB 2455 – Chisum/Nelson.  Relating to the governmental entities subject to, and the confidentiality of records under, the Sunset review process.

                                                                 

Amends numerous sections of various codes.  This bill requires the State Board for Educator Certification and the Texas Education Agency to enter into an agreement to consolidate SBEC’s administrative functions and services. 

 

This bill extends the time for the Sunset Commission review of the TexasOnline division, the electronic government program management office of the Department of Information Resources and the Equine Research Account Advisory Committee from a review currently scheduled for completion by September 1, 2005 to a review scheduled for September 1, 2009.  The Correctional Managed Health Care Committee is moved from a September 1, 2005 date to September 1, 2011.

 

This bill exempts working papers prepared or maintained by the Sunset Commission staff that are used or developed in the performance of its functions from the Public Information Act.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

                                                                 

HB 2457 – Rangel/Lucio.  Relating to an intercollegiate athletics fee at Texas A&M University-Kingsville.

                                                                 

Amends Education Code by adding Section 54.5392.  This bill authorizes the board of regents of the Texas A&M University System to impose an intercollegiate athletic fee on each student enrolled at Texas A&M University—Kingsville in an amount not to exceed $12 per semester credit hour for each semester or summer session.  An increase in the fee requires the approval of a majority vote of the students participating in a general student election.  The maximum number of hours for any student paying the fee is 13 semester credit hours.  Effective date:  June 18, 2003.

 

                                                                 

HB 2485 – Hochberg/Ratliff.  Relating to internal auditing of state agencies.

                                                                 

Amends Government Code, Section 2102.004 and adds Sections 2102.013 and 2102.014.  The new sections in this bill do not apply to state agencies with an annual operating budget that exceeds $10 million, or has more than 100 full-time employees, or receives and processes more than $10 million in cash.  These new sections require the smaller state agencies to annually conduct a formal risk assessment consisting of an executive management review of agency functions, activities, and processes instead of a fall internal audit.  These state agencies will be required to submit the written risk assessment to the state auditor in the form and at the time prescribed by the state auditor.  After the state auditor evaluates the reports, the auditor may recommend to the Governor that agencies with significant financial, managerial, or compliance risk be ordered to conduct an audit.  Effective date:  June 18, 2003.

 

                                                                 

HB 2522 – Krusee/Ogden.  Relating to financing authority for certain institutions of higher education for facilities.

                                                                 

Amends Education Code, Sections 55.1735(a), 61.0572(e), and 61.058(b) and adds Section 55.1744.  This bill authorizes the board of regents of the Texas State University System to issue tuition revenue bonds in an amount not to exceed $27 million to finance the facilities for the Southwest Texas State University MITC located in Round Rock, Texas. 

 

The bill authorizes the board of regents of the University of North Texas System to issue $52,933,750 (previously authorized by 77th Legislature) in tuition revenue bonds to finance the facilities of the UNT System Center at Dallas.  Effective date:  June 20, 2003.

 

 

HB 2622 – Allen/Deuell.  Relating to certain governmental agency and private entity access to and use of criminal history record information maintained by the Department of Public Safety.

                                                                 

Amends numerous sections of the Government Code including Section 411.094(d).  Currently, institutions of higher education are permitted to obtain criminal history record information for applicants and employees in security-sensitive positions.  Current law protects any conviction information from release except on court order.  This amendment would protect the total criminal history record information from release or disclosure except on court order.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

 

 

                                                                 

HB 2650 – Kuempel/Armbrister.  Relating to the creation of a council to oversee the implementation of a statewide integrated public safety radio communications system for public safety and homeland security purposes.

                                                                 

Amends Government Code, by adding Section 411.0105.  This bill establishes the Public Safety Radio Communications Council composed of the administrative heads or designees of several state agencies.  The council is required to advise the Department of Public Safety in the development and administration of a strategic plan to design and implement statewide integrated public safety communications systems for state agencies and other state public safety entities that promotes interoperability within and between local, state, and federal agencies.  Effective date:  June 21, 2003.

 

                                                                 

HB 2933 – Flores/Barrientos.  Relating to the abolition of the Commission on Human Rights and the transfer of its functions to the Texas Workforce Commission.

                                                                 

Amends Labor Code by adding Sections 21.0015 and 301.151-301.156; Property Code by adding 301.0015; repeals Labor Code, Sections 21.002(2) and (3); Property Code, Sections 301.003(3), 301.061 and 301.064; Government Code, Chapter 461.  This bill transfers the Commission on Human Rights to the Texas Workforce Commission.  Effective date:  Contingent upon certification by the appropriate federal agency.

 

                                                                 

HB 2947 – Casteel/Armbrister.  Relating to state agency decentralization of services.

                                                                 

Amends Local Government Code by adding Section 391.0091 and Government Code by adding Section 2001.041.  This bill requires state agencies that determine to decentralize a service to public entities or nonprofit organizations to use the regional planning commission for the region in planning the decentralization.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

                                                                 

HB 2971 - Harper-Brown/Deuell.  Relating to the registration of vehicles and the issuance of license plates by the Texas Department of Transportation; providing penalties.

 

Amends Transportation Code by adding Chapter 504 and repeals Subchapter F, Chapter 502.  This bill is a total rewrite of the specialized license plates section of the code.  The new section 504.615 is designated collegiate license plates.  It will authorize the Department of Transportation to issue a license plate for a college only after the college certifies to the department that it has determined that at least 1,500 persons will apply for the plates.  It does make a provision for the money collected for the license plates to be deposited to the credit of the institution of higher education designated on the plates, and the monies generated are supplementary and are not income for the purposes of reducing general revenue appropriations to that institution.

 

The bill also authorizes the department to discontinue an institution’s collegiate license plate if prior to September 1, 2004, the institution is unable to certify that 1,500 license plates have been issued or presold, or $15,000 has been received by the department for the issuance of the license plates for that institution, or $15,000 has been deposited with the department for the continued issuance of the license plates for that institution.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

                     

HB 3011 – Capelo/Hinojosa.  Relating to certain reports, information, or records related to certain health care facilities.

                                                                 

Amends Health and Safety Code, Section 161.0315 by adding Subsection (f).  This bill affords the same rights to a medical peer review committee formed by the governing body of a hospital district that other health care entities and their medical peer review committees have.  This includes the confidentiality of reports compiled by the committee.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

                                                                 

HB 3015 – Morrison/Shapiro.  Relating to the tuition and fees charged to students of institutions of higher education, to financial assistance funded by tuition, and to reports of availability and access by institutions of higher education.

                                                                 

Amends Education Code, Sections 54.0513(a) and (b), and 54.624; adds Sections 54.0515, 56.011-56.013, and 51.4031.  This bill amends the designated tuition section and authorizes the governing board of an institution to establish a tuition rate that the board considers appropriate and necessary for the effective operation of the institution.  The bill authorizes the governing board to set a different tuition rate for varying programs, course levels, and varying times of the day.  The bill requires the governing board to set aside not less than 20% of a resident undergraduate tuition charge in excess of $46 per semester credit hour.  These monies will be used to provide financial assistance for resident undergraduate students who establish financial need in accordance with rules and procedures established by the Coordinating Board.  The assistance may be in the form of grants, scholarships, work-study programs, student loans, and student loan repayment assistance.

 

The bill requires the governing board to set aside not less than 15% of tuition charged to a resident student enrolled in a graduate or professional degree program in excess of $46 per semester credit hour.  These funds will be used to provide financial assistance for resident students enrolled in these programs who establish financial need according to the Coordinating Board rules.

 

The bill establishes a legislative oversight committee on higher education composed of six members of the Senate and six members of the House of Representatives.  As a condition of tuition deregulation as authorized by this bill, each institution will be required to implement procedures that allow for satisfactory progress towards the goals of “Closing the Gaps” and meet performance criteria, including graduation rates, retention rates, enrollment growth, educational quality, efforts to enhance minority participation, opportunities for financial assistance, and affordability.  The committee will meet at the call of the chair and monitor and regularly report to the legislature on each institution’s compliance with these requirements.

 

The amendments will require public senior colleges to accept as payment in full of a student’s tuition and required fees the lesser of (1) the amount of the tuition and required fees charged by the institution or (2) the amount paid under the contract equal to the weighted average amount of tuition and required fees of all public senior colleges and universities for that semester or other academic period.  Each public senior college or university will be required to furnish to the Prepaid Higher Education Tuition Board on or before June 1 of each year the weighted average amount of tuition and required fees for the upcoming academic term.

 

Not later than November 1 of each year, the chief executive officer of the institution of each institution of higher education shall provide to the governing board a report regarding the affordability and access of the institution.  The report shall include statistical information on the percentage of the gross family income required for resident students to attend the institution, criteria used to determine admissions to the institutions, an analysis of the criteria used for admissions and financial assistance and comparisons in terms of affordability and access with peer institutions inside and outside of the state.  The Coordinating Board will prescribe the form for the report.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

                                                                 

HB 3024 – Casteel/Armbrister.  Relating to increasing governmental efficiency through the reduction of duplicative reporting and auditing requirements.

 

Amends Government Code by adding Section 783.010.  This bill requires state agencies that require reports of local governments to review the reporting requirements placed on local governments and determine and eliminate unnecessary, duplicative, or overly burdensome reporting requirements and simplify reporting requirements.  Effective date:  June 20, 2003.

 

 

HB 3042 - Cook, R./Ellis, R.  Relating to the administration and functions of the Texas Building and Procurement Commission and related matters.

 

Amends Government Code, Chapters 2151, 2152, 2155, 2157, 2162, 2165, 2166, 2167, 2171, 2172, 2175, 2261, and 2262.  This bill amends technical sections regarding the Building and Procurement Commission administration including the number of times the commission meets, representation of the executive director or his designee on committees, the appropriate number of associate deputy directors, and the operation of a central supply store permissive.

 

This bill requires state agencies to report to the Building and Procurement Commission on a monthly basis regarding the vehicle fleet reporting system.  Currently, agencies are required to report not more than twice a year.

 

The vehicle fleet management plan of each state agency must address the procedures to handle surplus or salvage property.  The amendments require a state agency to transfer surplus or salvage vehicles identified in the plan to the commission to dispose of the surplus or salvage vehicle subject to Chapter 2175.  Higher education institutions are exempt of that Chapter. 

 

This bill eliminates the requirements for written comments by the General Land Office regarding leases executed by the Building and Procurement Commission.

 

This bill reduces the statutory requirement regarding square feet per agency employee for each agency site from 153 square feet per employee to 135 square feet.  This requirement does not apply to institutions of higher education.

 

The bill transfers the responsibility for preparing a contract management guide for state agencies from the attorney general to the BPC.  Currently, institutions of higher education are exempt from the requirements of the contract management program. 

 

One amendment in this bill is a new section stating that the general purchasing statutes do not apply to obtaining outside legal services, expert witnesses, or procuring litigation-related goods and services for which competitive procurement is not feasible.  The bill contains another new section stating that the attorney general may require state agencies to obtain outside legal services through a competitive procurement process, under conditions prescribed by the attorney general.

 

The bill removes the mandate from the Building and Procurement Commission to negotiate contracts with travel agents, with travel and transportation providers, with credit card companies, and with commercial lodging establishments.  The statute is now permissive.  Effective date:  June 18, 2003.

 

 

HB 3126 – Truitt/Janek.  Relating to educating health professionals, the composition and authority of the statewide health coordinating council, and certain health planning data collected by the department of health.

 

Amends Education Code, Section 63.202; adds Sections 56.3075, 56.3575, and 61.9627-61.9628; amends Occupations Code, Sections 301.155 and 302.153; repeals Chapter 304; Health and Safety Code, Sections 104.011, 104.042, 105.002, 105.003, 105.004 and adds Section 104.0155.  This bill directs the Coordinating Board to distribute the money appropriated to fund enrollment growth in a professional nursing program in a timely manner and requires each nursing program that receives money to file an annual report with the board accounting for all money received.  The amendments authorize the Coordinating Board to retain an amount, not to exceed five percent, to pay administrative costs of administering this program.

 

The bill also directs that the earnings from the tobacco endowment for nursing, allied health, and other health professionals are to be awarded for the next two biennium to programs preparing students for initial licensure as registered nurses or for programs preparing qualified faculty members with a master’s or doctoral degree, including programs at community colleges, general academic institutions, health sciences centers, and independent or private institutions of higher education. 

 

The bill also authorizes the Coordinating Board to award TEXAS grants or TEXAS II grants in an amount not to exceed three times the amount of a normal annual grant award to students who meet all of the requirements for receiving a grant and are enrolled and have completed at least one half of the work toward a degree or certificate in an educational program that the Coordinating Board, in consultation with the Texas Workforce Commission and the Statewide Health Coordinating Council, has identified as professions having a critical shortage in the number of license holders needed in this state.

 

The bill also implements an additional surcharge on each nursing license holder in the state to be collected at the time of the renewal of the license to fund the nursing resource section of the Health Professions Resource Center that is established in the bill.  The center is to collect and analyze educational and employment trends for nurses in this state.  Effective date:  June 20, 2003.

 

                                                                 

HB 3175 – Pitts/Bivins.  Relating to the authority of the comptroller of public accounts to manage cash flow by transferring available cash between funds in the custody or under the management of the comptroller; making an appropriation.

 

Amends Government Code, Sections 403.092(a) and (b) and adding Subsection (f).  This bill allows the comptroller to transfer money between funds in the state treasury to allow for efficient management of the cash flow of the general revenue fund.  These amendments remove the requirement that the funds be considered surplus and allow the transfer of available cash among funds that are managed by or in the custody of the comptroller.  The transferred cash will be returned to its original fund as soon as practicable with earned interest.  Effective date:  Vetoed.

 

 

HB 3242 – Pitts/Estes.  Relating to the use of the reverse auction procedure by the Texas Building and Procurement Commission.

 

Amends Government Code, Sections 2155.062(d) and adds Section 2155.085.  Current law exempts institutions of higher education from this chapter.  The Building and Procurement Commission and each state agency will be required to purchase at least ten percent of the dollar value of open market purchases by the commission or by the state agency using the reverse auction procedure.  Each will have to justify not meeting this goal.  Effective date:  Vetoed.

 

 

HB 3318 – Luna/Bivins.  Relating to the creation and re-creation of funds and accounts in the state treasury, the allocation of revenue, the dedication and rededication of revenue, and the exemption of unappropriated money from use for general governmental purposes.

 

Amends Government Code, Section 403.095.  This bill is the biennial bill regarding dedication and rededication of funds within the general revenue account and other funds held by the comptroller.  This bill re-creates dedicated accounts for specialized license plate sales and creates a dedicated account for the B-On-Time loan program.  Effective date:  June 21, 2003.

 

 

HB 3441 – Pickett/Staples.  Relating to a reduction in expenditures of certain state governmental entities, including changes affecting the Commission on Human Rights, attorney general's office, management of certain accounts and funds, and certain election-related forms.

 

Amends Labor Code, Government Code, and Education Code.  This bill transfers the Commission on Human Rights to the Texas Workforce Commission civil rights division.  The bill also transfers the crime victims’ institute from the attorney general’s office to Sam Houston State University.  The bill also makes changes to the Capitol Trust Fund and its dedicated account in the general revenue fund.  Effective date:  Vetoed.

 

 

HB 3442 – Pickett/Averitt.  Relating to certain expenditures, charges, and other financial matters of certain governmental entities.

 

Amends numerous sections in various codes including Government Code by adding Chapter 670 and Section 659.262; amends Section 651.004 by adding new subsections (c) and (d).  The new chapter in the Government Code requires state agencies, excluding university systems and institutions of higher education, to adjust their human resources staff numbers depending upon the number of full-time equivalent employees that work for the agency.  Agencies with 500 or more FTEs will be required to adjust their human resources staff to achieve a human resources employee-to-staff ratio of not more than one human resources employee for every eighty-five staff members.  For agencies with fewer than 500 FTEs, the State Council on Competitive Government will determine the cost-effectiveness of consolidating the human resources functions of or contracting with private entities to perform those functions for those state agencies.

 

The bill also establishes new required targets for full-time management positions to full-time nonmanagerial staff positions.  After March 31, 2004, a state agency with more than 100 FTEs will be required to employ not more than one FTE in a management position for every 8 FTEs in a nonmanagerial staff position.  After August 31, 2005, the ratio will be required to be one to nine; after August 31, 2006, the ratio will be required to be one to ten; and after September 1, 2007, the ratio will be required to be one to eleven.

 

The bill authorizes state agencies that employ individuals pursuant to the State Classification Plan to pay a one-time recruitment payment not to exceed $5,000.  The bill also authorizes the same state agencies to enter into deferred compensation contracts with classified employees to provide an employee a one-time additional compensation payment not to exceed $5,000.  The chief administrator of the state agency must determine whether additional compensation is necessary on a case-by-case basis considering how critical the position is to the operations of the state agency, evidence of high turnover rates in the position, evidence of a shortage of employees qualified to fill the position and other relevant factors.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

 

HB 3459 – Pitts/Bivins.  Relating to fiscal matters involving certain governmental educational entities, including public school finance, program compliance monitoring by the Texas Education Agency, amounts withheld from and the use of compensatory education allotments, the public school technology allotment, the accounting for the permanent school fund, employee benefits provided by certain educational entities, the uses of the telecommunications infrastructure fund, and participation in a multijurisdictional lottery game.

 

Amends numerous sections in various codes including Education Code by adding Sections 88.703 and 88.704; Government Code, Sections 822.001 and 823.002; adds Section 823.406; Utilities Code, Sections 57.046 and 57.048.  This bill will place the Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory under the Sunset Commission purview with a review scheduled prior to September 1, 2007. 

 

The bill also establishes a ninety-day waiting period for participation in the Teacher Retirement System and the Employees Retirement System for employees hired effective September 1, 2003.  This waiting period will expire on September 1, 2005.  An employee will be allowed to purchase the membership service credit for this ninety-day waiting period. 

 

This bill also increases the Telecommunications Infrastructure Fund from $1.5 billion to $1.75 billion to be collected during the 2004-2005 biennium.  This additional funding will be primarily directed to fund the technology allotment for public education.  The bill also authorizes funds in the TIF to be used to fund technology initiatives of the Health and Human Services Commission.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

 

HB 3506 – Marchant/Harris, C.  Relating to renumbering or relettering certain provisions of enacted codes.

 

This is a cleanup bill for previously enacted provisions of the statutes.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

 

HB 3507 – Marchant/Harris.  Relating to nonsubstantive additions to and corrections in enacted codes, to the nonsubstantive codification or disposition of various laws omitted from enacted codes, and to conforming codifications enacted by the 77th Legislature to other Acts of that legislature.

 

 

HB 3526 – Hamric/Duncan.  Relating to the establishment of the research development fund to promote research at certain institutions of higher education and to the abolition of the Texas excellence fund and the university research fund.

 

Amends Education Code, Sections 62.025(a), (c), and (e); adds Sections 62.091—62.098; repeals Section 62.025(d) and Chapter 62, Subchapters C and D.  This bill repeals the Texas Excellence Fund and the University Research Fund created in HB 1839, 77th Legislature.  This bill defines eligible institution to mean a general academic teaching institution other than UT-Austin, Texas A&M University, or Prairie View A&M University.  This bill appropriates an amount equal to the earnings of the HEF endowment from the $50 million appropriated to the HEF endowment plus an amount not less than the earnings from the general revenue fund to create the research development fund.

 

The total amount of all the assets in the research development fund will be distributed to the eligible institutions based on the average amount of restricted research funds expended per year by each institution for the three preceding state fiscal years.

 

There is a hold harmless provision for the institutions receiving university research funds for the 2006-2007 fiscal biennium that allows any of those institutions that would fall below fifty percent of the amount they received in the 2004-2005 biennium to receive an amount equal to fifty percent of the amount distributed to the institution in 2004-2005.

 

The purposes for which the funds can be used will remain the same and will be used for support and maintenance of educational general activities including research and student services that promote increased research capacity at the institution.

 

Each institution will continue to be required to file a report with the Coordinating Board and the Legislative Budget Board not later than December 1 after the end of the fiscal year.  Effective date:  September 1, 2005.

 

 

HB 3552 – Gallego/Lucio.  Relating to naming the school of pharmacy at Texas A&M University-Kingsville and its physical facility after Irma Rangel.

 

Amends Education Code, Section 87.303.  This amendment names the Texas A&M Kingsville Pharmacy School as the Irma Rangel School of Pharmacy.  Effective date:  June 20, 2003.

 

 

SB 4 – Zaffirini/Morrison.  Relating to the establishment and operation of the Texas B-On-Time student loan program and the creation of a pilot program regarding the retention of certain students at institutions of higher education; authorizing the issuance of bonds.

 

Amends Education Code, Sections 52.82(d), 52.89, and 52.90; adds Sections 51.9356, 52.91, and 56.451—56.465.  This bill establishes the Texas B-On-Time loan program to provide no-interest loans to eligible students who attend a public or private or independent institution of higher education in this state.  The Coordinating Board will administer the program, determine the repayment and other terms of the program and, in consultation with student financial aid officers, adopt any rules necessary to implement the program.  A student is eligible if the student is a Texas resident who graduated from a public or accredited private high school not earlier than 2002-2003 school year under the recommended or advanced high school program, or who received an associate degree not earlier than May 1, 2005.  The student must be enrolled in a full course load as an undergraduate as determined by the Coordinating Board and be eligible for federal financial aid, except that a person is not required to meet any financial need requirement applicable to a particular federal financial aid program.  The bill establishes the criteria for continuing eligibility, a waiver of course load requirement, and loan deferment or forgiveness.  The loan proceeds may be used to pay any usual and customary cost of attendance at an eligible institution including tuition, fees, books, and room and board.  The amount of the loan for a student will be an amount equal to the average statewide amount of tuition and required fees that a resident student would be charged at a public general academic institution of higher education for that semester or term.  The loan will be forgiven if the student is awarded an undergraduate certificate or degree with a cumulative grade point average of at least a 3.0 and completes the degree within a certain number of years depending on the academic degree program, or completes the degree with a total number of semester credit hours that is not more than six hours more than the minimum needed to complete the certificate or degree program.

 

The Coordinating Board is authorized to issue loans, accept gifts and grants, or request appropriations to fund the program.  Each institution of higher education is required to set aside five percent of the amount of designated tuition charged in excess of the amount charged to a student for the 2002-2003 academic year to help fund the program.   Effective date:  June 20, 2003.

 

 

 

SB 19 – Ratliff/Farabee.  Relating to audit and other related functions of the State Auditor and of certain other state entities.

 

This bill amends ninety sections of various codes regarding the State Auditor’s functions and duties.  The bill provides statutory definitions for “audit plan” and “risk assessment.”  The bill appears to divide the State Auditor’s responsibilities into three categories:  those functions and duties that the SAO may only perform after completing a risk assessment and receiving the Legislative Audit Committee’s approval to include in the audit plan; those that do not require a risk assessment, but require the Legislative Audit Committee’s approval to include in the audit plan; and those minor duties that do not require the Legislative Audit Committee’s approval.  The bill removes the input and responsibilities of the SAO in twenty different areas.

 

One amendment requires all state agencies, except institutions of higher education, to include in all contracts and subcontracts provisions that allow the State Auditor to conduct an audit or investigation of any entity receiving funds from the state directly under the contract or indirectly through a subcontract.  This new provision will be included in all contracts beginning September 1, 2003.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

                                                               

SB 84 – Wentworth/Baxter.  Relating to the prompt production of public information under the public information law.

 

Amends Government Code, Sections 553.221(a).  Current law requires an officer for public information of a governmental body to promptly produce public information for inspection, duplication, or both on application by any person to the officer.  This bill defines “promptly” to mean as soon as possible under the circumstances, that is, within a reasonable time, without delay.  Effective date:  June 20, 2003.

 

 

SB 89 – Wentworth/Davis, J.  Relating to compensatory time for persons governing state agencies.

 

Amends Government Code, by adding Section 659.024.  This new section defines state agency as an agency in the executive or judicial branch of state government that includes an institution of higher education. The amendment prohibits a member of a governing board or a single state officer who governs a state agency from accruing compensatory time.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

                       

SB 104 – Nelson/Allen.  Relating to the regulation and enforcement of the practice of medicine by the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners; providing a criminal penalty.

 

Amends Occupations Code, Chapters 151, 153, 154, 156, 160, 162, 164, and 165; Labor Code, by adding Section 408.030.  This bill changes the licensure for physicians from an annual process to a biennial process and adjusts the fee schedules, the registration and the renewal processes.  The bill establishes an $80 surcharge that can only be appropriated to pay for the board’s enforcement program, including the expert physician panel.  The bill amends the sections regarding the board’s disciplinary proceedings, including suspension or revocation of a license.  Effective date:  June 11, 2003.

 

 

SB 147 – Barrientos/Elkins.  Relating to the adoption by state agencies of risk management plans and risk control strategies.

                                                               

Amends Government Code, Section 2056.002(b) and adds Chapter 2057.  This bill defines state agency to include a university system or an institution of higher education, as defined by Section 61.003, Education Code, and defines risk management as the identification of significant impediments that may prevent a state agency from achieving its objectives, or the identification of a significant likelihood that an opportunity may be lost for enabling a state agency to achieve its objectives.  Responsibility for implementing this new chapter is at the direction of the State Office of Risk Management, but this responsibility does not expand, supersede, or replace the office’s current authority regarding risk management.  TTU and TTUHSC are currently exempt from SORM’s oversight authority for risk management and insurance management services.  Institutions of higher education are also exempt from the biennial strategic plan requirements. 

 

The new chapter requires each governing board of a state agency to adopt a risk management plan as part of the agency’s biennial strategic plan due in July of each even-numbered year.  This portion of the strategic plan would be forwarded to the State Office of Risk Management. The contents of the plan must include information required by SORM, including a business continuity strategy.  The risk management and control strategies must specify the operational, strategic, and financial objectives of the state agency; assess the nature and extent of the risk to achieve those objectives; identify any significant risk that may impede the achievement of those objectives; identify measures that may lessen or eliminate significant risks; and analyze the likelihood that the risk may occur and the cost of controlling the risk compared to the benefits of managing the risk. 

 

Each agency will be required to report progress to its governing board at least twice each year.  Effective date:  Vetoed.

 

 

SB 160 - Nelson/Capelo.  Relating to education relating to human organ donation.

 

Amends Health and Safety Code by adding Section 49.002.  This new section requires the Department of Health to develop a program to educate health care providers and attorneys in this state regarding anatomical gifts to the extent funding is provided.  The department is also directed to encourage medical schools and nursing schools to include mandatory organ donation education in the schools’ curriculums.  The medical schools will also be encouraged to require a physician in a neurology or neurosurgery residency program to complete an advanced course in organ donation education.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

 

SB 235 – Fraser/McCall.  Relating to a receipt or other document issued for payment by credit or debit card; providing a civil penalty.

 

Amends Business and Commerce Code by adding Section 35.58.  If a credit card or debit card is used for a business transaction, this bill would prohibit a seller from issuing a receipt or other document evidencing the transaction unless no more than the last four digits of the card account number or the month and year of the card’s expiration date appears on the receipt or document.  Violations of this law are punishable with a civil penalty in an amount not to exceed $500 per month.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

 

SB 253 – Staples/Pitts.  Relating to the applicability of the Texas Youth Camp Safety and Health Act to facilities or programs operated by or on the campus of an institution of higher education.

 

Amends Health and Safety Code, by adding Section 141.0021.  This bill clarifies that facilities or programs operated by or on the campus of an institution of higher education or a private or independent institution of higher education are exempt from the requirements of the Texas Youth Camp Safety and Health Act if the facilities are regularly inspected by one or more local governmental entities for compliance with health and safety standards.  Effective date:  June 21, 2003.

 

 

SB 258 - West, R./Deshotel.  Relating to the tuition charged by institutions of higher education for high school students enrolled in college-level courses.

 

Amends Education Code by adding Section 54.216.  This new section authorizes a governing board of an institution of higher education to waive all or part of the tuition and fees charged by the institution for a high school student enrolled in a course for which the student is entitled to simultaneously receive both course credit toward the student’s high school academic requirements and course credit toward a degree offered by the institution.  Effective date:  June 20, 2003.

 

 

SB 261 – Shapleigh/Dunnam.  Relating to the continuation and functions of the Texas Council on Purchasing from People with Disabilities.

 

Amends Human Resources Code, Chapter 122.  This bill contains the Sunset Commission recommendations for the council and continues the agency’s existence through September 1, 2015.  As opposed to the permissive procedures in current law, these amendments require the council to establish a formal certification procedure for recognition and approval of community rehabilitation programs.  The amendments give the state auditor the authority to audit a state agency for compliance with the laws regarding the council and report to the council a state agency that is not complying.  The council will then be required to assist the agency to get in compliance.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

 

SB 275 – Nelson/Solomons.  Relating to the abolition of the Texas Department of Economic Development and the transfer of certain of its functions and the functions of the Texas Aerospace Commission to the Texas Economic Development and Tourism Office; to the establishment, operation, and funding of the Texas Economic Development Bank; and to the administration and operation of certain economic development programs; authorizing the issuance of bonds.

 

This bill contains the Sunset Commission’s recommendations regarding the Texas Department of Economic Development.  The bill does eliminate the department and establishes the Texas Economic Development and Tourism Office with similar duties and functions within the Governor’s office.    Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

 

SB 277 - Ellis, R./Chisum.  Relating to the continuation of the Texas Board of Professional Engineers and to the regulation of the practice of engineering.

 

Amends Occupations Code, Chapter 1001.  This bill represents the Sunset Commission’s recommendations regarding this board.  The amendments do not affect the licensure requirements regarding engineering faculty or the requirements regarding an engineer for certain public works.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

 

SB 286 – Shapleigh/Morrison.  Relating to the continuation and functions of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

 

Amends Education Code, Sections 7.005, 51.661, 51.662, 51.666, 51.667, 51.668, 52.34, 56.351—56.355, 142.005, 142.006, 143.006, 143.007, numerous sections of Chapter 61, and adds Sections 51.3062, 51.6615, 52.41, 56.091—56.096, 56.3575, 56.359, 130.0012, 130.0102, 142.007 and 143.008; Repeals Sections 51.306, 51.3061, 56.356, 61.0592, 61.0593, 61.070, 61.071, 61.0771(e), 61.094, 61.096, 61.201—61.204, 61.791—61.797, 61.875, and 61.953.  The primary purpose of this bill is to implement the Sunset Commission recommendations regarding the Higher Education Coordinating Board.  The amendments continue the board until September 1, 2015 and transition the board membership from eighteen members to nine members.  The amendments require a board member to complete a statutorily mandated training program prior to participating in any meeting.

 

New sections require the board to review and revise the five-year master plan; to make and submit to the legislature recommendations regarding the current higher education funding system, including formula funding and any other transfers of legislative appropriations to institutions that supports the implementation of the long-range plan; and to study and make recommendations regarding methods for reducing administrative burdens and increasing participation in student financial aid programs.  The recommendations regarding financial aid are due to the legislature by November 1, 2004.

 

This bill replaces the current Joint Advisory Committee with the P-16 Council.  The new council will be composed of the commissioner of education, the commissioner of higher education, the executive director of the Texas Workforce Commission, and the executive director of the State Board of Educator Certification.  The bill continues the same duties of the present advisory committee and adds one duty regarding the alignment of secondary and postsecondary education including curricula and testing and assessment.

 

One new section requires the Coordinating Board to collect and make available to the public information regarding higher education authorities.  The information will include:  total amount of outstanding bonds issued by the authority, real property owned by the authority, whether the property is tax exempt, and the current or proposed use of the property.

 

This bill requires the general academic teaching institutions to provide performance data to the Coordinating Board in order for the Coordinating Board to prepare a report to be published and posted on the board’s Internet site.  Beginning with the 2003-04 academic year, each institution shall provide information regarding the entering freshman class and information on student performance and the institution’s efficiencies. Each institution will be required to provide a link on the institution’s Internet home page to the board’s site.

 

Beginning September 1, 2003, the bill eliminates the eligibility of resident physicians in approved family practice residency training programs for the physician loan repayment program. 

 

One new section of the bill requires the Coordinating Board to approve a common course numbering system for lower-division courses to facilitate the transfer of those courses among institutions by promoting consistency in the designation and identification of courses.  The board can only approve a system currently in place in this state.  The new section further requires that each institution include in its course listings the applicable course numbers from the common course numbering system approved by the board

 

The bill makes changes to several of the financial aid programs administered by the Coordinating Board including the physician loan repayment program, the early childhood child-care worker loan repayment program, the loan repayment program for attorneys employed by the Attorney General and the Teach for Texas loan repayment program

 

This bill repeals the statutes for the Texas Academic Skills Program and replaces it with a new program called the Success Initiative to assess the academic skills of entering undergraduate students to determine the student’s readiness to perform freshman-level academic coursework.  The Coordinating Board will designate one or more instruments of assessment.  The goal is for the high school exit-level assessment to be the primary assessment instrument by September 1, 2005.  If the student does not meet the assessment standards established by an institution, the institution shall advise and may refer the student to developmental coursework.  The bill authorizes the state to continue to fund non-degree-credit developmental courses.  A general academic teaching institution cannot receive funding for developmental coursework taken by a student in excess of eighteen semester credit hours and a public junior college cannot receive funding for developmental coursework in excess of twenty-seven semester credit hours.  The bill does continue to provide certain exemptions for students who achieve a certain score on the SAT or ACT or the high school exit-level assessment instrument.  The bill does provide exceptions for students in certain circumstances.  Each institution will be required to report annually on the success of its students and the effectiveness of its Success Initiative.

 

This bill also requires the Coordinating Board to establish and administer the doctoral incentive loan repayment program for eligible participants.  To be eligible for the program, an individual must be from a group that is underrepresented among the faculty and the administration of public and independent institutions of higher education in this state.  An individual must satisfy one of the following criteria:  be from a low socioeconomic background while pursuing the individual’s undergraduate education, or have graduated from a high school with a disproportionately low number of high school graduates enrolled in higher education.  The individual must be employed as a full-time faculty or administration member in a public or independent institution for at least one year, be a Texas resident, be from a group that is underrepresented among the faculty and administration, and have qualified for student financial aid based on the financial need while enrolled in a graduate-level degree program.  An individual may receive assistance in an amount not to exceed $100,000.  The Coordinating Board can accept appropriations, gifts, or grants from any public or private source to fund this program. 

 

Each institution will be required to set aside $2 for each semester credit hour for each student enrolled in a doctoral degree program, other than law or a health professional degree program.  The institution will be required to deposit these funds with the Comptroller to fund this program.

 

This bill directs the Coordinating Board to establish a pilot project allowing three public junior colleges to examine the feasibility and effectiveness of authorizing public junior colleges to offer baccalaureate degree programs in the fields of applied science and applied technology.  The junior colleges will be permitted to offer up to five baccalaureate degree programs under the project.  The Coordinating Board is required to recommend that the public junior college receive substantially the same state support for junior-level and senior-level courses offered under the pilot project as that provided to a general academic teaching institution for substantially similar courses.  The Coordinating Board must prepare a progress report on the pilot project by not later than January 1, 2009.  Community colleges would be prohibited from enrolling new students in the pilot project after the 2011 fall semester unless the legislature continues the program.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

 

SB 287 - Ellis, R./Chisum.  Relating to changing the composition of certain governing bodies with an even number of members to comply with the changes made to Section 30a, Article XVI, Texas Constitution.

 

Amends numerous sections of various codes including Texas Education Code, Section 61.022 and amends Government Code by adding Sections 651.008, 651.0085, and 651.009.  This bill alters the number of board members on boards that are currently comprised of an even-number of members to an odd-number to conform with a recently adopted Constitutional Amendment.  One amendment reduces the Coordinating Board from eighteen members to nine members as in SB 286.  One new section requires the Governor or other appointing authority to ensure that, to the extent possible, the membership of a governing body should reflect the racial, ethnic, and geographic diversity of the state.  Effective date:  June 20, 2003.

 

 

SB 330 – Nelson/Capelo.  Relating to access to certain private medical information.

 

This bill repeals Health and Safety Code, Sections 181.101 and 181.102.  This bill repeals two sections of current law regarding privacy of medical information and the conduct of medical research in Texas.  The repeal of these two provisions will conform state law with the federal law under the provisions and regulation of the Federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

 

SB 349 – Armbrister/Pitts.  Relating to the intellectual property rights of the Department of Information Resources and certain other state agency intellectual property matters.

 

Amends Government Code by adding Section 2054.052(e) and (f) and repeals Section 2054.124.  This bill allows the Department of Information Resources to establish an intellectual property policy and to contract with persons or entities to distribute the department’s intellectual property.  Money paid to the department through these contracts will be deposited to the credit of the general revenue fund. 

 

Current law requires each state agency to perform a biennial audit of software licenses for software installed in the agency’s desktop and portable computers.  This bill repeals that section of the law and eliminates this requirement.  Effective September 1, 2003.

 

 

SB 394 – Shapleigh/Hochberg.  Relating to the Records Management Interagency Coordinating Council.

 

Amends Government Code, Section 441.203.  This bill expands the membership of the Records Management Interagency Coordinating Council to include three auxiliary voting members including a faculty member of a public senior college or university who has demonstrated knowledge or records and information management.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

 

SB 418 – Nelson/Smithee.  Relating to the regulation and prompt payment of health care providers; providing penalties.

 

Amends and adds several sections to the Insurance Code.  This bill provides for the regulation and prompt payment of health care providers under certain health benefit plans and establishes penalties for violations of the statutory provisions.  Effective date:  June 17, 2003.

 

 

SB 473 - Ellis, R./Giddings.  Relating to assisting consumers to prevent and detect identity theft; providing penalties.

 

Amends Business and Commerce Code, Chapter 20; adds Sections 35.58 and 35.59; Occupations Code by adding Sections 1701.253(i) and 1701.402(f).  This bill adds a new section regarding confidentiality of social security numbers.  The section does provide an exception for institutions of higher education if the use of a social security number is regulated by Chapter 51, Education Code.  That regulation was in HB 1026, Hupp, which did not pass.  Therefore, institutions of higher education are included in this new section.  On or before September 1, 2007, an institution will be prohibited from communicating, displaying, printing, or requiring an individual’s social security number on cards or devices or materials unless state or federal law requires that the individual’s social security number be included in the materials.  An institution will be allowed to continue to print an individual’s social security number on materials sent by mail if the document is part of an application or enrollment process.  See SB 611, Nelson.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

 

SB 558 – Madla/Hardcastle.  Relating to immigration visa waivers for physicians.

 

Amends Health and Safety Code by adding Section 12.0127; Occupations Code, Section 155.1025(a); and repeals Education Code, Section 51.949.  This bill allows the Department of Health, in accordance with federal law, to request a waiver of the foreign country residence requirement for a qualified alien physician who agrees to practice medicine in a medically underserved area or health professional shortage area, as designated by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, that has a current shortage of physicians.

 

The bill also directs the State Board of Medical Examiners to adopt rules to expedite the application by a person who is licensed to practice medicine in another state or country and who submits an affidavit with the application stating that the applicant intends to practice in a rural community as determined by the Office of Rural and Community Affairs; or the applicant has requested and is eligible for an immigration visa waiver and intends to practice in a medically underserved area or health professional shortage area that has a current shortage of physicians.  The bill repeals the requirements that the applicant be a faculty member and affiliated with a public university-sponsored graduate medical education program.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

 

SB 599 - West, R./Corte.  Relating to investigation and testing, technical assistance, and certain other matters related to indoor air quality in state buildings.

 

Amends Government Code by adding Sections 2165.301-2165.305.  This bill defines a state building to include any building owned or occupied by the state, including buildings or offices leased to the state for state purposes.  The new sections are added to a chapter of the Government Code that exempts buildings of institutions of higher education from the TBPC oversight.  The bill transfers the authority of the Building and Procurement Commission to investigate and test indoor air quality in state buildings to the Texas Department of Health.  The bill does allow the commission to contract with a private entity to conduct any air monitoring that is related to asbestos abatement services provided by the commission.

 

The bill also requires the State Office of Risk Management to conduct an annual, one-day educational seminar on indoor air quality.  The bill requires state agency risk managers, representatives of entities with charge and control of state buildings, facility managers, and owners and managers of buildings or offices leased to the state to attend the seminar on an annual basis.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

 

SB 611 - Nelson/McCall.  Relating to printing a social security number on an identification card or other identification device; providing a civil penalty.

                                                               

Amends Business and Commerce Code by adding Section 35.58.  This bill establishes a civil penalty in an amount not to exceed $500 if a person prints an individual’s social security number on a card or other device required to access a product or service provided by the person.  This section does not apply to the collection, use, or release of a social security number required by state or federal law, or the use of a social security number for internal verification or administrative purposes.  See SB 473, R. Ellis.  Effective date:  March 1, 2005.

 

 

 

 

SB 653 – Wentworth/Baxter.  Relating to the charges that may be imposed under the public information law for providing a copy of public information.

 

Amends Government Code, Sections 552.261(a), 552.2615(b), and 552.269.  This bill amends the section for requests for information that are for fifty or fewer pages to now limit the charge to a charge for each page of the paper record to be photocopied.  The bill adds another amendment clarifying that a request is not considered withdrawn if the requestor sends to the Building and Procurement Commission a complaint alleging that the requestor has been overcharged for being provided with a copy of the public information.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

 

SB 674 - Estes/Rose.  Relating to compensatory time off for certain persons who are employed by the state as peace officers.

 

Amends Government Code, Section 662.005 (b).  The definition of state agency in this chapter of the Government Code excludes institutions of higher education.  The bill allows a peace officer commissioned by a state officer or a state agency listed under Article 2.12, Code of Criminal Procedure, to be entitled to compensatory time off when the officer is required to work on a national or state holiday that falls on a Saturday or Sunday.  Effective date:  June 20, 2003.

 

 

SB 691 – Madla/Delisi.  Relating to reimbursement for telemedicine medical services under the Medicaid program and other government-funded programs.

 

Amends Government Code by adding Sections 531.02173 and 531.02174.  This bill requires the Health and Human Services Commission to periodically review the policies regarding reimbursement under the Medicaid program for telemedicine medical services to identify variations between permissible reimbursements under that program and reimbursements available to providers under the Medicare program.  The bill requires the commission to modify the rules and procedures applicable to reimbursements under the Medicaid program to provide for a reimbursement system that is comparable to the reimbursement system for services provided under the Medicare program.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

 

SB 775 – Averitt/Keffer, J.  Relating to the use of TexasOnline by state agencies.

 

Amends Government Code, Sections 2054.111 and 2054.268 and adds Section 2054.125(d).  This bill requires state agencies that use TexasOnline to assist in marketing efforts regarding the use of the project and that each state agency that maintains a generally accessible Internet site and uses TexasOnline shall include a link to TexasOnline on the front pages of the site.  Effective date:  May 16, 2003.

 

 

SB 800 – Madla/Corte.  Relating to the financing authority of and to the establishment of certain general academic teaching institutions in The Texas A&M University System.

 

Amends Education Code by adding Sections 87.841, 87.861 and 55.1741; repeals Chapter 87, Subchapter J.  This bill establishes Texas A&M University—San Antonio and Texas A&M University—Central Texas as general academic teaching institutions. Neither institution can operate as a free-standing institution until the Coordinating Board certifies that the enrollment of the center has reached an enrollment equivalent of 2,500 full-time students for one semester.

 

The bill also authorizes the Texas A&M System to issue $15 million in tuition revenue bonds to develop a bioscience research center in Temple.  If the Temple Health and Bioscience Economic Development District is established, the district is required to pay the debt service on the bonds for facilities located in the district.  Effective date:  June 20, 2003.

 

 

SB  814 – Averitt/Haggerty.  Relating to an exemption for certain military personnel and veterans from the requirement of the Texas Academic Skills Program.

 

Amends Education Code, Section 51.306(r).  This bill exempts an individual who is serving in active duty with the Texas National Guard; a student who is currently serving and for at least the last three-year period preceding enrollment, has been a member of the reserve component of the armed forces of the United States; or a student who on or after August 1, 1990, was honorably discharged, retired, or released from active duty as a member of the armed forces of the United States or the Texas National Guard or service as a member of a reserve component of the armed forces of the United States from the requirements regarding the TASP.  Effective date:  May 16, 2003.

 

 

SB 833 – Williams/Nixon.  Relating to the application of the Charitable Immunity and Liability Act of 1987 to alumni associations and on-campus organizations.

 

Amends Civil Practice and Remedies Code, Section 84.003(1).  The purpose of this bill is to include alumni associations and related on-campus organizations in the definition of charitable organizations for purposes of the Charitable Immunity and Liability Act.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

 

SB 871 – Shapiro/Allen.  Relating to the sex offender registration program and the civil commitment of sexually violent predators.

 

Amends Code of Criminal Procedure, Articles 62.01, 62.011, 62.02, 62.03, 62.04, 62.05, 62.06, 62.08, 62.09, 62.12, and 62.13; adds Articles 62.0102, 62.031, 62.032, and 62.064; amends Health and Safety Code, Chapter 841.  This bill requires an individual who is required to register as a sex offender to also register, not later than the seventh day after beginning work or attending school, with the authority for campus security, as defined, at any public or private institution of higher education in this state.  The individual is also required to notify the authority for campus security of a change in status within seven days of terminating employment or enrollment.

 

Note:  Current federal law (42 U.S.C. 14071) requires a state that requires an individual to register as a sex offender to provide notice as required under state law to each institution of higher education in the state at which the person is employed, carries on a vocation, or is a student, and of each change in enrollment or employment status.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

 

SB 912 - Ratliff/Naishtat.  Relating to surplus and salvage computer equipment.

 

Amends Government Code, Sections 2175.001(1), 2175.128, and 2175.304(b) and (c); adds Section 2175.306.  This bill expands the definition of assistance organization to include a nonprofit computer bank that solicits, stores, refurbishes, and redistributes used computer equipment to public school students and their families.  The amendments authorize state agencies and institutions of higher education to transfer surplus or salvage data processing property to an assistance organization designated by a school district.  Effective date:  June 20, 2003.

 

 

SB 919 – Whitmire/Elkins.  Relating to the kinds of mail service that may be used under the public information law to send a notice or any other document to a person.

 

Amends Government Code, Sections 552.308.  This bill authorizes a governmental entity to use a common or contract carrier, in addition to first class United States mail, to deliver requested public information.  Effective date:  June 20, 2003.

 

 

SB 968 – Shapleigh/Naishtat.  Relating to a program to promote participation by public junior college students in individual development account programs.

 

Amends Education Code by adding Section 61.0816.  This amendment directs the Coordinating Board to establish a program to provide student financial aid offices at public junior colleges with information and assistance to furnish information to their students regarding the availability of and services offered by individual development account programs.  Effective date:  June 20, 2003.

 

 

SB 976 – Shapiro/Morrison.  Relating to high school completion and the creation of certain college education pilot programs.

 

Amends Education Code, Section 39.131(a) and adds Sections 11.255, 29.908, and 130.0012.  This bill requires the commissioner of public education to establish and administer a middle college education pilot program for students who are at risk of dropping out of school or who wish to accelerate high school completion.  The program must provide for a course of study that enables a student to combine high school courses and college-level courses during grade levels 11 and 12; allow the student to complete high school and receive at least a high school diploma and associate degree at the time of graduation; include articulation agreements with colleges, universities, and technical schools; and provide a participating student flexibility in class scheduling and academic mentoring.  The student will be entitled to the benefits of the Foundation School Program in proportion to the amount of time the student is in high school courses and gifts, grants and donations will pay for other costs of the program.

 

This bill directs the Coordinating Board to establish a pilot project allowing three public junior colleges to examine the feasibility and effectiveness of authorizing public junior colleges to offer baccalaureate degree programs in the fields of applied science and applied technology.  The junior colleges will be permitted to offer up to five baccalaureate degree programs under the project.  The Coordinating Board is required to recommend that the public junior college receive substantially the same state support for junior-level and senior-level courses offered under the pilot project as that provided to a general academic teaching institution for substantially similar courses.  The Coordinating Board must prepare a progress report on the pilot project by not later than January 1, 2009.  Community colleges would be prohibited from enrolling new students in the pilot project after the 2011 fall semester unless the legislature continues the program.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

 

SB 996 – Williams/King.  Relating to collateral eligible to be pledged with the comptroller to secure state deposits.

 

This bill adds letters of credit to the permissible list of collateral eligible to be pledged by the comptroller to secure state deposits.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

 

SB 1000 - West, R./Goodman.  Relating to a statistical or demographic analysis conducted by the Texas Legislative Council for a state agency and to information collected by the council in the course of performing the analysis.

 

Amends Government Code by adding Sections 323.020 and 552.112(c).  This bill authorizes the Texas Legislative Council to determine if the council’s resources are available to perform or assist a state agency that is performing a statistical or demographic analysis of information for the agency.  Information that the council acquires or produces in relation to the analysis is confidential and not public information under the Public Information Act.  Effective date:  June 20, 2003.

 

 

SB 1007 - West, R./Giddings.  Relating to student eligibility for a TEXAS grant.

 

Amends Education Code, Section 56.305(g) and 56.307(f), (h), and (j) and adds Section 56.3041.  This bill allows an institution of higher education to award a TEXAS grant to an initial recipient for an academic year prior to receiving the final high school transcript if the applicant’s high school transcript shows that at the time the transcript was prepared the student was on schedule to graduate from high school and to complete the recommended or advanced high school curriculum.  The Coordinating Board or the eligible institution may require the student to forego or repay the amount of an initial TEXAS grant if the student fails to complete the recommended or advanced high school curriculum as evidenced by the final transcript. That student would only be eligible for a subsequent TEXAS grant if the student completed the associate degree requirement.

 

In addition to the current hardship provision for students who enroll for fewer hours than are required, the amendments provide a hardship provision for students whose grade point average or completion rate falls below the satisfactory academic progress requirements.

 

The bill authorizes qualifying students at private institutions to receive both a TEXAS grant and a Tuition Equalization Grant in an academic year not to exceed tuition and fees charged to the student.

 

The bill also authorizes institutions to use Pell grants to cover any difference in the amount of a TEXAS grant and the actual amount of tuition and required fees.  Effective date:  June 20, 2003.

 

 

SB 1090 – Carona/Geren.  Relating to inspection, installation, repair, and maintenance of elevators, escalators, chair lifts, people movers, moving sidewalks, platform lifts, and related equipment; providing an administrative penalty.

 

This bill amends numerous statutes relating to the inspection, certification, registration, and licensing of the mechanical devices listed in the caption.  The stated purpose of this bill is to strengthen the regulation of this equipment by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

 

SB 1127 - Van de Putte/Mercer.  Relating to the creation of a coaching education program by the San Antonio Life Sciences Institute.

 

Amends Education Code by adding Section 75.205.  This bill requires the San Antonio Life Science Institute to establish a coaching education program to be administered by the UT Sport Sciences Institute.  The program is required to address coaching philosophy, sport psychology, sport pedagogy, sport physiology, sport management, and training.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

 

SB 1128 – Bivins/Brown, F.  Relating to the administration of the Joint Admission Medical Program.

 

Amends Education Code, Sections 51.821(5), 51.824(a) and (d), 51.826, 51.829(a), 51.830, and 51.831; adds Sections 51.8245 and 51.8246.  The amendments in this bill allow the JAMP Council to select students to be program alternates and to rank the alternates.  The council is allowed to admit an alternate to the program if a participating student withdraws or terminates participation in the program.

 

The bill also creates a confidentiality section for the student education records created in this program and a closed meeting provision for the council when students are evaluated for the program.  Effective date:  June 20, 2003.

 

 

SB 1136 – Nelson/Capelo.  Relating to access to certain private medical information.

 

Amends Health and Safety Code, Sections 181.001(b), 181.002(a), 181.056 and 181.152; adds sections 181.005, 181.205, and 101.251-181.254; repeals Sections 181.004 and 181.204.  This bill clarifies the references to the Code of Federal Regulation regarding HIPPA.  The Commissioner of Health is required to administer this law and to adopt rules consistent with HIPPA.  The Attorney General is directed to prepare a report for the legislature that identifies which state laws are preempted by HIPPA and make recommendations regarding future legislation.  The bill repeals the current rules section and the availability of other remedies.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

 

SB 1151 – Shapleigh/Solomons.  Relating to the publication of state agency Internet addresses in telephone directories.

 

Amends Utilities Code, Section 55.203(a).  This bill requires that a private for-profit publisher of a residential telephone directory include the Internet address of TexasOnline and a statement that Internet sites for state agencies may be accessed through TexasOnline.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

 

SB 1152 – Shapleigh/Solomons.  Relating to the provision of Internet services, including the use of TexasOnline and the establishment of an education Internet portal.

 

Amends Government Code, Sections 2054.111(e), 2054.113, 2054.251, 2054.252, 2054.253, 2054.254, 2054.255, 2054.256 and 2054.259; adds Sections 2054.1115, 2054.125(d), and 2054.268-2054.2711; repeals Section 2054.2645.  Amends Education Code by adding Sections 32.151-32.163.  This bill authorizes state agencies and local governments that use TexasOnline to use electronic payment methods and to charge reasonable fees to cover the costs incurred through electronic payment methods.  The bill strengthens the duties of the TexasOnline authority by giving the authority approval of services to be provided by the project and oversight of contract performance for the project. 

 

Each state agency is required to maintain a link to TexasOnline on the front page of the agency’s Internet site. 

 

The bill requires the Texas Education Agency to establish an education Internet portal to serve as a single point of access to educational resources for public education.  The portal may be used to provide access to on-line courses, provide access to instructional materials to improve academic performance, provide school districts with access to administrative software to improve efficiency and communication, provide secure access to student assessment data, or provide links to appropriate educational resources and experts.  Effective date:  June 20, 2003.

 

 

 

 

SB 1154 – Shapleigh/Hilderbran.  Relating to the authority and duties of certain libraries and to library systems in the state.

 

Amends Government Code, Sections 441.101, 441.102, 441.103, 441.104, and 441.106; adds Section 441.1281.  This bill directs the State Library and Archives Commission to maintain a system, named the Texas Records and Information Locator or, “TRAIL,” to allow electronic access to the State Library and other depository libraries to state publications in electronic format to be made available to the public.  Each state agency is required to make its printed state publications accessible from the state agency’s website in an electronic format.  Effective date:  Vetoed.

 

 

SB 1155 – Shapleigh/Dukes.  Relating to the purchase of certain wireless communication devices by state agencies.

 

Amends Government Code, Section 2157.005 by adding Subsection (d).  This bill removes purchases of wireless communication devices to be used by peace officers, firefighters, and other emergency response personnel from the requirements regarding the technology access clause in the purchasing documents for these devices.  Higher education institutions are exempt from this chapter of the Government Code.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

 

SB 1173 – Janek/Delisi.  Relating to prescription drug benefits under the group health benefit programs for certain governmental employees and retired employees.

 

Amends Insurance Code, Section 1551.205; adds Sections 1551.218 and 1575.161; adds Article 3.50-7a.  This bill requires prior authorization for coverage of certain prescribed drugs if a specific drug is not included in the drug formulary for employees participating the Uniform Group Insurance Program.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

 

SB 1230 – Wentworth/Brown, F.  Relating to authorizing an environmental service fee at Southwest Texas State University.

 

Amends Education Code by adding Section 54.5111.  This bill authorizes the board of regents of the Texas State University System to charge each student enrolled at Southwest Texas State University an environmental service fee in an initial amount not to exceed $1 per semester or summer session with a future cap of $6.  The students must approve the initial fee and any increase.  The purpose of the fee is to be used to provide environmental improvements at the university through services such as recycling, transportation, employment, product purchasing, matching funds for grants, planning and maintenance, and irrigation.  Effective date:  June 21, 2003.

 

 

SB 1297 – Ogden/Krusee.  Relating to financing authority for certain institutions of higher education for facilities.

 

Amends Education Code, Sections 55.1735(a), 61.0572(e), and 61.058(b) and adds Section 55.1744.  This bill authorizes the board of regents of the Texas State University System to issue tuition revenue bonds in an amount not to exceed $27 million to finance the facilities for the Southwest Texas State University MITC located in Round Rock, Texas. 

 

The bill authorizes the board of regents of the University of North Texas System to issue $52,933,750 (previously authorized by 77th Legislature) in tuition revenue bonds to finance the facilities of the UNT System Center at Dallas.  Effective date:  June 20, 2003.

 

                                                               

SB 1331 – Ratliff/Callegari.  Relating to procurement procedures for construction-related services for public school districts, institutions of higher education, and the Texas Building and Procurement Commission.

 

Amends Government Code, Section 2166.2532(c) and adds Section 2166.2535; amends Education Code, Sections 44.038(c), 44.040, and 51.782(c).  Current law prohibits the institution’s engineer, architect, or construction manager-agent for a project from serving, alone or in combination with another, as the construction manager-at-risk.  This bill provides an exception if the engineer or architect is hired to serve as the construction manager-at-risk under a separate or concurrent procurement conducted in accordance with the law.  This subsection does not prohibit the institution’s engineer or architect from providing customary construction phase services under the engineer’s or architect’s original professional service agreement in accordance with applicable licensing laws.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

 

SB 1366 – Bivins/Eissler.  Relating to eligibility under the Early High School Graduation Scholarship program.

 

Amends Education Code, Sections 28.025 and 56.203.  This amendment requires that students entering grade nine during or after the 2003-2004 school year to complete the recommended or advanced high school program to qualify for the Early High School Graduation Scholarship.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

 

SB 1367 – Duncan/Isett.  Relating to student union fees at component institutions of the Texas Tech University System.

 

Amends Education Code by adding Section 54.5241 and repeals Section 54.524.  This bill repeals the current university center fee statute for Texas Tech University and authorizes a student union fee for the component institutions of Texas Tech University System.  The bill eliminates the current $100 cap for the university center fee and replaces it with a fee that does not have a dollar amount cap but is tied to the last fee implemented under the previous section and cannot increase by an amount greater than ten percent without a vote of a majority of the students of the institution in a general student election or a majority vote of the legislative body of the student government.  The bill authorizes the board of regents to prorate the fee for the length of the semester or term for which the student enrolls.  Each component will have an advisory board for the institution’s student union to establish the budget and recommend the fee level to the board of regents.  Effective date: September 1, 2003.

 

 

SB 1370 – Duncan/Delisi.  Relating to certain group benefit plans provided to certain governmental officers, employees, and retirees and their dependents.

 

Amends Insurance Code, Article 3.50-8, Section 2; Sections 1551.003, 1551.006, 1551.101, 1551.102, 1551.104, 1551.109, 1551.111, 1551.319, 1575.002, 1575,203, 1601.101, 1601.102, and 1601.201; adds Sections 1551.1055, 1551.1021, 1551.3015, 1601.011, and 1601.1045.  This bill amends the section regarding automatic coverage for participants in the employee’s group health insurance program.  Currently, employees are entitled to automatic coverage on the date of employment; this bill establishes automatic coverage in the health insurance program on the 90th day after the date of employment.  Optional coverages are not subject to the 90 day waiting period.  The amendments require a part-time employee working less than forty hours a week, including graduate students, to contribute at least fifty percent of the cost of health insurance coverage for the employee and at least seventy-five percent of the cost of coverage selected by the employee for the employee’s dependents.  This bill eliminates insurance coverage for future board members, but allows current and former members to continue coverage if no lapse in coverage has occurred.

 

The bill authorizes institutions of higher education to pay for the cost of coverage for an employee prior to the automatic coverage on the 90th day of employment if the cost of coverage is paid for from money not appropriated from the general revenue fund in accordance with policies and procedures established by the governing body of the institution of higher education.  The bill also authorizes an institution of higher education to pay an amount in excess of the state contribution for part-time employees who are eligible graduate students.

 

The bill also changes the eligibility for a person to participate in the group health insurance program as a retiree.  With these amendments, a person must have ten years of creditable service and either be age 65, or years of age plus years of creditable service must equal or exceed 80.  These new provisions apply to both TRS and ORP participants.  A person with ten years of eligible service credit and who is eligible for a disability retirement is eligible to continue to participate in the program. 

 

The bill makes special provisions for adjunct faculty members to be eligible to participate if the faculty members receives compensation for the services rendered, is employed as a faculty member by the same public institution of higher education and has taught at least one course in each regular fall and spring semester for the preceding three academic years, and is under contract to teach at least twelve semester credit hours in the academic year of coverage.  The institution is required to pay the premium contribution from funds other than general revenue.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

 

SB 1419 – Janek/Eiland.  Relating to anatomical specimens and donees of anatomical gifts.

 

Amends Health and Safety Code, Chapters 691 and 692.  These amendments require the Anatomical Board of the State of Texas to be the donee of gifts of bodies or parts of bodies made for education or research.  The amendments also require the board to redistribute the bodies to medical or dental schools or other donees authorized by the board.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

 

SB 1521 – Zaffirini/Morrison.  Relating to tuition charged by a public institution of higher education for certain graduate programs.

 

Amends Education Code, Section 54.008(g).  This bill authorizes the governing board of an institution of higher education to set the tuition for a graduate school of business at the institution at a rate that is at least equal to but not more than three times the state rate for tuition.  This tuition charge could be imposed for the fall semester of 2003.  Effective date:  Vetoed.

 

 

SB 1546 – Janek/Nixon.  Relating to laboratory and certain other related fees for public junior colleges.

 

Amends Education Code, Section 54.501(a) and adds Section 54.501(c).  This bill authorizes a laboratory fee in an amount not to exceed the lesser of $24 per semester credit hour of laboratory course credit or the cost of actual materials and supplies used by the student enrolled in a public junior college.  Effective date:  June 20, 2003.

 

 

SB 1588  - Whitmire/Smith, T.  Relating to exempting college savings plan accounts from attachment, execution, and seizure for the satisfaction of debts.

 

Amends Property Code by adding Section 42.0022.  This bill exempts college savings plan accounts from attachment, execution, and seizure for the satisfaction of debts.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

 

SB 1642 – Staples/Merritt.  Relating to the establishment of a geriatric education and care research center at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler.

 

Amends Education Code by adding Section 74.604.  This bill authorizes the board of regents of the UT System to establish the East Texas Center for Rural Geriatric Studies at the UTHSC at Tyler.  The bill authorizes the center to solicit and accept gifts and grants from any public or private source in addition to federal funds or any other funds to support the center.  Effective date:  June 20, 2003.

 

 

SB 1652  - Shapiro/Morrison.  Relating to institutions of higher education, including the administration, operation, governance, and financing of those institutions, and to certain security services provided to such institutions and certain other educational institutions.

 

Amends Education Code, Sections 51.214, 51.680, 51.782, 51.961, 51.964, 53.02, 53.33, 53.34, 53.35, 53.48, 54.3393, 54.5011, 65.45, 85.51, 105.451 and 153.006; adds Sections 51.0065, 54.2111, 56.004, and 85.18; amends Insurance Code, Sections 1601.101 and 1601.102; amends Labor Code by adding Sections 502.025 and 503.025; amends Tax Code, Section 11.11(e); amends Property Code, Sections 21.042 and 55.004; amends Government Code, Sections 403.072, 404.097(d), 551.121, 609.001, 609.002, 2054.100, 2054.121, 2152.064, 2155.448, 2161.123, 2166.101(a), 2254.021, 2254.028, 2254.031, 2254.102 and adds Sections 552.1235, and 609.701-609.716.  Repeals Government Code, Section 2166.101(f). 

 

The amendment to the Tax Code clarifies that institutions of higher education do not lose the tax exemption for property used for public purposes when a portion of the property is used for a private purpose.

 

The bill amends the law regarding consulting services contracts valued at $15,000 for all state agencies.  This bill redefines major consulting services contracts for institutions of higher education as those exceeding $25,000.  The bill exempts institutions of higher education from obtaining a finding of fact from the Governor’s office that the consulting services are necessary if the chief executive officer of the institution includes in the published invitation a finding that the consulting services are necessary and provides an explanation of the finding.

 

This bill limits higher education authorities ability to acquire, own, operate, or lease facilities unless the authorities meet the qualifications set forth in the bill.  The bill adds a section regarding notice to local taxing entities.

 

One amendment exempts a student at an institution of higher education who was adopted after being placed in foster or other residential care from tuition and fees beginning in the Fall, 2003, semester.

 

The bill amends the law that authorizes institutions of higher education to collect credit card fees.  First, the bill expands the transactions to include electronic fund transfers.  The other changes authorize an institution to collect a fee or charge in connection with a payment for a discount, convenience, or service charge for the transaction, or a service charge in connection with a payment transaction that is dishonored or refused for lack of funds or insufficient funds.

 

The bill amends the sections regarding technology transfer to authorize the hiring of outside legal counsel without the attorney general’s approval in legal issues related to technology development.  The bill also authorizes institutions of higher education to hire outside counsel for technology development or transfer matters by entering into contingency fee contracts.

 

One of the amendments to the Property Code clarifies that damages to a party calculated in connection with a condemnation procedure on the party’s real property interest may not include the capitalized value to that party of any property tax exemptions arising due to a contractual or landlord-tenant relationship between the condemning authority and the party whose interest is being condemned. 

 

The other amendment to the Property Code authorizes physicians employed by institutions of higher education to file their own liens on a cause of action for damages to recover the physician’s fees.  The employing institution may secure and enforce the lien.

 

The bill provides that an institution of higher education is required to pay only 50% of the applicable filing fee and other costs in a suit to collect or enforce the repayment of a delinquent student loan. The bill provides for the payment of the balance of the fees after a judgment is entered in the lawsuit.

 

Another amendment requires the Comptroller to allow institutions of higher education to furnish summary reporting of the institution’s payroll information in order to be reimbursed with the state funds and eliminates detailed information relating to individual employees.

 

The bill authorizes institutions of higher education to establish and administer an independent deferred compensation plan for its employees in accordance with Section 457 of the Internal Revenue Code, as amended.

 

One of the amendments allows an institution of higher education to re-hire a retiree after a waiting period of thirty days.  Current law requires one calendar year. 

 

The bill adds a new statute authorizing an institution of higher education to receive an appropriation when an across-the-board salary increase is funded for state employees and to use the appropriation for either an across-the-board salary increase or for increases in compensation under the institution’s pay-for-performance program, if the institution has adopted such a program.

 

The bill amends the health insurance programs operated by the UT System and the Texas A&M System by requiring employees hired after September 1, 2003, to work at least ten years before being entitled to participate in the programs as a retiree.  An amendment authorizes individuals serving as postdoctoral fellows to participate in these health insurance programs.

 

Another amendment authorizes a university or a university system to adopt a comprehensive leave policy regarding vacation leave, sick leave, and holidays.  Currently, only medical and dental units have this authority.

 

The bill amends the requirements for the biennial operating plan filed with the Department of Information Resources by an institution of higher education.  The bill also creates an Information Technology Council for Higher Education which is comprised of the chief information officer of each university system.  This council using criteria established in the statute will review each current and future DIR rule that applies to an institution of higher education.

 

The bill authorizes an institution of higher education to negotiate directly with a construction manager-at-risk if no satisfactory bid or proposal for a major element of the work is received through the competitive bid/proposal basis.

 

The bill authorizes the UT System and the A&M System to provide worker’s compensation coverage for their employees who office out-of-state.

 

The bill also eliminates the Center for Technology Development and Transfer at UT Austin.  These amendments authorize the U. T. System to enter into agreements to manage a national laboratory. 

 

The bill authorizes the Board for Lease of the University Lands to hold an open or closed meeting by telephone conference call.

 

The bill adds an amendment to the Public Information Act that creates an exception from disclosure of the name or other personal information regarding a donor to an institution of higher education if the donor prefers to remain anonymous.  The amount or value of an individual gift, grant, or donation is still required to be released.

 

Another amendment requires each university system and an institution of higher education not included in a system to prepare a written plan for increasing the use of HUBs in purchasing and public works contracts.

 

The bill establishes mandatory venue for a suit against the board of regents of the Texas A&M System as Brazos County.  The mandatory venue for the system or one of its components is in the county in which the primary office of the chief executive officer of the entity is located.

 

The bill authorizes institutions of higher education to meet the reporting requirement for filing of their intellectual property policies with the Coordinating Board by posting the policy on the institution’s website.

 

Another section of the bill eliminates the requirement that institutions of higher education report to the LBB twice a year on all purchases awarded to non-resident bidders.

 

The bill eliminates the required annual report to the Building and Procurement Commission regarding purchases of recycled, remanufactured, and environmentally sensitive products.  Another amendment eliminates the requirement that institutions of higher education file a report with the Building and Procurement Commission regarding the buildings owned by an institution on a biennial basis, including year of completion, general construction type, size, use, and general condition.

 

This bill authorizes the board of regents of Texas A&M University System to charge students enrolled at the university an intercollegiate fee not to exceed $10 per semester credit hour if approved by a vote of students enrolled at Prairie View A&M University. 

 

The bill has a provision regarding the University of North Texas at Dallas allowing the institution to operate as a general academic institution once the enrollment reaches 1,000 full-time students as opposed to the current requirement of 2,500 full-time students.  The state funding is limited for the institution until the enrollment reaches 2,500.

 

This bill establishes a legislative interim committee to perform a review of the structure and organization of higher education in Texas and the equity and adequacy of funding of higher education.  The study will examine each major function, service, or activity performed by the university system offices, including central administration, academic affairs coordination, general counsel and other legal services, budgeting, accounting, and data reporting, fiscal management, facilities planning and construction, governmental relations, audit services, real estate management, information technology services, and aircraft operation and usage.

 

The committee is required to prepare a report not later than November 1, 2004, to be delivered to the Governor, Lt. Governor, Speaker, Legislative Budget Board, and members of the standing committees of each house of the legislature with primary jurisdiction over the higher education.  The committee is directed to identify opportunities for legislative and administrative action relating to the organization and operations to improve enrollment and completion, funding changes to maximize limited resources, the consolidation or reorganization of functions and services of university system offices, and to identify potential reductions in personnel and other cost savings associated with the committee’s findings.  The committee will be composed of six members of the House, six members of the Senate and four public members appointed by the Governor.  Effective date:  June 21, 2003.

 

 

SB 1669 – Averitt/Corte.  Relating to military leave for certain public employees.

 

Amends Government Code, Section 431.005(a) and Education Code, Section 22.003.  This amendment adds personal leave and sick leave to the list of benefits that a member of the state military forces or a reserve component of the armed forces is entitled to retain during a military leave of absence.  The bill makes provisions for school district employees.  See SB 1800, Van de Putte and HB 174, Howard.  Effective date:  June 20, 2003.

 

 

SB 1694 – Shapiro/Swinford.  Relating to state agency internal auditing.

 

Amends Government Code, Sections 2102.002, 2102.003, 2102.006, and 2102.011.  This bill defines internal auditing as an independent, objective assurance and consulting activity designed to add value and improve an organization’s operations.  The bill defines assurance services to mean an examination of evidence for the purpose of providing an independent assessment of risk management, control, or governance processes for the organization.  The bill defines consulting services as an advisory and related client service activities, the nature and scope of which are agreed upon with the client and are intended to add value and improve an organization’s operations.

 

With these definitions and the technical changes made to the section regarding internal audit standards, the Texas Internal Auditing Act is said to conform to current professional practice.  The bill also requires a review by each state agency of the resources directed to internal audit to determine if those resources are adequate.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

 

SB 1701 – Wentworth/Pitts.  Relating to the Department of Information Resources’ management of certain electronic and telecommunications projects.

 

Amends Government Code, Chapters 2054 and 2055; add Sections 441.010 and 2157.005(d); and repeals Sections 2054.1181(c) and 2055.059.  This bill amends various statutes relating to the Department of Information Resources.  The bill statutorily establishes the quality assurance team by utilizing employees of the department, the Legislative Budget Board, and the State Auditor’s office.  In the various reviews performed by DIR, new elements of review will be the return on investment and a cost-benefit analysis.  The bill directs additional information to be furnished in each agency’s strategic plan for information resources and biennial operating plans. 

 

The bill does contain a new statute regarding the State Data Center.  The bill directs that all state agencies and institutions of higher education utilize the center for data center operations, testing disaster recovery plans, and for disaster recovery services.  The statute states that no appropriated funds may be expended for any of these types of services without first obtaining a waiver from the LBB certifying that the requested service requirements cannot be provided at reasonable cost through the center.  If an agency or institution uses the center, it must do so under contract with DIR who is permitted to collect fees for the services to offset the direct and indirect costs of providing the services.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

 

SB 1771 – Brimer/Keffer, J.  Relating to economic development programs and funding.

 

Amends Government Code by adding Sections 481.0215, 481.078 and 481.169.  This bill creates the Texas Enterprise Fund as an account in the general revenue fund.  The fund consists of any amount appropriated by the legislature, interest earned, and gifts, grants, and other donations to the fund.  The fund may be used for economic development, infrastructure development, community development, job training programs, and business incentives.  The Governor may award money from the fund only with the express written prior approval of the Lt. Governor and Speaker.  The bill establishes a seven member advisory board of economic development stakeholders appointed by the Governor, Lt. Governor, and Speaker to collect and disseminate information on economic development.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

 

SB 1800 - Van de Putte/Corte.  Relating to state employee military leave.

 

Amends Government Code, Sections 431.005, 431.0825, 659.023, 661.903 and 661.904 and adds Section 661.9041.  This bill amends current law to entitle a person who is a public officer or employee of the state, a municipality, a county, or another political subdivision of the state and who is a member of the state military forces to be entitled to a paid leave of absence from the person’s duties when the person is engaged in authorized training or duty ordered or authorized by proper authority for not more than fifteen work days in a federal fiscal year.

 

A state employee who is called to active duty as a member of the state military forces by the Governor is entitled to receive paid emergency leave without loss of military leave or annual leave.

 

The bill requires a state agency to provide employees activated to military services as members of the reserve component with a statement of the balance of their accrued state compensatory time and to accommodate an employee’s request to use the balance prior to expiration.

 

An employee may utilize any accrued vacation leave, earned compensatory leave, or FLSA overtime leave to maintain benefits for themselves or their dependents while on military duty.  A state agency is required to grant sufficient emergency leave as differential pay to a state employee on unpaid military leave whose military gross pay is less than the individual’s state gross pay.  The combination of emergency leave and military pay cannot exceed the employee’s actual state gross pay.  See HB 174, Howard and SB 1669, Averitt.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

 

SB 1876 – Ratliff/Coleman.  Relating to the conditional grant program administered by the Texas Department of Transportation.

 

Amends Education Code, Sections 56.141(4), 56.142(a), 56.143, and 56.147.  This bill amends the Department of Transportation’s conditional grant program for students in engineering.  The amendments conform the statutes by striking “women and minority applicants” and substituting economically disadvantaged students.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

 

SB 1942 – Wentworth/Luna.  Relating to the name of Southwest Texas State University.

 

This bill amends various sections in the Texas Education Code and renames Southwest Texas State University as the Texas State University at San Marcus.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.

 

 

 

Joint and Concurrent Resolutions

 

 

SJR 19 – Williams/Eissler.  Proposing a constitutional amendment to permit a current or retired faculty member of a public college or university to receive compensation for service on the governing body of a water district.

 

Amends Texas Constitution, Article XVI, Section 40(b). 

 

 

HJR 3 – Nixon/Nelson.  Proposing a constitutional amendment concerning civil lawsuits against doctors and health care providers, and other actions, authorizing the legislature to determine limitations on non-economic damages.

 

Amends Texas Constitution, Article III, by adding Section 66.

 

 

HJR 54 – King/Brimer.  Proposing a constitutional amendment providing that certain benefits in certain public retirement systems may not be reduced or impaired.

 

Amends Texas Constitution, Article XVI, Section 67, by adding Subsection (h).  This amendment only applies to a retirement system that is not a statewide retirement system. 

 

 

SCR 12          - Shapiro/Morrison.  Urging public and private institutions of higher education in the State of Texas to adopt service learning as an important pedagogical tool and a central form of engagements, civic outreach, and citizenship education.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                         House Bill 1

                                            General Appropriations Act

 

 

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HOUSE BILL 1, SPECIAL PROVISIONS

 

Office of the Governor (I-55)

 

Rider 11. Texas Optical Fiber Network and Grid Computing – Contingency rider for Senate Bill 1771 that authorizes the Governor to direct $5 million in 2004 and $5 million in 2005 out of the Texas Enterprise Fund to provide an Optical Fiber Network and Grid Computing exclusively for research and education purposes. The rider authorizes a total of $7.5 million for the Optical Fiber Network to be transferred to a consortium of three or more institutions of higher education, located not less than 50 miles apart.  The rider authorizes a total of $2.5 million to be transferred to the consortium known as HiPCAT (University of Houston, Texas Tech University, University of Texas at Austin, Rice University, and Texas A&M University) for the purpose of creating the Texas Internet Grid for Research and Education. The rider appropriates any unexpended balances at the end of 2004 for the same purpose in 2005.

 

 

ARTICLE III, SPECIAL PROVISIONS

 

 

Texas Tech University

 

Amended Riders

 

Rider 2.  Small Business Development Center – Changes the amounts in the rider to reflect the level of the appropriations for the Center.

 

Rider 4.  International Trade Center – Changes the amounts in the rider to reflect the level of the appropriations for the Center.

 

Deleted Riders

 

Rider 6.  Cooperative Biological Research Database

Rider 7.  Feed Institute

 

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

 

New Riders

 

Rider 6.  Estimated Appropriation and Unexpended Balance – Exemplary rider regarding the estimated appropriations of the three tobacco endowment funds.  The rider appropriates any income in excess of the amounts listed in the line items and appropriates any unexpended balances on August 31, 2003 and between fiscal years in the 2004-2005 biennium.

 

Rider 7.  El Paso-Four Year Medical School – Authorizes TTUHSC to initiate curriculum design and development, basic science faculty recruitment, and commencement of organization and other processes necessary to attain accreditation of a four-year medical school by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education.  Directs the HSC to seek the support of the El Paso community, area foundations, and units of local governments that may support and contribute to the development and establishment of the medical school.

 

 

Higher Education Coordinating Board


New Riders

 

Rider 28. TEXAS Grant II Program – Authorizes carry forward of unexpended balances between years within the 2004-05 biennium.

 

Rider 39.  STARLINK/Virtual College – Specifies use of funds to support STARLINK and The Virtual College of Texas.  Authorizes the CB to contract with any institution to provide for the STARLINK communications network.  Authorizes carry forward of unexpended balances between years within the 2004-05 biennium.

 

Rider 40. Fifth-Year Accounting Students Scholarship Program – Directs funds for this program to be used in accordance with statute.

 

Rider 41. Tobacco Funds – Estimated Appropriation and Unexpended Balance – From the Permanent Endowment Fund for the Baylor College of Medicine, appropriates any income in excess of the amounts listed in the line item and appropriates all unexpended balances from the 2002-03 biennium and between fiscal years within the 2004-05 biennium.

 

Rider 42. Tobacco Funds – Estimated Appropriation and Unexpended Balance – From the Permanent Endowment Fund for Minority Health Research and the Permanent Fund for Nursing, Allied Health and Other Health Related Programs, appropriates any income in excess of the amounts listed in the line item and appropriates all unexpended balances from the 2002-03 biennium and between fiscal years within the 2004-05 biennium.

 

Rider 43. Technology Workforce Development – Makes funding contingent upon finding of fact by the Comptroller that revenue is available in the GR-Dedicated Account No. 5079.  Appropriates unexpended balances from the 2002-2003 biennium, Technology Workforce Development Grants Program.  Appropriates all unexpended balances between years of the 2004-05 biennium.

 

Rider 44. Reporting by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board – Directs the Coordinating Board to include in its Legislative Appropriations Request actual expenditures and budgeted expenditures for the Baylor College of Medicine.

 

Rider 45. College for Texans Campaign – Appropriates any revenues from the College for Texans Campaign for the biennium and authorizes carry forward of any unexpended balances between years of the 2004-05 biennium. 

 

Rider 46. African American Museum Internship – Directs use of appropriated funds for an internship at the African American Museum in Dallas and authorizes the Coordinating Board to contract with an institution to provide the internship.

 

Rider 47. Texas College Work Study Program and TEXAS Grant Program – Intent rider directing the extent to which state funds appropriated for student grants are awarded with criteria requiring a work study component.

 

Rider 49. Contingency Appropriation for Senate Bill 722 – Contingent upon enactment of legislation establishing a doctoral incentive program, appropriates $469,692 in 2004 and $493,177 in 2005 from general revenue fund amounts collected as tuition revenue and authorizes carry forward of all unexpended balances within the 2004-05 biennium. (See SB 286, Shapleigh).

 

Rider 51. Contingent Appropriation for Senate Bill 4:  Texas B-on-Time Loan Program – Contingent upon enactment of legislation establishing the Texas B-on-Time Loan Program, appropriates $10.7 million in 2004 and $21.4 million in 2005.   Authorizes carry forward of unexpended balances between fiscal years of the 2004-05 biennium. (See SB 4, Zaffirini).

 

 

Amended Riders

Rider 6. Physician’s Education Loan Repayment Program – Eliminates authority that re-appropriates the unexpended balances from the 2002-2003 biennium.

 

Rider 10. Research Programs – Eliminates authority that re-appropriates the unexpended balances from the 2002-2003 biennium.

 

Rider 12.  Annual Financial Aid Report – Changes date that the report is due from February 28 to August 1. 

 

Rider 15.  Dramatic Enrollment Growth Funding for Two Year Institutions – Specifies the allocation methodology to two-year institutions.

 

Rider 19.  Teacher Education Centers – Eliminates the two percent administrative/monitoring set aside for this program.

 

Rider 24.  Enrollment Growth Funding for General Academic Institutions – Clarifies that the increase in weighted semester credit hours in RN professional nursing programs hours shall be funded before determining the enrollment growth for all other semester credit hours. 

 

Rider 30.  Teach for Texas Conditional Grant Program – Eliminates authority that re-appropriates the unexpended balances from the 2002-2003 biennium.  Maintains authority between fiscal years within the biennium.  Appropriates all payments received from students for this program.

 

Rider 31.  Border Faculty Loan Repayment Program – Eliminates authority that re-appropriates the unexpended balances from the 2002-2003 biennium.  Maintains authority between fiscal years within the biennium.

 

Rider 32.  Dentists Education Loan Repayment Program – Eliminates authority that re-appropriates the unexpended balances from the 2002-2003 biennium.

 

Rider 36.  Financial Aid Maximum for Students Attending Independent Colleges and Universities – Removes limitations on the amount of state grant aid to the students at those institutions.

 

 

Deleted Riders

Rider 5.  Federal Lenders Allowance

Rider 8.  License Plate Scholarship Program

Rider 11 (b). Texas Academic Skills Program, Allocation Procedure for the Developmental

                     Education Program Performance Fund

Rider 19.  Family Practice Residency Advisory Committee 

Rider 20.  Primary Care Residency Advisory Committee

Rider 25.  General Academic Developmental Education Accountability Pilot Program

Rider 26.  Community and Technical College Developmental Education Accountability Pilot

                 Program

Rider 30.  Economically Disadvantaged Student Retention Performance Fund

Rider 41.  Financial Aid Application Assistance

Rider 42.  Data Exchange to Facilitate Financial Aid Eligibility Determination

Rider 43.  Graduate and Post Graduate Medical Education Task Force

Rider 49.  Formula Funding Study

Rider 50.  Infrastructure Support and A&M Service Agencies 

Rider 51.  New Campus Funding at Wharton Junior College

Rider 52.  Distance Learning Consortium

Riders 52-56.  Various Contingency Riders

 

 

 

 

 

 

Article III Special Provisions

 

New Riders

Sec 5. Salary and Benefits Provisions

8.             Administrative Accountability Requires all institutions of higher education to report on a form prescribed by the LBB by December 1 each year to the LBB, Senate Finance Committee chair, and House Appropriations Committee chair the names, salaries, total value of nonsalary benefits and salary adjustments for all high-ranking administrative positions, as defined, in the provision. 

 

Sec. 41. Nursing School Enrollment – Encourages institutions to not reduce the number of student full time equivalents enrolled in nursing programs.  Establishes a reporting requirement for schools that lose more than 5 percent enrollment.  (See HB 3126, Truitt)

 

Sec. 46. Informational Listing – Permanent Funds and Endowments – Moved higher education portions of rider from Article XII to Article III Special Provisions.  Lists amounts used to capitalize Permanent Funds and Endowments associated with the Tobacco Settlement funds.

 

Sec. 48.  Appropriation of Funds from the Permanent Health Fund for Higher Education – Informational rider stating the amounts included in appropriations to each institution.

 

Sec. 49.  Tobacco Settlement Receipts – Baylor College of Medicine – Makes an appropriation to Baylor College of Medicine from the Permanent Health Fund.  Appropriates the unexpended balance of the Permanent Health Fund from the 2002-2003 biennium and between fiscal years within the 2004-2005 biennium.

 

Sec. 50.  Limitation on Formula Funding Contact and Semester Credit Hours – Excludes contact or semester credit hours related to a course for which a student is generating formula funding for the third time from being counted in the funding formulas.

 

Sec. 51.  Debt Service Related to Tuition Revenue BondsRestricts general revenue to be used to pay interest only for the 2004-2005 biennium for all tuition revenue bonds issued after March 31, 2003.

 

 

Sec. 52.  Report on Real Property – Requires institutions of higher education to report to the General Land Office certain information related to real property owned by the institution.

 

Sec. 53. Limitation on Use of Funds – Moved rider from Article XII to Article III Special Provisions.  Requires an annual budget regarding the expenditure of these funds be submitted to the LBB and the Governor before November 1 and an annual report on the expenditure of the funds by November 1.

 

Sec. 54.  Financial Information Reporting Requirement – Requires institutions of higher education to continue to report to the Higher Education Coordinating Board financial data in the same manner as reported in the 2001 annual financial report using a format prescribed by the Coordinating Board.

 

Sec. 55. Maintenance, Construction, and Policing of Campus Roads and Streets – Appropriates $26 million each year from State Highway Fund 006 to the Coordinating Board to replace General Revenue in the general academics teaching institutions for maintenance, construction and policing of roads and streets on university campuses.  The $26 million in GR previously allocated for these purposes is appropriated to the Coordinating Board to be reallocated through the General Academic Instruction and Operations formula.

 

Sec. 56. Health-Related Institutions of Higher Education – Directs an across the board reduction of $17 million from all higher education (except for certain named appropriations) to be reallocated to the health-related institutions.  The reduction is estimated to be approximately 0.26 percent.  The provision also specifies legislative intent that $49 million in state fiscal relief funds be allocated to the public health related institutions.

 

Sec. 57.  Additional Tuition Revenue Bonds – States legislative intent that institutions that were authorized by the 78th Legislature to issue tuition revenue bonds for any project other than related to damages sustained from Tropical Storm Allison would not be eligible for any new tuition revenue bond authorization by the 79th Legislature.

 

Sec. 58.  Program to Encourage Certification to Teach Bilingual Education, English as a Second Language or Spanish – Authorizes the Coordinating Board to use $150,000 per year for a bilingual education program at the University of North Texas.

 

 

Amended Riders

Sec. 6.  Expenditure Provisions:

1.       Annual Operating Budgets Required – Changes the filing date for the operating budget from November 1 to December 1.

5.       Investment Reports – Requires institutions to file an annual report, instead of the current quarterly report, with the SAO, Comptroller, LBB and Governor and to publish the quarterly investment reports on the institution’s website.

 

 

Sec. 30.  General Academic Funding

Provides funding rates for formulas for 2004-05: 

                    - Instruction and Operations Support - $51.25 / weighted semester credit hour; 
            - Teaching Experience Supplement – 10 percent; and

            - Infrastructure Support - $5.95 per square foot.

 

 

 

 

Sec. 31.  Health Related Institutions Funding

Provides funding rates for health institutions funding formulas for 2004-05: 

                    -Instruction and Operations - $9,934 per weighted student; 

              - Infrastructure Support - $9.43 per square foot for all institutions excluding UT M.D.

                   Anderson Cancer Center and UT Health Center at Tyler; the rate for those two                                                                                                                                                                                          

                   institutions is $9.31 per square foot; and

              - Research Funding - $1,412,500 plus 2.15 percent of research expenditures.

              - Changed rates for Mission Specific Support activities at UT M.D. Anderson and UT

                   Health Center at Tyler.

 

Sec. 37. Faculty Salary Increase Report – Coordinating Board will file the report, not each general academic institution.

 

Sec. 39. Status of Endowed Chairs at General Academic Institutions - Eliminates the performance measures regarding average length of time the endowed chair is unfilled and the percent of unfilled chairs.

 

Sec. 40. A&M Service Agencies’ Infrastructure – Specifies funds appropriated to be used for infrastructure support needs for facilities located outside of Brazos County.

 

Sec. 42. Donations for Scholarships – Eliminates requirements to notify the Coordinating Board and the LBB and to publish in the Texas Register.

 

Sec. 43. Endowed Programs – Eliminates requirements to notify the Coordinating Board and the LBB and to publish in the Texas Register.

 

 

Deleted Riders

Sec 11.2. Method of Financing Scholarships

Sec. 27. Family Practice Clerkship Funding

Sec. 37. Gerontology Education

Sec. 38. Developmental Education Performance Fund

Sec. 39. Community and Technical College Developmental Education Funds

Sec. 46. Inventory Performance Measure

Sec. 50. Capital Equity and Excellence Hold Harmless

Sec. 51. Contingency Appropriation for Two-year Institutions of Higher Education

Sec. 52. Utility Funding Increase

Sec. 53. Housing Pilot Program

 

 

Optional Retirement Program  (III-40)

Rider 4. Contingency for House Bill 264 – Authorizes institutions that provide the Optional Retirement Program to their employees to use local funds or other sources of funds to supplement the General Revenue fund appropriation to provide an employer contribution of 8.5 percent of salary for all participating employees.  HB 264 passed and became effective June 20, 2003.

 

Higher Education Group Insurance (III-44)

Rider 2. Actuarial Study – Requires the Employees Retirement System to conduct an actuarial study to determine the costs and actions necessary to merge employees currently insured under group benefit plans offered by the Texas A&M University System into the state employee group benefit plans administered by the ERS.  The Texas A&M University System shall cooperate with the ERS in assessing the costs and actions necessary and shall split the cost of conducting the study with the ERS.  The study is to be submitted to the LBB and Governor by no later than September 1, 2004.  The rider specifies that the transfer of the A&M System benefit plans to the ERS shall not take place unless authorized by general law.

 

 

 

Riders:  Article IX

 

New Riders

 

Sec. 5.09(k). Limitation on Travel Expenditures – Adds new subsection that excludes travel expenses within the Washington, D. C. area by the Office of State-Federal Relations and by state agencies and institutions of higher education that are represented by their employees in the Washington D. C. office of OSFR from the out-of-state travel limitation provisions.

 

Sec. 6.38. Cost Allocations – Authorizes agencies to allocate salary and other operating costs to an appropriation temporarily and within 12 months to reimburse the original paying appropriations by transfer from the appropriation to which the expenditure should have been charged.

 

Sec. 7.05. Contract Notification – Clarifies reporting requirements for the “other” category of contract notification to the Legislative Budget Board.  Currently, the contract dollar value is $14,000; this increases the dollar value to $50,000 for reporting purposes.

 

Sec. 7.06. Reports and References – Requires state agencies and institutions of higher education to submit to the Governor’s Office all reports, approval processes, notifications, filings, documentation of expenditures, plans, addendums, or updates submitted to the Legislative Budget Board, under provisions contained in this Act.

 

Sec. 8.02(i). Federal Funds/Block Grants – Adds new subsection that requires agencies and institutions of higher education that receive at least $5 million in Federal Funds from new programs not anticipated in this Act, or at least $5 million in additional Federal Funds not estimated elsewhere in this Act, and these Federal Funds are not emergency funds such as disaster assistance, to not expend these funds unless they notify the Legislative Budget Board and the Governor of the receipt of the funds and provide a written plan outlining the use of the funds.  If neither the Legislative Budget Board nor the Governor issues a written disapproval within 14 days of the receipt of the notification, the funds may be expended.

 

 Sec. 10.09.  Informational Listing - Health Care Appropriations – Provides an informational listing of amounts appropriated specifically for health care services in this Act.  The amounts do not include health care appropriations made to institutions of higher education with non-appropriated funds. For purposes of this informational listing, health care appropriations include, but are not limited to, appropriations for Medicaid, inpatient and outpatient services, health care premiums, medications, laboratory services, community care services, nursing facility and hospice payments, rehabilitation services, alcohol and drug abuse treatment, mental retardation, and comprehensive therapies and related services for children with developmental delays. Certain non-health care-related costs, which could not be separated from other health care costs, are also included in the listing.

 

Sec. 10.10. Informational Listing on Use of Tobacco Settlement Receipts – Tobacco Settlement Receipts appropriations were made in the relevant agencies through the General Appropriations Act for 2004-05.  The previous biennium these appropriations were all made in one article, Art. XII.  This rider provides an informational list of the amounts appropriated elsewhere in this Act to agencies from tobacco settlement receipts and estimated distributions from funds and endowments.  The rider also provides a list of the amounts used to capitalize the Permanent Funds and Endowments.

 

Sec. 11.20.  TexasOnline Authority: Occupational Licenses – Authorizes licensing agencies to increase occupational license fees or permits to cover the cost of the subscription fee charged by the TexasOnline Authority.

 

Sec. 11.21.  Appropriations Limited to Revenue Collections: Texas Emissions Reduction Plan  Allocates the revenues from the TERP program to various agencies.

 

Sec. 11.22.  Disaster Related Transfer Authority -- In the event of a disaster proclamation by the Governor, transfers of appropriations necessary to respond to the disaster and in accordance with this section are permitted.  The section prescribes the process for transferring funds between health and human services agencies by the Commissioner of Health and Human Services and the process for transferring funds of non-health and human services agencies.  The section requires agencies to submit a recommended plan of transfer, including specific information.  The section requires an agency to notify the Legislative Budget Board, the Comptroller, the Governor, and any other agency involved in the transfer at least 14 days prior to the date of recommended transfers. If neither the Legislative Budget Board nor the Governor issue a written disapproval within 14 days of receipt of the agency recommended plan of transfer, the Comptroller will transfer the funds as recommended.

 

Sec. 11.24.  Informational Items – States that object of expense (OOE) listings contained in this Act after the appropriation to each state agency and institution, and other informational listings are not appropriations, and are merely informational listings that are intended to qualify or direct the use of funds appropriated in agency strategies, or are incidental to the appropriation made in the agency strategies.

 

Sec. 11.25.  Interoperability Communications Equipment: Federal Funding – Directs state agencies that receive any federal funds for interoperability communications equipment by a state agency to expend those funds to establish an interoperable communications system. 

 

Sec. 11.26.  Interoperability Communications Equipment: All Appropriated Funding – Prohibits certain state agencies from spending appropriated funds for the purchase of new radio equipment until the state agency has established an interoperable communications system. 

 

Sec. 11.27.  Maintaining the State’s Cash Flow –Authorizes the Comptroller to delay transfers of certain appropriations to ensure the cash flow of the state.

 

Sec. 11.28.  Appropriation of State Fiscal Relief Federal Funds – a) Appropriates State Fiscal Relief federal funds after implementation of Section 11.15 to be allocated by the Governor and Legislative Budget Board in accordance with subsection (b).

(b) Directs the Legislative Budget Board and the Governor to develop a plan that outlines the transfers of these funds based on the priorities listed.  These are primarily health and human services related programs and the Texas B-On-Time Loan Program.

 

Sec. 11.29.  Financial Aid Study to be Conducted – Directs the Governor’s, Lieutenant Governor’s, House Speaker’s and Comptroller’s Office to conduct a study of financial aid, including grants, scholarships, loans, tuition and fee exemptions and waivers, and any other form of financial assistance provided by the State of Texas and public institutions in the state. The rider directs the study to consider ways to use available resources to maximize the total number of students enrolled in higher education. The study is to be completed no later than December 2004.

 

Sec. 11.33.  Texas Enterprise Fund – Intent rider stating that the Regional Academic Health Center ($9 million), the El Paso medical school at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center ($2 million) and the Laredo Extension Campus of the UTHSC at San Antonio ($1 million) be considered for funding out of the Texas Enterprise Fund during the 2004–05 biennium.

 

Sec. 12.04.  Sale of Real Property - General Revenue Appropriation Reduction – (a) Reduces $42.7 million in GR from the Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation, Department of Criminal Justice, and Building and Procurement Commission and (b) re-appropriates any proceeds from sale of property by those agencies, up to 110 percent of the appropriation reduction.  Any surplus reverts to un-appropriated General Revenue.

 

Subsection (d) reduces $97 million in General Revenue appropriations made to agencies and institutions of higher education who own real property purchased with General Revenue or General Revenue-Dedicated Funds.  The specific reductions will be determined by the Governor and Legislative Budget Board.  Additionally, the Governor and Land Commissioner are authorized to convey interests in real property totaling at least $97 million of real property during the biennium beginning September 1, 2003. The proceeds are appropriated and will be distributed as determined by the LBB and the Governor.

 

 

 

 

Amended Riders

 

Sec. 4.04.  Per Diem of Board or Commission Members – Encourages agencies and institutions of higher education to maximize the use of videoconferencing and teleconferencing and to schedule meetings and locations to reduce the need for overnight stays to the extent possible.

 

Sec. 5.06.  Travel Meals and Lodging Expenses – Authorizes state agencies/institutions of higher education to reimburse a state employee for a meal expense incurred while traveling outside the employee’s designated headquarters for less than six consecutive hours under specified conditions. 

 

Sec. 6.14.  Limitation on State Employment Levels – Amends the method of calculating the FTE limitation for the Texas A & M System agencies to the average of four quarters like all other institutions of higher education.  Previously these agencies were the only institutions of higher education that were required to meet their FTE cap quarterly.

 

Sec. 6.33.  Reimbursements for Unemployment Benefits – Adds definition for “agency” that includes an institution of higher education.

 

Sec. 6.34.  Payments to the State Office of Risk Management (SORM) – Directs state agencies, as defined, to make transfers to SORM necessary to accomplish the assessments to fund workers’ compensation benefits.  If the agency does not pay within 30 days, the Comptroller is authorized to make the transfer for the agency.  No language regarding each state agency’s responsibility for 25% of the general revenue funded benefits.

 

Sec. 6.37.  Demographic and Statistical Studies – Adds provision that restricts appropriated funds from being used for political polling, except for a poll conducted by an academic institution as a part of the institution’s academic mission that is not conducted for the benefit of a particular candidate or party.

 

Sec. 9.03.  State Data Center – Adds definition for “best value” and other requirements associated with requesting a waiver.  Once the waiver has been granted, state agencies and institutions are required to provide a comparison of actual costs versus projected costs used to obtain the waiver annually to the Legislative Budget Board. Requires the Department of Information Resources to work with the Legislative Budget Board, the State Auditor’s Office and the State Data Center’s operational vendor to develop a comprehensive information technology consolidation plan and provide information relating to the use of the Center as a location for one of the state's consolidated data centers. Requires DIR to file a written report of the plan with the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives not later than May 31, 2004.

 

Sec. 11.14.  Incentive and Productivity – Authorizes a transfer of 10% of the annual net savings/revenues attributable to a suggestion to the Incentive and Productivity Commission to fund the agency.  Reduces the amount that an agency can retain by 10% and authorizes the agency to use the balance of the annual net savings/revenues to pay operating costs such as those relating to Workers Compensation Assessments and the Statewide Allocation Plan.

 

Sec. 11.15.  Contingency Appropriation Reduction and Contingency Appropriation – Similar to previous provision but with several key changes. 

(a) Directs pro-rata reductions to General Revenue and general revenue dedicated appropriations if necessary to certify the General Appropriations Act and directs the Comptroller to report the total amount of reduction to the Legislative Budget Board and Governor.

(b) Appropriates an amount equal to the General Revenue Fund and general revenue dedicated account appropriations that are vetoed by the Governor for the transfers in subsection (c).

(c) (1) Directs the Legislative Budget Board and Governor to determine the final allocation of the net appropriation reductions no later than October 1, 2003. The reductions required by subsection (a) and the transfers required by this subsection (c) do not apply to constitutionally dedicated funds; funds necessary for the payment of debt service; funds appropriated to the Employees Retirement System, the Teacher Retirement Fund, and the Foundation School Program; amounts necessary for salaries out of appropriations made in Article IV of this Act; or to items of appropriations designated “estimated.”  (2) Authorizes the Legislative Budget Board and the Governor to utilize state fiscal relief federal funds for transfer to agencies or institutions that would otherwise be reduced pursuant to this section or other authority and such state fiscal relief federal funds are hereby appropriated in the amount utilized for this purpose.  (3) Directs the Legislative Budget Board and Governor to inform each state agency and institution affected by the reductions no later than October 15, 2003. 

 

Sec. 11.18.  Appropriation Transfers: Billings for Statewide Allocated Costs – Amends language to reference the statute, Government Code, Chapter 2106.  Statute excludes institutions of higher education thus higher education is excluded from this provision.

 

Deleted Sections

 

Sec. 6.45. Repayment of Overpaid Food Stamp Benefits

Sec. 6.47. Bulk Purchasing of Pharmaceuticals

Sec. 9.12. Crash Records Information Systems.

Sec. 9.15. Use the “Balanced Scorecard” Concept to Optimize Texas State Government

                 Performance.

Sec. 10.06. Emergency Contingency Reserve

Sec. 10.12 – 10.102 and Part 11-- Various Contingencies