SUMMARIES

From the Pink Dome: The Top 10 New Dirt(y) Laws (plus 5 also-rans)
In My Opinion: The Top 10 New Laws Interesting For All the Wrong Reasons

CLE MATERIALS

Advising Business Owners about the Margin Tax and the Texas Business Organizations Code

 

Legislative Update: Significant Bills of the 80th Legislature Affecting Real Estate, Lending, and Other Commercial Matters
This is the official report of the Real Estate Legislative Affairs Committee, a standing committee of the Real Estate, Probate & Trust Law Section of the State Bar of Texas

 

Downloads:
The Final Report (66 pages, 231 Bill Summaries)

Appendix A: Local District Laws Code ( 20 Pages, 142 Bill Summaries)
 

NOTE: other than the Legislative Update report, the selection of bills for inclusion on this page is subjectively determined by Mark McPherson. There are additional bills passed relating to each of these topics. All bills that passed the 80th Legislature's Regular Session may be reviewed at www.capitol.state.tx.us.

COMMERCIAL FLEET:

Bill Caption Effective
Date
JMM Comments
HB 2077 Relating to police officers eligible to be certified to enforce commercial motor vehicle safety standards 6-15-07 Authorizes the City of Round Rock (North Austin) to seek certification to perform commercial motor vehicle safety inspections.
SB 328 Relating to the requirement that the results of an alcohol and drug test taken by certain holders of a commercial driver's license be reported to the Department of Public Safety 9- 1-07 Current law requires an employer who is required to conduct alcohol and drug testing of an employee who holds a commercial driver's license to report a valid positive result of an alcohol or drug test, a refusal to provide a specimen, and an adulterated, substituted, or dilute specimen. Apparently, there is some confusion about the reporting requirements with regard to dilute specimens. SB 328 specifies that only a valid positive dilute specimen must be reported to the Texas Department of Public safety by an employer motor carrier.
SB 329 Relating to an object or material placed on or attached to a window of a commercial motor vehicle 6-15-07 Current state law provides that commercial motor vehicle windows may be tinted at 25 percent luminous transmission, or the amount of outside light that come through the tinted window. Window tinting requirements under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations for commercial motor vehicles mandate a minimum of 70 percent of luminous transmission. HB 329 clarifies that a commercial motor vehicle operated in intrastate commerce must comply with federal window tinting requirements. This bill also eliminates a conflict between federal and state law and allows the state to continue to apply for discretionary federal funding under the Motor Carrier Assistance Program.
SB 330 Relating to enforcement of certain vehicle weight and safety requirements by a noncommissioned employee of the Department of Public Safety of the State of Texas 4-23-07 Allows DPS to utilize noncommissioned commercial motor vehicle inspection staff at all inspection sites located throughout Texas, including temporary roadside and weight inspection stations that are periodically set up to ensure commercial vehicle safety. The goal is to put more commercial vehicle enforcement officers at inspection sites to increase safety and enforcement, and to accommodate smaller counties where there is not a fixed-site weight station.
SB 332 Relating to the responsibility of an employer in relation to a person who drives a commercial motor vehicle 9- 1-07 SB 332 authorizes the state to prohibit a motor carrier from operating in intrastate commerce if the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has prohibited the carrier from operating in interstate commerce due to the carrier being deemed unfit or unsafe.
SB 333 Relating to driving a commercial motor vehicle in violation of an out-of-service order 9- 1-07 SB 333 applies the sanction for violating an out–of–service order to the operators of smaller commercial motor vehicles (with a gross weight rating of 10,001 lbs. to 26,000 lbs.). This would mean that a person driving a commercial motor vehicle who does not have or need to have a CDL is subject to the same penalties as those who do have a CDL (those penalties are: Class B misdemeanor for violating an out–of–service order). Under prior law, a driver without a CDL operating a commercial motor vehicle violating the out–of–service order is only subject to a Class C misdemeanor.
SB 387 Relating to loose material transported by vehicle 9- 1-07 Current law prohibits transportation of loose material without a covering. SB 387 adds “refuse”, defined as “trash, rubbish, garbage, or any other discarded material” to the definition of loose material. SB 387 also tries to clarify what is “loose material” by amending the definition to “material that can be blown or spilled from a vehicle because of movement or exposure to air, wind currents, or other weather. It specifically includes dirt, sand, gravel, refuse, and wood chips but excludes an agricultural product in its natural state. SB 387 also removes the exemption for vehicles traveling less than 30 mph.
SB 766 Relating to the transfer of powers and duties for accident reports from the Department of Public Safety to the Texas Department of Transportation 9- 1-07 Transfers from DPS to TxDOT the responsibilities to maintain motor vehicle traffic accident reports, classifying accidents, collecting data from each accident report, and entering the information in to the Crash Records Information System, and providing data to the public.

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CONSTRUCTION:

Bill Topic Effective
Date
JMM Comments
HB 34 Relating to the prohibition of certain payments or other inducements regarding a workers' compensation claim; providing an administrative violation 9- 1-07 The Texas Workers’ Compensation Act doesn’t provide any specific prohibitions against kickbacks for arranging referrals for services by individuals in control of the management of a claim. HB 34 prohibits paying, allowing, or offering fees, rebates, or other considerations in exchange for the referral of medical or case management services on a claim.
HB 1038 Relating to the operation of the Texas Residential Construction Commission; providing penalties 9- 1-07 Lots more "teeth" for the Texas Residential Construction Commission. Big, consumer-oriented bill. All residential builders and their lawyers should read this bill carefully. Remains to be seen whether the TRCC will actually enforce this new law.
HB 2936 Relating to exempting certain community development corporations from the Texas Residential Construction Commission Act 9- 1-07 Some non-profits serve not as homebuilders directly, but as developers of affordable housing, retaining ownership of the land and improvements to be sold to income qualified buyers. In this situation, the non-profit contracts with a third party to construct and/or manage the construction of the house and does not act as the homebuilder directly. Per HB 2936 the third party builder is responsible for being registered with the commission as a homebuilder and registering the home constructed with the commission.
HB 3147 Relating to claims against a contractor for construction of common elements under a condominium or cooperative system 9- 1-07 Modifies the definition of “contractor” and “residence” so that all construction defect claims arising on a residential condominium project are covered by Property Code Chapter 27, regardless of whether the alleged defect arises from construction of an individual unit or the common elements and regardless of whether the claim is against the developer or a third-party contractor. The developer of a condominium project must provide the disclosure notice to the unit purchaser.
SB 324 Relating to contingent payment clauses in certain construction contracts 9- 1-07 Legalizes and clarifies the use of "I, GC, don't have to pay you, Sub, until the owner pays me, unless (list of specific exceptions)." Fairly complicated bill, not waivable by owner, GC or Subs.
SB 1627 Signed by the Governor 6-15-07
Earliest effective date 6-15-07
6-15-07 Authorizes a person who commits an offense of fraud under Chapter 418 (Criminal Penalties), Labor Code, to be prosecuted under that chapter or any other applicable state law. This parallels the standard ladder for committing insurance fraud or other similar financial crimes and in which punishment is dependant on the value of the claim.
SB 1673 Relating to the period after which a preconstruction permit issued or renewed by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality under the Texas Clean Air Act is subject to review 5-22-07 Allows the TCEQ to do a complete air emission permit renewal if a preconstruction permit comes up for a major amendment within the last three years of the permit, to give the TCEQ more flexibility to establish permit renewal schedules that may coincide with a permit amendment.

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FRANCHISE TAX:

Bill Topic Effective
Date
JMM Comments
HB 1207 Relating to corrections to the revised franchise tax transition provisions of House Bill No. 3, 79th Legislature, 3rd Called Session, 2006 6-15-07 Closes alleged loophole to require all entities to pay franchise tax until an entity terminated; amends transition reporting requirements for newly taxable entities; specifies final franchise tax period; clarifies "combined group" rules regarding tax period for group and its members.
HB 3928 Relating to technical changes to the revised franchise tax 6-15-07 Ominbus, big, complicated bill making both technical changes to clarify the Margin Tax. This bill substantively changes parts of the Margin Tax passed last year, and it adds new options as well. This is a HUGE change in state taxation. Every business operating in Texas should consult their qualified attorney and/or CPA immediately to begin to understand this change. See Advising Business Owners About the Margin Tax and TBOC posted above.

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LANDLORD/TENANT:

Bill Topic Effective Date JMM Comments
HB 3101 Relating to a residential tenant's rights and remedies 1- 1-08 This is another HUGE bill this session, very tenant-friendly. It will require landords to revise all their residential leases that are signed on or after 9-1-07. May require some landlords to use written leases instead of oral leases in order to have certain remedies (keep the remedies they've had for eons). Read the Legislative Update summary above (page 33) and look for a separate article on this bill soon.
HB 177 Relating to provision of hot water service to residential rental units 9- 1-07 Requires a residential landlord to make a diligent effort to repair or remedy a condition that arises from a landlord's failure to provide adn maintain, in good operating condition, a hot water heater that heats water to at least 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

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OIL AND GAS:

Bill Topic Effective
Date
JMM Comments
HB 630 Relating to notice to a surface owner by an oil or gas well operator of the issuance of a permit for certain oil and gas operations 9- 1-07 Requires an oil and gas exploration and production company to give written notice to a landowner within 15 days of receiving a drilling permit. Also requires notice to be provided to the first name on tax appraisal rolls, authorizes the landowner and driller to contract around the provision. This law does nothing to change the dominance of the mineral estate. Provides that this requirement applies only to the drilling of a new oil or gas well or the reentry of a plugged or abandoned oil or gas well.
HB 3273 Relating to the powers and duties of the Railroad Commission of Texas; providing an administrative penalty 9- 1-07 Prohibits retaliation and discrimination between a natural gas pipeline operator and a well operator. Requires participation in an informal complaint proceeding. Authorizes the railroad commission to establish market based or cost-of-service rates in a formal complaint proceeding.
SB 1670 Relating to certificates of compliance issued by the Railroad Commission of Texas to owners or operators of certain wells subject to the jurisdiction of the commission 9- 1-07 Prohibits pipeline operators and other carriers from connecting to a well subject to railroad commission jurisdiction until the well owner provides certificate from the railroad commission showing compliance with applicable well rules and regs. Also includes water wells regulated by the railroad commission.

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LEGISLATION INTERESTING FOR ALL THE WRONG REASONS:

Bill Topic Progress JMM Comments
HB 54 Relating to the advertising, promoting, and conducting of certain live musical performance Effective 9- 1-07 Apparently, “many” touring bands claiming to be musical groups such as The Platters, The Drifters or other groups from the ‘50s and ‘60s actually don’t have any ties to the original artists. This bill would prohibit performances in Texas by bands that didn’t have at least one original member of the group. Seems to be a surreptitious way to ban the modern day Elvis from the building.
HB 68 Relating to the creation of an anti-bullying hotline H Filed 11-13-06
H Introduced and referred to committee on House Appropriations 1-29-07
What ever happened to “my dad can beat up your dad”? Oh, that’s right, more than half our kids don’t live with their divorced dads anymore.
HB 106 Relating to disclosure by a violent offender who operates an online business H Filed 11-13-06
H Introduced and referred to committee on House Criminal Jurisprudence 1-29-07
Would require violent offenders sentenced to community supervision to put this notice on any website they use to sell a product or service: THE OPERATOR OF THIS WEBSITE HAS BEEN CONVICTED OF OR RECEIVED A GRANT OF DEFERRED ADJUDICATION FOR AN OFFENSE DESCRIBED BY SECTION 3g, ARTICLE 42.12, CODE OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE. There now, don’t you feel safer already? Or would you rather just get a good deal?
HB 167 Relating to exempting a religious bible from attachment, execution, or other seizure for the satisfaction of debts Effective 9- 1-07 What cold-hearted, dipwad of a creditor kicked someone while they were down by forcibly removing the debtor’s choice of hope? But what happens if that Bible happens to be a very valuable collectible? Politics and religion have collided in the Property Code!
HB 227 Relating to the operation of golf carts and side-by-side utility vehicles on municipal streets or county roads H Passed (Vote Y: 138/N: 1) 3-28-07
Received in the Senate - Referred to Senate Transportation & Homeland Security 4- 3-07
It is currently illegal to operate a golf cart on a city street or county road. This bill would allow cities and counties to make this decision. I can just see the campaigns now: “vote for me, and I’ll allow you to drive your golf cart or John Deere Gator from your house to the country club.” Too bad Johnny Cash isn’t around to write “I Drive The Line”about such injustice. Can’t you just picture the music video?
HB 241 Relating to equipping each K-9 law enforcement vehicle with a heat alarm system H Filed 11-15-06
Introduced and referred to committee on House Law Enforcement 1-31-07
Would require each K-9 carrying vehicle to have an alarm system that would crack open the windows and set off an alarm and page the K-9's human partner when the interior temp gets dangerously high.....if a cop isn’t shrewd enough to take care of his own partner, how in the world is he gonna take care of me?
HB 254 Relating to the expulsion of a public school student who engages in certain conduct off campus or while the student is not at a school-related activity H Filed 11-15-06
Introduced and referred to committee on House Public Education 1-31-07
Would require expulsion of a student who committed certain criminal acts while not on the school campus or extra-curricular activity. I’m thinking perhaps sending them to a “special secured campus” (a/k/a jail) would sufficiently remove them from school.
HB 435 Relating to the detection and monitoring of a cellular telephone in the possession of or used by an inmate or state jail defendant H Set on the House Calendar 5-10-07 Would you believe that criminals smuggle into prisons, and hide, cellphones for the purpose of continuing to participate in and direct criminal activities? This bill would supposedly “negate any imagined expectation of privacy that an offender might have in a cellular telephone located in a correctional facility.” How about having regularly random body cavity searches? I hope law enforcement really didn’t need this bill.
HB 693 Relating to the form of "Welcome to Texas" signs along certain highways Effective 1-20-09 In 2005, the Legislature changed the form of our welcome signs to boast of Texas being the home of the Prez commonly known as “W”. This session, somebody realized some other Texan could be elected as Prez in the future, so we had to change the statute to add back in some flexibility. Talk about micromanagement. And optimism. Do you think someone whose initials are Kay Bailey Hutchison supported this?
HB 937 Relating to an exemption from the payment of a toll for an authorized emergency vehicle H Passed (Vote Y: 144/N: 0) 3-15-07
S Received in the Senate - Referred to Senate Transportation & Homeland Security 4- 3-07
Under the radar screen of the fuss about toll roads is the fact that some toll authorities require police, fire, medical, and other emergency vehicles to pay a toll unless they are pursuing a suspect, responding to an emergency, or displaying a flashing light. All over a buck or so. How do you know what’s up? Here’s an idea-exempt all police and emergency vehicles, marked or unmarked, from paying a toll regardless of whether they are responding to an emergency or displaying a flashing light. But something about this bill made too much sense for it to pass. Next time you call an ambulance, if you live near a tollway make sure to tell them to “turn the light on for you.”
HB 995 Relating to civil and criminal consequences of riding on a coasting motor vehicle without an operator House: Filed 1-31-07, referred to committee on House Transportation 2-12-07; never made it out of committee Could the caption be any more indicative of absolutely stupid behavior? Maybe at least some of these people get what they deserve. The real problem here is the innocent bystander. The first offense would have been a Class B misdemeanor, and the next one would have elevated the Einstein to Class A Moron. Other factors would have increased the penalty even higher.
HB 1122 Relating to efficiency standards for certain appliances House: Filed 1-31-07, referred to committee on House Transportation 2-12-07; never made it out of committee If you were to read this bill, no later than about 20% into it you would say “what the [insert exclamation word of your choice]!?” This would have required the Comptroller to determine and set minimum efficiency standards by 9-1-2008 for some of these appliances: bottle-type water dispensers; commercial hot food holding cabinets; compact audio products; DVD players and recorders; metal halide lamp fixtures; portable electric spas; residential pool pumps; single-voltage external AC to DC power supplies; state-regulated incandescent reflector lamps; walk-in refrigerators and freezers; and any other products that are designated by the comptroller. Expected electricity savings? $2.2 billion Mastercard dollars over 25 years. Expected problems with interstate commerce? Priceless.
HB 1154 Relating to the promotion of breast-feeding and the prohibition against interference with or restriction of the right to breast-feed H Filed 2- 6-07
Introduced and referred to committee on House Public Health 2-13-07 Meeting set for 8:00 A.M., E2.036 -- House Public Health 4- 4-07
Don’t you just wish this bill could have gotten to the House floor for a debate about breasts among our elected politically correct experts (well, some anyway)? The bill was intended to ensure the right to breast feed in public. Individuals who interfered would receive a warning the first time and a $250 fine for the second offense. The House Committee on Public Health discussed that breast milk is the best nutrition for infants and it could save up to $3.6 billion in health care costs. But concern was voiced because the bill did not differentiate between employee and employer. And there was concern that the bill did not require signage of the mother's right to breast feed. Can you just imagine seeing signs all over town notifying you of a woman’s right to breast feed and warning you not to interfere? And what kind of international symbol would they eventually have come up with?
HB 1176 Relating to providing that a municipality may allow a municipal fire marshal or arson investigator to travel in an unmarked municipal vehicle when performing official duties H Passed on local calendar (Vote Y: 146/N: 0) 3-22-07
S Received in the Senate - Referred to Senate Intergovernmental Relations 3-29-07
Seems reasonable enough, but even though the marking of these vehicles “may very well hinder the apprehension and/or timely prosecution of criminals in numerous cases across the State,” per the bill analysis, this bill died in the Senate.
HB 1211 Relating to vehicles passing certain stationary vehicles engaged in the delivery of United States mail on a highway H Filed 2- 7-07
Introduced and referred to committee on House Transportation 2-13-07
To pass a mail delivery truck, one would have to move into the left lane and slow to 20 mph slower than the posted speed but not less than 5 mph. Safety for the mail carrier, but could have caused dangerous situations for inattentive drivers. In NASCAR lingo we’d have heard “I checked up, he wuudn’t payin’ no attention and just ran right into the back of me.”
HB 1258 Relating to the prosecution of the offense of interference with police service animals H Filed 2- 8-07
Introduced and referred to committee on House Criminal Jurisprudence 2-14-07
Meeting set for 8:00 A.M., E2.016 -- House Criminal Jurisprudence 4-17-07
This bill would have increased the penalty of killing or intending to kill a police dog from a 3rd degree felony to a 2nd degree felony. It reportedly costs over $40,000 to acquire and train a police dog. Maybe we should just add a reimbursement element to the crime, but either way something needs to change because this bill never even made it out of any committee.
HB 1309 Relating to the possession or transportation of certain snakes that are not indigenous to this country House: Passed (Vote Y: 132/N: 5), 5- 9-07
Senate voted favorably from Senate Natural Resources Committee, May 22, 2007
I hate snakes. But one of the sexiest sites I ever saw was a pet snake of some sort wrap itself up my wife’s arm. I have no explanation for it, probably some ying-yang thang. This bill would have required a person to obtain a permit from Texas Parks & Wildlife before possessing or transporting nonindigenous venomous snakes or certain constrictors. The concern, you see, is that there isn’t enough anti-venom to treat snake bites. Better hope we don’t run out for 2 more years until the 81st legislature takes another strike at this one.
HB 1337 Relating to the use of the term "seminary" in the official name or title of a private postsecondary educational institution H Filed 2-12-07
Introduced and referred to committee on House Higher Education 2-14-07
Why would any non-seminary want to use that term in its name? To defraud, perhaps? Matthew 10: 16 says “...be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” Well, recruits, here’s your first test. Check out the school that wants your money. And you’ll be on your own for awhile yet, because this bill was never even heard in committee.
HB 1345 Relating to a school district policy for responding to a train derailment near a district school H Filed 2-12-07
Introduced and referred to committee on House Public Education 2-14-07
Do we really need to direct our educators to prepare for a train derailment if the school is located within 300 feet of a railroad track? Can’t the smart people figure this out on their own without the collective wisdom and advice of Austin? Yet another example of proposed micromanagement.
HB 1419 Relating to a prohibition against changing the name of a public institution of higher education that is named after a state historical figure H Filed 2-13-07
Introduced and referred to committee on House Higher Education 2-19-07
Meeting set for 8:00 A.M., JHR 120 -- House Higher Education 4- 2-07
Remember the hostile takeovers of the ‘80s? The Wall Street Journal had better plot lines than Desperate Housewives could ever hope for. Well, Sam Houston State University is worried that a takeover by the Texas State University system, would include changing its name as part of a “branding effort.” And given the fate of this bill, they’re still worried. But they at least came up with a bill caption that really pulls at the ol’ heartstrings.
HB 1547 Relating to inclusion of pets and other companion animals in protective orders H Reported from committee as substituted House Juvenile Justice and Family Issues 4-16-07 Oh please. Divorce is bad enough, been there, done that. Paid out the wazzu to remove my ex’s teeth from my derriere. There’s enough to fight about already; do the divorce lawyers really need a new source of revenue by officially adding Fido and Tiger to the mix?
HB 1717 Relating to the identification requirements for any device with the appearance of a fire hydrant that is nonfunctioning or otherwise unavailable for use in a fire emergency Effective 6-15-07 This bill requires the owner of any device that looks like a fire hydrant to either paint it black or cover it with a black tarp if the hydrant does not function (either temporarily or permanently) or if the hydrant pumps less than 250 gallons of water per minute. As the bill was being considered in the House Committee on Urban Affairs on March 7, the author quipped something to the effect of “if something looks and walks like a duck, then it ought to quack like a duck......the same holds true for fire hydrants.” And sometimes that’s just how ducky new legislation gets made.
HB 1810 Relating to the circumstances under which consent to the taking of a specimen of the breath or blood of a person arrested for certain intoxication offense is implied H Reported favorably from committee on House Criminal Jurisprudence 5- 1-07
Set on the House Calendar 5-10-07
Prohibition in this millennium is spelled “MADD.” No Texas law requires habitually drunk drivers to provide a breath or blood sample. Even if there is a long history of drinking and driving, Texas law permits the driver to refuse to provide a breath or blood sample. Presently, nearly half of all drunk drivers in Texas refuse to provide a breath or blood sample when arrested for DWI. This bill would have required drivers with 2 prior DWI arrests to provide blood or breath samples. Notice it said “arrests” and not “convictions.” Perhaps that over-eagerness doomed its passage this session.
HB 1828 Relating to requiring courts to report the number of frivolous lawsuits filed each year H Filed 2-22-07
H Introduced and referred to committee on House Judiciary 2-27-07
Trying to identify a lawsuit as “frivolous” is about as easy as passing a camel through the eye of a needle. Getting judges on record about this would probably be even more difficult. Besides, last session’s Tort Reform eliminated a ton of candidates already.
HB 1983 Relating to the number of people riding on a motorcycle H Filed 2-26-07
Introduced and referred to committee on House Transportation 3- 5-07
“How many people can you fit in a telephone booth” is funny. Trying the same sort of stunt with a running motorcycle is ludicrous. Why do we need legislation to tell folks this? Apparently someone thinks we now need to increase the penalties because we still don’t have everyone’s attention.
HB 2127 Relating to the operation of all-terrain vehicles in connection with utility work Effective 9- 1-07 Companies that do the same thing are often treated differently by the law. This bill evened the playing field for private utility companies, allowing them the same benefits as municipal utility companies and agricultural workers. If we focused on purpose instead of process we’d have fewer of these problems.
HB 2623 Relating to the cancellation of a dating service contract within a certain period after execution of the contract H Passed on local calendar (Vote Y: 147/N: 0) 5- 2-07
S Received in the Senate - Referred to Senate Business and Commerce 5- 7-07
Can’t you just hear Mr. T spouting “I PITY TH” FOOL!” Here’s the “logic.” Texas allows consumers 3 days to cancel a health spa contract. This bill would apply the same concept to dating service contracts. So people could stay up 24-3 after signing a contract checking out the “meat” in the “market” and , if it turned out to be chopped liver.....well, they didn’t get any help from this Legislature.
HB 3165 Relating to medically accurate information in the provision of instruction or the development of material relating to human development and human sexuality H Filed 3- 8-07
Introduced and referred to committee on House State Affairs 3-19-07
This bill would have required anybody receiving state money to provide human development or human sexuality instruction, including but not limited to sex education, family life education, abstinence-only education, health education; and character education, to use “information supported by the weight of peer-reviewed research conducted in compliance with accepted scientific methods and recognized as accurate and objective by leading professional organizations and agencies with relevant expertise in the field.” This sounds like one of the most unworkable standards I’ve ever heard.
HB 3623 Relating to requiring certain barbers and cosmetologists to have a product available to reverse certain hair damage H Filed 3- 9-07
Introduced and referred to committee on Licensing and Administrative Procedures 3-21-07
You just have to wonder if a legislator had some personal experience with this one. Somebody hoped it would become effective immediately upon passage but it never even got a hearing in committee.
HB 3845 Relating to the possession, custody, or control of a cougar, bobcat or coyote H Passed (Vote Y: 139/N: 0) 5-11-07
Received in the Senate 5-14-07
Referred to Senate Committee on Senate Natural Resources 5-15-07
As our population explodes and encroaches on natural habitat, predator animal control becomes more and more important as a safety issue. This bill would have allowed a person practicing predator or depredation control of cougars, bobcats, or coyotes to be able to trap or capture the animal, transfer it to another person permitted to received the animal, or specialize in lure production or dog training as the activities relate to predator or depredation control. Lest we forget, this is Texas, and that means we love us some huntin’. But this Leg probably ran out of time to fix this.
HCR 24 Relating to the State of Texas hereby request all public school districts consult local stakeholders, and establish a recess policy for elementary schools that reflects research findings on the importance of play H Filed 1- 8-07
H Introduced and referred to committee on House Public Education 2- 7-07
Reading the relatively lengthy preamble of this resolution, parents can’t help but say “Amen” to parts and “Huh?” to others. Here are some quotes: “[t]he development of children’s perceptual abilities may suffer when so much of their experience is gained through television, computers, books, work sheets, and media that require only two senses” [AMEN!]; “[p]lay reduces the tension that often comes with having to achieve or needing to learn; in play, adults do not interfere, and children relax ;” [so, adult instruction to achieve is actually “interference” which causes anxiety-HUH?]; “[r]esearch suggests that children’s participation in vigorous physical activity in the schoolyard surpasses that which occurs during structured physical education classes; this activity can thwart the onset of cardiovascular disease and diabetes to which overweight children become prone as adults” [so, why don’t we change structured phys ed classes-HUH?]. And on it goes.
HCR 81 Relating to the 80th Legislature of the State of Texas hereby designating Denver Harbor, aka Podunk, as the official Mythical Town of Texas H Passed on local calendar 5- 8-07
S Referred to Senate Committee on Senate Government Organization 5-10-07
There’s an area in modern day Northeast Houston named Denver Harbor. As the Great Depression of the 1930s drew to an end, a “curious occurrence” lifted the spirits of this beleaguered community: on June 1, 1939, the morning sun revealed the word “Podunk” painted on the formerly blank side of the local water tower. The city tried repeatedly to cover over the word, but the name would always reappear within a few days. Inspired by the “spunky defiance” of the sign’s unknown painter, area residents soon began calling themselves “Podunkers,” and the name was even adopted by a youth basketball team, the Podunk Skunks. The story of this resilient neighborhood is told in the book Where the Hell Is Podunk, Texas? This resolution would have named Podunk a mythical place, but it seems to me the place is alive and kicking. Camelot would be an example of a mythical place.
SB 35 Relating to a purchasing preference for contractors who provide foods of higher nutritional value and who do not provide foods containing trans fatty acids Senate: Passed on local calendar (Vote Y: 30/N: 0) 3-28-07
House: Reported favorably from committee on House Government Reform 5-11-07
Set on the House Calendar 5-22-07
This was yet another attempt to fight obesity. It would authorize certain state agencies to give preference during a bidding process to food vendors that offer food of higher nutritional value that is to be served in public sector cafeterias.
SB 254 Relating to the sale of live animals on a public highway or road, the right-of-way of a public highway or road, or a parking lot Effective 9-1-07 Apparently this is not a problem in rural areas, because it only applies to our biggest cities. Obviously, in the cities, these roadside sales can disrupt traffic. But this bill also notes that roadside sales circumvent mechanisms for ensuring that a pet is appropriately registered, vaccinated, and spayed or neutered. Yet another casualty to “buyer beware” a/k/a “caveat emptor.”
SB 369 Relating to the readability of vehicle license plates according to standards set by the Texas Department of Transportation Effective 9- 1-07 This was a legislative “do over.” Last session, the Leg passed a law that many police officers interpreted as outlawing every license plate holder. No “GO COWBOYS”, political messages, or NASCAR Nation. You can imagine the backlash that resulted in this bill passing.
SB 672 Relating to distribution of sexual barrier protection devices to inmates and state jail defendants confined in facilities operated by or under contract with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Senate Filed 2-15-07
Introduced and referred to committee on Senate Criminal Justice 2-28-07
This bill would have required our state prison system to distribute condoms to inmates via “discreet locations” AND provides for their disposal in a manner that protects the anonymity of inmates and the health of corrections dept. personnel. This idea didn’t get very far.


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