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May 24, 2013 Update on Bills Being Tracked by TCA
Legislative Activity This Week
Sovereign Immunity – HB 586 by Representative Paul Workman (R-Austin) was passed by the Senate on Wednesday, May 22. The bill was amended on the Senate floor and will go back to the House where Rep. Workman will probably request a conference committee of House and Senate members be appointed to work out the differences in the House and Senate versions of the bill. The report from the conference committee must be distributed in the House and Senate before midnight Saturday, May 25 in order to be considered by both houses by midnight Sunday, May 26. This legislation would waive the state’s immunity in construction contract disputes.
Career and Technical Education Programs in Public Schools – A House/Senate conference committee continues to work toward a solution between each house’s version of HB 5 by Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock (R-Killeen). The conference committee report must be approved by both houses by midnight Sunday, May 26. This bill would provide curriculum flexibility in high school graduation requirements which, in part, would pave the way for career and technical education programs in the state’s public schools to train and prepare students for various certifications and careers in the different segments of the construction industry as well as in other Texas industries.
Worker Classification on Government Projects – HB 2015 by Representative John Davis (R-Houston) was finally passed by the Senate and sent to the Governor on Wednesday, May 22. This legislation amends the Texas Labor Code to require that employers awarded a contract for public works must ensure that any individual performing services under the contract are properly classified as an employee or independent contractor. The bill also requires a subcontractor employer under that contract for public work to classify properly an individual as an employee or independent contractor. An employer who misclassifies is subject to a $200 fine for each individual misclassified.
HB 1050 by Representative Bill Callegari (R-Katy) was finally passed by the Senate on Wednesday, May 22. Since amendments were added to the bill in the Senate it must go back to the House where the House will either concur in the Senate amendments or the bill will be sent to a House/Senate conference committee to work out the differences in the House and Senate versions of the bill. The purpose of this bill is to make minor adjustments to the law passed in 2011 dealing with alternative project delivery methods.
Legislative Activity Next Week
The Regular Session of the Texas Legislature adjourns sine die (Latin for without a day) on Monday, May 27. Legislators have been told to expect Governor Perry to bring them back to Austin for special sessions to deal with redistricting and school finance, with the timing for them dependent on court rulings on the issues.
Status of TCA High Priority Legislation
Retainage Trust Fund – HB 3316 by Representative Jim Keffer (R-Eastland) died on the House floor on Thursday, May 9. It is no longer eligible for further consideration.
Worker Classification – HB 1925 by Representative John Davis (R-Houston) died in the House Calendars Committee by House rules. SB 676 by Senator John Carona (R-Dallas) died by Senate rules in the Senate Business & Economic Development Committee.
Lender Notice – HB 2180 by Representative Cecil Bell, Jr. (R-Magnolia) died in the House Business & Industry Committee by House rules, and SB 295 by Senator Bob Deuell (R-Greenville) died in the Senate Business & Commerce Committee by Senate rules.
Lien Law Reform – SB 1281 by Senator José Rodríguez (D-El Paso) died in the Senate Business & Commerce Committee by Senate rules. HB 3553 by Representative René Oliveira (D-Brownsville) died in the House Business & Industry Committee by House rules.
Status of Other Construction-Related Legislation
SB 438 by Senator Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury) died in the House Calendars Committee last week by House rules. The House companion bill was HB 123 by Representative Charles “Doc” Anderson (R-Waco), which also died under House rules. The legislation stated that an interlocal contract between a governmental entity and a purchasing cooperative may not be used to purchase roofing materials or services from a person who provided consulting services to the cooperative for development of the RFP. It would have required cooperatives to consult a third party when seeking consultation on a bidding process, and ensure competitiveness.