Session Updates

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As of 7/1/15

The Regular Session of the 84th Texas Legislature ended on June 1, 2015.

Before adjourning, several significant measures were passed and sent to the Governor.  Those measures included a $209.4 billion budget for the next biennium, authorization for $3.1 billion in construction bonds for Texas universities, a proposed constitutional amendment to increase annual transportation funding, allowing open carry for handguns, allowing handguns on public university campuses, increasing the school property tax homestead exemption, and reducing the franchise tax rate.

Some of the statistics from the just-completed session are as follows:

  • House members filed 4,207 bills in 2015 compared to 3,950 bills filed in 2013, with 818 House bills being passed in 2015 compared to 732 bills passed in 2013.
  • Senators filed 2,069 bills in 2015 compared to 1,918 filed in 2013, with 504 bills passed this year compared to 705 bills passed in 2013.

 

Construction Issues That Passed

 

Consolidated Insurance Programs

SB 1081 by Senator Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe) has been signed by the Governor.

The bill provides that the Consolidated Insurance Program principal must furnish crucial information about the CIP prior to a contractor entering into a construction contract. It also requires the principal to furnish promptly a copy of the insurance policies under the CIP.

For more information, please visit:
http://www.texcon.org/texcon/Consolidated_Insurance_Programs_(CIPs).asp

 

Public-Private Partnerships

HB 2475 by Rep. Charlie Geren (R-Fort Worth) has been signed by the Governor.

This legislation will establish a center for alternative finance and procurement within the Texas Facilities Commission to consult with governmental entities regarding best practices for procurement and financing of qualifying public private partnership projects and to assist governmental entities in the receipt of proposals, negotiation of interim and comprehensive agreements, and management of qualifying public-private partnership projects.

 

Pre-Litigation Requirements for Condo Owners’ Associations in Defect Cases

HB 1455 by Rep. Mike Schofield (R-Katy) has been signed by the Governor.

This legislation will restrict condominium unit owners’ associations in condominiums that have eight or more units from filing lawsuits or initiating arbitration proceedings to resolve a claim relating to the construction or design of a unit on behalf of all of the owners unless they obtain an inspection and written independent third-party report that identifies and describes the condition of the specific units or common elements that are subject to the claim and obtain approval from unit owners holding at least 67 percent of the total votes in the association at a special meeting.

 

Construction Manager-At-Risk Used by a Governmental Entity

HB 2634 by Rep. John Kuempel (R-Seguin) has been signed by the Governor for his consideration.

This legislation amends the Government Code to remove an exception to a prohibition against a governmental entity’s project architect or engineer serving, alone or in combination with another person, as the construction manager-at-risk.  The bill will promote competition in the construction industry.

 

TCA supported workforce and education bills that addressed needs in the Texas public education system to better serve career path development and support.  Some of the bills that passed are:

 

HB 18 by Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock                               6/19/2015 Signed by the Governor

 HB 18 is the combined bill that establishes college and career readiness training academies for counselors in public schools: middle, junior high and high schools. This bill includes SB 13 by Sen. Charles Perry, a measure that lifts the cap on dual credit courses a student can take in all Texas high schools, not just early college high schools as in current law. It also adds a 7th or 8th grade semester course on career and college readiness to explore graduation plans, endorsements, and college and career choices (all students must pick an endorsement upon entering 9th grade).

 

HB 3062 by Rep. Travis Clardy                       6/10/2015 Signed by the Governor 

The Jobs and Education for Texans (JET) Grant Program, enables educators to create courses that meet the needs of employers in their region, quickly and efficiently. The bill continues the program at the Texas Workforce Commission, unchanged from its current mission and at funding levels of $5 million annually. It allows ISDs to access the fund when tied to higher education dual credit.

 

HB 505 by Rep. Eddie Rodriguez                                   5/23/2015 Signed by the Governor

Removes the dual credit caps at traditional high schools.

 

HB 2205 by Rep. Myra Crownover                                6/18/2015 Signed by the Governor

Contains SB 1003 by Sen. Paul Bettencourt. Would allow superintendents, with school board approval, to hire CTE teachers without teacher certification on a School District Teaching Permit with proper classroom management training.

 

HB 2014 by Rep. Kenneth Sheets                                   6/17/2015 Signed by the Governor

Allows military personnel to obtain certification to teach career and technology education (CTE) classes in public schools, even if they have no specific occupational licensure.

 

HB 2628 by Rep. Travis Clardy                                   6/3/2015 Signed by the Governor

Support: Development and alignment of curricula for CTE educational programs by The Higher Education Coordinating Board.

 

SB 1189 by Sen. Kel Seliger                                             6/19/2015 Signed by the Governor

Establishes a transfer associate degree program at each public junior college.

 

 

Construction Issues That Did Not Pass.

Some TCA priority issues are among other construction industry issues that failed to pass this session.

 

 

Lender Notice

HB 1208 by Representative Cecil Bell, Jr. (R-Magnolia) died in the House Calendars Committee by House Rules.

This bill would have required the lender to provide notice to the contractor when the lender accelerates a loan or declares the loan in default.

 

For more information, please visit:

http://www.texcon.org/texcon/Lender_Notice_of_Default.asp

 

Retainage Trust Fund

HB 1966 by Representative Jim Keffer (R-Eastland) died on the House Calendar by House Rules. 

This bill would have required the owner to set aside the 10% retainage in a separate bank account protected from the owner’s creditors.

 

For more information, please visit:
http://www.texcon.org/texcon/Retainage_Trust_Fund.asp 

 

Worker Classification
HB 434 
by Representative Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston) died in the House Business & Industry Committee by House Rules.

This bill would have provided a penalty for a construction company that fails to properly classify a worker as an employee or independent contractor. It would have provided protections for those companies that use independent contractors legitimately.

For more information, please visit:
http://www.texcon.org/texcon/Worker_Classification.asp 


Selected Other Construction-Related Legislation

Followed During the Session That Did Not Pass


HB 1124 by Rep. Paul Workman (R-Austin) died on the House Calendar by House Rules.  This legislation would have further strengthened the changes made to the waiver of sovereign immunity for state breach of contract legislation passed in 2013.  It was then revived when the language from the bill was amended into SB 20 by Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound) when the bill was being considered by the full House.  SB 20 was then approved by the House and sent back to the Senate for its consideration of the amended legislation.  SB 20 was then sent to a conference committee made up of five Representatives and five Senators.  The conference committee removed the language from HB 1124 from SB 20.  The House and Senate approved the conference committee report on SB 20.

HB 689 by Rep. Armando Walle (D-Houston) died in the House Business & Industry Committee by House Rules.  Its companion bill, SB 155 by Sen. Jose Rodriguez (D-El Paso) is in the Senate Business & Commerce Committee awaiting a hearing.  This legislation would establish mandatory workers’ compensation coverage for all building and construction contractors. 

 
HB 889 by Rep. Tony Dale (R-Cedar Park) died in the House State Affairs Committee by House rules.  SB 401 by Sen. Charles Schwertner (R-Georgetown), the companion bill to HB 889, is in the Senate Business & Commerce Committee awaiting a hearing. This legislation would require any contractor or subcontractor providing goods or services to a state agency to register with and participate in the E-verify program to verify employee information during the term of the contract with the agency.
 
HB 1714 by Rep. Rene Oliveira (D-Brownsville) died in the House State Affairs Committee by House Rules.  This bill would have required the Comptroller of Public Accounts to prepare a report on the extent to which employers in Texas misclassify employees as independent contractors.  The report would have included an analysis of the economic impact of misclassification on wages, unemployment insurance taxes and federal income and social security taxes.  The analysis would have included information on the availability of health benefits, pension benefits, workers’ compensation coverage and unemployment compensation benefits to a misclassified employee.

HB 1784 by Rep. Workman died in the House Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence Committee by House Rules.  This legislation would have provided for a decreasing liability of 10 percent per year for defects in construction or repair of an improvement to real property.

HB 3148 by Rep. Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin) died in the House Business & Industry Committee by House Rules.  This legislation would have required all construction contractors in Texas to be licensed by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.

 

HB 3939 by Rep. Workman died in the House Business & Industry Committee by House Rules.  This bill would have limited retainage on public works contracts to five percent without the consent of all parties to the contract and would require that all retainage be deposited in an interest-bearing account for the benefit of the prime contractor.  In addition, the retainage would not have exceeded one percent of the contract price if the public work covered by the contract was capable of being used for the intended purpose of the public work.

 

Thank you for your support and encouragement during the legislative session.  The TCA staff very much appreciates TCA members who came to Austin to testify and support TCA Priority Issues.  In addition, we also appreciate the letters and phone calls each of you made to legislators to express your support for our industry’s issues.