Legislative Agenda Newsletter

Fort Bend County Precinct 3 has a very aggressive legislative agenda for the upcoming legislative session.  Included are:

Appraisal District Reform

  • Work for consensus on appraisal district reform. Possible solutions include election of Board Members; mandated training for appraisers that sit on appraisal review boards, additional pay for board members, ease in appealing for homeowners.

Extra Territorial Jurisdictions

  • Possible legislation allowing areas in Harris, Fort Bend, and adjacent counties that are in a city’s ETJ to “de-annex” if they so choose so they may join an existing city or form their own city.

Special District Transparency

  • Government accountability and transparence is always a good thing.  We need a Bill where all operational information and/or information about elections/elected officials is placed online. Expand 2015 Legislation that would require every special district to have a website or upload information to Comptroller’s website with all pertinent information as they do for their financial information.

Advertising on County Property

  • Current state law does not allow for counties to place advertising on park scoreboards. Will introduce a bill that covers advertising on county property, possibly as a local bill.

Strategic Partnership Agreements

  • Houston levies its sales tax in unincorporated Fort Bend County and we want some sort of revenue sharing/sales tax dedication from the Houston agreements with local Municipal Utility Districts. This revenue could be put towards mutually beneficial mobility projects in Fort Bend County. We may need to reintroduce legislation that was brought forward in 2015 by Rep. Rick Miller.

Towing

  • Need to expand the “Safe Clear” Program of removing stalled/wrecked vehicles from lanes of traffic quickly.  Also, need a state-wide/county-wide towing notification system that allowing citizens to locate towed vehicle (all types of tows) within county quickly to limit their overall cost. Levy an Administrative Fee allowed by current statute to recover some of the county’s costs associated with managing the Towing Operations in the county.  This fee would be paid by the storage operation to the County.
  • Clarify Occupations Code Section 2308.209(e), Towing Fees. Currently the legislation simply states that the “sheriff’s office may assess a towing company an administrative fee… not to exceed the amount necessary to implement this section.” We would like to clarify this to ensure that there is no confusion as to when (annually, monthly, per tow) the fee can be collected or how much can be collected.
  • Transportation Code Section 545.306 allows Harris County to regulate abandoned cars in the unincorporated portions of the county. Fort Bend County would like to be added on to this statute.

US Heartland Trade Corridor Coalition Legislation

  • Need modification of current statute to allow Private/Public Partnerships on roads, rail lines, and freight shuttle systems; to allow utilization of County Assistance District’s sales tax revenues for Transportation funding; to allow funding of “freight shuttle systems” or similar fright-moving systems to relieve traffic congestion on our roads.

County Regulation of Parks

  • Local Government Code 320.0455 allows a county with a population of 2.8 million residents or more to enact park regulations. Bracketed legislation would allow FBC to enact parks rules and enforce those rules. This help keep our parks in the best shape.

Regulating the Selling of Goods on Public Right of Way

  • Texas Trans. Code Section 285.001 gives Commissioners Courts with populations of 1.3 million residents or more the ability to regulate the sale of live animals and other goods on public right of way within the unincorporated areas of a county. Fort Bend County would propose bracketed legislation to allow it to regulate the selling of goods in ROW.

Emergency Service District Sales Tax Sharing

  • Currently statute allows an ESD to levy a sales tax in unincorporated areas.  We propose a local bill that would allow ESDs to participating in county mobility projects using a portion of their sales tax revenue.

Cost Sharing

  • Current legislation is interpreted to require the county to pay for one-half the costs of relocating utilities that are in the county right of way for county toll roads built in TxDOT right of way.  Introduce a Bill to eliminate this cost sharing for County Toll Roads.

Commissioner’s Court Authority over Software

  • Introduce legislation that gives Commissioner’s Court’s control over county hardware and software systems that serve multiple county offices. This legislation will allow for the county commissioners to control access, allow interconnectivity between departments, and enhance data accuracy and ease of retrieval. This will also eliminate inter-departmental issues concerning access to systems.

County Assistance Districts

  • Modify existing CAD legislation clarifying that counties do not need a city’s approval to create a district as long as the CAD is dissolved upon annexation into the city.

Local Control on Environmental and Land Issues

  • With the Waters of the USA regulation in limbo it is time for Texas to pursue a water act that specifies what should be under state/local control, not federal control.