HBA-DMD H.B. 351 76(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 351 By: Denny Civil Practices 2/5/1999 Introduced BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Current state law requires county tax assessor-collectors to affirmatively seek a declaratory judgment exculpating them from any liability for their handling of county financial affairs, thus imposing the possibility of unknown outstanding liabilities on tax assessor-collectors for many years. H.B. 351 prohibits a tax assessor-collector from being held liable in any civil action that begins after they leave office, or two years after they leave office if there is an audit conducted by the comptroller. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state officer, department, agency, or institution. SECTION BY SECTION ANALYSIS SECTION 1. Amends Subchapter A, Chapter 113, Local Government Code, by adding Section 113.009, as follows: Sec. 113.009. CIVIL LIABILITY OF COUNTY TAX ASSESSOR-COLLECTOR; AUDIT BY COMPTROLLER. Establishes that a county tax assessor-collector is not liable in any civil action that begins after the term of office ends for conduct in administering public funds while in office, unless an audit is conducted by the comptroller who is authorized to audit related materials. Requires the comptroller to provide the assessor-collector notice of an audit not later than the first anniversary of the date the term of office has concluded, and to complete the audit not later than the second anniversary. Prohibits a civil action from beginning later than either the 90th day after the audit is complete or the date imposed by an applicable statute of limitations, whichever is earlier. Provides that the term of office of an assessor-collector ends on the date the term expires under law, even if the assessor-collector serves a succeeding term, or the date a successor takes office. SECTION 2. Makes application of this Act prospective. SECTION 3. Effective date: September 1, 1999. SECTION 4. Emergency clause.