HBA-NMO, KMH H.B. 846 76(R)BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 846 By: Lewis, Ron Natural Resources 7/28/1999 Enrolled BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Prior to the 76th Legislature, Chapter 661, Government Code, required all state agencies, including river authorities, to establish sick leave pools. Sick leave pools allow agency employees to voluntarily contribute sick leave to a pool for use by employees who have exhausted their sick leave. However, the law provided no explicit authority to water districts, other than river authorities, to establish these pools. In 1995, the 74th Legislature enacted Chapter 36 (Groundwater Conservation Districts), Water Code, as a "stand alone" chapter for groundwater conservation districts. Section 36.052 provides that other laws governing the administration or operation of districts do not apply to Chapter 36 districts. The 74th Legislature concurrently enacted Chapter 49 (Provisions Applicable to All Districts), Water Code, to provide administrative provisions for most water districts other than groundwater districts. H.B. 846 amends Chapters 36,49, and 53, Water Code, and Chapter 661, Government Code, relating to the administration, management, operation, and authority of water districts and authorities. Among the changes, the bill provides permissive authority for sick leave pools for all water districts and authorities operating either under Chapter 36 or Chapter 49 of the Water Code, and adds a provision to Chapter 49, Water Code, providing further clarification that it does not apply to districts governed under Chapter 36. 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 Section 36.060, Water Code, by adding Subsection (d), as follows: (d) Provides that this section (Fees of Office; Reimbursement) prevails over any other law in conflict with or inconsistent with this section, including a special law governing a specific district. Prohibits a district's fees of office, if the application of this section results in an increase in the fees of office, from increasing unless the district's board by resolution authorizes payment of higher fees. SECTION 2. Amends Section 36.068, Water Code, by adding Subsection (d), as follows: (d) Authorizes the board of directors of a district to establish a sick leave pool for employees of the district in the same manner as that authorized for the creation of a sick leave pool for state employees by Subchapter A, Chapter 661, Government Code. Currently, the term "district" is defined as any district or authority created by authority of either Sections 52(b)(1) and (2), Article III, or Section 59, Article XVI, Texas Constitution, regardless of how created. Furthermore, the chapter notes that the term "district" shall not include any navigation district or port authority created under general or special law or any conservation and reclamation district created pursuant to Chapter 62, Acts of the 52nd Legislature, 1951 (Article 8280-141, V.T.C.S.). SECTION 3. Amends Subchapter D, Chapter 36, Water Code, by adding Section 36.123, as follows: Sec. 36.123. RIGHT TO ENTER LAND. (a) Authorizes certain persons to go on any land to inspect, make surveys, or perform tests to determine the condition, value, and usability of the property, with reference to the proposed location of works, improvements, plants, facilities, equipment, or appliances. Requires that the cost of restoration be borne by the district or the water supply corporation. (b) Entitles district employees and agents to enter any public or private property within the boundaries of the district or adjacent to any reservoir or other property owned by the district at any reasonable time for the purpose of inspecting and investigating certain conditions. Requires district employees or agents acting under this authority who enter private property to follow certain procedures. SECTION 4. Amends Section 49.001(a), Water Code, by amending Subdivision (1) and adding Subdivision (10), as follows: (1) Exempts any conservation and reclamation district governed by Chapter 36 from application of this chapter unless a special law creating the district or amending the law creating the district states that this chapter applies to that district. Makes a conforming change. (10) Defines "district facility." SECTION 5. Amends 49.002, Water Code, by amending Subsection (a) and adding Subsection (b) as follows: (a) Makes a conforming change. (b) Provides an exception to the application of this chapter to a district governed by Chapter 36 unless a special law creating the district or amending the law creating the district states that this chapter applies to that district. Makes a conforming change. SECTION 6. Amends Section 49.054, Water Code, by adding a new Subsection (d) and redesignating existing Subsections (d), (e), and (f) as Subsections (e), (f), and (g), as follows: (d) Provides that a director, if the board appoints that director to serve as treasurer, is not subject to the investment officer training requirements, unless the director is also appointed as the district's investment officer. SECTION 7. Amends Section 49.057(a), Water Code, to authorize the governing body of a district (board) to appoint an employee of a firm, partnership, corporation, or other entity with which the district has contracted to serve as the investment officer of the district. SECTION 8. Amends Section 49.066(a), Water Code, to authorize the bringing of a suit for contract damages against a district only on a written contract of the district approved by the district's board. SECTION 9. Amends Section 49.069, Water Code, by adding Subsection (d), as follows: (d) Authorizes the board to establish a sick leave pool for employees of the district in the same manner as that authorized for the creation of a sick leave pool for state employees by Subchapter A, Chapter 661, Government Code. SECTION 10. Amends Section 49.105, Water Code, to authorize the presentation of a petition signed by more than 10 percent of the registered voters of a district to the board, if the board has not filled a vacancy by appointment before the 61st day after the date the vacancy occurs, requesting the board to fill the vacancy by appointment. Requires that a vacancy or vacancies, if the number of directors is reduced to fewer than a majority or if a vacancy continues beyond the 90th day after the date the vacancy occurs, be filled by appointment by the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (TNRCC) if the district is required to obtain TNRCC approval of its bonds or by the county commissioners court if the district was created by the commissioners court, regardless of whether a petition has been presented to the board. Makes conforming changes. SECTION 11. Amends Section 49.152, Water Code, to specifically authorize the district to issue bonds, notes, or other obligations to borrow money for any corporate purpose or combination of corporate purposes only in compliance with the methods and procedures provided, rather than specifically provided, by this chapter (Provisions Applicable to All Districts) or by other applicable, rather than general, law. SECTION 12. Amends Section 49.155, Water Code, as follows: Sec. 49.155. New Title: PAYMENT OF EXPENSES. Authorizes the district to pay out of bond proceeds or other available funds of the district all expenses, rather than costs and expenses, of the district authorized by this section, including expenses reasonable and necessary to effect the issuance, sale, and delivery of bonds as determined by the board, rather than necessarily incurred in the organization and operation of a district during creation and construction periods. Sets forth certain authorized expenses. Deletes certain other authorized expenses. SECTION 13. Amends Section 53.063, Water Code, to provide that a person, to be a qualified for election as a supervisor, must be a registered voter of the district; rather than a resident of the district, an owner of land in the district, and 21 years old or older at the time of his election. SECTION 14. Amends Section 661.001(4), Government Code, to eliminate a river authority from the definition of a state agency. Makes conforming changes. SECTION 15. Repealer: Sections 49.072 (Director's Candidacy for Other Office: Ineligibility) and 54.103 (Recall Election Procedures), Water Code. SECTION 16. Effective date: September 1, 1999. SECTION 17. Emergency clause.