HBA-TYH S.B. 549 76(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisS.B. 549 By: Haywood State Affairs 4/27/1999 Engrossed BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Currently, councils of government provide a forum for regional planning, in addition to functioning as pass-through agencies that facilitate the implementation of state and federally funded programs. However, state law limits the application for oversight and operation of regional planning commissions and councils of governments. The purpose of this bill is to provide provisions to strengthen the oversight and operations of such commissions and councils of government. S.B. 549 authorizes the governor to issue rules for commission and governmental units, which include regional planning commissions and councils of government. This bill sets forth reporting requirements of a commission's governing body and prohibitions relating to the expenditure of public funds. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that rulemaking authority is expressly delegated to the governor of the State of Texas in SECTION 4 (Section 391.009, Local Government Code) of this bill. SECTION BY SECTION ANALYSIS SECTION 1. Amends Section 391.002(1), Local Government Code, to delete "governmental unit" and replace with "local governmental unit." Defines "local governmental unit" to have the definition of "governmental unit" and to include a regional planning commission or council of government. SECTION 2. Amends Sections 391.005(a) and (b), Local Government Code, to authorize a regional planning commission (commission) to contract with a participating governmental unit to perform a service if the participating governmental unit could contract with the state, another governmental unit, or a private organization without governmental powers, and the contract to perform the service does not impose a cost or obligation on a participating governmental unit not a party to the contract. Deletes language authorizing the commission to participate in the Employees Retirements System of Texas when permitted by legislation or administrative arrangement. SECTION 3. Amends Section 391.006, Local Government Code, by adding Subsections (c), (d), and (e), as follows: (c) Requires the governing body of each commission to establish salary schedules for all employees, benefits available to employees, travel approval and reimbursement policies, and procurement policies and procedures. Prohibits salary schedules from being changed unless the commission conducts a compensation study of market salaries and benefits, and requires any changes to the salary schedule to be consistent with the study's findings. (d) Requires the governing body of each commission to annually arrange for at least eight hours of training for its members. Authorizes the training to be provided as a part of other required training for county or municipal officials. Requires the training topics to include the personnel, procurement, and travel policies of the commission; the duties of governing body members; compliance with open meetings, open records, conflict-of-interest, and nepotism laws applying to the commission; and the finances and work program of the commission, including audits and contractual responsibilities to state and federal agencies. (e) Provides that the nepotism provisions of Chapter 573 (Degrees of Relationship; Nepotism Prohibitions), Government Code, apply to a commission. SECTION 4. Amends Section 391.009, Local Government Code, by amending Subsection (a) and adding Subsections (c)-(g), as follows: (a) Authorizes the governor to issue rules, rather than requires the governor to issue guidelines, for commissions and governmental units to carry out the provisions of this chapter (Regional Planning Commissions) including but not limited to, rather than relating to, review and comment procedures. (c) Requires the governing body of a commission to report annually to the governor regarding its operations, funds, expenses, assets, compensation policies, and audits. (d) Requires each commission to annually provide to the governor a copy of an audit of the commission's accounts and other reports required to assure compliance with this chapter. Requires the governor, upon determination that there is a question about the appropriateness of an expenditure or other action of a commission, to report the expenditure to the state auditor for review. (e) Requires a commission, within 30 days of the date of the commencement of its independent audit, to annually provide each state agency that provides funds to the commission a written notice of its planned audit and provide the state agency with an opportunity to specify audit objectives of the agency to be addressed in the independent audit. (f) Requires a state agency to review a commission's most recent independent audit before initiating a field audit of the commission and to coordinate the audits, including coordinating the requests for information, the timing of audits, and the number of auditors on site at any given time. (g) Requires a commission to send to the state auditor, the comptroller, and the Legislative Budget Board a copy of a report or audit required under this chapter. SECTION 5. Amends Section 391.011, Local Government Code, by adding Subsections (e) and (f), as follows: (e) Prohibits a commission from using public funds, including funds appropriated by the state, for any of the specified purposes. (f) Requires a commission to comply with any provision of state and federal law regarding the use of state or federal funds for lobbying or advocacy. SECTION 6.Effective date: September 1, 1999. SECTION 7.Emergency clause.