Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 1927
By: Geren
Public Health


New federal and state laws enacted in the 1980s focused on protecting
schoolchildren and workers from asbestos in public buildings.  In 1989, the
Environmental Protection Agency banned the use of asbestos in almost all
products manufactured in the United States.  However, the United States
Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit later overturned the prohibition,
stating that although no new products could be developed using asbestos,
those already in commerce could still be manufactured.  Therefore, certain
asbestos products are still being used today.  State law requires asbestos
abatement from public buildings. However, prior to the 77th Legislature,
there was no law prohibiting the installation or reinstallation of
materials that contain asbestos in public buildings.  House Bill1927
prohibits a person from installing building materials without first
obtaining a material safety data sheet or from installing materials that
contain more than one percent asbestos in public buildings and provides
penalties for violations. 


It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that rulemaking
authority is expressly delegated to the Texas Board of Health in SECTION 1
(Section 161.402, Health and Safety Code) of this bill. 


House Bill 1927 amends the Health and Safety Code to require the Texas
Board of Health to adopt rules designating the materials or replacement
parts for which a person must obtain a material safety data sheet before
installing the materials or parts in a public building.  The person is
prohibited from installing the materials or parts if the person does not
obtain the data sheet, or the materials or parts, according to the data
sheet, contain more than one percent asbestos and there is an alternative
material or part. 

The bill authorizes the attorney general or the appropriate district or
county attorney, in the name of the state, to bring an action for an
injunction or a civil penalty against a contractor who is in violation of
or threatens to violate these provisions.  The bill authorizes the district
court to grant any prohibitory or mandatory relief warranted by the facts,
including a temporary restraining order or temporary or permanent
injunction.  The bill provides that a contractor who is in violation of
these provisions is subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $10,000 a day
for each violation.  

The bill authorizes the party bringing suit to combine a suit to assess and
recover civil penalties with a suit of injunctive relief, or file a suit to
assess and recover civil penalties independent of a suit for injunctive
The bill authorizes the Texas Department of Health to impose an
administrative penalty on a contractor who violates the provisions of this
bill not to exceed $10,000 a day per violation.  The bill sets forth
conditions under which a penalty may be stayed during the time the order is
under judicial review, and authorizes the attorney general to sue to
collect the administrative penalty. 


September 1, 2001.