HBA-NRS H.B. 2783 77(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 2783 By: Carter Urban Affairs 3/19/2001 Introduced BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Many municipalities are continually faced with nuisance properties. Such properties may include vacant lots or properties used for illegal activity. It is the responsibility of a municipality to notify the owner of the property if the owner is in violation of a municipal ordinance. House Bill 2783 provides that a municipality must exercise due diligence in locating a property owner if the municipality needs to address a health or safety violation and provides an alternative procedure by which a municipality may enforce a municipal ordinance. 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. ANALYSIS House Bill 2783 amends the Local Government Code to provide that a municipality, in enforcing an ordinance, must exercise due diligence to determine the identity and address of a property owner or other person to whom the municipality is required to give notice of the enforcement of an ordinance. The bill provides that a municipality exercises due diligence in determining the property owner's or other person's identity and address when it searches the specified records. When a municipality mails a notice to a property owner or other person and the United States Postal Service returns the notice as "refused" or "unclaimed," the bill provides that the notice is considered delivered. As an alternative to the enforcement processes for municipal health and safety ordinances, the bill authorizes a municipality by ordinance to adopt a procedure for an administrative adjudication hearing under which an administrative penalty may be imposed for the enforcement of an ordinance relating to a civil action. The bill provides that the procedure for an administrative adjudication hearing must entitle the person charged with violating an ordinance to a hearing and must provide for the timing of the hearing, appointment of a hearing officer, and administrative charges. The bill authorizes a municipal court to enforce an order of a hearing officer compelling the attendance of a witness or the production of a document. A citation or summons issued as part of the procedure must notify the accused violator of his or her right to a hearing and provide information as to the time and place of the hearing. The bill provides that a person charged with violating an ordinance who fails to appear at a hearing is considered liable for the violation charged. The bill requires the hearing officer to issue, at the hearing, an order stating whether the person charged with the violation is liable for the violation and the amount of a penalty, cost, or fee assessed against the person. The bill authorizes an order against a person charged with violation of an ordinance to be enforced by the filing of a civil suit or the obtaining of an injunction. The bill authorizes a person found by a hearing officer to have violated an ordinance to appeal the determination by filing a petition in municipal court before the 31st day after the date the hearing officer's determination is filed. The bill provides that an appeal does not stay enforcement and collection of a judgment unless the person posts a bond with an agency designated for that purpose by the municipality before filing the appeal. EFFECTIVE DATE On passage, or if the Act does not receive the necessary vote, the Act takes effect September 1, 2001.