Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 2783
By: Carter
Urban Affairs


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.  


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. 


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.    

On passage, or if the Act does not receive the necessary vote, the Act
takes effect September 1, 2001.