HBA-BSM C.S.H.B. 3535 77(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisC.S.H.B. 3535 By: Puente State Affairs 5/3/2001 Committee Report (Substituted) BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Currently, the Edwards Aquifer Authority (authority) is subject to the Administrative Procedure and Texas Register Act (APTRA), the Open Meetings Act, and the Public Information Act. The authority is the only non-state agency subject to the APTRA, and while abiding by the APTRA may be feasible for a large state agency, it has proven difficult and costly for a groundwater district. The authority has had problems in the past conforming to APTRA rules, resulting in groundwater withdrawal permits being delayed. C.S.H.B. 3535 removes the Edwards Aquifer Authority from being subject to the APTRA and establishes guidelines for the authority when adopting rules. 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 C.S.H.B. 3535 amends law to require the Edwards Aquifer Authority (authority) to provide notice of a proposed rule to all applicants and permit holders. The bill requires the authority to publish in a newspaper of general circulation within the boundaries of the authority notice of a public hearing on a proposed rule at least 14 days before the date of the public hearing, and sets forth provisions that are to be included in the notice. The bill requires the board of directors (board) to allow at least 45 days for comment on a proposed rule other than an emergency rule before the board adopts the rule. The bill requires the board to consider all written comments and, in the order adopting the order, state the reasons and justification for the rule and the authority's responses to the written comments. The bill provides that a meeting at which a proposed rule is adopted as a final rule must be an open meeting and the public must be allowed to make comments on the proposed rule and the agency responses. A proposed rule becomes final and effective on the 10th day after the date the rule is adopted by the board. The bill authorizes the board to adopt emergency rules and sets forth provisions regarding the use of such rules. Emergency rules are effective immediately on adoption for a period of 120 days and may be renewed once for not more than 60 days. The bill requires the authority to conduct a contested case hearing on a permit application if a person with a personal justiciable interest related to the application requests a hearing on the application and adopt rules establishing procedures for contested case hearings consistent with current law. The bill also repeals provisions subjecting the authority to the Administrative Procedure and Texas Register Act. The bill specifies that the rules in 31 Texas Administrative Code Part 20 have no effect and the secretary of state shall repeal those rules. EFFECTIVE DATE On passage, or if the Act does not receive the necessary vote, the Act takes effect September 1, 2001. COMPARISON OF ORIGINAL TO SUBSTITUTE C.S.H.B. 3535 differs from the original by establishing procedures for the Edwards Aquifer Authority (authority) to follow when adopting rules. The substitute also repeals certain rules from the Texas Administrative Code whereas the original only repealed law subjecting the authority to the Administrative Procedure and Texas Register Act.