Office of House Bill AnalysisC.S.H.B. 3535
By: Puente
State Affairs
Committee Report (Substituted)


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. 


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. 


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
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.   


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


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.