Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 998
By: Hartnett
Public Health


In 1997, the legislature established the animal friendly account to be
administered by the Texas Department of Health (TDH) and funded by fees
collected from the sale of  "animal friendly" license plates.  The purpose
of the account is to make grants to organizations that sterilize animals at
minimal or no cost.  Law prior to the 77th Legislature provided that
expenditures from the account could only be made after $500,000 had been
credited to the account. The animal friendly advisory committee
(committee), consisting of seven members that serve two-year terms, was
established to assist the Texas Board of Health in developing guidelines
for the expenditure of money credited to the account and to make
recommendations regarding applications submitted for grants.    According
to the Texas Department of Transportation, the "animal friendly" license
plates are a popular theme license plate and the fund totals more than
$500,000. Increasing the term of each committee member to four years will
enable them to gain greater expertise. House Bill 998 increases the term of
committee members to four years and removes the provision that restricts
TDH from making expenditures until $500,000 has been credited to the fund. 


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 998 amends the Health and Safety Code to remove the provision
that the Texas Department of Health is authorized to spend money credited
to the animal friendly account only after at least $500,000 has been
credited to the account.  The bill increases the term each member of the
animal friendly advisory committee serves from two to four years, and
extends the terms of the four members whose terms were to expire on January
31, 2003 to three-year terms that expire on January 31, 2004. 


June 16, 2001.