Bell Alert, Texas Legislative Report

Bell Alert

June 1, 2015

84th Legislative Session Update

“The House of Representatives of the 84th Texas Legislature stands adjourned sine die.”

The 140—day legislative session came to a close today when both the House and Senate adjourned sine die. The term sine die is Latin in origin, literally translated to mean “without day.” Adjournment sine die means to finally adjourn, or to adjourn without a date for return.

Electrical Licensing Bills

HB 1077 Kuempel — Signed by the Governor earliest effective date 9/1/15 — Membership of the Electrical Safety and Licensing Advisory Board — this bill designates one of the public members to be a Master Sign Electrician.

HB 3043 Thompson— Journeyman Lineman — Sent to the Governor — This bill will only allow journeyman lineman to work from a substation to a building or structure on the premises and their exam will be based on the National Electrical Safety Code (NESC) and not the Lineman’s Handbook. The substitute also allows the TDLR to develop a test based on the NESC and adopt the NESC as their code.

HB 2355 Huberty/SB 953 Birdwell — Unlicensed Sign Contractor — DEAD — This bill would have exempted a person who sells or offers to sell a sign that requires electrical work to electrical sign work in connection with the construction or installation of the sign if the person does not actually perform that electrical work or electrical sign work. IEC of Texas opposed this bill.

HB 3742 Smith — TDLR Reciprocal Agreements Expansion — Sent to the Governor — This bill will allow the TDLR to adopt alternative means of determining or verifying a person’s eligibility for a license issued by the department and to waive any prerequisite for obtaining a license if the person currently holds a similar license issued by another jurisdiction that are equivalent to those of Texas. It also allows the department with the approval of the governor to enter into reciprocal agreements with other states.

Construction Bills

HB 996 Parker/SB 303 Hancock — DEAD — This bill provides that a governmental entity awarding a public work contract funded with state money, including the issuance of debt guaranteed by the state, may not: prohibit, require, discourage, or encourage a person bidding on the public work contract, including a contractor or subcontractor, from entering into or adhering to an agreement with a collective bargaining organization relating to the project; or discriminate against a person based on the person's involvement in the agreement, including the persons status or lack of status as a party to the agreement; or willingness or refusal to enter into the agreement.

SB 1081 Creighton — CIP Legislation — Sent to the Governor — This bill will require certain disclosures to be made for a construction project that may be covered by a CIP. In addition, prior to the execution of a construction contract under a CIP, the persons entering into the contract should be provided written disclosures, which would include the scope of coverage and limits for each policy under the CIP.

Education Bills

HB 3062 by Rep. Travis Clardy — Sent to the Governor — The Jobs and Education for Texans (JET) Grant Program, formerly housed in the Comptroller’s office, fills a need in workforce education at the state’s two—year institutions. The program enables educators to create courses that meet the needs of employers in their region, quickly and efficiently. We support the continuance of the program at the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) going forward, unchanged from its current mission and at funding levels of $5 million annually. Also allows ISDs to access the fund when tied to higher ed dual credit.

HB 505 by Rep. Eddie Rodriguez — Effective immediately — Removes the dual credit caps at traditional high schools.

HB 2014 by Rep. Kenneth Sheets — Sent to the Governor — Allows military personnel to obtain certification to teach career and technology education classes in public schools, even if they have no specific occupational licensure.

SB 1189 by Sen. Kel Seliger — Sent to the Governor — Establishes a transfer associate degree program at each public junior college.