May 12, 2017

This week's Capitol Roundup :

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  • Two top AGC-TBB bills head to Senate
  • AGC-TBB bills in search of path to Senate
  • Local elections yield nearly $8 billion in bond proposals

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Quote of the Week
"If HB 122 dies, it's going to be a big funeral, because a bunch of Senate bills are going to die."
-State Sen. Harold Dutton

Dutton's comment came as a bill he was sponsoring in the Senate failed to pass this week. The bill, passed in the House in April, would raise the state's age of criminal responsibility from 17 to 18.  Dutton is chairman of the House Juvenile Justice and Family Issues Committee.
Second state breach of contract bill and school background check bill

The second of Rep. John Cyrier's (R-Lockhart)'s twin state breach of contract clean-up bills cruised through the House on a 143-0 vote this week. 

The measure, HB 2121, would mandate that attorney's fees can be collected for state breach of contract claims (engineering, architectural or construction services) under $250,000, which are currently handled by the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH).

The legislation heads to the Senate where Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola) will carry it along with Cyrier's other state breach bill, HB 2128, passed last week. If approved there, it will head to the governor.

Meanwhile, another AGC TBB priority measure, Rep. Dwayne Bohac's (R-Houston)  HB 3270, was voted out of the House. The measure decides when the state's mandatory background check applies to school construction projects.
The bill passed the House on a 137-8 vote and has been referred to the 11-member Senate Education Committee lead by Sen. Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood). If approved there, the bill will need a full Senate vote before heading to the governor. 
AGC-TBB bills seeking routes to the Senate 

Three top AGC-TBB bills have been voted out of committee but need vehicles to the Senate AGC-TBB staff is investigating ways to add these measures by amendment onto other related bills that are closer in line to a full vote from the House. 

Right to Repair Construction Defects - HB 2343 by Rep. Paul Workman

HB2343 would allow an independent third-party engineer to perform an inspection, which may be attended by any parties subject to a claim. The party bringing the claim would then have to give any party subject to a potential claim 150 days to fix any construction defects. The bill passed the House Business & Industry Committee 7-0

Uniform General Conditions for Schools - HB 3434 by Rep. Linda Koop

HB 3434 would create a uniform set of standards for construction contracts by state agencies, which school construction contracts would be required to operate under. The bill passed the House Public Education Committee 11-0.
Local voters approve nearly $8 billion in local bond proposals

Texas voters green-lighted almost every single bond proposal floated across the state last week, injecting billions into construction projects in d ozens of cities, including areas around Dallas-Forth Worth, San Antonio, Austin and Houston. 

San Antonio voters broke a city record when they approved projects totaling $850 million - which was Texas' largest bond proposal on the May 6 ballot. The bulk of that funding covered streets, roads and bridges, but also provided for public safety and recreation facilities, affordable housing, and library facilities.

The Lewisville school district in the Dallas-Fort Worth area voted in the second-highest school funding project in the state with $737.5 million approved. The nearby suburb of Plano tallied $224 million over six bonds for mostly park, street and public safety im provement.

Also near Dallas-Fort Worth, the Collin Community school district voters pulled the trigger on $600,000 in new facilities. In the northeast suburbs, Alamo Community College District's voters awarded it $450,000, and the Northwest school district's voters passed nearly $400 for new schools and expansions.

Big school funding hit Houston as well, including $487,000 approved for additional buildings, expansions and safety improvements for the Clear Creek school district southwest of the city. The largest funding near Austin failed to pass in the Round Rock school district on three measures totaling about $570 million. However, nearby Hays County school district voted in $250,000 for new schools and technology upgrades.

12 - Last day for votes in House (full House)
29 - Last Day of 85th Legislature

8 -  AGC TBB Safety Committee Meeting - Austin
18-21 -  AGC TBB Annual Convention - Coueur d'Alene Resort, Idaho

29-30 - AGC-TBB Strategic Planning Meeting

3 -  AGC TBB Safety Committee Meeting - TEXO
17 - AGC TBB Board Meeting - Austin AGC Office