Texas’ 84th legislative session proved to be very successful for the homebuilding industry and the GHBA.
Here’s a brief highlight of priority legislation that passed as well as legislation that failed. (It is often just as important to play defense as offense during a legislative session!)
SB 5/SJR 5, transportation funding bill and joint resolution passed – Contingent on voter approval in November of 2015, together, these bills propose a constitutional amendment dedicating certain revenue derived from the motor vehicle sales tax to the state highway fund.
Specifically, $2.5 billion will be dedicated to the state highway fund if tax revenues exceed $28 billion. Additionally, beginning in 2019 and through 2020, 35 percent of motor vehicle sales tax revenue will be dedicated to the state highway fund if revenue exceeds $5 billion. This will result in approximately $3.5 to $4 billion more to the state highway fund, in addition to $1.3 billion that was appropriated by ending diversions from the state highway fund for uses other than highway construction.
HB 1736, energy code legislation passed – Many may recall this was one of GHBA’s top legislative priorities during Rally Day. HB 1736 establishes a 6 year minimum cycle for energy code updates by the State of Texas for residential construction. The legislation also establishes a more reasonable alternate performance path Energy Rating Index scores for compliance with the state energy code.
HB 2187, metal theft legislation passed – Sponsored by Houston delegation member, Senator Larry Taylor, HB 2187, requires recyclers to issue cash transaction cards to sellers of metal. Specifically, the legislation stipulates that without an issued card, a recycler will only be able to pay by check, money order, or direct deposit. Curbing metal theft has long been a priority for the GHBA, and the association was proud to support the efforts of other industries in order to pass this legislation.
HB 1548, legislation providing for a quasi-sunset review process for special districts failed – HB 1548 would have required a comprehensive review every six years of special districts, including water districts. Additionally, the legislation would have included a requirement to conduct a self-evaluation report and a public hearing to review the report, as well as a requirement for water districts to operate and maintain individual websites. GHBA opposed this legislation as it included duplicative requirements for MUD districts.
HB 3984, impact fee legislation failed – HB 3984 required every city to impose an impact fee of at least 20 percent of the maximum fee allowable by law, in addition to existing impact fees being collected on new residential construction. During the course of the session, the legislation was revised to include a study of possible impact fees during the interim. However, GHBA and TAB still opposed the legislation because studying such a proposal could result in findings that would raise even more fees on the backs of homebuyers.