Texas Department of Housing & Community Affairs - Building Homes and Strengthening Communities

77th Legislature Nearing Home Stretch

04/11/01 -- The 77th Texas Legislative Session is well into its fourth month, and bills are rapidly moving out from the committee level and forwarded up the legislative ladder. Many of these affect the delivery of TDHCA programs and services, and the Department wants to keep all interested parties up to date with these legislative activities.

The following is an extremely brief summary of legislative activity affecting TDHCA and its subgrantees, as of April 3. For further details on these bills, or to learn about the many other bills not directly affecting TDHCA, please visit the Legislature's website: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/. The website allows you to search for bills filed by bill number, author, subject, committee and/or a keyword.

Senate Bills

SB 326 by Eddie Lucio, Jr.: Relates to Texas-Mexico planning, appointing a TDHCA representative to the advisory committee, was passed by the Senate on Local Calendar with the committee substitute adopted and was referred to the House Economic Development Committee.

The bill adds language requiring the Texas Department of Economic Development (TDED) appoint to the Texas-Mexico Commerce and International Relations Initiative Unit at least one staff member and at least one representative from 13 other state agencies, including TDHCA. The bill requires TDED, with the assistance of this unit, to coordinate efforts focusing on (among other issues) trade relations between Texas and Mexico.

SB 1343 by John Carona: Relates to the allocation of private activity bonds; was favorably reported out of the Senate Intergovernmental Relations Committee.

SB 1468 by Mike Moncrief: Relates to a memorandum of understanding for services for persons in need of multi-agency services; bill was passed by the Senate with the committee substitute adopted and was referred to the House Human Services Committee.

SB 1503 by Eddie Lucio, Jr.: Relates to an assessment by TDHCA of affordable housing needs; bill was favorably reported out of the Senate Business and Commerce Committee.

SB 1672 by Mike Jackson: Relates to the disposition of surplus real estate property owned by the state; passed by the Senate on Local Calendar and referred to the House Land and Resource Management Committee.

SB 1760 by Eddie Lucio, Jr.: Authorized TDHCA's Housing Trust Fund to spend the proceeds from the issuance of $100 million in general obligation bonds; bill was favorably reported out of the Senate Intergovernmental Relations Committee.

SB 1798 by Teel Bivins: Dedicates a portion of the state ceiling of private activity bonds for a teacher's housing assistance program; bill was filed and referred to the Senate Education Committee.

The bill dedicates 10 percent of the proceeds from bonds issued under TDHCA's set-aside for single family mortgage revenue bonds for one year to a Teacher Home Loan Program. Furthermore, it requires TDHCA to administer the Program from the proceeds of mortgage revenue bonds or general obligation bonds for funding. A teacher must have resided in Texas for five years to be eligible for a home mortgage loan. .

SJR 50 by Eddie Lucio, Jr.: Proposes a constitutional amendment for $100 million in general obligation bonds called "Texas Housing Bonds"; favorable reported out of the Senate Intergovernmental Relations Committee.

House Bills

HB 7 by Warren Chisum: Creates the Office of Rural Community Affairs (ORCA) and transfers TDHCA's Community Development Block Grant program to this new agency; bill was passed to third reading in the House with the committee substitute and five floor amendments adopted.

The House floor amendments, among other things:

  • Substitutes language requiring the transfer to ORCA TDHCA's program "that provides information, advice, and training to officials of communities of less than 10,000 people"
  • Requires ORCA to evaluate the "cost-effectiveness and other benefits" of moving at least one-half of its operations to a location outside of Travis County, with which the Legislative Budget Board (LBB) must concur
  • Requires the LBB and Division of Information Resources to evaluate and recommend the "most efficient and appropriate ways" to obtain routine administrative services at ORCA and assist ORCA with contracting "and any other matters relating to obtaining the administrative services in the most efficient manner"
  • Makes specific changes relative to rural health to be administered by ORCA

HB 1811 by Lois Kolkhurst: Relates to TDHCA's administration of the HOME Investment Partnerships Program; bill was passed to a third reading in the House.

HB 3450 by Pete Gallego: Continues the existence of the Texas Interagency Council of the Homeless; favorably reported out of the House Urban Affairs Committee.

Again, this is a very brief list of recent activity by the 77th Legislature to help keep you informed. The Texas House and Senate also have websites to keep Texans informed. Through them you can follow Committee schedules and find out when public hearings on the bills will take place. You may also listen to Committee hearings and meetings of the full House or Senate through these websites. The House website is http://www.house.state.tx.us/. The Senate website is http://www.senate.state.tx.us/.