The 86th Texas Legislative Session, which officially wrapped up May 27, proved successful for the Texas Society of Architects and architects across the state. TxA Government Relations, teamed by David Lancaster, Hon. AIA, and Becky Walker, made headway on several issues and saw four priority bills progress to Governor Abbot’s desk. The governor has until June 16 to sign, veto, or allow bills to become law without signature.. Below is a breakdown of bills supported by the Texas Society of Architects and those which were cause for concern or opposed.
SB 11 By Senator Taylor (signed by Governor on June 6): Governor Abbott, Lt. Governor Patrick, and Speaker Bonnen prioritized the school safety bill in the 86th legislative session. SB 11 contains school safety and mental health measures and provides rule-making authority relating to best practices for building standards for a secure and safe environment. The bill also includes a school safety allotment. The funds may be used for a wide variety of purposes, including securing facilities, purchasing security technology, hiring security personnel, and providing training. According to the fiscal note, the allotment is expected to contribute an additional $9.72 per student in average daily attendance (ADA) at the cost of roughly $100 million over the next two years.
HB 4342 By Representative Clardy (signed by Governor on June 10): The bill adds a licensed, registered Texas architect and Texas Society of Architects member to the Texas School Safety Center’s (TSSC) board of directors. TSSC is tasked with key school safety initiatives and mandates. The position is by Governor appointment and confirmed by the Texas Senate.
HB 1734 By Representative Holland (sent to the Governor): The bill requires any damages recovered in settlements for lawsuits alleging design or construction defects in school district facilities be spent to repair the defects.
HB 1999 By Representative Leach (sent to the Governor): The bill provides design and construction professionals a right to repair before a lawsuit filing and outlines notice requirements.
HB 2826 By Representative Greg Bonnen (signed by the Governor on June 10): The bill establishes transparency requirements and the use of Qualifications-Based Selection (QBS) during the hiring of contingency fee attorneys by local governments.
HB 1211 By Representative Darby (passed House 121-11, failed to be considered by full Senate before end of the session): The bill prohibits design contracts from including risk-shifting provisions for engineering and architectural services.
SB 1928 By Senator Fallon (sent to the Governor): The bill clarifies any party seeking to sue a licensed professional for malpractice is required to file a certificate of merit.
HB 1737 By Representative Holland (died in House Calendars Committee): The bill reduces statute of repose from ten to seven years with a two-year extension from the date of claim if filed within the seven years.
Cause for concern or opposed*
HB 2901 By Representative Leach (died in House Calendars Committee): Relating to civil liability and responsibility for the consequences of defects in the plans, specifications, or related documents for the construction or repair of an improvement to real property.
HB 2899 By Representative Leach (signed by the Governor on June 2 and effective immediately): Relating to civil liability and responsibility for defects in the plans, specifications, or other documents for the construction or repair of TxDOT projects.
HB 2496 By Representative Cyrier (signed by the Governor on May 25 and effective immediately): Relating to the designation of property as a historic landmark by a municipality. The final bill includes a provision allowing for the designation upon a three-fourths vote of the city council and city historical commission.
HB 2439 By Representative Phelan (sent to the Governor): The bill prohibits and preempts state and local governmental entities from requiring standards for building materials used in construction or renovation that are stricter than those set by a national model code published with the last three code cycles. The final bill includes exceptions for historically or culturally significant preservations.
*Stay-tuned for additional updates as bills are signed into law. Please contact email@example.com if you have any questions regarding TAC contributions.