Laws & Regulations

Find current bills related to the water industry

Water districts efficiently, effectively, and continuously provide essential services, including water, wastewater, and drainage, to millions of Texans. To ensure that water districts can continue to provide essential services to protect residents and taxpayers, AWBD support:

1. Preserving the state’s natural resources and local control while improving communities’ resilience, water resources, and access to greenspace by:

a. Responsibly developing water resources and innovative systems to treat, reuse and recycle water, such as desalination, aquifer storage and recovery (ASR), and off channel storage.
b. Increasing water districts’ abilities to develop parks and recreational facilities.
c. Improving rules and regulations that encourage water reuse and recycling.
d. Supporting statutes and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) rules that allow water districts the option to use the principles of “low impact development.”

2. Fair, responsible oversight of water districts by the TCEQ, including

a. continued TCEQ oversight of all water districts, including maintaining and enforcing TCEQ rules relating to the issuance and feasibility of bonds by water districts.
b. TCEQ user fees directly proportional to TCEQ’s costs of services to the water districts utilizing the services.

3. Preserving and improving the current legal relationship between municipalities and water districts by

a. protecting a water district’s rights to be created and operate within the jurisdiction of a municipality.
b. the ability of water districts and municipalities to enter into Strategic Partnership Agreements, agreements for the limited purpose annexation of land within water districts, and agreements for the sharing of sales tax revenues within limited purpose annexation areas.
c. honoring and not impairing such existing agreements and maintaining all rights to create such agreements in the future.

4. Preserving and improving the current legal relationship between counties and water districts by

a. Preserving the authority of counties to require within a water district (i) a connection to a centralized water and sewer system, (ii) that water, sewer, drainage and road facilities be designed and constructed to reasonable county standards, and (iii) adequate fire suppression facilities.
b. protecting water districts against efforts to shift from counties to water districts the responsibility of maintaining roads or related facilities, including storm sewers located within the right of ways or within related easements dedicated to the public or a county.
c. Encouraging counties and water districts to access state and federal funds to improve infrastructure.

5. Protecting water districts against legislation that would allow nontaxable users, including independent school districts, to avoid paying water district charges and fees.

6. The financial and administrative independence of water districts by

a. Protecting water districts against any limitations on a water district’s authority to (i) incur debt and levy taxes, subject to voter authorization and existing laws; (ii) adopt all necessary fees or charges for all water district services; and (iii) provide other statutorily authorized services.
b. Protect against any legislation that would reduce or limit the governmental immunity of water districts except by contract and enforcement of contracts.
c. Maintaining the number of uniform elections dates available to water districts.
d. Allowing water districts to determine how to conduct their own elections, using either the best in-district voting accessibility to voters or joint election administration agreements for greater election efficiency.
e. Protecting water district’s right to contract for tax collections and resisting any mandate to centralize the tax collection process.
f. Maintaining truth in taxation laws for water districts that recognize the unique aspects of water districts and the importance of a water district’s multi-year plan of finance.

7. Water districts increasing internet and social media visibility to better inform customers and taxpayers.

AWBD Bills List

Each session AWBD’s Legislative Affairs Committee tracks bills that correspond to AWBD’s legislative priorities. Below are bills that AWBD was following at the time of publication (early March). Many additional bills will be filed before the filing deadline of March 12. For a more current list of bills that AWBD is tracking, visit http://awbd-tx.org/wp/legislation/. To search for up-to-date information on bills, visit https://capitol.texas.gov/.

AWBD Endorsed Bills

HB 1154 (Jetton) Relating to the requirement that certain political subdivisions cause certain information to be posted on an Internet website (requiring established districts to provide additional information)

H.B. 1410 (Murphy)/S.B. 1959 (Creighton) Relating to the provision of parks and recreational facilities by water districts (allowing certain districts to obtain more parks and recreation bond funding subject to an election and TCEQ approval)

Bills of Interest of AWBD

State Regulation

H.B. 968 (Dutton) Relating to public comments on matters subject to a hearing under the jurisdiction of the TCEQ.

H.B. 767 (Huberty) Relating to best management practices for aggregate production operations.

H.B. 2717 (Landgraf) Relating to certain requirements for water systems (weatherization of water facilities)

H.B. 2762 (Rogers) Relating to the exclusion of certain facilities from load shedding participation during a rolling blackout (excludes water facilities from rotating outages)

Creation of Special Districts

H.B. 2525 (Huberty) Relating to the creation of the Lake Houston Dredging and Maintenance District

H.B. 3029/S.B. 1160 (Paul/Taylor) Relating to the creation of the Gulf Coast Protection District; providing authority to issue bonds; providing authority to impose fees; providing authority to impose a tax; granting the power of eminent domain.

Eminent Domain

H.B. 901 (Burns) Relating to the acquisition of real property by an entity with eminent domain authority

H.B. 902 (Burns) Relating to the acquisition of real property by an entity with eminent domain authority

H.B. 2730 (Deshotel) Relating to the acquisition of real property by an entity with eminent domain authority

S.B. 986 (Kolkhorst) Relating to the acquisition of real property by an entity with eminent domain authority

Publication of Notice

H.B. 1030 (Shaheen) Relating to the publication of required notice by a political subdivision by alternative media

Public Information and Open Meetings

H.B. 1473/S.B. 526 (Gates/Kolkhorst) Relating to the requirements for meetings held and Internet websites developed by certain special purpose districts

H.B. 768 (Patterson) Relating to the requirement that certain governmental bodies make audio and video recordings of open meetings available on the Internet

H.B. 1118 (Capriglione) Relating to state agency and local government compliance with cybersecurity training requirements

H.B. 1810/S.B. 729 S.B. 928 (Capriglione/Johnson & Zaffirini) Relating to maintenance and production of electronic public information under the public information law

H.B. 1888 & H.B. 3139 (Fierro & Longoria) Relating to the authority of all governmental bodies to hold open and closed meetings by telephone or videoconference call

H.B. 2662 (Krause) Relating to the elimination of certain regulations waived during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic (including TOMA)

H.B. 2560/S.B. 639 (Martinez/Menendez) Relating to remote meetings under the open meetings law

Other Issues

H.B. 692/S.B. 1097 (Shine/Creighton) Relating to retainage requirements for certain public works construction projects

Special thanks to the Texas Water Conservation Association for its help on this list and having AWBD Executive Director, Auggie Campbell, on its legislative panel at its annual conference on March 5, 2021.

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