Bill Text: TX SB245 | 2017-2018 | 85th Legislature | Introduced


Bill Title: Relating to voter information provided by political subdivisions before an election to authorize the issuance of bonds.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Republican 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2017-01-30 - Referred to Intergovernmental Relations [SB245 Detail]

Download: Texas-2017-SB245-Introduced.html
  85R522 TJB-D
 
  By: Burton S.B. No. 245
 
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to voter information provided by political subdivisions
  before an election to authorize the issuance of bonds.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Chapter 1251, Government Code, is amended by
  designating Sections 1251.001, 1251.002, 1251.003, 1251.004,
  1251.005, and 1251.006 as Subchapter A and adding a heading to
  Subchapter A to read as follows:
  SUBCHAPTER A.  BOND MATTERS AFFECTING COUNTIES AND MUNICIPALITIES
         SECTION 2.  Chapter 1251, Government Code, is amended by
  adding Subchapter B to read as follows:
  SUBCHAPTER B.  BOND MATTERS AFFECTING MORE THAN ONE TYPE OF
  POLITICAL SUBDIVISION
         Sec. 1251.051.  DEFINITIONS. In this subchapter:
               (1)  "Debt obligation" means an issued public security,
  as defined by Section 1201.002, secured by property taxes.
               (2)  "Political subdivision" means a county,
  municipality, school district, junior college district, other
  special district, or other subdivision of state government.
               (3)  "Secured self-supporting debt obligation" means a
  debt obligation secured by property taxes but payable from revenue
  from another source.
         Sec. 1251.052.  PUBLIC HEARING. (a) Before a political
  subdivision may hold an election to authorize the issuance of
  bonds, the governing body of the political subdivision must conduct
  a public hearing at which persons interested in the issuance of the
  bonds are given the opportunity to be heard.
         (b)  The governing body must hold the hearing not earlier
  than the day the governing body adopts the election order or later
  than the first day before the date the period for early voting by
  personal appearance begins for the election, as determined under
  Section 85.001, Election Code.
         (c)  Not earlier than the 30th day or later than the 15th day
  before the date of the hearing, the political subdivision must:
               (1)  provide notice of the hearing and each voter
  information document described by Section 1251.053 by:
                     (A)  publication in at least one newspaper of
  general circulation in the county in which the political
  subdivision is wholly or primarily located;
                     (B)  posting on:
                           (i)  the political subdivision's Internet
  website; and
                           (ii)  each other Internet website for which
  the political subdivision controls the content of the posting,
  including a social media site; and
                     (C)  inclusion in the political subdivision's
  newsletter, circular, or similar document designed to provide
  information to the residents of the political subdivision,
  regardless of how delivered, if the political subdivision
  periodically delivers such a document; and
               (2)  send by first-class mail to each owner of taxable
  property located in the political subdivision the voter information
  document described by Section 1251.053 and a cover letter that
  includes:
                     (A)  the date of the hearing;
                     (B)  the purpose of the hearing;
                     (C)  the language that will appear on the ballot;
  and
                     (D)  the estimated increase in the property tax
  debt levy of the political subdivision for all taxable property
  owned by the property owner and located in the political
  subdivision.
         (d)  A political subdivision must determine the estimate
  required by Subsection (c)(2)(D) in the manner prescribed by
  comptroller rule.
         (e)  The Texas Ethics Commission shall provide guidelines
  for political subdivisions regarding the manner in which the
  hearing is conducted and additional information is provided on the
  form prescribed by the secretary of state under Section 1251.053(f)
  without violating electioneering and political advertising laws,
  including Section 255.003, Election Code, and Section 11.169,
  Education Code.
         Sec. 1251.053.  VOTER INFORMATION DOCUMENT. (a) A
  political subdivision must prepare a separate voter information
  document for each proposition to be discussed at a hearing required
  by Section 1251.052.
         (b)  Each voter information document must distinctly state:
               (1)  the language that will appear on the ballot;
               (2)  the purpose for which the bonds are to be
  authorized;
               (3)  the maturity date of the bonds to be authorized or
  that the bonds may be issued to mature over a specified number of
  years not to exceed the maximum number of years authorized by law;
               (4)  that taxes sufficient to pay the annual principal
  of and interest on the bonds may be imposed;
               (5)  the maximum rate of interest for the bonds to be
  authorized;
               (6)  the following information formatted as a table:
                     (A)  the property tax debt rate expressed in
  dollars per $100 valuation of all taxable property in the political
  subdivision, stated as:
                           (i)  the existing rate;
                           (ii)  the estimated rate if the bonds are
  authorized; and
                           (iii)  the estimated increase in the rate if
  the bonds are authorized; and
                     (B)  the amount expressed in dollars of the
  property tax debt levy of the political subdivision per residence
  with a taxable value of $100,000, stated as:
                           (i)  the existing levy;
                           (ii)  the estimated levy if the bonds are
  authorized; and
                           (iii)  the estimated increase in the levy if
  the bonds are authorized;
               (7)  the following information formatted as a second
  table and stated as a total amount and, if the political subdivision
  is a municipality, county, or school district, as a per capita
  amount:
                     (A)  the principal of the bonds to be authorized;
                     (B)  the estimated interest for the bonds to be
  authorized;
                     (C)  the estimated combined principal and
  interest required to pay on time and in full the bonds to be
  authorized; and
                     (D)  as of the date the political subdivision
  adopts the bond election order:
                           (i)  the principal of all outstanding debt
  obligations of the political subdivision secured by and payable
  from property taxes;
                           (ii)  the estimated remaining interest of
  all outstanding debt obligations of the political subdivision
  secured by and payable from property taxes; and
                           (iii)  the estimated combined principal and
  interest required to pay on time and in full all outstanding debt
  obligations of the political subdivision secured by and payable
  from property taxes;
               (8)  the following information as of the date the
  political subdivision adopts the bond election order, formatted as
  a third table:
                     (A)  the principal of all outstanding secured
  self-supporting debt obligations of the political subdivision;
                     (B)  the estimated remaining interest of all
  outstanding secured self-supporting debt obligations of the
  political subdivision; and
                     (C)  the estimated combined principal and
  interest required to pay on time and in full all outstanding secured
  self-supporting debt obligations of the political subdivision; and
               (9)  any other information that the political
  subdivision considers relevant or necessary to explain the values
  required by Subdivisions (5)-(8), including:
                     (A)  an amount required by Subdivision (7) stated
  as a per capita amount if the political subdivision is not required
  to provide the amount under Subdivision (7);
                     (B)  an explanation of the payment sources for the
  different types of debt; and
                     (C)  a value for the following expressed as a good
  faith projection as of the last day of the maximum term of the bonds
  to be authorized:
                           (i)  a per capita amount required by
  Subdivision (7);
                           (ii)  an estimated rate required by
  Subdivision (6)(A)(ii); and
                           (iii)  an estimated levy required by
  Subdivision (6)(B)(ii).
         (c)  A political subdivision must determine each estimate or
  projection required or authorized by Subsection (b) in the manner
  prescribed by comptroller rule.
         (d)  Each voter information document must be printed:
               (1)  on not more than two pages that are not wider than
  8-1/2 inches and not longer than 14 inches;
               (2)  in type not smaller than 12-point type; and
               (3)  in the form prescribed by the secretary of state.
         (e)  The governing body of the political subdivision must
  make a copy of each voter information document available to each
  individual attending the hearing.
         (f)  The secretary of state by rule shall prescribe the form
  of a voter information document.
         (g)  A good faith estimate or projection required or
  authorized by Subsection (b) determined in the manner prescribed by
  comptroller rule does not constitute a breach of contract with the
  voters solely because the estimate or projection is later
  determined to be incorrect.
         Sec. 1251.054.  ONLINE SAMPLE BALLOT. A sample of the ballot
  printed for an election to authorize a political subdivision to
  issue bonds must be posted on the political subdivision's Internet
  website as soon as practicable after the official ballots have been
  prepared and must remain posted until the day following the
  election.
         Sec. 1251.055.  INTERNET WEBSITE. A political subdivision
  shall maintain an Internet website to comply with this subchapter.
         Sec. 1251.056.  COMPTROLLER RULES. The comptroller shall
  adopt rules to implement this subchapter, including rules that
  prescribe the manner by which a political subdivision must
  determine each estimate or projection required or authorized by
  this subchapter.
         SECTION 3.  (a) Section 1251.052, Government Code, as added
  by this Act, applies only to a bond election ordered on or after
  January 1, 2018. A bond election ordered before January 1, 2018, is
  governed by the law in effect when the bond election was ordered,
  and the former law is continued in effect for that purpose.
         (b)  Not later than November 1, 2017, the comptroller of
  public accounts shall adopt the rules required by Section 1251.056,
  Government Code, as added by this Act.
         (c)  Not later than November 1, 2017, the Texas Ethics
  Commission shall make available on the Texas Ethics Commission's
  Internet website the guidelines required by Section 1251.052(e),
  Government Code, as added by this Act.
         (d)  Not later than November 1, 2017, the secretary of state
  shall make available on the secretary of state's Internet website a
  form of the voter information document described by Section
  1251.053(b), Government Code, as added by this Act.
         SECTION 4.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2017.
feedback