Transportation bills passed in 85th Regular Session

July 11, 2017

  1. SB 28 creates the Ship Channel Improvement Revolving Fund. Effective immediately

  2. SB 312 commonly referred to as the TxDOT Sunset bill, continues the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) for 12 years, until September 1, 2029, and makes numerous other changes to TxDOT statutes (for a quick summary, see Fiscal Note). Effective 9/1/17

  3. SB 975 establishes requirements relating to the security of high-speed rail. Effective 9/1/17

  4. SB 977 prohibits the use of state money for high-speed rail. Exception to allow TxDOT to do it’s normal responsibilities, including coordinating with the private entity, environmental review, etc.  Effective 9/1/17

  5. SB 1001 amends the Transportation Code to exempt from required safety inspections trailers with a gross weight of 4,500 pounds to 7,500 pounds.  The bill requires a fee of $7.50 for each such vehicle exempted, and dedicates this new fee in the following manner: $3.50 fee is dedicated to the Texas Mobility Fund; $2.00 is dedicated to the Clean Air Account, Texas Emissions Reduction Plan; $2.00 is dedicated to the General Revenue Fund. Effective 9/1/17

  6. SB 1004 allows wireless network companies to place network nodes in the public right-of-way (ROW) and provides rules, regulations, and fee structures to reimburse cities for use of the ROW. Municipalities retain authority to manage the public ROW to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of the public, and receive compensation for installing network nodes on poles. (Source: House Research Organization). Effective 9/1/17

  7. SB 1062 requires the DMV to accept electronic signatures for motor vehicle title documents.  Effective 1/1/18

  8. SB 1102 allows certain natural gas powered vehicles to weigh up to 82,000 pounds. Effective immediately

  9. SB 1133 navigation districts and their property are exempt from all taxes and special assessments imposed by this state or a political subdivision of this state. Effective immediately

  10. SB 1305 repeals county energy transportation reinvestment zones (CETRZ). Effective 12/31/17

  11. SB 1383 allows trucks carrying fluid milk to travel at up to 90,000 pounds with six axles and a permit. Effective 1/1/18

  12. SB 1501 moves the regulation of booting (vehicle immobilization) from the state to the local level and allows sheriffs in counties around Harris County to tow vehicles that are impeding traffic. Effective immediately

  13. SB 1523 creates the State Safety Oversight Program for rail fixed guideway public transportation. Enforces laws, establishes staffing levels, ensures qualified personnel, requires audit every three years, annual safety report. Effective 9/1/17

  14. SB 1524 “The bill would amend the Transportation Code, to authorize the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV) to issue an annual permit authorizing the movement of sealed intermodal shipping containers as defined by the bill. The bill would establish certain restrictions regarding axle weight and configurations and other conditions for vehicles that may operate under this permit. An applicant for a permit would be required to designate each counties and municipality in which the permit would be used. The bill would require an applicant to pay a permit fee of $6,000, of which 50 percent would be deposited to the State Highway Fund (SHF), 30 percent would be divided equally among and distributed to the counties designated in the permit application, 16 percent would be divided equally among and distributed to the municipalities designated in the permit application; and four percent would be deposited to the credit of the TxDMV Fund. The bill would require the fee for a permit application received on or after January 1, 2028, to be determined by TxDMV after consultation with the University of Texas Center for Transportation Research and the Texas A&M Transportation Institute. The bill would require the Comptroller to send amounts due to the counties at least once each fiscal year for deposit to the credit of the county road and bridge fund. The bill would require the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to adopt rules requiring additional safety and driver training for permits issued under the provisions of the bill. The bill would create a Class C misdemeanor for certain offenses related to the permit. The bill would require the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), in each even-numbered year beginning in 2022, to conduct and publish the results of a study on vehicles operating under a permit issued under the provisions of the bill. The bill would take effect on January 1, 2018.” (Source: Legislative Budget Board Fiscal Note)

  15. SB 1877 authorizes the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to send notification of proposed highway contracts by email. Effective immediately

  16. SB 2006 reinstates regulation of commercial signs (previously called outdoor advertising). Effective immediately

  17. SB 2075 makes a number of changes to laws affecting vehicle registration and county tax assessor-collectors, including (according to the House Bill Analysis) prohibiting “a distinguishing license plate from being renewed by an owner of a farm trailer or farm semitrailer with a gross weight of more than 4,000 pounds but not more than 34,000 pounds that is used exclusively for certain purposes unless the vehicle’s owner provides a registration number issued by the comptroller of public accounts or the vehicle is owned by a farmers’ cooperative society or a marketing association. The bill clarifies that a commercial farm motor vehicle registration may not be issued or renewed unless the vehicle’s owner provides a registration number issued by the comptroller.” Effective 9/1/17

  18. SB 2076 “The bill would amend provisions in the Transportation Code regarding the titling of motor vehicles. The bill would amend §501.002 regarding the length and width of certain trailers defined as a “travel trailer.” The bill would amend §501.004(b) to specify that the provisions of Chapter 501 do not apply to a farm trailer or farm semitrailer with a gross weight of not more than 34,000 pounds. The bill would amend §501.032 and add §501.0321 and §501.0322 regarding requirements for a motor vehicle, trailer, or semitrailer to have an identification number inspection. The bill would authorize the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV) or another entity that provides an inspection under these sections to impose a fee not to exceed $40. A county or municipality that performs an inspection would be required to credit the fee revenue its general fund. Fees collected by TxDMV for these inspections would be credited to the TxDMV Fund. The bill would amend §501.134 to authorize TxDMV to revalidate a previously superseded or invalidated title or certified copy of title. The bill would add new §501.109(g) to make it a criminal offense to knowingly provide false or incorrect information or sign the name of another person without legal authority regarding the title of a nonrepairable or salvage motor vehicle. An offense under this subsection would be a third degree felony. The bill would require the Department of Public Safety (DPS) and TxDMV to conduct a study on the efficiency and necessity of titling, including the related actions of vehicle registration and inspection, and submit a report of results and recommendations to the Legislature.” (Source: LBB Fiscal Note). Effective 9/1/17 and according to its terms

  19. SB 2205 regulates automated vehicles (includes autonomous or self-driving cars). Mostly defines what automated vehicles are.  Allows use of automated vehicles on roads, provided they can comply with all the motor vehicle laws, are equipped with a recording device, are registered and titled, and have insurance.  Effective 9/1/17

  20. SCR 37 urges Congress to increase appropriations from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund to ensure that the nation’s ship channels are appropriately maintained and safe. Effective immediately

  21. HB 62 limits the use of wireless communication devices (commonly called the Texting While Driving bill). Can’t use your phone to text while driving.  $25-100 fine first time, $100-200 each time subsequent. Police must see you commit this offense.  Does not prohibit GPS, music, or emergency messages.  Effective 9/1/17

  22. HB 100 state regulation of transportation network companies (Uber, Lyft, etc). Rules are standard, nothing particularly important except it pre-empts local rules.  Effective immediately

  23. HB 478 limits liability for a person removing a vulnerable individual from a vehicle under certain circumstances. Effective 9/1/17

  24. HB 561 allows properly equipped golf carts, ATVs, and similar vehicles to be used for package delivery. Effective immediately

  25. HB 590 provides that a first responder who in good faith provides roadside assistance is not liable in civil damages for damage to the motor vehicle affected by the incident for which the roadside assistance is provided that is caused by an act or omission that occurs during the performance of the act of roadside assistance unless the act or omission constitutes gross negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct. Effective 9/1/17

  26. HB 920 expands public service uses for all terrain vehicles on streets. Just need an orange flag at least six feet high, lights, etc.  (No interstate or limited access highway usage) Effective 9/1/17

  27. HB 1140 splits urban transit funding into large and small urbanized area categories. Basically redefines terms from urban, urbanized, and rural into large urbanized, small urbanized, and nonurbanized respectively.  Effective on 9/1/17

  28. HB 1345 driver’s license doesn’t have to be in color (allows for photogravure & other processes). Effective 9/1/17

  29. HB 1424 prohibits the operation of unmanned aerial systems (drones) over correctional facilities, detention facilities, and sports venues, with certain exceptions. Effective 9/1/17

  30. HB 1643 generally prohibits the operation of unmanned aerial systems (drones) over any part of a telecommunications system, a concentrated animal feeding operation, and certain oil and gas facilities. It also authorizes regulation by cities and counties during special events. Effective 9/1/17

  31. HB 1791 allows connected braking systems (e.g. truck platooning, connected vehicles — resolves issue about safe following distance). Effective immediately

  32. HB 1793 exempts from annual safety inspections a vehicle not domiciled in the state, provided the vehicle is registered in the state or under the International Registration Plan and has been issued a certificate of inspection in compliance with federal motor carrier safety regulations. Commercial motor vehicles exempted from safety inspections must pay the same safety inspection fees required for commercial vehicles not exempted from safety inspections by the bill. Effective immediately

  33. HB 1884 requires a court to order a defendant convicted of littering to perform no more than 60 hours of community service in the county in which the defendant resides.  The community service requirement would be in addition to any other applicable fines or penalties related to the conviction. Effective 9/1/17

  34. HB 2065 cities and counties that enforce motor carrier laws must file annual reports. Effective 9/1/17

  35. HB 2646 amends the Transportation Code to authorize the Texas Transportation Commission (TTC) to acquire real property for use in or in connection with a transportation facility before environmental clearance has been issued for the transportation facility by the appropriate federal or state authority. The bill would amend requirements regarding the disposal of property acquired by advance acquisition to require the TTC to first offer the property for sale to the owner from whom the TTC acquired the property at a price equal to the lesser of the price paid by TTC to acquire the property or the current fair market value (Source: LBB Fiscal Note). Effective immediately

  36. HB 2812 limits security patrol vehicles to lights that are green, amber, or white. Effective 9/1/18

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