HBA-NMO H.B. 3844 76(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 3844 By: Junell Natural Resources 4/29/1999 Introduced BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE The Texas Constitution provides for the creation of conservation and reclamation districts. Mitchell County is interested in the development of a sufficient long-term public groundwater supply. H.B. 3844 creates the Mitchell County Groundwater Conservation District, subject to a confirmation election. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state officer, department, agency, or institution. SECTION BY SECTION ANALYSIS SECTION 1. CREATION. (a) Creates, in Mitchell County, a conservation and reclamation district, to be known as the Mitchell County Groundwater Conservation District (district), subject to approval at a confirmation election. Provides that the district is a governmental agency and a body politic and corporate. Creates the district under Section 59, Article XVI, Texas Constitution. SECTION 2. DEFINITION. Defines "district." SECTION 3. BOUNDARIES. Provides that the boundaries of the district are coextensive with Mitchell County. SECTION 4. FINDING OF BENEFIT. Sets forth finding of benefit. SECTION 5. POWERS. (a) Provides that the district, except as provided by Subsection (b), has all of the rights, powers, privileges, authority, functions, and duties provided by the general law of this state applicable to groundwater conservation districts created under Section 59 (Conservation and Development of Natural Resources; Conservation and Reclamation Districts), Article XVI, Texas Constitution. Provides that this Act prevails over any provision of general law that is in conflict or inconsistent with this Act. (b) Prohibits the district from using the power of eminent domain to acquire groundwater, surface water or water rights, or land to obtain those rights; purchasing, selling, transporting, or distributing surface water or groundwater for any purpose; or denying a permit for the production or transportation of water as part of a master water plan for the City of Colorado City on or before the date on which the creation of the district is confirmed. (c) Provides that the rights, powers, privileges, authority, functions, and duties of the district are subject to the continuing right of supervision of the state to be exercised by and through the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (TNRCC). SECTION 6. BOARD OF DIRECTORS. (a) Provides that the district is governed by a board of five directors who serve staggered four-year terms. Provides that initial directors serve until permanent directors are elected. Requires the directors to elect a presiding officer from among the directors. Authorizes the presiding officer to vote only to break a tie vote of the other members of the board. Provides that each initial or permanent director must qualify to serve as director in the manner provided by Sections 54.025 (Qualification of Temporary Directors) and 54.102 (Qualifications for Directors), Water Code, as appropriate. Provides that a person must own land subject to taxation in the district to qualify for election as a director. Provides that a director serves until the director's successor has qualified. SECTION 7. INITIAL DIRECTORS. Sets forth the composition of the initial board of directors. Requires the initial directors who have qualified, if an initial director fails to qualify for office, to appoint a person to fill the vacancy. Requires TNRCC, if at any time there are fewer than three qualified temporary directors, to appoint the necessary number of persons to fill all vacancies on the board. SECTION 8. CONFIRMATION AND PERMANENT DIRECTORS' ELECTION. Sets forth the procedure for the confirmation election and the election of five permanent directors. SECTION 9. ELECTION OF DIRECTORS. Sets forth the procedure for the election of the five additional directors. Requires these directors to serve certain staggered terms. SECTION 10. ADDITIONAL POWERS AND DUTIES OF DISTRICT. (a) Authorizes the district, through its board of directors, by rule, except as provided by Section 5(b), to provide for conservation, preservation, protection, recharge, and prevention of waste of water from underground water reservoirs. Authorizes the district to enforce the rules by an injunction, mandatory injunction, or other appropriate remedy in a court of competent jurisdiction. Authorizes the district to require persons to obtain certain permits, space wells, or keep certain records; have surveys made; conduct research projects, develop information, and determine limitations; collect and preserve information; and publish plans and information. Requires the district to develop biennial comprehensive plans for the most efficient use of underground water. Authorizes the addition of territory to the district as provided by Subchapter J (Adding Territory to District), Chapter 36 (Groundwater Conservation Districts), Water Code. SECTION 11. TAX AND BOND PROVISIONS. (a) Provides that the bond provisions of Chapter 36, Water Code, apply to the district. Prohibits the district from levying or collecting taxes on property in the district at a rate greater than five cents on the $100 assessed valuation. Authorizes the district to use tax revenues only to pay for the maintenance and operation of the district. SECTION 12. DISSOLUTION OF DISTRICT. Provides that Chapter 36, Water Code, applies to dissolution of the district. SECTION 13. FINDINGS RELATED TO PROCEDURAL REQUIREMENTS. Sets forth findings relating to procedural requirements. SECTION 14. Emergency clause. Effective date: upon passage.