Office of House Bill AnalysisS.B. 549
By: Haywood
State Affairs


Currently, councils of government provide a forum for regional planning, in
addition to functioning as pass-through agencies that facilitate the
implementation of state and federally funded programs. However, state law
limits the application for oversight and operation of regional planning
commissions and councils of governments. The purpose of this bill is to
provide provisions to strengthen the oversight and operations of such
commissions and councils of government. 

S.B. 549 authorizes the governor to issue rules for commission and
governmental units, which include regional planning commissions and
councils of government.  This bill sets forth reporting requirements of a
commission's governing body and prohibitions relating to the expenditure of
public funds. 

It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that rulemaking
authority is expressly delegated to the governor of the State of Texas in
SECTION 4 (Section 391.009, Local Government Code) of this bill. 


SECTION 1. Amends Section 391.002(1), Local Government Code, to delete
"governmental unit" and replace with "local governmental unit."   Defines
"local governmental unit" to have the definition of "governmental unit" and
to include a regional planning commission or council of government. 

SECTION 2.  Amends Sections 391.005(a) and (b), Local Government Code, to
authorize a regional planning commission (commission) to contract with a
participating governmental unit to perform a service if the participating
governmental unit could contract with the state, another governmental unit,
or a private organization without governmental powers, and the contract to
perform the service does not impose a cost or obligation on a participating
governmental unit not a party to the contract. Deletes language authorizing
the commission to participate in the Employees Retirements System of Texas
when permitted by legislation or administrative arrangement. 
SECTION 3. Amends  Section 391.006, Local Government Code, by adding
Subsections (c), (d), and (e), as follows: 

(c)  Requires the  governing body of each commission to establish salary
schedules for all employees, benefits available to employees, travel
approval and reimbursement policies, and procurement policies and
procedures.  Prohibits salary schedules from being changed unless the
commission conducts a compensation study of market salaries and benefits,
and requires any changes to the salary schedule to be consistent with the
study's findings.  

(d) Requires the governing body of each commission to annually arrange for
at least eight hours of training for its members. Authorizes the training
to be provided as a part of other required training for county or municipal
officials. Requires the training topics to include  the personnel,
procurement, and travel policies of the commission; the duties of governing
body members; compliance with open meetings, open records,
conflict-of-interest, and nepotism  laws applying to the commission; and
the finances and work program of the commission, including audits and
contractual responsibilities to state and federal agencies.  

(e) Provides that the nepotism provisions of Chapter 573 (Degrees of
Relationship; Nepotism Prohibitions), Government Code, apply to a

SECTION 4.  Amends Section 391.009, Local Government Code, by amending
Subsection (a) and adding Subsections (c)-(g), as follows: 

(a) Authorizes the governor to issue rules, rather than requires the
governor to issue guidelines, for commissions and governmental units to
carry out the provisions of this chapter (Regional Planning Commissions)
including but not limited to, rather than relating to, review and comment

(c) Requires the governing body of a commission to report annually to the
governor regarding its operations, funds, expenses, assets, compensation
policies, and audits. 
(d)  Requires each commission to annually provide to the governor a copy of
an audit of the commission's accounts and other reports required to assure
compliance with this chapter. Requires the governor, upon determination
that there is a question about the appropriateness of an expenditure or
other action of a commission, to report the expenditure to the state
auditor for review.  

(e)  Requires a commission, within 30 days of the date of the commencement
of its independent audit, to annually provide each state agency that
provides funds to the commission a written notice of its planned audit and
provide the state agency with an opportunity to specify audit objectives of
the agency to be addressed in the independent audit.  

(f)  Requires a state agency to review a commission's most recent
independent audit before initiating a field audit of the commission and to
coordinate the audits, including coordinating the requests for information,
the timing of audits, and the number of auditors on site at any given time.

(g) Requires a commission to send to the state auditor, the comptroller,
and the Legislative Budget Board a copy of a report or audit required under
this chapter.  

SECTION 5. Amends  Section 391.011, Local Government Code, by adding
Subsections (e) and (f), as follows: 

(e)  Prohibits a commission from using public funds, including funds
appropriated by the state, for any of the specified purposes.   
(f)  Requires a commission to comply with any provision of state and
federal law regarding the use of state or federal funds for lobbying or

SECTION 6.Effective date: September 1, 1999. 

SECTION 7.Emergency clause.