Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 1171
By: Flores
State Affairs


The comptroller of public accounts of the State of Texas recently conducted
a study of the movement of commercial vehicles across the Texas-Mexico
border (border).  Findings of the study suggested that the current border
crossing processes create imbalances in border traffic which can lead to
congestion and restrict the movement of goods and people across the border.
The comptroller's report identified three key recommendations to improving
the northbound border crossing process.  The first key recommendation was
to identify port-specific procedural and infrastructural bottlenecks that
impede the flow of trade.  The second recommendation was to automate
information relating to the cargo, commercial carrier, commercial vehicle,
and the driver in the pre-crossing stages, and thereby enable commercial
vehicles to be cleared for release before arriving at the border.  The
final key recommendation was to identify infrastructure needs of existing
border stations, including staffing resources.  House Bill 1171 establishes
task forces in the most populous  border communities to determine the
modifications needed to expedite the flow of traffic between the United
States and Mexico.    


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. 


House Bill 1171 requires the lieutenant governor and the speaker of the
house of representatives to establish a border community trade task force
for each of the four municipalities with the largest populations in the
border region.  The task forces are to study procedural and infrastructure
impediments to the free flow of trade between the United States and Mexico
along the border region and make findings and recommendations regarding
those trade impediments.  The bill provides for the appointment,
administration, and operation of the task forces.   

Each task force is authorized to request assistance and information, other
than confidential information, from the Department of Public Safety and the
Texas Department of Transportation.  The departments are required to
provide assistance and information requested to the extent practicable.
The bill authorizes the expenses of each task force, including the
compensation of necessary staff, to be paid from any appropriate funds of
the house of representatives and the senate.  The legislature is authorized
to appropriate money for the support of each task force.     

Each task force is required to study and evaluate certain procedures and
practices maintained at the port of entry between Texas and Mexico, nearest
to the municipality it represents, to determine what modifications could be
made to expedite the flow of trade from Mexico.  The bill also requires
that each task force study the primary and secondary inspection processes
related to motor carrier safety regulations and commercial driver's
licensure requirements to determine which of those processes, regulations,
and requirements may  be automated.  Each task force is also required to
focus on analyzing current situations and developing solutions in
anticipation of the removal of geographical access barriers on Mexican
commercial trucks. 
The bill requires each task force to file a report of the task force's
activities, findings, and recommendations with the lieutenant governor and
the speaker of the house of representatives not later than December 31,
2002.  The bill provides that the task forces are abolished and these
provisions expire September 1, 2003.  

On passage, or if the Act does not receive the necessary vote, the Act
takes effect September 1, 2001.