HBA-JEK H.B. 1833 77(R)BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 1833 By: Giddings Urban Affairs 7/2/2001 Enrolled BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Municipalities sometimes face difficulties in enforcing certain property health and safety ordinances because they do not know who the property owners are or they are unable to successfully deliver notice of violations or hearings by mail or certified mail, as required by law. Property owners do not always file the required ownership documents, and owners have been known to refuse certified mail because they suspect the mail contains notice of a violation or hearing. House Bill 1833 sets forth provisions regarding the enforcement of certain health and safety ordinances, including a municipality's access to property owner information and the methods by which a municipality may deliver notice to a property owner who has violated certain health and safety ordinances. 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. ANALYSIS House Bill 1833 amends the Government, Local Government, Health and Safety, and Transportation codes relating to the local enforcement of health and safety statutes and ordinances. The bill provides that a birth or death record maintained by the bureau of vital statistics of the Texas Department of Health is available to the chief executive officer of a home-rule municipality or the officer's designee if the municipality exercises due diligence to determine the identity and address of the property owner or lienholder, the officer or designee signs a confidentiality agreement that meets the requirements set forth in the bill, and the record is used only in the identification of a property owner or other person to whom the municipality is required to give notice when enforcing a state statute or ordinance (Sec. 552.115, Government Code). H.B. 1833 authorizes a panel of the building and standards commission of a municipality to hear a case if a majority of the members are present, and specifies that a majority of the members voting is necessary for the commission to take any action (Secs. 54.034 and 54.038, Local Government Code). The bill authorizes the building and standards commission to personally deliver the notice it must give of all proceedings before they occur and provides that a municipality must exercise due diligence in determining the identity and address of a property owner or lienholder to whom the municipality is required to give notice (Sec. 54.035, Local Government Code). The bill also authorizes a municipality to personally deliver the notice of a hearing that a municipality must provide to a property owner who does not comply with certain ordinances or requirements regarding property, including sanitation, substandard buildings, and junked vehicles or parts of junked vehicles that constitute a public nuisance (Sec. 214.001, Local Government Code, Sec. 342.006, Health and Safety Code, and Sec. 683.075, Transportation Code). The bill specifies that a municipality is required to give notice by personal delivery or certified mail with a return receipt requested to each identified mortgagee and lienholder whose building is found to be substandard at a public hearing (Sec. 214.001, Local Government Code). The bill authorizes a municipality to adopt an ordinance that applies to a substandard property that has been bid off to the municipality (Sec. 214.005, Local Government Code). H.B. 1833 authorizes a municipality by ordinance to adopt an alternative procedure for administrative adjudication under which an administrative penalty may be imposed for the enforcement of certain ordinances related to buildings, improvements, and abandoned motor vehicles (Sec. 54.044, Local Government Code and Sec. 683.0765, Transportation Code). The bill provides that a defendant's right to severance does not apply to violations of a municipal health and safety ordinance if each offense is tried in a municipal court and is punishable by fine only (Sec. 54.006, Local Government Code). EFFECTIVE DATE September 1, 2001.