By Greenberg H.B. No. 1559 A BILL TO BE ENTITLED 1-1 AN ACT 1-2 relating to the establishment of tree planting and other urban 1-3 forestry practices to protect and maintain the state's urban forest 1-4 resources. 1-5 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS: 1-6 SECTION 1. Chapter 88, Education Code, is amended by adding 1-7 Subchapter G to read as follows: 1-8 SUBCHAPTER G. URBAN AND COMMUNITY FORESTRY 1-9 Sec. 88.551. SHORT TITLE. This subchapter may be cited as 1-10 the Texas-Grown Urban and Community Forest Act. 1-11 Sec. 88.552. PURPOSE. The purpose of this subchapter is to: 1-12 (1) improve understanding of the benefits of 1-13 preserving existing tree cover in urban areas and communities; 1-14 (2) encourage owners of private residences and 1-15 commercial properties to maintain trees and to expand forest cover 1-16 on their properties; 1-17 (3) provide educational programs and technical 1-18 assistance to local governments and organizations to maintain and 1-19 protect existing forests and to identify sites for expanding forest 1-20 cover; 1-21 (4) provide assistance through competitive matching 1-22 grants to local units of government, to approved charitable 1-23 organizations that meet the requirements of Section 501(c)(3) of 1-24 the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, and to other local community 2-1 tree volunteer groups for urban and community forestry projects; 2-2 (5) coordinate the activities of various state 2-3 agencies to maximize the state resources available to establish and 2-4 protect as much tree cover on public lands as practical; 2-5 (6) establish a tree planting program to reduce carbon 2-6 dioxide emissions, conserve energy, and improve air and water 2-7 quality in addition to providing other environmental benefits; 2-8 (7) mitigate the loss of trees caused by the clearing 2-9 of land or urbanization; 2-10 (8) promote local tree production in Texas; and 2-11 (9) decrease energy consumption by providing shade, 2-12 blocking winds, and adding moisture to the air. 2-13 Sec. 88.553. DEFINITIONS. In this subchapter: 2-14 (1) "Director" has the meaning assigned by Section 2-15 88.101 of this code. 2-16 (2) "Forest service" means the Texas Forest Service. 2-17 Sec. 88.554. GENERAL AUTHORITY OF DIRECTOR. (a) The 2-18 director may provide financial, technical, and related assistance 2-19 to a unit of local government and to other persons to encourage 2-20 cooperative efforts to plan urban forestry programs to plant, 2-21 protect, and maintain trees in open spaces, parks, roadside 2-22 corridors, and other suitable public and private lands. 2-23 (b) The director may cooperate with members of the public, 2-24 including private nonprofit organizations and units of local 2-25 government, in providing assistance under Subsection (a) of this 2-26 section. 2-27 Sec. 88.555. EDUCATION AND TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM. 3-1 The director, in cooperation with other state officials, local 3-2 governments, and interested members of the public, shall implement 3-3 a program of education and technical assistance for urban and 3-4 community forest resources. The director shall design the program 3-5 to: 3-6 (1) assist urban areas and communities in inventorying 3-7 their forest resources, identifying planting opportunities and tree 3-8 maintenance or management needs, and preparing resource development 3-9 and management plans for trees and related resources; and 3-10 (2) increase public understanding of the energy 3-11 conservation, economic, social, environmental, and psychological 3-12 value of trees and open space in urban and community environments. 3-13 Sec. 88.556. COST-SHARE PROGRAM. (a) The director shall 3-14 establish an urban and community forestry challenge cost-share 3-15 program. The program shall provide money and other support to 3-16 eligible communities and organizations on a competitive basis for 3-17 urban and community projects. The director shall make awards under 3-18 the program at a frequency and in accordance with criteria 3-19 determined by the director. In developing the criteria, the 3-20 director may consider recommendations of the National Urban and 3-21 Community Forestry Advisory Council, the Texas Urban Forestry 3-22 Advisory Council, and appropriate nonprofit organizations organized 3-23 to promote urban forestry. 3-24 (b) The share of support provided under this section from 3-25 the urban and community forestry fund may not exceed 50 percent of 3-26 the cost for a project and shall be provided on a matching basis. 3-27 The match for the share from the fund may be in the form of cash, 4-1 services, or in-kind contributions. 4-2 (c) The forest service may adopt rules necessary or 4-3 appropriate to administer and achieve the purpose of this 4-4 subchapter. 4-5 Sec. 88.557. URBAN AND COMMUNITY FORESTRY FUND. (a) A 4-6 special revolving fund is established as a dedicated account within 4-7 the general revenue fund. The fund may be used only to purchase 4-8 plants from firms with a valid Nurser/Floral Inspection Certificate 4-9 from the Texas Department of Agriculture, to administer this 4-10 subchapter, and to provide funding for the programs established by 4-11 this subchapter. 4-12 (b) The fund consists of: 4-13 (1) federal and state grants; 4-14 (2) money from nursery owner, dealer, and agent 4-15 registration fees paid to the Department of Agriculture; 4-16 (3) private contributions; and 4-17 (4) depository interest and investment income earned 4-18 on amounts in the fund. 4-19 (c) The state treasurer is the custodian of the fund. The 4-20 comptroller shall issue warrants for the fund supported only by 4-21 vouchers signed by the director. 4-22 Sec. 88.558. TEXAS URBAN AND COMMUNITY FORESTRY ACTION PLAN. 4-23 (a) The director shall prepare a Texas urban and community 4-24 forestry action plan. The director, in preparing the plan, may 4-25 consult with the National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory 4-26 Council established under 16 U.S.C. Section 2105(g), the Texas 4-27 Urban Forestry Advisory Council, and the members of the Texas Green 5-1 Industry Council. The plan must include: 5-2 (1) an assessment of the status of urban forest 5-3 resources in the state; 5-4 (2) a review of urban and community forestry programs 5-5 in the state, including education and technical assistance 5-6 activities conducted by the forest service, other state agencies, 5-7 local governments, private nonprofit organizations, and other 5-8 interested persons; 5-9 (3) recommendations for improving the status of the 5-10 state's urban and community forest resources, including education, 5-11 technical assistance, and modifications regarding existing programs 5-12 of relevant state agencies; 5-13 (4) an evaluation of projects under the cost-share 5-14 program; and 5-15 (5) an estimate of the resources needed to implement 5-16 the plan for the 10 fiscal years following the adoption of the 5-17 plan. 5-18 (b) The director shall revise the plan every 10 years. 5-19 (c) On completion of the plan, the director shall submit the 5-20 plan to the governor, the house of representatives committees on 5-21 agriculture and wildlife and on natural resources, and the senate 5-22 committee on natural resources. Not later than December 31 of the 5-23 second year after the year in which the plan is submitted and on 5-24 December 31 of each subsequent second year, the director shall 5-25 submit to the governor a review of the plan. 5-26 SECTION 2. Subchapter B, Chapter 71, Agriculture Code, is 5-27 amended by adding Section 71.061 to read as follows: 6-1 Sec. 71.061. DEDICATION OF PORTION OF FEES. Not later than 6-2 the 10th day of each month, the department shall send to the state 6-3 treasurer an amount equal to $15 for each nursery owner, dealer, or 6-4 agent registration or renewal fee received in the previous month. 6-5 The state treasurer shall deposit the money to the credit of the 6-6 urban and community forest fund established under Section 88.557, 6-7 Education Code. 6-8 SECTION 3. (a) The Department of Agriculture shall increase 6-9 by $15 the registration fee charged for the registration or the 6-10 renewal of registration of a nursery owner, dealer, or agent under 6-11 Section 71.043 or 71.057, Agriculture Code. The increase in the 6-12 registration or renewal fee applies to a nursery owner, dealer, or 6-13 agent of any class but does not apply to a florist unless the 6-14 florist is also a nursery owner, or a nursery dealer or agent as 6-15 those terms are defined by Section 71.057, Agriculture Code. 6-16 (b) The increase in fees and the Department of Agriculture's 6-17 duty to send money to the state treasurer provided by this section 6-18 apply only to an application for registration or renewal of 6-19 registration filed with the Department of Agriculture on or after 6-20 the effective date of the rules increasing the fees. That date may 6-21 not be later than December 1, 1993, and must be published by the 6-22 Department of Agriculture in the Texas Register. 6-23 SECTION 4. The director of the Texas Forest Service shall 6-24 prepare the initial plan required under Section 88.558, Education 6-25 Code, as added by this Act, not later than September 1, 1994. 6-26 SECTION 5. This Act takes effect September 1, 1993. 6-27 SECTION 6. The importance of this legislation and the 7-1 crowded condition of the calendars in both houses create an 7-2 emergency and an imperative public necessity that the 7-3 constitutional rule requiring bills to be read on three several 7-4 days in each house be suspended, and this rule is hereby suspended.