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.
    1-6        SECTION 1.  Chapter 88, Education Code, is amended by adding
    1-7  Subchapter G to read as follows:
    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.
    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.
   4-23  (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.