73R2648 JJT-D 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. LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS. The legislature finds 1-12 that: 1-13 (1) the health of forests in urban areas and 1-14 communities in Texas is on the decline; 1-15 (2) forest lands, shade trees, and open space in urban 1-16 areas and communities improve the quality of life for residents; 1-17 (3) forest lands and associated natural resources 1-18 enhance the economic value of residential and commercial property 1-19 in urban and community settings; 1-20 (4) urban trees can provide significant help to reduce 1-21 the buildup of excessive carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, reduce 1-22 energy consumption, and mitigate the urban heat island effect, thus 1-23 contributing to efforts to reduce global warming trends; 1-24 (5) efforts to encourage tree plantings and to protect 2-1 existing open spaces in urban areas and communities can contribute 2-2 to social well-being and can promote a sense of community in these 2-3 areas; 2-4 (6) urban forests mitigate storm surges, provide 2-5 watershed protection, and act as natural filters to reduce nonpoint 2-6 source pollution; 2-7 (7) diseases, including oak wilt, have devastated tens 2-8 of thousands of acres of trees and there is an urgent need to 2-9 reforest those lands; and 2-10 (8) money expended by private and public partnerships 2-11 for urban and community forestry projects will generate employment, 2-12 stimulate Texas businesses, and strengthen the economy of Texas. 2-13 Sec. 88.553. PURPOSE. The purpose of this subchapter is to: 2-14 (1) improve understanding of the benefits of 2-15 preserving existing tree cover in urban areas and communities; 2-16 (2) encourage owners of private residences and 2-17 commercial properties to maintain trees and to expand forest cover 2-18 on their properties; 2-19 (3) provide educational programs and technical 2-20 assistance to local governments and organizations to maintain and 2-21 protect existing forests and to identify sites for expanding forest 2-22 cover; 2-23 (4) provide assistance through competitive matching 2-24 grants to local units of government, to approved charitable 2-25 organizations that meet the requirements of Section 501(c)(3) of 2-26 the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, and to other local community 2-27 tree volunteer groups for urban and community forestry projects; 3-1 (5) coordinate the activities of various state 3-2 agencies to maximize the state resources available to establish and 3-3 protect as much tree cover on public lands as practical; 3-4 (6) establish a tree planting program to reduce carbon 3-5 dioxide emissions, conserve energy, and improve air and water 3-6 quality in addition to providing other environmental benefits; 3-7 (7) mitigate the loss of trees caused by the clearing 3-8 of land or urbanization; 3-9 (8) promote local tree production in Texas; and 3-10 (9) decrease energy consumption by providing shade, 3-11 blocking winds, and adding moisture to the air. 3-12 Sec. 88.554. DEFINITIONS. In this subchapter: 3-13 (1) "Director" has the meaning assigned by Section 3-14 88.101 of this code. 3-15 (2) "Forest service" means the Texas Forest Service. 3-16 Sec. 88.555. GENERAL AUTHORITY OF DIRECTOR. (a) The 3-17 director may provide financial, technical, and related assistance 3-18 to a unit of local government and to other persons to encourage 3-19 cooperative efforts to plan urban forestry programs to plant, 3-20 protect, and maintain trees in open spaces, parks, roadside 3-21 corridors, and other suitable public and private lands. 3-22 (b) The director may cooperate with members of the public, 3-23 including private nonprofit organizations and units of local 3-24 government, in providing assistance under Subsection (a) of this 3-25 section. 3-26 Sec. 88.556. EDUCATION AND TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM. 3-27 The director, in cooperation with other state officials, local 4-1 governments, and interested members of the public, shall implement 4-2 a program of education and technical assistance for urban and 4-3 community forest resources. The director shall design the program 4-4 to: 4-5 (1) assist urban areas and communities in inventorying 4-6 their forest resources, identifying planting opportunities and tree 4-7 maintenance or management needs, and preparing resource development 4-8 and management plans for trees and related resources; and 4-9 (2) increase public understanding of the energy 4-10 conservation, economic, social, environmental, and psychological 4-11 value of trees and open space in urban and community environments. 4-12 Sec. 88.557. COST-SHARE PROGRAM. (a) The director shall 4-13 establish an urban and community forestry challenge cost-share 4-14 program. The program shall provide money and other support to 4-15 eligible communities and organizations on a competitive basis for 4-16 urban and community projects. The director shall make awards under 4-17 the program at a frequency and in accordance with criteria 4-18 determined by the director. In developing the criteria, the 4-19 director shall consider recommendations of the National Urban and 4-20 Community Forestry Advisory Council, the Texas Urban Forestry 4-21 Advisory Council, and appropriate nonprofit organizations organized 4-22 to promote urban forestry. 4-23 (b) The share of support provided under this section from 4-24 the urban and community forestry fund may not exceed 50 percent of 4-25 the cost for a project and shall be provided on a matching basis. 4-26 The match for the share from the fund may be in the form of cash, 4-27 services, or in-kind contributions. 5-1 (c) The forest service may adopt rules necessary or 5-2 appropriate to administer and achieve the purpose of this 5-3 subchapter. 5-4 Sec. 88.558. URBAN AND COMMUNITY FORESTRY FUND. (a) A 5-5 special revolving fund is established outside the state treasury to 5-6 be known as the urban and community forestry fund. The fund may be 5-7 used only to administer this subchapter and to provide funding for 5-8 the programs established by this subchapter. 5-9 (b) The fund consists of: 5-10 (1) federal and state grants; 5-11 (2) money from nursery owner, dealer, and agent 5-12 registration fees paid to the Department of Agriculture; 5-13 (3) private contributions; and 5-14 (4) depository interest and investment income earned 5-15 on amounts in the fund. 5-16 (c) The state treasurer is the custodian of the fund. The 5-17 comptroller shall issue warrants for the fund supported only by 5-18 vouchers signed by the director. 5-19 Sec. 88.559. TEXAS URBAN AND COMMUNITY FORESTRY ACTION PLAN. 5-20 (a) The director shall prepare a Texas urban and community 5-21 forestry action plan. The director, in preparing the plan, shall 5-22 consult with the National Urban and Community Forestry Advisory 5-23 Council established under 16 U.S.C. Section 2105(g), and the Texas 5-24 Urban Forestry Advisory Council and may consult with a private, 5-25 nonprofit organization formed to promote urban forestry. The plan 5-26 must include: 5-27 (1) an assessment of the status of urban forest 6-1 resources in the state; 6-2 (2) a review of urban and community forestry programs 6-3 in the state, including education and technical assistance 6-4 activities conducted by the forest service, other state agencies, 6-5 local governments, private nonprofit organizations, and other 6-6 interested persons; 6-7 (3) recommendations for improving the status of the 6-8 state's urban and community forest resources, including education, 6-9 technical assistance, and modifications regarding existing programs 6-10 of relevant state agencies; 6-11 (4) an evaluation of projects under the cost-share 6-12 program; and 6-13 (5) an estimate of the resources needed to implement 6-14 the plan for the 10 fiscal years following the adoption of the 6-15 plan. 6-16 (b) The director shall revise the plan every 10 years. 6-17 (c) On completion of the plan, the director shall submit the 6-18 plan to the governor, the house of representatives committees on 6-19 agriculture and wildlife and on natural resources, and the senate 6-20 committee on natural resources. Not later than December 31 of the 6-21 second year after the year in which the plan is submitted and on 6-22 December 31 of each subsequent second year, the director shall 6-23 submit to the governor a review of the plan. 6-24 SECTION 2. Subchapter B, Chapter 71, Agriculture Code, is 6-25 amended by adding Section 71.061 to read as follows: 6-26 Sec. 71.061. DEDICATION OF PORTION OF FEES. Not later than 6-27 the 10th day of each month, the department shall send to the state 7-1 treasurer an amount equal to $15 for each nursery owner, dealer, or 7-2 agent registration or renewal fee received in the previous month. 7-3 The state treasurer shall deposit the money to the credit of the 7-4 urban and community forest fund established under Section 88.558, 7-5 Education Code. 7-6 SECTION 3. (a) The Department of Agriculture shall increase 7-7 by $15 the registration fee charged for the registration or the 7-8 renewal of registration of a nursery owner, dealer, or agent under 7-9 Section 71.043 or 71.057, Agriculture Code. The increase in the 7-10 registration or renewal fee applies to a nursery owner, dealer, or 7-11 agent of any class but does not apply to a florist unless the 7-12 florist is also a nursery owner, or a nursery dealer or agent as 7-13 those terms are defined by Section 71.057, Agriculture Code. 7-14 (b) The increase in fees and the Department of Agriculture's 7-15 duty to send money to the state treasurer provided by this section 7-16 apply only to an application for registration or renewal of 7-17 registration filed with the Department of Agriculture on or after 7-18 the effective date of the rules increasing the fees. That date may 7-19 not be later than December 1, 1993, and must be published by the 7-20 Department of Agriculture in the Texas Register. 7-21 SECTION 4. The director of the Texas Forest Service shall 7-22 prepare the initial plan required under Section 88.559, Education 7-23 Code, as added by this Act, not later than September 1, 1994. 7-24 SECTION 5. This Act takes effect September 1, 1993. 7-25 SECTION 6. The importance of this legislation and the 7-26 crowded condition of the calendars in both houses create an 7-27 emergency and an imperative public necessity that the 8-1 constitutional rule requiring bills to be read on three several 8-2 days in each house be suspended, and this rule is hereby suspended.