By:  Greenberg                                        H.B. No. 1559
       73R2648 JJT-D
                                 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.  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.
   3-27  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.
   5-20  (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.