H.B. 1406
By: Bosse
Committee Report (Unamended)


Legislation enacted in 1993, HB 690, allowed non-profit water districts to
begin collecting volunteer contributions from customers for surrounding
emergency services. Other types of districts also have this ability,
although investor owned water companies do not.  As a result, investor
owned water companies who have been mistakenly collecting these voluntary
contributions have been doing so without authority.     

To amend Chapter 13 of the Water Code by adding a section which would
allow investor owned water companies to collect voluntary contributions
for surrounding emergency services and validate past collections. 


It is the committee's opinion that this bill does not expressly grant any
additional rulemaking authority to a state officer, department, agency or


SECTION 1: Adds Section 13.143 titled "VOLUNTARY CONTRIBUTIONS" to the
Water Code to provide as follows: 

 (a) Allows a utility to implement a voluntary contribution program
through its billing process to collect voluntary contributions from its
customers on behalf of a volunteer fire department or an emergency medical

 (b) Requires the utility company to provide a first-time customer and at
least annually to all customers, a written statement that (1) describes
the contribution procedure, (2) designates the emergency service that the
contribution will benefit, (3) states that the contribution is voluntary,
and (4) describes the deductibility status of the contribution under
federal income tax law.  

 (c) Requires that the utility company clearly states that the
contribution is voluntary and may be deducted from the billed amount. 

 (d) Provides that the utility company must promptly deliver contributions
to the designated volunteer fire department or emergency service and
stipulates that the utility may keep an amount of the contribution equal
to the lessor of (1) the utility's expense in administering the program,
or (2) five percent of the amount collected.  

 (e) Specifies that the amounts collected are not rates and are not
required to be shown in tariffs filed with the regulatory authority. 

SECTION 2: Provides that all acts of a utility before the effective date
of this Act to implement a program described in this Act are validated as
of the dates on which they occurred. 

SECTION 3:  Emergency Clause.  Effective upon passage.