1-1                                   AN ACT

 1-2     relating to collection by water and sewer utilities of voluntary

 1-3     contributions on behalf of certain emergency services.


 1-5           SECTION 1.  Subchapter E, Chapter 13, Water Code, is amended

 1-6     by adding Section 13.143 to read as follows:

 1-7           Sec. 13.143.  VOLUNTARY CONTRIBUTIONS.  (a)  A utility may

 1-8     implement as part of its billing process a program under which the

 1-9     utility collects from its customers a voluntary contribution,

1-10     including a voluntary membership or subscription fee, on behalf of

1-11     a volunteer fire department or an emergency medical service.

1-12           (b)  A utility that collects contributions under this section

1-13     shall provide each customer at the time that the customer first

1-14     becomes a customer, and at least annually thereafter, a written

1-15     statement:

1-16                 (1)  describing the procedure by which the customer may

1-17     make a contribution with the customer's bill payment;

1-18                 (2)  designating the volunteer fire department or

1-19     emergency medical service to which the utility will deliver the

1-20     contribution;

1-21                 (3)  informing the customer that a contribution is

1-22     voluntary; and

1-23                 (4)  describing the deductibility status of the

 2-1     contribution under federal income tax law.

 2-2           (c)  A billing by the utility that includes a voluntary

 2-3     contribution under this section must clearly state that the

 2-4     contribution is voluntary and that it may be deducted from the

 2-5     billed amount.

 2-6           (d)  The utility shall promptly deliver contributions that it

 2-7     collects under this section to the designated volunteer fire

 2-8     department or emergency medical service, except that the utility

 2-9     may keep from the contributions an amount equal to the lesser of:

2-10                 (1)  the utility's expenses in administering the

2-11     contribution program; or

2-12                 (2)  five percent of the amount collected as

2-13     contributions.

2-14           (e)  Amounts collected under this section are not rates and

2-15     are not subject to regulatory assessments, late payment penalties,

2-16     or other utility-related fees and are not required to be shown in

2-17     tariffs filed with the regulatory authority.

2-18           SECTION 2.  All acts of a utility before the effective date

2-19     of this Act to implement a program described by Section 13.143,

2-20     Water Code, as added by this Act, are validated as of the dates on

2-21     which they occurred.

2-22           SECTION 3.  The importance of this legislation and the

2-23     crowded condition of the calendars in both houses create an

2-24     emergency and an imperative public necessity that the

2-25     constitutional rule requiring bills to be read on three several

 3-1     days in each house be suspended, and this rule is hereby suspended,

 3-2     and that this Act take effect and be in force from and after its

 3-3     passage, and it is so enacted.

         _______________________________     _______________________________

             President of the Senate              Speaker of the House

               I certify that H.B. No. 1406 was passed by the House on April

         8, 1997, by the following vote:  Yeas 143, Nays 0, 1 present, not

         voting; and that the House concurred in Senate amendments to H.B.

         No. 1406 on May 14, 1997, by the following vote:  Yeas 138, Nays 0,

         2 present, not voting.


                                                 Chief Clerk of the House

               I certify that H.B. No. 1406 was passed by the Senate, with

         amendments, on May 12, 1997, by the following vote:  Yeas 31, Nays



                                                 Secretary of the Senate

         APPROVED:  _____________________