1-1     By:  Bosse (Senate Sponsor - Brown)                   H.B. No. 1406

 1-2           (In the Senate - Received from the House April 9, 1997;

 1-3     April 10, 1997, read first time and referred to Committee on

 1-4     Natural Resources; May 2, 1997, reported favorably, as amended, by

 1-5     the following vote:  Yeas 8, Nays 0; May 2, 1997, sent to printer.)

 1-6     COMMITTEE AMENDMENT NO. 1                                By:  Brown

 1-7     Amend HB 1406 as follows:

 1-8     SECTION 1:  insert the following underlined language into section

 1-9     (e).

1-10     (e)...rates and are not subject to regulatory assessments, late

1-11     payment penalties, or other utility-related fees and are not....

1-12                            A BILL TO BE ENTITLED

1-13                                   AN ACT

1-14     relating to collection by water and sewer utilities of voluntary

1-15     contributions on behalf of certain emergency services.


1-17           SECTION 1.  Subchapter E, Chapter 13, Water Code, is amended

1-18     by adding Section 13.143 to read as follows:

1-19           Sec. 13.143.  VOLUNTARY CONTRIBUTIONS.  (a)  A utility may

1-20     implement as part of its billing process a program under which the

1-21     utility collects from its customers a voluntary contribution,

1-22     including a voluntary membership or subscription fee, on behalf of

1-23     a volunteer fire department or an emergency medical service.

1-24           (b)  A utility that collects contributions under this section

1-25     shall provide each customer at the time that the customer first

1-26     becomes a customer, and at least annually thereafter, a written

1-27     statement:

1-28                 (1)  describing the procedure by which the customer may

1-29     make a contribution with the customer's bill payment;

1-30                 (2)  designating the volunteer fire department or

1-31     emergency medical service to which the utility will deliver the

1-32     contribution;

1-33                 (3)  informing the customer that a contribution is

1-34     voluntary; and

1-35                 (4)  describing the deductibility status of the

1-36     contribution under federal income tax law.

1-37           (c)  A billing by the utility that includes a voluntary

1-38     contribution under this section must clearly state that the

1-39     contribution is voluntary and that it may be deducted from the

1-40     billed amount.

1-41           (d)  The utility shall promptly deliver contributions that it

1-42     collects under this section to the designated volunteer fire

1-43     department or emergency medical service, except that the utility

1-44     may keep from the contributions an amount equal to the lesser of:

1-45                 (1)  the utility's expenses in administering the

1-46     contribution program; or

1-47                 (2)  five percent of the amount collected as

1-48     contributions.

1-49           (e)  Amounts collected under this section are not rates and

1-50     are not required to be shown in tariffs filed with the regulatory

1-51     authority.

1-52           SECTION 2.  All acts of a utility before the effective date

1-53     of this Act to implement a program described by Section 13.143,

1-54     Water Code, as added by this Act, are validated as of the dates on

1-55     which they occurred.

1-56           SECTION 3.  The importance of this legislation and the

1-57     crowded condition of the calendars in both houses create an

1-58     emergency and an imperative public necessity that the

1-59     constitutional rule requiring bills to be read on three several

1-60     days in each house be suspended, and this rule is hereby suspended,

1-61     and that this Act take effect and be in force from and after its

1-62     passage, and it is so enacted.

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