By Mowery                                              H.B. No. 559
         77R213 GJH-F                           
                                A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 1-1                                   AN ACT
 1-2     relating to the award of attorney's fees to a property owner who
 1-3     prevails in a judicial appeal of certain ad valorem tax
 1-4     determinations.
 1-6           SECTION 1.  Section 42.29, Tax Code, is amended to read as
 1-7     follows:
 1-8           Sec. 42.29.  ATTORNEY'S FEES.  (a)  A property owner who
 1-9     prevails in an appeal to the  court under Section 42.25 or 42.26
1-10     may be awarded reasonable attorney's fees.  Except as provided by
1-11     Subsection (c) and subject to Subsection (b), the [The] amount of
1-12     the award may not exceed the greater of:
1-13                 (1)  $15,000; or
1-14                 (2)  20 percent of the total amount by which the
1-15     property owner's tax liability is reduced as a result of the
1-16     appeal.
1-17           (b)  Except as provided by [Notwithstanding] Subsection (c)
1-18     [(a)], the amount of an award of attorney's fees may not exceed the
1-19     lesser  of the following amounts if that amount is less than the
1-20     amount calculated under Subsection (a):
1-21                 (1)  $100,000; or
1-22                 (2)  the total amount by which the property owner's tax
1-23     liability is reduced as a result of the appeal.
1-24           (c)  The amount of an award of attorney's fees is not subject
 2-1     to a limitation imposed by this section if the court determines
 2-2     that:
 2-3                 (1)  the appraised value of the property exceeds by 200
 2-4     percent or more the appraised value required by law; or
 2-5                 (2)  the appraisal ratio of the property exceeds by at
 2-6     least 200 percent the median level of appraisal according to
 2-7     Section 42.26(a).
 2-8           SECTION 2.  The changes in law to Section 42.29, Tax Code,
 2-9     made by this Act apply only to an appeal under Chapter 42, Tax
2-10     Code, that is filed on or after the effective date of this Act.  An
2-11     appeal under Chapter 42, Tax Code, that is filed before the
2-12     effective date of this Act is governed by the law in effect on the
2-13     date the appeal was filed, and that law is continued in effect for
2-14     that purpose.
2-15           SECTION 3.  This Act takes effect immediately if it receives
2-16     a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as
2-17     provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution.  If this
2-18     Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this
2-19     Act takes effect September 1, 2001.