This website will be unavailable from Thursday, May 30, 2024 at 6:00 p.m. through Monday, June 3, 2024 at 7:00 a.m. due to data center maintenance.

  86R5302 SLB-D
 
  By: Phelan H.B. No. 478
 
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to the funding of flood planning, mitigation, and
  infrastructure projects.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  The heading to Section 15.405, Water Code, is
  amended to read as follows:
         Sec. 15.405.  FLOOD CONTROL PLANNING CONTRACTS.
         SECTION 2.  Section 15.405, Water Code, is amended by
  amending Subsections (a), (f), and (g) and adding Subsection (a-1)
  to read as follows:
         (a)  In this section, "flood control planning" means any work
  related to:
               (1)  planning for flood protection;
               (2)  preparing applications for and obtaining
  regulatory approvals at the local, state, or federal level;
               (3)  activities associated with administrative or
  legal proceedings by regulatory agencies; and
               (4)  preparing engineering plans and specifications to
  provide structural or nonstructural flood mitigation and drainage.
         (a-1)  The board may enter into contracts with political
  subdivisions to pay from the research and planning fund all or part
  of the cost of [developing] flood control planning [plans] for the
  political subdivision.
         (f)  The board shall adopt rules establishing criteria of
  eligibility for flood control planning money that considers:
               (1)  the relative need of the political subdivision for
  the money, giving greater importance to a county that has a median
  household income that is not greater than 85 percent of the median
  state household income;
               (2)  the legal authority of the political subdivision
  to plan for and control flooding; and
               (3)  the effect of flood control planning by the
  political subdivision on overall flood control in the state and
  within the area in which the political subdivision is located.
         (g)  The board shall require that flood control planning
  documents [plans] developed under contracts entered into under this
  section be made available to the commission.
         SECTION 3.  Chapter 15, Water Code, is amended by adding
  Subchapter I to read as follows:
  SUBCHAPTER I. FLOOD INFRASTRUCTURE FUND
         Sec. 15.531.  DEFINITIONS. In this subchapter: 
               (1)  "Economically distressed area" means an area that
  has a median household income that is not greater than 85 percent of
  the median state household income for the most recent year for which
  the applicable statistics are available.
               (2)  "Eligible political subdivision" means a district
  or authority created under Section 52, Article III, or Section 59,
  Article XVI, Texas Constitution, a municipality, or a county.
               (3)  "Flood project" means a drainage, flood
  mitigation, or flood control project, including:
                     (A)  planning and design activities;
                     (B)  work to obtain regulatory approval to provide
  nonstructural and structural flood mitigation and drainage; and
                     (C)  construction of structural flood mitigation
  and drainage infrastructure.
               (4)  "Fund" means the flood infrastructure fund.
               (5)  "Metropolitan statistical area" means an area so
  designated by the United States Office of Management and Budget.
               (6)  "Political subdivision bonds" means bonds or other
  obligations issued by a political subdivision to fund a project and
  purchased by the board from money in the fund.
         Sec. 15.532.  FINDINGS. The legislature finds that:
               (1)  the creation of the fund and the administration of
  the fund by the board will encourage the development of
  nonstructural and structural flood mitigation in the state;
               (2)  the use of the fund is in furtherance of the public
  purpose of mitigating the effects of flooding in the state; and
               (3)  the use of the fund for the purposes provided by
  this subchapter is for the benefit of both the state and the
  political subdivisions to which the board makes financial
  assistance available in accordance with this subchapter and
  constitutes a program under Sections 49-d-3 and 52-a, Article III,
  Texas Constitution.
         Sec. 15.533.  FLOOD INFRASTRUCTURE FUND. (a) The flood
  infrastructure fund is a special fund in the state treasury outside
  the general revenue fund to be administered by the board under this
  subchapter and rules adopted by the board under this subchapter.
         (b)  The fund consists of:
               (1)  appropriations from the legislature for a purpose
  of the fund;
               (2)  proceeds of general obligation bonds issued for a
  purpose of the fund;
               (3)  any fees or other sources of revenue that the
  legislature dedicates for deposit to the fund;
               (4)  repayments of loans made from the fund;
               (5)  interest earned on money credited to the fund;
               (6)  depository interest allocable to the fund;
               (7)  money from gifts, grants, or donations to the
  fund;
               (8)  money from revenue bonds or other sources
  designated by the board for deposit to the fund; and
               (9)  proceeds from the sale of political subdivision
  bonds or obligations held in the fund and not otherwise pledged to
  the discharge, repayment, or redemption of revenue bonds or other
  bonds, the proceeds of which were placed in the fund.
         Sec. 15.534.  USE OF FLOOD INFRASTRUCTURE FUND. (a) The
  board may use the fund only:
               (1)  to make a loan to an eligible political
  subdivision at or below market interest rates for a flood project;
               (2)  to make a grant, low interest loan, or zero
  interest loan to an eligible political subdivision for:
                     (A)  a flood project to serve an area outside of a
  metropolitan statistical area in order to ensure that the flood
  project is implemented; or
                     (B)  a flood project to serve an economically
  distressed area;
               (3)  to make a loan at or below market interest rates
  for planning and design costs, permitting costs, and other costs
  associated with state or federal regulatory activities with respect
  to a flood project;
               (4)  to make a grant to an eligible political
  subdivision to provide matching funds to enable the eligible
  political subdivision to participate in a federal program for a
  flood project;
               (5)  as a source of revenue or security for the payment
  of principal and interest on bonds issued by the board if the
  proceeds of the sale of the bonds will be deposited in the fund; and
               (6)  to pay the necessary and reasonable expenses of
  the board in administering the fund.
         (b)  Principal and interest payments on loans made under
  Subsection (a)(3) may be deferred for not more than 10 years or
  until construction of the flood project is completed, whichever is
  earlier.
         Sec. 15.535.  APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS. (a) Except as
  provided by Subsection (c), an eligible political subdivision
  applying for financial assistance under this subchapter for a
  proposed flood project must demonstrate in the application that:
               (1)  the eligible political subdivision has acted
  cooperatively with other political subdivisions to address flood
  control needs in the area in which the eligible political
  subdivisions are located;
               (2)  all eligible political subdivisions substantially
  affected by the proposed flood project have participated in the
  process of developing the proposed flood project;
               (3)  the eligible political subdivisions, separately
  or in cooperation, have held public meetings to accept comment on
  proposed flood projects from interested parties; and
               (4)  the technical requirements for the proposed flood
  project have been completed and compared against any other
  potential flood projects in the same area.
         (b)  The application must include an analysis of whether the
  proposed flood project could use floodwater capture techniques for
  water supply purposes, including floodwater harvesting, detention
  or retention basins, or other methods of capturing storm flow or
  unappropriated flood flow.
         (c)  An eligible political subdivision applying for
  assistance under Section 15.534(a)(3) is not required to make the
  demonstration described by Subsection (a)(4) of this section.
         Sec. 15.536.  APPROVAL OF APPLICATIONS. On review and
  recommendation by the executive administrator, the board may
  approve an application only if the board finds that:
               (1)  the application and the assistance applied for
  meet the requirements of this subchapter and board rules;
               (2)  the application demonstrates a sufficient level of
  cooperation among eligible political subdivisions and includes all
  of the eligible political subdivisions substantially affected by
  the flood project; and
               (3)  the taxes or other revenue, or both the taxes and
  other revenue, pledged by the applicant will be sufficient to meet
  all the obligations assumed by the eligible political subdivision.
         Sec. 15.537.  APPLICABLE LAW. Subchapter E, Chapter 17,
  applies to financial assistance made available from the fund,
  except that the board may execute contracts as necessary to
  evidence grant agreements.
         Sec. 15.538.  RULES. The board shall adopt rules necessary
  to carry out this subchapter, including rules:
               (1)  that establish procedures for an application for
  and for the award of financial assistance;
               (2)  for the investment of money; and
               (3)  for the administration of the fund.
         Sec. 15.539.  SALE OF POLITICAL SUBDIVISION BONDS. (a) The
  board may sell or dispose of political subdivision bonds at the
  price and under the terms that the board determines to be
  reasonable.
         (b)  The board may sell political subdivision bonds without
  making a previous offer to the eligible political subdivision that
  issued the bonds and without advertising, soliciting, or receiving
  bids for sale.
         (c)  Notwithstanding other provisions of this chapter, the
  board may sell to the Texas Water Resources Finance Authority any
  political subdivision bonds purchased with money in the fund and
  may apply the proceeds of a sale in the manner provided by this
  section.
         (d)  Proceeds from the sale of political subdivision bonds
  under this section shall be deposited in the fund for use as
  provided by Section 15.534.
         (e)  As part of a sales agreement with the Texas Water
  Resources Finance Authority, the board by contract may agree to
  perform the functions required to ensure that the eligible
  political subdivision pays the debt service on political
  subdivision bonds sold and observes the conditions and requirements
  stated in those bonds.
         (f)  The board may exercise any powers necessary to carry out
  the authority granted by this section, including the authority to
  contract with any person to accomplish the purposes of this
  section.
         Sec. 15.540.  INFORMATION CLEARINGHOUSE. The board shall
  act as a clearinghouse for information about state and federal
  flood planning, mitigation, and control programs that may serve as
  a source of funding for flood projects.
         Sec. 15.541.  LIABILITY. Participation in cooperative flood
  planning to obtain money under this subchapter does not subject an
  eligible political subdivision to civil liability in regards to a
  flood project.
         SECTION 4.  Title 5, Water Code, is amended by designating
  Chapter 152 as Subtitle A and adding a subtitle heading to read as
  follows:
  SUBTITLE A. RIVER AUTHORITIES
         SECTION 5.  Subtitle A, Title 5, Water Code, as added by this
  Act, is amended by adding Chapter 150 to read as follows:
  CHAPTER 150. PROVISIONS GENERALLY APPLICABLE TO RIVER AUTHORITIES
         Sec. 150.0101.  DEFINITIONS. In this chapter:
               (1)  "Director" means a member of the board of
  directors of a river authority.
               (2)  "River authority" means a district created under
  the authority of Section 59, Article XVI, Texas Constitution, as a
  regional water management entity to provide water development and
  planning services and other services to a river basin or portion of
  a river basin.
         Sec. 150.0102.  PARTICIPATION IN COOPERATIVE FLOOD
  PLANNING. A river authority may participate in cooperative flood
  planning to obtain money from the flood infrastructure fund under
  Subchapter I, Chapter 15, Water Code, including:
               (1)  providing administrative or technical support;
  and
               (2)  participation by a director, general manager, or
  other river authority staff in the cooperative flood planning
  process.
         SECTION 6.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2019.