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  87R2026 SMT-D
 
  By: Stephenson H.B. No. 281
 
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to the selection and administration of an appraisal review
  board; authorizing a fee.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Section 5.103(b), Tax Code, is amended to read as
  follows:
         (b)  The model hearing procedures shall address:
               (1)  the statutory duties of an appraisal review board;
               (2)  the process for conducting a hearing;
               (3)  the scheduling of hearings;
               (4)  the postponement of hearings;
               (5)  the notices required under this title;
               (6)  the determination of good cause under Section
  41.44(b);
               (7)  the determination of good cause under Sections
  41.45(e) and (e-1);
               (8)  a party's right to offer evidence and argument;
               (9)  a party's right to examine or cross-examine
  witnesses or other parties;
               (10)  a party's right to appear by an agent;
               (11)  the prohibition of an appraisal review board's
  consideration of information not provided at a hearing;
               (12)  ex parte and other prohibited communications;
               (13)  the exclusion of evidence at a hearing as
  required by Section 41.67(d);
               (14)  the postponement of a hearing as required by
  Section 41.66(h);
               (15)  conflicts of interest; and
               (16)  [the process for the administration of
  applications for membership on an appraisal review board; and
               [(17)]  any other matter related to fair and efficient
  appraisal review board hearings.
         SECTION 2.  Sections 6.41(a), (b), (c), (d), (e), (f), (j),
  and (k), Tax Code, are amended to read as follows:
         (a)  An [The] appraisal review board is established for each
  appraisal district.
         (b)  The [Except as provided by Subsection (b-1) or (b-2),
  an] appraisal review board consists of five [three] members elected
  at the general election for state and county officers. One member
  is elected from each of the four commissioners precincts in the
  county in which the appraisal district is established and one
  member is elected at large from the county. The members serve
  two-year terms beginning on January 1 of odd-numbered years.
         (c)  To be eligible to serve on the board, an individual
  must:
               (1)  be a resident of:
                     (A)  the commissioners precinct from which the
  member is elected, in the case of a member elected from a
  commissioners precinct; or
                     (B)  the county in which the appraisal district is
  established, in the case of a member elected at large; [district]
  and
               (2)  [must] have resided in the county [district] for
  at least two years.
         (d)  [Except as provided by Subsection (d-1), members of the
  board are appointed by resolution of a majority of the appraisal
  district board of directors.] A vacancy on the board is filled by
  appointment by the commissioners court of the county in which the
  appraisal district is established [in the same manner] for the
  unexpired portion of the term. An individual appointed to fill a
  vacancy on the board must meet the qualifications of the vacated
  position.
         (e)  If as a result of a change in the boundaries of a
  commissioners precinct an individual serving as a member no longer
  resides in the precinct from which the office is elected, the
  individual is not for that reason disqualified from office during
  the remainder of the term of office being served at the time the
  boundary change takes effect. If as a result of a change in the
  boundaries of a commissioners precinct an individual elected as a
  member before the boundary change to a term that begins after the
  boundary change no longer resides in the precinct from which
  elected, the individual is not for that reason disqualified from
  serving the term to which elected. [Members of the board hold
  office for terms of two years beginning January 1. The appraisal
  district board of directors by resolution shall provide for
  staggered terms, so that the terms of as close to one-half of the
  members as possible expire each year. In making the initial or
  subsequent appointments, the board of directors or the local
  administrative district judge or the judge's designee shall
  designate those members who serve terms of one year as needed to
  comply with this subsection.]
         (f)  For purposes of Chapter 87, Local Government Code,
  grounds [A member of the board may be removed from the board by a
  majority vote of the appraisal district board of directors, or by
  the local administrative district judge or the judge's designee, as
  applicable, that appointed the member. Grounds] for removal of a
  member of an appraisal review board include [are]:
               (1)  a violation of Section 6.412, 6.413, 41.66(f), or
  41.69;
               (2)  good cause relating to the attendance of members
  at called meetings of the board as established by written policy
  adopted by a majority of the appraisal district board of directors;
  [or]
               (3)  evidence of repeated bias or misconduct; or
               (4)  failure to complete a course required by Section
  5.041.
         (j)  A chief appraiser or another employee or agent of an
  appraisal district commits an offense if the person communicates
  with a member of the appraisal review board for the appraisal
  district or[,] a member of the board of directors of the appraisal
  district[, or, if the appraisal district is an appraisal district
  described by Subsection (d-1), the local administrative district
  judge] regarding a ranking, scoring, or reporting of the percentage
  by which the appraisal review board or a panel of the board reduces
  the appraised value of property.
         (k)  An offense under Subsection [(i) or] (j) is a Class A
  misdemeanor.
         SECTION 3.  Subchapter C, Chapter 6, Tax Code, is amended by
  adding Section 6.4101 to read as follows:
         Sec. 6.4101.  BALLOT PROCEDURES FOR APPRAISAL REVIEW BOARD
  MEMBER; FILING FEE.  (a)  Except as provided by this section,
  Chapter 144, Election Code, applies to a candidate for the office of
  member of the appraisal review board of an appraisal district.
         (b)  An application for a place on the ballot must be filed
  with the county judge of the county in which the appraisal district
  is established and be accompanied by a filing fee of:
               (1)  $1,250 for a county with a population of 200,000 or
  more; or
               (2)  $750 for a county with a population of less than
  200,000.
         (c)  A filing fee received under this section shall be
  deposited in the county treasury to the credit of the county general
  fund.
         SECTION 4.  Section 6.411(c-1), Tax Code, is amended to read
  as follows:
         (c-1)  This section does not apply to communications with a
  member of an appraisal review board by the chief appraiser or
  another employee or a member of the board of directors of an
  appraisal district or a property tax consultant or attorney
  representing a party to a proceeding before the appraisal review
  board:
               (1)  during a hearing on a protest or other proceeding
  before the appraisal review board;
               (2)  that constitute social conversation;
               (3)  that are specifically limited to and involve
  administrative, clerical, or logistical matters related to the
  scheduling and operation of hearings, the processing of documents,
  the issuance of orders, notices, and subpoenas, and the operation,
  appointment, composition, or attendance at training of the
  appraisal review board; or
               (4)  that are necessary and appropriate to enable the
  appraisal review board [of directors of the appraisal district] to
  determine whether to appoint, reappoint, or remove a person as an
  auxiliary board [a] member or as the chairman or secretary of the
  appraisal review board.
         SECTION 5.  Section 6.412(d), Tax Code, is amended to read as
  follows:
         (d)  A person is ineligible to serve on the appraisal review
  board of an appraisal district established in [for] a county with a
  population of 120,000 or more [described by Section 6.41(d-1)] if
  the person:
               (1)  is a former member of the board of directors,
  former officer, or former employee of the appraisal district;
               (2)  served as a member of the governing body or officer
  of a taxing unit for which the appraisal district appraises
  property, until the fourth anniversary of the date the person
  ceased to be a member or officer;
               (3)  appeared before the appraisal review board for
  compensation during the two-year period preceding the date the
  person is elected or appointed; or
               (4)  served for all or part of three previous terms as a
  board member or auxiliary board member on the appraisal review
  board.
         SECTION 6.  Section 6.413(a), Tax Code, is amended to read as
  follows:
         (a)  An individual is not eligible to be elected or appointed
  to or to serve on the appraisal review board established for an
  appraisal district if the individual or a business entity in which
  the individual has a substantial interest is a party to a contract
  with the appraisal district or with a taxing unit that participates
  in the appraisal district.
         SECTION 7.  Section 6.414, Tax Code, is amended by amending
  Subsections (a), (b), and (f) and adding Subsection (a-1) to read as
  follows:
         (a)  An [The board of directors of an] appraisal review board
  [district] by resolution of a majority of the members may provide
  for a number of auxiliary appraisal review board members that the
  board considers appropriate to hear taxpayer protests before the
  appraisal review board and to assist the board in performing its
  duties.
         (a-1)  This subsection applies only to the appraisal review
  board of an appraisal district established in a county with a
  population of one million or more.  If the appraisal review board
  appoints auxiliary board members under this section, the appraisal
  review board shall appoint an adequate number of qualified
  individuals as auxiliary board members to permit the chairman of
  the appraisal review board to fill the positions on each special
  panel established under Section 6.425.
         (b)  An auxiliary board member is appointed to a two-year
  term by resolution of a majority of the [in the same manner and for
  the same term as an] appraisal review board members. An auxiliary
  board member [under Section 6.41 and] is subject to the same
  eligibility requirements and restrictions as a board member under
  Sections 6.41, 6.411, 6.412, and 6.413. A vacancy among the
  auxiliary board members is filled in the same manner as the original
  appointment to the appraisal review board.
         (f)  An auxiliary board member is entitled to compensation
  and [as provided by the appraisal district budget and is not
  entitled to a per diem or] reimbursement of expenses as provided by
  [under] Section 6.42(c).
         SECTION 8.  Section 6.42(a), Tax Code, is amended to read as
  follows:
         (a)  A majority of the appraisal review board constitutes a
  quorum.  The board by resolution [local administrative district
  judge under Subchapter D, Chapter 74, Government Code, in the
  county in which the appraisal district is established] shall select
  a chairman and a secretary from among the board's members [of the
  appraisal review board].  The board [judge] is encouraged to select
  as chairman a member of the [appraisal review] board, if any, who
  has a background in law and property appraisal.
         SECTION 9.  Sections 6.425(a) and (e), Tax Code, are amended
  to read as follows:
         (a)  This section applies only to the appraisal review board
  for an appraisal district established in a county with a population
  of one million or more [described by Section 6.41(b-2)].
         (e)  Notwithstanding Subsection (d), the chairman of the
  appraisal review board may appoint to a special panel described by
  this section a member of the appraisal review board who does not
  meet the qualifications prescribed by that subsection if:
               (1)  the number of board members [persons appointed to
  the board by the local administrative district judge] who meet
  those qualifications is not sufficient to fill the positions on
  each special panel; and
               (2)  the board member being appointed to the panel
  holds a bachelor's degree in any field.
         SECTION 10.  Section 25.19(b-3), Tax Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         (b-3)  This subsection applies only to an appraisal district
  established in a county with a population of one million or more
  [described by Section 6.41(b-2)].  In addition to the information
  required by Subsection (b), the chief appraiser shall state in a
  notice of appraised value of property described by Section 6.425(b)
  that the property owner has the right to have a protest relating to
  the property heard by a special panel of the appraisal review board.
         SECTION 11.  Section 41.45(d), Tax Code, is amended to read
  as follows:
         (d)  This subsection does not apply to a special panel
  established under Section 6.425.  An appraisal review board
  [consisting of more than three members] may sit in panels of not
  fewer than three members to conduct protest hearings.  If the
  recommendation of a panel is not accepted by the board, the board
  may refer the matter for rehearing to a panel composed of members
  who did not hear the original protest or, if there are not at least
  three members who did not hear the original protest, the board may
  determine the protest.
         SECTION 12.  Section 41.66(g), Tax Code, is amended to read
  as follows:
         (g)  At the beginning of a hearing on a protest, each member
  of the appraisal review board hearing the protest must sign an
  affidavit stating that the board member has not communicated with
  another person in violation of Subsection (f).  If a board member
  has communicated with another person in violation of Subsection
  (f), the member must be recused from the proceeding and may not
  hear, deliberate on, or vote on the determination of the protest.
  The appraisal review board [of directors of the appraisal district]
  shall adopt and implement a policy concerning the temporary
  replacement of an appraisal review board member who has
  communicated with another person in violation of Subsection (f).
         SECTION 13.  The following provisions of the Tax Code are
  repealed:
               (1)  Section 6.052(f); and
               (2)  Sections 6.41(b-1), (b-2), (d-1), (d-2), (d-3),
  (d-4), (d-5), (d-6), (d-7), (d-8), (d-9), (d-10), and (i).
         SECTION 14.  (a)  Appraisal review board members shall be
  elected under Section 6.41, Tax Code, as amended by this Act,
  beginning with the general election conducted in 2022. Members
  then elected take office January 1, 2023.
         (b)  The change in the manner of selection of appraisal
  review board members made by Section 6.41, Tax Code, as amended by
  this Act, does not affect the selection of members who serve on the
  board before January 1, 2023.
         (c)  The term of an appraisal review board member serving on
  December 31, 2022, expires on January 1, 2023.
         (d)  Auxiliary members may be appointed under Section 6.414,
  Tax Code, as amended by this Act, by the elected appraisal review
  board members on or after January 1, 2023.
         (e)  The change in the manner of selection of auxiliary
  members made by Section 6.414, Tax Code, as amended by this Act,
  does not affect the selection of auxiliary members who serve before
  January 1, 2023.
         (f)  The term of an auxiliary member serving on December 31,
  2022, expires on January 1, 2023.
         SECTION 15.  The repeal by this Act of Section 6.41(i), Tax
  Code, and the change in law made by this Act to Section 6.41(j), Tax
  Code, do not apply to an offense committed under either of those
  subsections before January 1, 2023. An offense committed before
  January 1, 2023, is governed by the applicable subsection as it
  existed on the date the offense was committed, and the former law is
  continued in effect for that purpose. For purposes of this section,
  an offense was committed before January 1, 2023, if any element of
  the offense occurred before that date.
         SECTION 16.  (a)  Except as otherwise provided by this
  section, this Act takes effect January 1, 2023.
         (b)  This section and Sections 3 and 14 of this Act take
  effect September 1, 2021.