Updating the Local Government Administrative Checklist

by Kathryn B. Thiel and Lauren J. Kalisek

The 88th Legislative Session saw a number of changes to laws governing recurring administrative tasks of local governments, including water control & improvement districts, municipal utility districts, other special districts and public entities. This fall is a good time to confirm internal processes and policies are up-to-date and fully compliant with these new requirements. Examples of such changes with references to bills passed in the 88th Regular Session include:

  • Local governments must report cyber-security breaches to the Texas Department of Information Resources (SB 271)
  • All Article XVI, Section 59 districts must post meeting notices on their websites (HB 3440)
  • Board member per diems for certain water districts governed by Chapter 49 of the Texas Water Code (Chapter 49) are now tied to the legislative per diem (SB 2815)
  • Nonindustrial public water supply systems must report an “unplanned condition” that causes a system outage or triggers a boil water notice to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (HB 3810)
  • Certain social media apps, including Tik Tok, are banned from devices owned or leased by governmental entities (SB 1893)
  • A governmental entity may require Public Information Act (“PIA”) requestors to provide identification to confirm that the requestor has not exceeded a limit or concealed their identity (HB 3033)
  • A governmental entity must submit requests for PIA Attorney General (“AG”) decisions through the AG e-filing system (with certain exceptions) (HB 3033)
  • Chapter 49 water districts must use an updated form Notice to Purchaser (filed with the county) when updating information on their tax rates and bonds (SB 2815)
  • Thresholds for board and staff approval of change orders and competitive bidding requirements have been increased for Chapter 49 water districts (HB 3437) (HB 3507)
  • Annual review and updates to local government investment policies should consider new clarifications in the Public Funds Investment Act regarding the use of joint accounts for repurchase agreements (SB 1246)

As with any legislative session, this one resulted in a number of new or changed reporting requirements as noted above, but also included helpful increases in per diems and competitive bidding thresholds. We hope this list provides a convenient cross-check for local government entities confirming implementation of changes resulting from the 88th Regular Session on these administrative items.

Kathryn Thiel is an Associate in the Firm’s Districts Practice Group and Lauren Kalisek is the Chair of the Firm’s Districts Practice Group. If you have any questions or would like additional information related to this article or other matters, please contact Kathryn at 512.322.5839 or kthiel@lglawfirm.com.

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