Passed 84th Regular Session:
- SB 58 Relating to the enforcement of commercial vehicle safety standards by certain counties.
Synopsis: S.B. 58 amends the Transportation Code to include a municipality with a population of more than 40,000 and less than 50,000 that is located in a county with a population of more than 285,000 and less than 300,000 that borders the Gulf of Mexico among the municipalities from which a police officer is eligible to apply for certification to enforce commercial motor vehicle safety standards. The bill decreases from one million to 700,000 the minimum population of a county that triggers a county sheriff’s or deputy sheriff’s eligibility to apply for such certification.
- SB 562 Relating to annual permits to move certain equipment; authorizing a fee.
Synopsis: S.B. 562 amends the Transportation Code to authorize the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles to issue an annual permit that allows a person to operate over a state highway or road a vehicle or combination of vehicles that exceeds the length and height limits provided by law but limits the size of such vehicles to a maximum length of 110 feet and a maximum height of 14 feet. The bill requires an application for such a permit to be accompanied by a permit fee of $960, with $480 of that amount allocated to the general revenue fund.
- SB 797 Relating to a grant program to reduce wait times for agricultural inspections of vehicles at ports of entry along the Texas-Mexico border.
Synopsis: S.B. 797 amends the Agriculture Code to authorize the Department of Agriculture (TDA), using money appropriated for this purpose or money received under the bill’s provisions, to make a grant to a nonprofit organization for the purpose of promoting the agricultural processing industry in Texas by reducing wait times for agricultural inspections of vehicles at ports of entry along the border with the United Mexican States. The bill requires the TDA to request proposals for the award of a grant, evaluate the proposals, and award a grant based on the proposed program’s quantifiable effectiveness and the potentially positive impact on the agricultural processing industry in Texas.
- SB 971 Relating to requirements for certain farm vehicles when operating on a highway.
Synopsis: S.B. 971 amends the Transportation Code to include in the definition of “implement of husbandry” a towed vehicle that transports to the field and spreads fertilizer or agricultural chemicals and a motor vehicle designed and adapted to deliver feed to livestock. The bill clarifies that the exemption from vehicle width limitations for farm tractors, implements of husbandry, and vehicles moving such equipment traveling on certain highways during daylight applies to farm tractors and implements of husbandry as those terms are defined under statutory provisions relating to vehicles, rail transportation, and equipment and by the bill’s provisions.
- SB 1059 Relating to the issuance of certain permits for the movement of oversize or overweight vehicles.
Synopsis: S.B. 1059 amends the Transportation Code to replace the authority of the Texas Transportation Commission to authorize the Port of Corpus Christi Authority to issue permits for the movement of oversize or overweight vehicles carrying cargo on state highway special freight corridors located in San Patricio County with the authority of the commission to authorize the port authority to issue permits for the movement of such vehicles carrying cargo on certain specified roads in San Patricio and Nueces Counties or a route designated by the commission in consultation with the port authority.
- SB 1171 Relating to the operation of certain oversize or overweight vehicles transporting timber, timber products, or forestry equipment on certain public roadways.
Synopsis: S.B. 1171 amends the Transportation Code to include a vehicle operating under a permit issued by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles for certain oversize or overweight vehicles transporting unrefined timber, wood chips, or woody biomass in a timber producing county among the vehicles authorized to operate under the conditions authorized by the respective permit over a road for which the executive director of the Texas Department of Transportation or a county commissioners court has set a maximum weight, as applicable. The bill lowers the fee for that permit from $1,500 to $900.
- SB 1338 Relating to the exemption from length limitations of certain vehicles or combinations of vehicles used to transport harvest machines.
Synopsis: C.S.S.B. 1338 amends the Transportation Code to exempt from statutory length limitations on certain vehicles or combinations of vehicles a truck-tractor operated in combination with a semitrailer and trailer or semitrailer and semitrailer if the combination is used to transport a harvest machine that is used in farm custom harvesting operations on a farm, if the overall length of the combination, excluding the length of the truck-tractor, is not longer than 81-1/2 feet, and if the combination is not traveling on a highway that is part of the national system of interstate and defense highways or the federal aid primary highway system. The bill removes the exemption from such length limitations for a vehicle or combination of vehicles used to transport a combine that is used in farm custom harvesting operations on a farm if the overall length of the vehicle or combination is not longer than 75 feet, if the vehicle is traveling on such highways, or if such overall length is not longer than 81-1/2 feet, if the vehicle is not traveling on such highways, and replaces it with an exemption for a vehicle or combination of vehicles used to transport a harvest machine that is used in farm custom harvesting operations on a farm if the overall length of the vehicle or combination is not longer than 75 feet, regardless of whether it is traveling on such a highway.
- SB 1389 Relating to the Border Commerce Coordinator.
Synopsis: S.B. 1389 amends Government Code provisions to clarify the duties of the border commerce coordinator. Among other provisions, the bill expands the duties of the coordinator to include working to identify problems associated with border truck inspections and related trade and transportation infrastructure and developing recommendations for addressing those problems; working with the appropriate state and federal agencies to develop initiatives to mitigate congestion at ports of entry; and developing recommendations designed to increase trade by attracting new business ventures, to support expansion of existing and new industries, and to address workforce training needs. The bill requires the coordinator to appoint a border mayor task force and sets out the task force’s composition.
- HB 716 Relating to the certification of certain peace officers to enforce commercial motor vehicle safety standards.
Synopsis: House Bill 716 amends the Transportation Code to make a police officer of a municipality located in San Patricio County eligible to apply for certification to enforce commercial motor vehicle safety standards.
- HB 1252 Relating to uniform weighing procedures requirements for motor vehicle weight enforcement officers.
Synopsis: HB 1252 requires DPS in rule to establish uniform weighing procedures for weight enforcement officers. DPS could revoke the authority of a weight enforcement officer who failed to comply with those weighing procedures. The bill also creates an affirmative defense to prosecution for operating a vehicle with a single axle weight, tandem axle weight, or gross weight heavier than what is authorized by law if, at the time the weight was determined, the weight enforcement officer failed to follow the weighing procedures established by DPS.
- HB 1741 Relating to route designation for the issuance of a permit for the movement of oversize and overweight vehicles in certain counties.
Synopsis: House Bill 1741 amends Transportation Code provisions relating to port authority permits to require the Texas Transportation Commission to designate additional routes for the movement of oversize and overweight vehicles on certain roads.
- HB 1888 Relating to punishment for the offense of driving a commercial motor vehicle without a commercial driver’s license; increasing a penalty.
Synopsis: The bill amends the Transportation Code to:
- Change the punishment for operating a commercial motor vehicle without a commercial driver’s license from a Class C misdemeanor to a misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $500, or a misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000 in the event that the offender had been convicted of the same offense within the previous year.
- Require both thumbprints and fingerprints as part of an individual’s application for a personal identification certificate, driver’s license, or commercial driver’s license or permit. It is assumed any costs associated with implementing the bill could be absorbed within current resources.
- Authorize a court to assess an administrative fee of $10 if a case involving a failure to carry a license was dismissed.
- Set the fee amount for the issuance or renewal of a commercial learner’s permit at $24 and the fee amount for the administration of a skills test to a person who is not domiciled in this state at $60.
- Set the fee amount at $24 for a commercial learner’s permit issued to certain sex offenders.
- Repeal a fee for renewing a license with a motorcycle authorization.
- HB 1969 Relating to the issuance of certain permits for the movement of oversize or overweight vehicles on certain highways.
Synopsis: The bill amends Section 623.322, Transportation Code, to add four additional routes to the oversize/overweight (OS/OW) vehicle corridor for which the Hidalgo County Regional Mobility Authority (HCRMA) is authorized to issue permits under an agreement with the Texas Transportation Commission. The bill requires HCRMA to file a surety bond with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), in an amount set by TxDOT, conditioned that the authority will pay TxDOT any shortfall between the amount of permit fee revenue paid to TxDOT under the provisions of the bill and the department’s annual cost to repair any damage resulting from the movement of the permitted vehicles to the roads and highways that make up the corridor
- HB 2861 Relating to an optional procedure for the issuance of a permit by the City of Laredo for the movement of oversize or overweight vehicles carrying cargo in Webb County; authorizing a fee and adding a provision subject to criminal penalties.
Synopsis: House Bill 2861 amends the Transportation Code to provide for the City of Laredo’s issuance of permits for the movement of oversize or overweight vehicles in Webb County. Under the provisions of the bill, the fees collected would be permitted to be used for the operation and maintenance of the roadways and for the City of Laredo’s administrative costs, which would be prohibited from exceeding 15% of the fees collected. The bill requires that the remaining fees be distributed between the state and the city based on lane mile calculations between on-system and off-system roadways subject to the bill. The bill requires the state’s portion of the fees collected to be submitted to the comptroller for deposit to the credit of the State Highway Fund
- HB 3225 Relating to lane restrictions for certain motor vehicles in highway construction or maintenance work zones.
Synopsis: HB 3225 allows the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to confine the operation of commercial motor vehicles to a specific lane HB 3225 within a construction or maintenance work zone if a traffic study conducted by the department indicated that such a restriction was necessary to improve road safety. TxDOT could rescind a lane restriction if it determined the restriction was no longer needed.
If TxDOT designated a lane for commercial vehicles, it would be required to erect signs or other traffic control devices to indicate which lane was for commercial vehicles. HB 3225 cannot be enforced if these devices were not in place. The lane restriction would expire if the lane was no longer in a work zone. If TxDOT rescinded a lane restriction or the restriction expired, the agency would be required to remove the signs and other traffic control devices indicating the lane restriction.