Bill

HB 1642

83(R) - 2013
Special Purpose

Vote Recommendation

Yes
  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Positive
  • Neutral

Author(s)

Dennis Bonnen

Bill Caption

Relating to the Port of Houston Authority

Fiscal Notes

This bill would implement recommendations from the Sunset Advisory Commission's (SAC) review of the Port of Houston Authority (PoHA). There would be no significant cost to the state to implement these recommendations; however, there would be a cost to PoHA. The bill would require SAC to conduct another review of PoHA during the 2016-17 biennium and would require PoHA to pay for the cost of the review. The bill would also require the Governor to appoint a port commissioner if certain appointing entities fail to appointment a port commissioner within a specified period, and PoHA commissioners to file a statement required of state officers with the Texas Ethics Commission. PoHA would be required to reimburse the SAC for costs associated with the review. This cost is estimated to be $216,084 in fiscal year 2016 and $24,009 in fiscal year 2017. Additionally,any savings resulting from the internal audit or changes to policy as required by the bill would depend on implementation and cannot be estimated at this time.

Bill Analysis

Summary of Legislation: HB 1642 is a Port of Houston Authority (PoHA) sunset review. This legislation requires that the PoHA be subject to Sunset review in again in four years and adopts provisions and recommendations made by the latest Sunset Advisory Commission (SAC).  The new requirements for the PoHA include:  new appointments of Commissioners must be made by Oct. 2 of this year, stricter commissioner membership restrictions, and a requirement to develop and implement policies separating the policymaking responsibilities of the Commission from the management responsibilities of the Authority‚Äôs Executive Director and staff.

This bill requires the PoHA to develop public involvement procedures, improve public accountability and transparency, establish an internal auditing staff, and report risk-based analysis to the Authority of Harris County.  This legislation transfers, re-designates and modernizes various source laws of the Special Districts code (Title V).

Analysis:  This legislation promotes public involvement and transparency by implementing new disclosure and reporting requirements, increasing accountability, and reducing opportunity for unethical business and management practices. The reforms addressed in HB 1642 will help strengthen a critical part of the Texas economy. This legislation will bring greater accountability and transparency to the PoHA and we encourage legislators to vote YES on HB 1642.