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Relating to the regulation of migrant labor housing facilities;
changing the amount of a civil penalty.
The fiscal implications of the bill cannot be determined at this time. Based
on information provided by the Comptroller of Public Accounts, the schedule of
violations subject to civil penalty is unknown; therefore, the revenue
implications of the bill cannot be determined.
Under current law, violation of certain migratory labor housing laws results in a penalty of $200 for each day that the violation occurs. HB 195 would amend this section of code to revise the penalty to "not less than $50 for each person occupying the migrant labor housing facility" for each day that the violation occurs.
The bill would also require Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs to adopt a penalty schedule "that increases the amount of the penalty assessed against a person who repeatedly violates this subchapter or rules adopted under this subchapter."
The bill would prohibit retaliatory actions "against a person for filing a complaint or providing information in good faith relating to a possible violation."
HB 195 would allow a court to award reasonable attorney's fees to the prevailing in a suit brought under this subchapter.
Texas Action opposes HB 195 which would substantially increase fees depending on the number of people housed in a migratory labor housing facility by recalculating the fee basis for violations. The bill would also require the creation of a new penalty schedule without giving guidance as to what that schedule should be, effectively delegating legislative authority to a state agency.