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Texas Border and Mexican Affairs

Colonia Legislation in Texas

Since 1989, the Texas Legislature has enacted a series of bills and resolutions to address the issues associated with border colonias, designed to improve the quality of life for residents. These laws have focused on the delivery of water and wastewater services, improving health and safety infrastructure and halting colonia proliferation.

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79th Regular Session of the Texas Legislature (2005)

SB 827

Texas Government Code, Chapters 405, 487, 775 and 2306
Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapter 1001
Texas Transportation Code, Chapter 201
Texas Water Code, Chapter 6

Author:
Zaffirini
Sponsor:
Guillen
Signed by Governor Rick Perry on June 17, 2005


Bill Analysis

Requires the Office of the Secretary of State to establish and maintain a statewide classification system to track state-funded projects related to water/wastewater, road paving and other assistance to colonias. It will require the colonias ombudspersons, Office of Rural Community Affairs, the Water Development Board, the Transportation Commission, the Department of Housing and Community Affairs, the Department of State Health Services, and/or any other appropriate agency as determined by the Secretary of State to report information to the Secretary of State for the classification system and the Secretary of State to compile and report this information to the legislature by December 1 of each even-numbered year. The classification system includes only counties within 62 miles of an international border.


SB 1202
Texas Government Code, Chapters 775 and 2306
Author:
Lucio
Sponsor:
Chavez
Signed by Governor Rick Perry on June 17, 2005


Bill Analysis

SB 1202 increases the number of agencies involved with colonia initiatives and requires the State-designated coordinator, the Secretary of State, to work collectively with these agencies on future colonia projects. Each agency is to designate a representative who will act as liaison between the coordinator and the agency and advise the coordinator during colonia projects. The coordinator is to also work with the colonia resident advisory committee in developing strategies and recommendations for colonia initiatives.


SB 425

Texas Government Code, Chapter 775
Texas Local Government Code, Chapters 212 and 232
Texas Utilities Code, Chapters 37 and 54
Texas Water Code, Chapters 16 and 17

Author:
Hinojosa
Sponsor:
Luna, Seaman
Signed by Governor Rick Perry on June 17, 2005


Bill Analysis

Amends the Local Government, Government and Water Codes so that a county that is located within 100 miles of an international border containing a city with a population of more than 250,000 can:

  1. prevent future substandard residential subdivisions from developing
  2. receive the assistance of the SOS Colonia Ombudsperson Program
  3. be eligible for EDAP Funds

HB 467

Texas Local Government Code, Chapters 212 and 232
Texas Water Code, Chapters 15, 16 and 17

Author:
Bailey, Howard, Olivo
Sponsor:
Gallegos
Signed by Governor Rick Perry on June 18, 2005


Bill Analysis

Authorizes any city, county or EDAP applicant in the state that applies for EDAP assistance to enforce the Model Subdivision Rules. Redefines “economically distressed area” and “political subdivision” by removing the requirement that the county have an average per capita income that is at least 25 percent below the state average for the most recent three consecutive years for which statistics are available. Redefines term “affected county” to be a county that has an economically distressed area which has a median household income that is not greater than 75 percent of the median state household income.


HB 1924
Texas Occupations Code, Chapter 162
Author:
Chavez
Sponsor:
Shapleigh
Signed by Governor Rick Perry on June 17, 2005


Bill Analysis

Requires the State Board of Medical Examiners to grant a health organization (recognized as a hospital district capable of receiving grants by a federal agency or federally qualified health center) the ability to employ physicians if it is located in a county that is located on the border and contains a population of more than 650,000.


HB 1823

Texas Local Government Code, Chapter 212
Texas Property Code, Chapter 5

Author:
Dutton
Sponsor:
Lucio
Signed by Governor Rick Perry on June 18, 2005


Bill Analysis

Redefines the rights and benefits of contract-for-deed or lease-to-own homebuyers to reflect those given to any other type of homebuyer. Further reinforces protections passed in 2001 by allowing these types of buyers to obtain a title to their property without alteration of the initial financial agreement made with the seller. Sellers will maintain the same rights and privileges as any other entity financing a home sale.


HB 775
Texas Government Code, Chapter 487
Author:
Gonzalez
Sponsor:
Lucio
Signed by Governor Rick Perry on June 18, 2005


Bill Analysis

Amends the Government Code to require the Office of Rural Community Affairs to adopt a rule requiring a political subdivision that receives community development block grant program money targeted toward street improvement projects to allocate a percentage of those funds towards installation of street lights in colonias.

78th Regular Session of the Texas Legislature (2003)

HB 1875
Texas Water Code, Chapter 966 and 1234
Author:
Wise
Sponsor:
Lucio
Signed by Governor Rick Perry on June 20, 2003


Bill Analysis

Allows the rural water assistance fund to be used to provide low interest loans to rural political subdivisions for water or water related projects and for water quality enhancement projects.

Allows the rural water assistance fund to be used to enable a rural political subdivision to obtain water or wastewater service supplied by larger political subdivisions or to finance the consolidation or regionalizing of neighboring political subdivisions.

Establishes the colonia self-help account as an account in the water assistance fund that may be used by the Texas Water Development Board only for purposes described in the Water Code.


HB 3420
Texas Government Code, Chapter 1403
Authors:
Garza, Guillen
Sponsor:
Madla
Signed by Governor Rick Perry on June 18, 2003


Bill Analysis

Provides for a set-aside of funds generated from the general obligation bonds issued under S.B. 1296, 77th Session, for specific colonia access roadway projects proposed by rural border counties.

77th Regular Session of the Texas Legislature (2001)

SB 1296
Texas Government Code, Chapter 1403
Author:
Lucio
Coauthors:
Shapleigh, Sibley, Truan, Zaffirini
Sponsors:
Flores
Signed by Governor Rick Perry on June 14, 2001


Bill Analysis

Allows the Texas Public Finance Authority to issue general obligation bond and notes with the proceeds to be used to aid counties to fund roadway projects to serve colonias.

HB 2700
Texas Government Code, Chapter 531
Texas Local Government Code, Chapter 386
Author:
Chavez, Puente, Wohlgemuth, J. Solis, Chisum
Sponsors:
Duncan
Signed by Governor Rick Perry on June 13, 2001


Bill Analysis

Requires the Health and Human Services Commission to establish telemedicine pilot programs in medically underserved areas; provides for reimbursement and regulation of telemedicine services.


SB 1
(General Appropriations Act, 2002-2003)
Author:
Ellis, Rodney
Sponsors:
Junell
Signed by Governor Rick Perry on June 17, 2001


Bill Analysis

Establishes the Texas Bootstrap Loan Program to provide low-income families with loans to purchase or refinance real property. Appropriates funding for the Colonia Model Subdivision Revolving Loan Program and the Contract for Deed Conversion Program.

HB 1053
Texas Tax Code, Chapter 311
Author:
Coleman
Sponsors:
Gallegos
Signed by Governor Rick Perry on June 16, 2001


Bill Analysis

Authorizes municipalities and counties to create commercial and industrial development zones in areas of pervasive poverty, unemployment, or economic distress to promote and encourage commercial and business development.


SB 198
Texas Property Code, Chapter 5
Author:
Moncrief
Sponsors:
Carter, Wise
Signed by Governor Rick Perry on June 13, 2001


Bill Analysis

Requires that a seller provide a buyer with certain written information and disclosures when using a contract for deed in one of the designated counties. Requires that if the contract is negotiated in a language other than English, the seller must provide copies of all documents in that language.

SB 312
Texas Water Code, Chapters 6, 15, 16 and 17
Author:
Zaffirini
Sponsors:
Chisum
Signed by Governor Rick Perry on June 15, 2001


Bill Analysis

Creates the Colonia Advisory Committee and the Pilot Program for Water and Wastewater Loans for Rural Communities. Provides funding for the colonia self help program.

SB 322
Texas Government Code, Chapters 775, 1372 and 2306;
Texas Tax Code, Chapter 11B;
Texas Water Code, Chapter 15
Author:
Lucio
Sponsors:
Gallego, Carter
Signed by Governor Rick Perry on June 16, 2001


Bill Analysis

Establishes self help centers, the colonia model subdivision revolving loan fund, and the colonia model subdivision program. Requires the colonia initiatives coordinator to work with other agencies and local officials involved in colonia projects in Texas.

SB 649
Texas Water Code, Chapter 17
Author:
Truan
Co-Author
Zaffirini
Sponsors:
Flores
Signed by Governor Rick Perry on June 13, 2001


Bill Analysis

Requires training for applicants and recipients of financial assistance from the economically distressed area program (EDAP).

76th Regular Session of the Texas Legislature (1999)

HB 1982
Texas Local Government Chapter 43
Author:
Hill, Cuellar, Olivo, Oliveira, Ehrhardt
Sponsor:
Truan
Signed by Governor George W. Bush on May 24, 1999


Bill Analysis

Allows colonias to participate in state-funded programs for a period of five years after being annexed by a city to encourage municipal annexation of colonias by alleviating some of the financial burden on the city.

SB 89
Texas Local Government Code, Chapters 42 and 43
Author:
Madla
Coauthor:
Lindsay
Sponsors:
Bosse, Hilbert, Crabb, Krusee
Signed by Governor George W. Bush on June 19, 1999


Bill Analysis

Revises the municipal annexation process to require cities to implement advance annexation planning procedures and ensure the timely provision of services to the annexed areas; provides penalties for violations.

SB 1287
Texas Government Code, Chapter 2306
Texas Water Code, Chapter 17
Author:
Lucio
Coauthors:
Shapleigh, Truan, Zaffirini
Sponsors:
Oliveira, Carter, Bailey, Hill, Ehrhardt
Cosponsors:
Burnam, Clark, Edwards, Hodge, Najera
Signed by Governor George W. Bush on June 19, 1999


Bill Analysis

Allows the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs to provide housing loans to low-income owner-builders through the colonia self-help centers.

SB 1421
Texas Local Government Code, Chapter 232
Texas Government Code, Chapter 775
Texas Water Code, Chapters 5, 13, 15, 16 and 17
Author:
Lucio
Coauthors:
Moncrief, Shapleigh, Truan, Zaffirini
Sponsors:
Cuellar, Hinojosa, Gutierrez, Flores, Pickett
Cosponsor:
Wise
Signed by Governor George W. Bush on June 17, 1999


Bill Analysis

Establishes provisions regarding the regulation of the subdivision or development of land in certain economically distressed areas, including colonias: provides penalties for violations.

75th Regular Session of the Texas Legislature (1997)

HB 540
Texas Government Code, Chapter 2306
Author:
Serna
Sponsor:
Shapleigh
Signed by Governor George W. Bush on May 28, 1997


Bill Analysis

Provides for educational programs to be offered to colonia residents by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs.


HB 2252

Texas Human Resources Code, Chapter 40 Texas, Chapters 481 and 2306
Texas Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 24
Author:
Oliveira
Sponsor:
Truan
Signed by Governor George W. Bush on June 20, 1997


Bill Analysis

Provides funding to a variety of colonia-related social service programs administered through the Centers for Housing and Urban Development.


HB 2798
Texas Local Government Code Chapter 394
Author:
Marchant
Sponsor:
Carona
Signed by Governor George W. Bush on June 20, 1997


Bill Analysis

Allows for more flexibility for the Bond Review Board (BRB) to administer the Private Activity Bond Allocation Program. Establishes provisions regarding tax-exempt private activity bonds regulated by the BRB.

74th Regular Session of the Texas Legislature (1995)

HB 1001
Texas Local Government Code, Chapter 232
Texas Water Code, Chapter 13, 16, 17 and 26
Author:
Cuellar
Sponsor:
Zaffirini
Signed by Governor George W. Bush on June 16, 1995


Bill Analysis

Gives affected counties enforcement authority to regulate subdivisions in economically distressed areas by imposing platting requirements and service requirements on persons selling property. Imposes civil and criminal penalties for failure to comply with the requirements.


HB 2726
Texas Government Code, Chapter 1372
Texas Local Government Code, Chapter 349
Author:
Romo
Sponsor:
Montford
Signed by Governor George W. Bush on June 16, 1995


Bill Analysis

Clarifies and simplifies the allocation process for tax-exempt private activity bonds and authorizes the Texas Bond Review Board to administer the program.

SB 450
 
Author:
Rosson
Sponsor:
McDonald, Haggerty
Cosponsors:
Moreno, Pickett
Signed by Governor George W. Bush on May 11, 1995

Bill Analysis

Gives the City of El Paso the authority to conduct regional water and wastewater planning.


SB 542
Texas Local Government Code, Chapter 232
Author:
Rosson
Sponsor:
Truan
Cosponsor:
Oliveira
Signed by Governor George W. Bush on June 5, 1995


Bill Analysis

Provides conditions and procedures for canceling certain platted subdivisions if the land has not been developed so that the subdivisions will not have grandfathered exemption from the requirements for adequate water and wastewater facilities.

SB 1509
Texas Government Code Chapter 2306
Authors:
Zaffirini, Truan, Moncrief, Lucio, Barrientos
Coauthors:
Madla, Montford, Rosson, Rosson
Sponsor:
Cuellar, Henry
Signed by Governor George W. Bush on June 17, 1995


Bill Analysis

Creates colonia self-help centers to provide home financing assistance, counseling, a tool library, instruction, and technical assistance on installation and financing for septic systems.

73rd Regular Session of the Texas Legislature (1993)

HB 997
Texas Water Code Chapter 15
Author:
Oliviera
Sponsor:
Montford
Signed by Governor Ann W. Richards on June 19, 1993


Bill Analysis

Expands the receipt of funds in the water assistance fund and the water development fund to further implement the program to assist economically distressed areas.


HB 2079
Texas Local Government Code Chapter 232
Texas Water Code Chapter 16
Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapter 341
Author:
Cuellar
Sponsor:
Zaffirini
Signed by Governor Ann W. Richards on June 12, 1993


Bill Analysis

Authorizes counties to solicit help from the Office of Attorney General (OAG) to enforce state health and safety laws related to nuisance violations and on-site sewage facilities. Allows OAG to request injunctions against violations of county subdivision rules in established developments and to sue for damages when violations occur.

72nd Regular Session of the Texas Legislature (1991)

SB 818
Texas Water Code, Chapters 15 and 26
Author:
Barrientos
Sponsor:
Saunders
Signed by Governor Ann W. Richards on June 7, 1991


Bill Analysis

Sets water quality standards and establishes the Colonia Plumbing Loan Program to offer low-interest loans to colonia residents for individual home water and wastewater system installations and for indoor plumbing improvements.


SB 1189
Texas Local Government Code, Chapter 232
Author:
Montford
Sponsor:
Oliveira
Signed by Governor Ann W. Richards on June 7, 1991


Bill Analysis

Requires local regulation of water supplies and sewer services in economically distressed areas.

71st Regular Session of the Texas Legislature (1989)

SB 2
Texas Water Code, Chapters 15 and 16
Author:
Santiesteban
Sponsor:
Moreno, Smith
Signed by Governor William P. Clements on June 14, 1989


Bill Analysis

Establishes the Economically Distressed Areas Program(EDAP) to provide water and wastewater services to colonia residents who can not afford them also ensures that new rural residential subdivisions have water and wastewater services installed.Provides for the issuance of bonds.

70th Regular Session of the Texas Legislature (1987)

SB 585
Texas Water Code, Chapters 15, 16 and 17
Author:
Santiesteban
Sponsor:
Smith
Signed by Governor William P. Clements on June 20, 1987


Bill Analysis

Authorizes the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) to provide grants and loans for water and wastewater services for colonias.