June 17 , 2019

Inside this edition of Capitol Roundup:

Gov. Abbott signs two major AGC-TBB bills addressing school construction defects and right to repair public building defects

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AGC Texas Chapters

Quote of the Week

"Texans were prepared for Hurricane Harvey in the best way that they could possibly be, but we could never have imagined the scale of that unprecedented storm. We will be better prepared next time around to fight that battle."

-Sen. Brandon Creighton
Sen.  Creighton ( R-Conroe) made the comment last Thursday as Gov. Greg Abbott signed four bills into law that provide more than $1.6 billion for flood control projects and repairs across the state. Creighton authored one of the four measures - Senate Bill 7, which  establishes new funding to address the effects of Hurricane Harvey and prepare for future flooding and disasters.
APPROVED: Abbott signs right to repair and school construction defects bills into law

Gov. Greg Abbott on Friday signed two major AGC Texas Building Branch bills into law that address construction defects in schools and the right to repair defects in public buildings. 

School Construction Defects
The bill addressing school construction defects - House Bill 1734, sponsored by Rep. Justin Holland (R-Rockwall) - will require school districts to spend funds to actually repair construction defects when those funds are awarded from a verdict or settlement resulting from the defects. 
Rep. Justin Holland

The bill advanced from the House in April on a 111-30 vote and unanimously passed the Senate with an amendment late in the session. The bill was ultimately worked out in conference committee and finally approved on the day before the end of session. 

The legislation in HB 1734 came about as some trial attorneys in Texas had begun pursuing lawsuits on behalf of school districts against contractors over alleged construction defects before actually notifying the parties of the defects or giving them a chance to inspect or fix them. In many cases, settlement funds awarded to the districts were not actually being used to repair the defects. 

The bill also requires school districts to notify the Texas Education Agency (TEA) of defects lawsuits once they have been filed or face dismissal, and it requires the districts to itemize any repairs made and report them to the agency. The Attorney General's Office will have enforcement powers. Click here to read the full text of the signed bill. 

Right to Repair
The "right to repair" bill has been one of AGC-TBB's top priorities for the last several years. House Bill 1999, sponsored by  Rep. Jeff Leach (R-Plano), will allow those involved in designing or constructing a public building or public work a chance to inspect and repair alleged defects before being sued.

The bill originally passed the House in April by a 99-34 vote and passed the Senate late in session on a 29-2 vote with a minor amendment. The House ultimately approved the bill 108-34 without going to conference committee. 
Rep. Jeff Leach

The legislation is based on a 2017 bill that passed committee but hit a deadline in the final days of session. Like HB 1734, this bill arose out of concerns  that some attorneys in Texas have developed a cottage industry around getting local governments (mostly school districts) to sue contractors, architects, and engineers for alleged construction defects before actually notifying the parties of the defects or giving them a chance to inspect or fix them. Like the school construction defect lawsuits, there are many cases where the funds obtained are not actually used toward making repairs. 

The bill covers alleged defects in the original construction along with improvements, additions, and repairs or alterations. The measure will also require that the governmental entity provide contractors with a written report describing the defect. Contractors will have 30 days to inspect defects and another 120 days after the inspection to repair or enter an agreement to repair defects.

The bill applies to government projects including those commissioned by the state, cities, counties, school districts, and local government bodies. The bill does not apply to transportation and highway projects. Click here to read the full text of the signed bill.
August 2019
THU 22nd - OCA awards @ Georgetown, TX
FRI 23rd - Board meeting
November 2019
FRI 15th - Board meeting