Bills have been filed for AGC Texas Building Branch's top issues of 2017 as we hit the bill-filing deadline today.
Most of our time and effort will be focused on what we consider the five most critical and pressing issues for AGC members across the state:
1.) Right to Repair;
2.) Lien Law Modernization;
3.) Both Breach of Contract bills;
4.) Uniform General Conditions for Schools; and
5.) Construction Contract & Purchasing Revisions.
These areas of law are recurring issues for both the AGC-TBB team and the members of the Texas Legislature who will work to carry our bills across the goal line this year. They have been bedrock issues whose progress has steadily progressed over the past few sessions, a trend we hope to build on this year.
Now that the following key bills have been filed, the next step is for debate in their assigned committees, where the bills will be voted on and eventually advanced to full votes in the House and Senate chambers.
Right to Repair Construction Defects - HB 2343 by Representative Paul Workman
Our goal with this legislation is to provide for a clear, transparent, and fair method of allowing contractors to repair construction defects long before a claim is made in court. Workman's bill would allow an independent third-party engineer to perform an inspection, which may be attended by any parties subject to a claim. The party bringing the claim would then have to give any party subject to a potential claim 150 days to fix any construction defects. This legislation is similar to House Bill 1455 from the 2015 session.
Lien law Modernization - HB 3065 by Rep. Deshotel & SB 1506 by Senator Hinojosa
Under these companion bills, Texas would join a majority of the states with a change to a Pre-Notice Lien System, which is a Web-based system designed to be more efficient and reliable than our current system. The legislation would allow potential lien claimants to file just one notice and allow owners and lender to identify all potential claims, meaning there would be no hidden claims. The system updates in real time to identify claims and process and monitor payments, minimizing confusion and potential payment claims. Finally, the new system would let a "notice of commitment" control the date that liens relate back, lessening chances of early commencement issues.
State breach of contract clean up legislation
HB 2128 by Representative John Cyrier
Crier's first bill would allow for oral directives to be collected under the state's breach of contract law and allow for the recovery of attorney's fees that are equitable and just under the law.
HB 2121 by Representative John Cyrier
Crier's second bill would mandate that attorney's fees can be collected for state breach of contract claims under $250,000, which are handled by the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH).
Prevailing Wage Rate Surveys - HB 2689 by Representative Jim Murphy
This piece of legislation would allow a governmental entity to consider a wage rate survey that is conducted by a third party. Under this particular bill, governmental entities could still adopt the Davis-Bacon wage rate survey, or they could conduct their own wage rate surveys.
Uniform General Conditions for Schools - HB 3434 by Representative Linda Koop
Our goal with this legislation is to create a uniform set of standards for construction contracts by state agencies, which school construction contracts would be required to operate under. Koop's bill would require
school construction contracts to use the latest version of the "Uniform General Conditions" that the Texas Facilities Commission would adopt for construction contracts by state agencies (small construction projects less than $100,00 are exempted). S
chool districts would still be allowed to adopt special conditions to meet special needs, but would increase their efficiency by using a uniform standard. The uniform conditions would be reviewed for possible changes at least once every five years by a committee of state representatives and volunteer representatives from the private industry.
Construction Contract and Purchasing Revisions
by Rep. John Cyrier
This bill would require purchasing co-ops to disclose certain information and have purchases approved at a public meeting, and require that bid evaluations be made public in 10 business days.
School background checks - HB 3270 by Representative Dwayne Bohac
This bill will clear up misconceptions as to when the state's mandatory background check required on school construction projects
Contract labor on public projects - HB 3357 by Representative Ramon Romero, Jr.
This bill addresses "employee misclassification" issues by amending the state prevailing wage statute.
- Career and Technical Education
- Construction trust funds retainage
- Co-operative purchasing - ban/limit use for construction services.
- Immigration - make sure any state law changes are clear, fair, and predictable.