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  H.B. No. 3581
 
 
 
  AN ACT
  relating to county authority to abate nuisances.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Section 343.002(1), Health and Safety Code, is
  amended to read as follows:
               (1)  "Abate" means to eliminate or remedy:
                     (A) by removal, repair, rehabilitation, or
  demolition;
                     (B)  in the case of a nuisance under Section
  343.011(c)(1), (8), or (9), by prohibition or control of access;
  and
                     (C)  in the case of a nuisance under Section
  343.011(c)(11), by removal, remediation, storage, transportation,
  disposal, or other means of waste management authorized by Chapter
  361.
         SECTION 2.  Sections 343.011(c) and (d), Health and Safety
  Code, are amended to read as follows:
         (c)  A public nuisance is:
               (1)  keeping, storing, or accumulating refuse on
  premises in a neighborhood unless the refuse is entirely contained
  in a closed receptacle;
               (2)  keeping, storing, or accumulating rubbish,
  including newspapers, abandoned vehicles, refrigerators, stoves,
  furniture, tires, and cans, on premises in a neighborhood or within
  300 feet of a public street for 10 days or more, unless the rubbish
  or object is completely enclosed in a building or is not visible
  from a public street;
               (3)  maintaining premises in a manner that creates an
  unsanitary condition likely to attract or harbor mosquitoes,
  rodents, vermin, or disease-carrying pests;
               (4)  allowing weeds to grow on premises in a
  neighborhood if the weeds are located within 300 feet of another
  residence or commercial establishment;
               (5)  maintaining a building in a manner that is
  structurally unsafe or constitutes a hazard to safety, health, or
  public welfare because of inadequate maintenance, unsanitary
  conditions, dilapidation, obsolescence, disaster, damage, or
  abandonment or because it constitutes a fire hazard;
               (6)  maintaining on abandoned and unoccupied property
  in a neighborhood, or maintaining on any property in a neighborhood
  in a county with a population of more than 1.1 million, a swimming
  pool that is not protected with:
                     (A)  a fence that is at least four feet high and
  that has a latched gate that cannot be opened by a child; or
                     (B)  a cover over the entire swimming pool that
  cannot be removed by a child;
               (7)  maintaining a flea market in a manner that
  constitutes a fire hazard;
               (8)  discarding refuse or creating a hazardous visual
  obstruction on:
                     (A)  county-owned land; or
                     (B)  land or easements owned or held by a special
  district that has the commissioners court of the county as its
  governing body;
               (9)  discarding refuse on the smaller of:
                     (A)  the area that spans 20 feet on each side of a
  utility line; or
                     (B)  the actual span of the utility easement;
  [or]
               (10)  filling or blocking a drainage easement, failing
  to maintain a drainage easement, maintaining a drainage easement in
  a manner that allows the easement to be clogged with debris,
  sediment, or vegetation, or violating an agreement with the county
  to improve or maintain a drainage easement; or
               (11)  discarding refuse on property that is not
  authorized for that activity.
         (d)  This section does not apply to:
               (1)  a site or facility that is:
                     (A)  permitted and regulated by a state agency for
  the activity described by Subsection (c); or
                     (B)  licensed or permitted under Chapter 361 for
  the activity described by Subsection (c); or
               (2)  agricultural land.
         SECTION 3.  Section 343.013(a), Health and Safety Code, is
  amended to read as follows:
         (a)  A county or district court may by injunction prevent,
  [or] restrain, abate, or otherwise remedy a violation of this
  chapter in the unincorporated area of the county.
         SECTION 4.  Section 343.021, Health and Safety Code, is
  amended to read as follows:
         Sec. 343.021.  AUTHORITY TO ABATE NUISANCE.  If a county
  adopts abatement procedures that are consistent with the general
  purpose of and conform to this chapter, the [A] county may abate a
  nuisance under this chapter:
               (1)  by demolition or removal;
               (2)  [or,] in the case of a nuisance under Section
  343.011(c)(1), (8), or (9), by prohibition or control of access to
  the premises; and
               (3)  in the case of a nuisance under Section
  343.011(c)(11), by removal, remediation, storage, transportation,
  disposal, or other means of waste management authorized under
  Chapter 361 [, if the county adopts abatement procedures that are
  consistent with the general purpose of this chapter and that
  conform to this chapter].
         SECTION 5.  Section 343.022(a), Health and Safety Code, is
  amended to read as follows:
         (a)  The abatement procedures adopted by the commissioners
  court must be administered by a regularly salaried, full-time
  county employee. A person authorized by the person administering
  the abatement program may administer:
               (1) [, but] the prohibition or control of access to the
  premises to prevent a violation of Section 343.011(c)(1), (8), or
  (9);
               (2) [, or] the removal or demolition of the nuisance;
  and
               (3)  the abatement of a nuisance described by Section
  343.011(c)(11) [, may be made by a person authorized by the person
  administering the abatement program].
         SECTION 6.  Section 343.023(a), Health and Safety Code, is
  amended to read as follows:
         (a)  A county may:
               (1)  assess:
                     (A)  the cost of abating the nuisance, including
  management, remediation, storage, transportation, and disposal
  costs, and damages and other expenses incurred by the county;
                     (B)  the cost of legal notification by
  publication; [,] and
                     (C)  an administrative fee of not more than $100
  on the person receiving notice under Section 343.022; or
               (2)  by resolution or order, assess:
                     (A)  the cost of abating the nuisance;
                     (B)  [,] the cost of legal notification by
  publication; [,] and
                     (C)  an administrative fee of not more than $100
  against the property on which the nuisance exists.
         SECTION 7.  This Act takes effect immediately if it receives
  a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as
  provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution. If this
  Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this
  Act takes effect September 1, 2007.
 
 
  ______________________________ ______________________________
     President of the Senate Speaker of the House     
 
 
         I certify that H.B. No. 3581 was passed by the House on May 4,
  2007, by the following vote:  Yeas 144, Nays 0, 2 present, not
  voting; that the House refused to concur in Senate amendments to
  H.B. No. 3581 on May 25, 2007, and requested the appointment of a
  conference committee to consider the differences between the two
  houses; and that the House adopted the conference committee report
  on H.B. No. 3581 on May 27, 2007, by the following vote:  Yeas 141,
  Nays 0, 2 present, not voting.
 
  ______________________________
  Chief Clerk of the House   
 
         I certify that H.B. No. 3581 was passed by the Senate, with
  amendments, on May 22, 2007, by the following vote:  Yeas 31, Nays
  0; at the request of the House, the Senate appointed a conference
  committee to consider the differences between the two houses; and
  that the Senate adopted the conference committee report on H.B. No.
  3581 on May 27, 2007, by the following vote:  Yeas 30, Nays 0.
 
  ______________________________
  Secretary of the Senate   
  APPROVED: __________________
                  Date       
   
           __________________
                Governor