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  S.B. No. 1440
  relating to certain duties of the Office of Rural Community Affairs
  relating to assisting volunteer fire departments and emergency
  services districts in rural areas.
         SECTION 1.  Section 487.051, Government Code, is amended to
  read as follows:
         Sec. 487.051.  POWERS AND DUTIES.  The office shall:
               (1)  develop a rural policy for the state in
  consultation with local leaders representing all facets of rural
  community life, academic and industry experts, and state elected
  and appointed officials with interests in rural communities;
               (2)  work with other state agencies and officials to
  improve the results and the cost-effectiveness of state programs
  affecting rural communities through coordination of efforts;
               (3)  develop programs to improve the leadership
  capacity of rural community leaders;
               (4)  monitor developments that have a substantial
  effect on rural Texas communities, especially actions of state
  government, and compile an annual report describing and evaluating
  the condition of rural communities;
               (5)  administer the federal community development
  block grant nonentitlement program;
               (6)  administer programs supporting rural health care
  as provided by this chapter;
               (7)  perform research to determine the most beneficial
  and cost-effective ways to improve the welfare of rural
               (8)  ensure that the office qualifies as the state's
  office of rural health for the purpose of receiving grants from the
  Office of Rural Health Policy of the United States Department of
  Health and Human Services under 42 U.S.C. Section 254r;
               (9)  manage the state's Medicare rural hospital
  flexibility program under 42 U.S.C. Section 1395i-4; [and]
               (10)  seek state and federal money available for
  economic development in rural areas for programs under this
  chapter; and
               (11)  work with interested persons to assist volunteer
  fire departments and emergency services districts in rural areas.
         SECTION 2.  Section 487.060, Government Code, as added by
  Chapter 634, Acts of the 79th Legislature, Regular Session, 2005,
  is amended to read as follows:
  (a)  The office shall establish a program to provide interested
  rural communities with:
               (1)  general information about emergency services
               (2)  information and training related to the
  establishment of an emergency services district; and
               (3)  technical assistance related to the
  implementation of an emergency services district.
         (b)  The program may:
               (1)  assist fire departments in rural areas with the
  recruitment and retention of volunteer firefighters;
               (2)  provide to fire departments in rural areas
  information relating to assistance programs offered to rural
  volunteer firefighters, including the federal Staffing for
  Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant program to help fire
  departments increase staffing and deployment capabilities; and
               (3)  provide to rural homeowners information relating
  to the benefits of volunteer fire departments, including a
  reduction in homeowners insurance risk ratings, lower homeowners
  insurance rates, and better fire protection.
         SECTION 3.  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 hereby certify that S.B. No. 1440 passed the Senate on
  April 26, 2007, by the following vote:  Yeas 31, Nays 0.
  Secretary of the Senate    
         I hereby certify that S.B. No. 1440 passed the House on
  May 23, 2007, by the following vote:  Yeas 144, Nays 0, two
  present not voting.
  Chief Clerk of the House