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  H.B. No. 2119
 
 
 
 
AN ACT
  relating to charitable organizations, including charitable
  organizations that may conduct prescribed burning.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Section 84.003(1), Civil Practice and Remedies
  Code, is amended to read as follows:
               (1)  "Charitable organization" means:
                     (A)  any organization exempt from federal income
  tax under Section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 by
  being listed as an exempt organization in Section 501(c)(3) or
  501(c)(4) of the code, if it is a corporation, foundation,
  community chest, church, or fund organized and operated exclusively
  for charitable, religious, prevention of cruelty to children or
  animals, youth sports and youth recreational, neighborhood crime
  prevention or patrol, fire protection or prevention, emergency
  medical or hazardous material response services, or educational
  purposes, including private primary or secondary schools if
  accredited by a member association of the Texas Private School
  Accreditation Commission but excluding fraternities, sororities,
  and secret societies, or is organized and operated exclusively for
  the promotion of social welfare by being primarily engaged in
  promoting the common good and general welfare of the people in a
  community;
                     (B)  any bona fide charitable, religious,
  prevention of cruelty to children or animals, youth sports and
  youth recreational, neighborhood crime prevention or patrol, or
  educational organization, excluding fraternities, sororities, and
  secret societies, or other organization organized and operated
  exclusively for the promotion of social welfare by being primarily
  engaged in promoting the common good and general welfare of the
  people in a community, and that:
                           (i)  is organized and operated exclusively
  for one or more of the above purposes;
                           (ii)  does not engage in activities which in
  themselves are not in furtherance of the purpose or purposes;
                           (iii)  does not directly or indirectly
  participate or intervene in any political campaign on behalf of or
  in opposition to any candidate for public office;
                           (iv)  dedicates its assets to achieving the
  stated purpose or purposes of the organization;
                           (v)  does not allow any part of its net
  assets on dissolution of the organization to inure to the benefit of
  any group, shareholder, or individual; and
                           (vi)  normally receives more than one-third
  of its support in any year from private or public gifts, grants,
  contributions, or membership fees;
                     (C)  a homeowners association as defined by
  Section 528(c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 or which is
  exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(a) of the Internal
  Revenue Code of 1986 by being listed as an exempt organization in
  Section 501(c)(4) of the code;
                     (D)  a volunteer center, as that term is defined
  by Section 411.126, Government Code; [or]
                     (E)  a local chamber of commerce that:
                           (i)  is exempt from federal income tax under
  Section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 by being listed
  as an exempt organization in Section 501(c)(6) of the code;
                           (ii)  does not directly or indirectly
  participate or intervene in any political campaign on behalf of or
  in opposition to any candidate for public office; and
                           (iii)  does not directly or indirectly
  contribute to a political action committee that makes expenditures
  to any candidates for public office; or
                     (F)  any organization exempt from federal income
  tax under Section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 by
  being listed as an exempt organization in Section 501(c)(3) or
  501(c)(5) of the code, if it is an organization or corporation
  organized and operated exclusively for wildfire mitigation, range
  management, or prescribed burning purposes.
         SECTION 2.  Section 352.081(f), Local Government Code, is
  amended to read as follows:
         (f)  This section does not apply to outdoor burning
  activities:
               (1)  related to public health and safety that are
  authorized by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for:
                     (A)  firefighter training;
                     (B)  public utility, natural gas pipeline, or
  mining operations; or
                     (C)  planting or harvesting of agriculture crops;
  [or]
               (2)  that are conducted by a certified and insured
  prescribed burn manager certified under Section 153.048, Natural
  Resources Code, and meet the standards of Section 153.047, Natural
  Resources Code; or
               (3)  that are conducted by the members of a prescribed
  burning organization under the conditions provided by Section
  153.049, Natural Resources Code, and meet the standards of Section
  153.047, Natural Resources Code.
         SECTION 3.  Section 153.001, Natural Resources Code, is
  amended by adding Subdivision (3) to read as follows:
               (3)  "Prescribed burning organization" means an
  organization described by Section 153.049.
         SECTION 4.  Section 153.004, Natural Resources Code, is
  amended to read as follows:
         Sec. 153.004.  PRESCRIBED BURNING IN STATE OF EMERGENCY OR
  DISASTER. A certified and insured prescribed burn manager or the
  members of a prescribed burning organization may conduct a burn in a
  county in which a state of emergency or state of disaster has been
  declared by the governor or the president of the United States,
  unless the declaration expressly prohibits all outdoor burning.
         SECTION 5.  Section 153.046, Natural Resources Code, is
  amended to read as follows:
         Sec. 153.046.  DUTIES.  The board shall:
               (1)  establish standards for prescribed burning;
               (2)  develop a comprehensive training curriculum for
  certified and insured prescribed burn managers;
               (3)  establish standards for certification,
  recertification, and training for certified and insured prescribed
  burn managers;
               (4)  establish minimum education and professional
  requirements for instructors for the approved curriculum; [and]
               (5)  establish insurance requirements for certified
  and insured prescribed burn managers in amounts not less than those
  required by Section 153.082; and
               (6)  establish minimum insurance requirements for
  prescribed burning organizations.
         SECTION 6.  Section 153.047, Natural Resources Code, is
  amended to read as follows:
         Sec. 153.047.  PRESCRIBED BURNING STANDARDS. Minimum
  standards established by the board for prescribed burning must:
               (1)  ensure that prescribed burning is the controlled
  application of fire to naturally occurring or naturalized
  vegetative fuels under specified environmental conditions in
  accordance with a written prescription plan:
                     (A)  designed to confine the fire to a
  predetermined area and to accomplish planned land management
  objectives; and
                     (B)  that conforms to the standards established
  under this section;
               (2)  require that:
                     (A)  at least one certified and insured prescribed
  burn manager is present on site during the conduct of the prescribed
  burn; or
                     (B)  the burn be conducted by the members of a
  prescribed burning organization;
               (3)  establish appropriate guidelines for size of
  burning crews sufficient to:
                     (A)  conduct the burn in accordance with the
  prescription plan; and
                     (B)  provide adequate protection for the safety of
  persons and of adjacent property;
               (4)  include standards for notification to adjacent
  land owners, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and
  local fire authorities; and
               (5)  include minimum insurance requirements for
  certified and insured prescribed burn managers and prescribed
  burning organizations.
         SECTION 7.  Subchapter B, Chapter 153, Natural Resources
  Code, is amended by adding Section 153.049 to read as follows:
         Sec. 153.049.  PRESCRIBED BURNING ORGANIZATIONS. The
  members of a charitable organization, as defined by Section 84.003,
  Civil Practice and Remedies Code, that is organized and operated
  for prescribed burning purposes may conduct a burn under this
  chapter if:
               (1)  the member in charge of the burn has completed the
  approved training curriculum described by Section 153.048(a); and
               (2)  the organization has insurance coverage in an
  amount not less than the amount established by the board under
  Section 153.046.
         SECTION 8.  Section 153.081(a), Natural Resources Code, is
  amended to read as follows:
         (a)  Subject to Section 153.082, an owner, lessee, or
  occupant of agricultural or conservation land is not liable for
  property damage or for injury or death to persons caused by or
  resulting from prescribed burning conducted on the land owned by,
  leased by, or occupied by the person if the prescribed burning is
  conducted:
               (1)  under the supervision of a certified and insured
  prescribed burn manager; or
               (2)  by the members of a prescribed burning
  organization.
         SECTION 9.  Section 153.082, Natural Resources Code, is
  amended to read as follows:
         Sec. 153.082.  INSURANCE.  The limitation on liability
  under Section 153.081 does not apply to an owner, lessee, or
  occupant of agricultural or conservation land unless:
               (1)  the burn is conducted under the supervision of a
  certified and insured prescribed burn manager who [conducting a
  burn on the land] has liability insurance coverage:
                     (A)  of at least $1 million for each single
  occurrence of bodily injury or death, or injury to or destruction of
  property; and
                     (B)  with a policy period minimum aggregate limit
  of at least $2 million; [or]
               (2)  the owner, lessee, or occupant is a governmental
  unit, as that term is defined by Section 2259.001, Government Code,
  that has a self-insurance program that provides the amount of
  coverage required by Subdivision (1); or
               (3)  the burn is conducted by the members of a
  prescribed burning organization that has insurance coverage in an
  amount not less than the amount established by the board under
  Section 153.046.
         SECTION 10.  Not later than November 1, 2015, the Prescribed
  Burning Board shall adopt rules to establish minimum insurance
  requirements for prescribed burning organizations as provided by
  Section 153.046(6), Natural Resources Code, as added by this Act.
         SECTION 11.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2015.
 
 
  ______________________________ ______________________________
     President of the Senate Speaker of the House     
 
 
         I certify that H.B. No. 2119 was passed by the House on April
  30, 2015, by the following vote:  Yeas 139, Nays 0, 1 present, not
  voting.
 
  ______________________________
  Chief Clerk of the House   
 
 
         I certify that H.B. No. 2119 was passed by the Senate on May
  14, 2015, by the following vote:  Yeas 31, Nays 0.
 
  ______________________________
  Secretary of the Senate    
  APPROVED:  _____________________
                     Date          
   
            _____________________
                   Governor