This website will be unavailable from Friday, April 26, 2024 at 6:00 p.m. through Monday, April 29, 2024 at 7:00 a.m. due to data center maintenance.

  S.B. No. 504
  relating to authority of certain county fire marshals to inspect
  group homes; authorizing a fee; creating a criminal offense.
         SECTION 1.  Subchapter B, Chapter 352, Local Government
  Code, is amended by adding Section 352.0165 to read as follows:
  COUNTIES; FEE. (a) In this section:
               (1)  "Group home" means an establishment:
                     (A)  in which three or more individuals who are
  unrelated to the owner or operator of the establishment reside;
                     (B)  that provides residential care services to
  residents; and
                     (C)  that receives payment or other compensation
  from a local, state, or federal governmental entity for providing
  residential care services to a resident.
               (2)  "Residential care services" means shelter,
  protection, meals, health care, mobility assistance, and personal
  care services, including bathing, dressing, and eating.
         (b)  This section applies only to a county with a population
  of 3.3 million or more.
         (c)  This section does not apply to a building owned or
  operated by:
               (1)  a person that is required to be licensed under
  Chapter 142, 242, 246, 247, or 252, Health and Safety Code;
               (2)  a person that is exempt from licensing under
  Section 142.003(a)(19), 242.003(3), or 247.004(4), Health and
  Safety Code;
               (3)  a hotel as defined by Section 156.001, Tax Code;
               (4)  a retirement community;
               (5)  a monastery or convent;
               (6)  a child-care facility as defined by Section
  42.002, Human Resources Code;
               (7)  a family violence shelter center as defined by
  Section 51.002, Human Resources Code; or
               (8)  a sorority or fraternity house or other dormitory
  associated with an institution of higher education.
         (d)  On the complaint of any person, the county fire marshal,
  at any reasonable time, may enter:
               (1)  a building in the county in which a group home is
  operated; and
               (2)  the premises of a building described by
  Subdivision (1).
         (e)  The county fire marshal shall order the removal of a
  building in which a group home is located, the removal of a
  structure located on the premises of a building in which a group
  home is located, or other remedial action if the marshal finds that:
               (1)  the building or structure, because of lack of
  repair, age, dilapidated condition, or other reason, is susceptible
  to fire and is so located or occupied that fire would endanger
  persons or property in the building or structure or on the premises
  of the building or structure;
               (2)  a dangerous condition is created by:
                     (A)  an improper arrangement of stoves, ranges,
  furnaces, or other heating appliances, including chimneys, flues,
  and pipes with which they are connected, or by their lighting
  systems or devices; or
                     (B)  the manner of storage of explosives,
  compounds, petroleum, gasoline, kerosene, dangerous chemicals,
  vegetable products, ashes, or combustible, flammable, or refuse
  materials; or
               (3)  any other condition exists that is dangerous or is
  liable to cause or promote fire or create danger for firefighters,
  occupants, or other buildings or structures.
         (f)  The person to whom an order under Subsection (e) is
  directed shall immediately comply with the order. The marshal may,
  if necessary, apply to a court of competent jurisdiction for writs
  or orders necessary to enforce this section, and the court may grant
  appropriate relief. The marshal is not required to give a bond.
         (g)  The commissioners court of a county may adopt any
  appropriate standard developed by a nationally recognized
  standards-making association under which the county fire marshal
  may enforce this section, except that standards adopted under this
  subsection do not apply in a municipality that has adopted fire
  protection ordinances.
         (h)  The commissioners court of a county shall prescribe a
  reasonable fee for an inspection performed by the county fire
  marshal that may be charged to a property owner or occupant who
  requests the inspection, as the commissioners court considers
  appropriate. In prescribing the fee, the commissioners court shall
  consider the overall cost to the marshal to perform the
  inspections, including the approximate amount of time the staff of
  the marshal needs to perform an inspection, travel costs, and other
         SECTION 2.  Section 352.022, Local Government Code, is
  amended to read as follows:
  owner or occupant who is subject to an order issued under Section
  352.016 or 352.0165 commits an offense if that person fails to
  comply with the order. Each refusal to comply is a separate
  offense. The offense is a Class B misdemeanor unless it is shown on
  the trial of the offense that the defendant has been previously
  convicted two or more times under this section, in which event the
  offense is a state jail felony.
         SECTION 3.  Section 352.022, Local Government Code, as
  amended by this Act, applies only to an offense committed on or
  after the effective date of this Act. An offense committed before
  the effective date of this Act is governed by the law in effect on
  the date the offense was committed, and the former law is continued
  in effect for that purpose. For purposes of this section, an
  offense was committed before the effective date of this Act if any
  element of the offense occurred before that date.
         SECTION 4.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2021.
  ______________________________ ______________________________
     President of the Senate Speaker of the House     
         I hereby certify that S.B. No. 504 passed the Senate on
  May 4, 2021, by the following vote: Yeas 30, Nays 0; and that the
  Senate concurred in House amendment on May 29, 2021, by the
  following vote: Yeas 31, Nays 0.
  Secretary of the Senate    
         I hereby certify that S.B. No. 504 passed the House, with
  amendment, on May 26, 2021, by the following vote: Yeas 110,
  Nays 37, two present not voting.
  Chief Clerk of the House