AGC Texas Building Branch Sets 2017 Legislative Agenda

1.) Lien Law Revisions

A group of attorneys appointed in 2014 by various statewide construction associations have continued to meet and discuss this issue and draft a new lien law based on a preliminary notice system. The draft produced by the group last session was put on hold, however, and the group has put together a new draft based a centralized, web-based clearinghouse modeled on Utah and North Carolina. The working group has continued to collaborate with other interested parties.

2.) Right to Cure Construction Defects

This recurring legislative issue involves reducing the liability of contractors and design professionals arising from latent construction and design defect claims brought years after the completion of construction. Last year's legislative effort focused on reducing the statute of repose from 10 to six years, placing Texas in line with most other states, or reducing the actual liability by 10 percent each year following completion of the project. The focus this session will include legislation to address notice of possible defects, inspection time frame, and right to cure.

3.) State Breach of Contract (Sovereign Immunity)

In 2013, the Legislature passed a law allowing state entities to be sued for breach of contract, which was a huge victory for the construction industry. Last session, legislative efforts focused on making the state statute consistent with the breach of contract statutes of counties and local governments. This year, AGC efforts will largely mirror last session via two major bills. The first will deal with recovery of attorney's fees without contractual provisions; non-road TxDOT projects; and oral directives versus written change orders. The second bill will deal with recovery of attorneys' fees in smaller cases (claims less than $250,000) that must go through the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH), instead of state district court. 
The rest of the AGC TBB 2017 agenda:

4.) Uniform general conditions for local government entities and ISDs

5.) Prevailing wages

6.) Enforcement provisions for violating public procurement statutes

7.) School background checks

8.) Contract labor on public projects

9.) Economic Development Corporations (EDC's) procurement 

10.) Other key issues, including: career and technical education; construction trust fund retainage; Co-op purchasing; immigration