HBA-SEP H.B. 2690 77(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 2690 By: Walker Natural Resources 3/26/2001 Introduced BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Under current law, the board of directors of a groundwater conservation district is authorized to set reasonable civil penalties for breach of district rules not to exceed the jurisdiction of a justice court, which is not to exceed $5,000. This amount may not be enough to deter a person or company that gains economic benefit in excess of $5,000 from the violation. Assessing a penalty equal to 115 percent of the economic benefit gained from the violation may better ensure that district rules are followed. House Bill 2690 authorizes a district to set penalties for a violation of district rules. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state officer, department, agency, or institution. ANALYSIS House Bill 2690 amends the Water Code to specify that the board of directors of a groundwater conservation district (district) is authorized, by rule, to set reasonable civil penalties not to exceed $5,000 per day, per violation, with each day of a continuing violation representing a separate violation for breach of any district rule. In addition to this penalty or any other penalty provided by law, the district is authorized to seek and the court is required to grant a penalty equal to 115 percent of the economic benefit gained from the violation. The bill specifies that the court is required to grant, to a district that prevails in a case and that so seeks, recovery for costs incurred before the court. EFFECTIVE DATE On passage, or if the Act does not receive the necessary vote, the Act takes effect September 1, 2001.