State Rep. Cecil Bell Jr., R-Magnolia, filed House Bill 4114 on March 7 regarding rates established by municipalities for water and sewer services. State Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, also filed the same bill, Senate Bill 2322, to the Texas Senate on March 8.
The bills were filed following the potential lawsuit against the city of Magnolia by the Magnolia Ministries—the Texas Pastor Council, First Baptist Church of Magnolia, Magnolia Bible Church and Believers Fellowship—regarding the institutional user category, which applies to tax-exempt, nonprofit or government entities, implemented into water and wastewater bills by City Council last spring, Community Impact Newspaper previously reported.
Previously, institutions were included in the commercial category and charged the same rate as businesses.
“A municipality or a municipally owned utility may not establish a rate applicable only to entities that qualify for a sales tax or ad valorem tax exemption that is higher than a rate established for entities that receive comparable utility services,” the bills read.
Both bills had not yet been assigned to a House or Senate committee as of press time.
If approved, HB 4114 and SB 2322 will go into effect Sept. 1.