HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE


TITLE 2. HEALTH


SUBTITLE F. LOCAL REGULATION OF PUBLIC HEALTH


CHAPTER 121. LOCAL PUBLIC HEALTH REORGANIZATION ACT


SUBCHAPTER A. GENERAL PROVISIONS


Sec. 121.001. SHORT TITLE. This chapter may be cited as the Local Public Health Reorganization Act.

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Sec. 121.002. DEFINITIONS. In this chapter:

(1) "Essential public health services" means services to:

(A) monitor the health status of individuals in the community to identify community health problems;

(B) diagnose and investigate community health problems and community health hazards;

(C) inform, educate, and empower the community with respect to health issues;

(D) mobilize community partnerships in identifying and solving community health problems;

(E) develop policies and plans that support individual and community efforts to improve health;

(F) enforce laws and rules that protect the public health and ensure safety in accordance with those laws and rules;

(G) link individuals who have a need for community and personal health services to appropriate community and private providers;

(H) ensure a competent workforce for the provision of essential public health services;

(I) research new insights and innovative solutions to community health problems; and

(J) evaluate the effectiveness, accessibility, and quality of personal and population-based health services in a community.

(2) "Physician" means a person licensed to practice medicine by the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners.

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1378, Sec. 1, eff. June 19, 1999.

Sec. 121.003. POWERS OF MUNICIPALITIES AND COUNTIES. (a) The governing body of a municipality or the commissioners court of a county may enforce any law that is reasonably necessary to protect the public health.

(b) The governing bodies of municipalities and the commissioners courts of counties may cooperate with one another in making necessary improvements and providing services to promote the public health in accordance with The Interlocal Cooperation Act (Article 4413(32c), Vernon's Texas Civil Statutes).

(c) The commissioners court of a county may grant authority under this subsection to a county employee who is trained by a health authority appointed by the county under Section 121.021, by a local health department established under Section 121.031, or by a public health district established under Section 121.041 and who is not a peace officer. The court may grant to the employee the power to issue a citation in an unincorporated area of the county to enforce any law or order of the commissioners court that is reasonably necessary to protect the public health. A citation issued under this subsection must state the name of the person cited, the violation charged, and the time and place the person is required to appear in court. If a person who receives a citation under this subsection fails to appear on the return date of the citation, the court may issue a warrant for the person's arrest for the violation described in the citation.

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989. Amended by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 562, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 26, 1991.

Sec. 121.0035. REGULATION OF MOBILE FOOD UNITS AND ROADSIDE FOOD VENDORS IN CERTAIN POPULOUS AREAS. (a) In this section, "mobile food unit" and "roadside food vendor" have the meanings assigned under Section 437.001.

(b) A municipality with a population of 1.5 million or more and a county with a population of 3.4 million or more shall enforce state law and rules adopted under state law concerning mobile food units and roadside food vendors in the same manner that the county or municipality enforces other health and safety regulations relating to food service.

Added by Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 1288 (H.B. 2507), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2005.

Sec. 121.004. LOCAL HEALTH UNITS. A local health unit is a division of municipal or county government that provides public health services but does not provide each service required of a local health department under Section 121.032(a) or of a public health district under Section 121.043(a).

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Sec. 121.005. STATE AND LOCAL AFFILIATION; CONTRACTS. (a) A local health unit, local health department, or public health district may become affiliated with the department to facilitate the exchange of information and the coordination of public health services.

(b) To be affiliated with the department, a local health unit, local health department, or public health district must annually provide to the department information relating to:

(1) services provided;

(2) staffing patterns; and

(3) funding sources and budget.

(c) The department may contract with a local health unit, local health department, or public health district for the provision of public health services.

(d) The board may adopt rules necessary to implement this section.

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Sec. 121.006. PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICES FEES; STATE SUPPORT. (a) The governing body of a municipality, the commissioners court of a county, or the administrative board of a public health district may adopt ordinances or rules to charge fees for public health services.

(b) A municipality, county, or public health district may not deny public health services to an individual because of inability to pay for the services. A municipality, county, or public health district shall provide for the reduction or waiver of a fee for an individual who cannot pay for services in whole or in part.

(c) The Uniform Grant and Contract Management Act of 1981 (Article 4413(32g), Vernon's Texas Civil Statutes) and standards adopted under that Act control, if applicable, if the local health unit, local health department, or public health district receives state support for the provision of public health services.

(c-1) A fee for a public health service charged in the jurisdiction of a public health district may be uniform throughout the district regardless of which governmental entity member of the district charges the fee. The fee may be set at an amount up to the highest amount charged by any governmental entity member of the district.

(d) In this section, "public health services" means:

(1) personal health promotion and maintenance services;

(2) infectious disease control and prevention services;

(3) environmental and consumer health programs;

(4) public health education and information services;

(5) laboratory services; and

(6) administrative services.

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 810 (S.B. 1380), Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007.

Sec. 121.0065. GRANTS FOR ESSENTIAL PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICES. (a) Subject to the availability of funds, the department shall administer a program under which appropriated money may be granted to counties, municipalities, public health districts, and other political subdivisions for use by the counties, municipalities, public health districts, and other political subdivisions to provide or pay for essential public health services.

(b) The grants authorized by Subsection (a) shall be distributed equally between urban and rural areas of the state.

(c) The board shall adopt rules governing:

(1) the allocation formula for grants awarded under this section;

(2) the manner in which a municipality, county, public health district, or other political subdivision applies for a grant;

(3) the procedures for awarding grants; and

(4) the minimum essential public health services to be provided under the grant and other standards applicable to the services to be provided under the grant.

(d) A municipality, county, public health district, or other political subdivision that receives a grant under this section, in consultation with the department, shall develop a plan to evaluate the effectiveness, accessibility, and quality of the essential public health services that are provided under the grant. The plan must:

(1) identify the outcomes that are intended to result from the use of the grant money and establish a mechanism to measure those outcomes; and

(2) establish performance standards for the delivery of essential public health services and a mechanism to measure compliance with those standards.

(e) The governing body of the municipality, the commissioners court of the county, or the members of a public health district may appoint a local health board to monitor the use of the money received under this section.

(f) A public health board established under Section 121.034 or 121.046 may serve as the local health board authorized under Subsection (e).

(g) The governing body of the municipality or the commissioners court of a county may serve as the local health board authorized under Subsection (e). If the governing body of the municipality or the commissioners court of the county elects to serve as the local health board, the governing body or commissioners court may appoint an advisory committee to advise the governing body or commissioners court with respect to the use of the money granted under this section.

(h) Chapter 783, Government Code, and standards adopted under that chapter control if applicable to a grant made under this section.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1378, Sec. 2, eff. June 19, 1999.

Sec. 121.0066. ESSENTIAL PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICES PROVIDED BY DEPARTMENT. (a) Subject to the availability of funds, the department may provide essential public health services for a population for which a municipality, county, public health district, or other political subdivision is not receiving a grant to provide those services under Section 121.0065.

(b) Subject to the availability of funds, the department shall develop a plan that complies with Section 121.0065(d) to evaluate the effectiveness, accessibility, and quality of essential public health services provided under this section.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1378, Sec. 2, eff. June 19, 1999.

Sec. 121.007. PUBLIC HEALTH REGIONS. (a) The board may designate geographic areas of the state as public health regions to provide public health services.

(b) The board shall appoint a physician to serve as regional director for each public health region. The regional director is the chief administrative officer of the region. The board shall establish the qualifications and terms of employment of a regional director.

(c) The board or its designee may require a regional director to perform the duties of a health authority. The regional director may perform those duties, as authorized by the board or commissioner, in a jurisdiction in the region in which the health authority fails to perform duties prescribed by the board under Section 121.024. The regional director shall perform the duties of a health authority in a jurisdiction in the region in which there is not a health authority.

(d), (e) Repealed by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1378, Sec. 8, eff. June 19, 1999.

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989. Amended by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 118, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1991; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1378, Sec. 3, 8, eff. June 19, 1999.

Sec. 121.008. ANNUAL CONFERENCE. (a) The board shall hold an annual conference for health authorities and for directors of local health departments and public health districts. The commissioner or the commissioner's designee shall preside over the conference.

(b) A county or municipality may pay necessary expenses incurred by its health authority or director in attending the conference.

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

SUBCHAPTER B. HEALTH AUTHORITIES


Sec. 121.021. HEALTH AUTHORITY. A health authority is a physician appointed under the provisions of this chapter to administer state and local laws relating to public health within the appointing body's jurisdiction.

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989. Amended by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 118, Sec. 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1991.

Sec. 121.022. QUALIFICATIONS. (a) A health authority must be:

(1) a competent physician with a reputable professional standing who is legally qualified to practice medicine in this state; and

(2) a resident of this state.

(b) To be qualified to serve as a health authority, the appointee must:

(1) take and subscribe to the official oath; and

(2) file a copy of the oath and appointment with the board.

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Sec. 121.023. TERM OF OFFICE. A health authority serves for a term of two years and may be appointed to successive terms.

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Sec. 121.024. DUTIES. (a) A health authority is a state officer when performing duties prescribed by state law.

(b) A health authority shall perform each duty that is:

(1) necessary to implement and enforce a law to protect the public health; or

(2) prescribed by the board.

(c) The duties of a health authority include:

(1) establishing, maintaining, and enforcing quarantine in the health authority's jurisdiction;

(2) aiding the board in relation to local quarantine, inspection, disease prevention and suppression, birth and death statistics, and general sanitation in the health authority's jurisdiction;

(3) reporting the presence of contagious, infectious, and dangerous epidemic diseases in the health authority's jurisdiction to the board in the manner and at the times prescribed by the board;

(4) reporting to the board on any subject on which it is proper for the board to direct that a report be made; and

(5) aiding the board in the enforcement of the following in the health authority's jurisdiction:

(A) proper rules, requirements, and ordinances;

(B) sanitation laws;

(C) quarantine rules; and

(D) vital statistics collections.

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Sec. 121.025. REMOVAL FROM OFFICE. A health authority may be removed from office for cause under the personnel procedures applicable to the heads of departments of the local government that the health authority serves.

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

SUBCHAPTER C. MUNICIPALITIES AND COUNTIES WITHOUT ORGANIZED LOCAL PUBLIC HEALTH DEPARTMENTS OR DISTRICTS


Sec. 121.028. APPOINTMENT OF HEALTH AUTHORITY. (a) The governing body of a municipality or the commissioners court of a county that has not established a local health department or a public health district may appoint a physician as health authority to administer state and local laws relating to public health in the municipality's or county's jurisdiction.

(b) The governing body of a municipality or the commissioners court of a county described by Subsection (a) that is receiving a grant under Section 121.0065 shall appoint a physician as health authority.

(c) An individual appointed to serve as health authority for a county or municipality may serve as the health authority for one or more other jurisdictions under an interlocal contract made in accordance with Chapter 791, Government Code.

Added by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 118, Sec. 3, eff. Sept. 1, 1991. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1378, Sec. 4, eff. June 19, 1999.

Sec. 121.029. DELEGATION OF AUTHORITY. (a) A health authority, unless otherwise restricted by law, may delegate a power or duty imposed on the health authority by the board, or by this or any other law, to a properly qualified physician to act while the health authority is absent or incapacitated.

(b) The physician designated by the health authority must:

(1) meet the qualifications set out in Section 121.022(a);

(2) be appointed as a designee in the same manner as the appointment of the health authority;

(3) take, subscribe, and file the official oath and appointment with the board as required by Section 121.022(b); and

(4) file a certified copy of the written delegation with the board.

(c) The delegation is effective during the term of the health authority who made the delegation; however, the health authority may limit the time to a shorter duration in the written delegation of authority.

(d) The health authority is responsible for the acts of the physician to whom the health authority has delegated the power or duty.

(e) The entity that appoints the health authority and the designee health authority must adopt procedures for the service of the designee as health authority under this section. The procedures shall prevent duplication of authority between the health authority and the designee and provide notice to the department when authority is transferred.

Added by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 118, Sec. 3, eff. Sept. 1, 1991.

SUBCHAPTER D. LOCAL HEALTH DEPARTMENTS


Sec. 121.031. ESTABLISHMENT. The governing body of a municipality or the commissioners court of a county may establish a local health department by majority vote.

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Sec. 121.032. POWERS AND DUTIES. A local health department may perform all public health functions that the municipality or county that establishes the local health department may perform.

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1378, Sec. 5, eff. June 19, 1999.

Sec. 121.033. DEPARTMENT DIRECTOR. (a) The governing body of a municipality or the commissioners court of a county shall appoint the director of the municipality's or county's local health department.

(b) The director is the chief administrative officer of the local health department, and if the director is a physician, the director is the health authority in the local health department's jurisdiction.

(c) The governing body of a municipality or the commissioners court of a county may designate a person to perform its appointment duties under this section.

(d) A director of a local health department who is not a physician shall appoint a physician as the health authority in the local health department's jurisdiction, subject to the approval of the governing body or the commissioners court, as appropriate, and the board.

(e) The governing body or the commissioners court, as appropriate, shall set the compensation of the director and the health authority in its jurisdiction, except that the compensation, including a salary, may be allowed only for services actually rendered.

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989. Amended by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 1100, Sec. 5.07(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Sec. 121.0331. DELEGATION OF AUTHORITY. (a) A health authority, unless otherwise restricted by law, may delegate a power or duty imposed on the health authority by the board, or by this or any other law, to a properly qualified physician who is employed by the municipality's or county's local health department to act while the health authority is absent or incapacitated.

(b) The physician designated by the health authority must:

(1) meet the qualifications set out in Section 121.022(a);

(2) be appointed as a designee in the same manner as the appointment of the health authority;

(3) take, subscribe, and file the official oath and appointment with the board as required by Section 121.022(b); and

(4) file a certified copy of the written delegation with the board.

(c) The delegation is effective during the term of the health authority who made the delegation; however, the health authority may limit the delegation to a shorter duration in the written delegation of authority.

(d) The health authority is responsible for the acts of the physician to whom the health authority has delegated the power or duty.

(e) The entity or entities that appoint the health authority and the designee health authority must adopt procedures for the service of the designee as health authority under this section. The procedures shall prevent duplication of authority between the health authority and the designee and provide notice to the department when authority is transferred.

Added by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 118, Sec. 7, eff. Sept. 1, 1991.

Sec. 121.034. PUBLIC HEALTH BOARD. (a) The governing body of a municipality that establishes a local health department may provide for the creation of an administrative or advisory public health board and the appointment of representatives to that board.

(b) The commissioners court of a county that establishes a local health department may provide for the creation of an advisory public health board and the appointment of representatives to that board.

(c) The director of the local health department is an ex officio, nonvoting member of any public health board established for the local health department.

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

SUBCHAPTER E. PUBLIC HEALTH DISTRICTS


Sec. 121.041. ESTABLISHMENT. By a majority vote of each governing body, a public health district may be established by:

(1) two or more counties;

(2) two or more municipalities;

(3) a county and one or more municipalities in the county; or

(4) two or more counties and one or more municipalities in those counties.

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Sec. 121.042. ADMISSION TO DISTRICT. (a) Any governmental entity, including a school district, may apply to become a member of a public health district.

(b) The governing body of each member shall review the application.

(c) The governmental entity may be admitted to membership on terms acceptable to the applicant and the members if a majority of the governing body of each member approves the application.

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Sec. 121.043. POWERS AND DUTIES. (a) A public health district may perform any public health function that any of its members may perform unless otherwise restricted by law.

(b) For purposes of Section 121.005, a public health district shall be identified by its program of public health services and shall, at a minimum, provide the services listed for a local health department under Section 121.032(b).

(c) A public health district may sue and be sued.

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989. Amended by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 476, Sec. 3, eff. Aug. 26, 1991.

Sec. 121.044. COOPERATIVE AGREEMENT. (a) The members of a public health district shall prepare a written cooperative agreement that sets out fully the terms of operation of the district.

(b) The terms in a cooperative agreement must include:

(1) organizational structure;

(2) financial administration; and

(3) procedures for:

(A) modification of the cooperative agreement;

(B) admission, withdrawal, and expulsion of members;

(C) dissolution of the district; and

(D) selection and removal of a director.

(c) A cooperative agreement must be:

(1) approved by the governing body of each member; and

(2) signed by the appropriate officers of each governing body.

(d) A modification of a cooperative agreement must be in writing. A modification is effective on approval by the governing body of each member.

(e) A copy of a cooperative agreement and of each modification shall be:

(1) included in the minutes of the governing body of each member; and

(2) filed with the clerk of each county and municipality in the district and with the department.

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Sec. 121.045. DISTRICT DIRECTOR. (a) The members of a public health district shall appoint the director of the district.

(b) The director is the chief administrative officer of the public health district, and if the director is a physician, the director is the health authority in the district's jurisdiction.

(c) A member may designate a person to perform its appointment duties under this section.

(d) A director of a public health district who is not a physician shall appoint a physician as the health authority for the district, subject to the approval of the members and the board.

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989. Amended by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 1100, Sec. 5.07(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Sec. 121.0451. DELEGATION OF AUTHORITY. (a) A health authority, unless otherwise restricted by law, may delegate a power or duty imposed on the health authority by the board, or by this or any other law, to a properly qualified physician who is employed by the public health district to act while the health authority is absent or incapacitated.

(b) The physician designated by the health authority must:

(1) meet the qualifications set out in Section 121.022(a);

(2) be appointed as a designee in the same manner as the appointment of the health authority;

(3) take, subscribe, and file the official oath and appointment with the board as required by Section 121.022(b); and

(4) file a certified copy of the written delegation with the board.

(c) The delegation is effective during the term of the health authority who made the delegation; however, the health authority may limit the delegation to a shorter duration in the written delegation of authority.

(d) The health authority is responsible for the acts of the physician to whom the health authority has delegated the power or duty.

(e) The entity or entities that appoint the health authority and the designee health authority must adopt procedures for the service of the designee as health authority under this section. The procedures shall prevent duplication of authority between the health authority and the designee and provide notice to the department when authority is transferred.

Added by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 118, Sec. 7, eff. Sept. 1, 1991.

Sec. 121.046. PUBLIC HEALTH BOARD. (a) The cooperative agreement of a public health district may provide for the creation of an advisory or administrative public health board.

(b) An advisory public health board shall advise the members and director on matters of public health.

(c) An administrative public health board may adopt substantive and procedural rules that are necessary and appropriate to promote and preserve the health and safety of the public. However, an administrative board may not adopt a rule that is not specifically authorized by state law, conflicts with a law of this state, or conflicts with an ordinance of a municipality or county in the district.

(d) A public health board may perform any function relating to the operation of the public health district that is required under the cooperative agreement.

(e) The terms of a cooperative agreement that provides for a public health board must include:

(1) the composition and number of the representatives that compose the public health board;

(2) a method for appointing representatives to the public health board;

(3) the length of the representatives' terms, which must be staggered;

(4) a requirement that a representative must have resided in the district for at least three years before the date of the representative's appointment;

(5) a requirement that each representative serve without compensation;

(6) the manner in which a vacancy is filled for an unexpired term;

(7) the procedure and substantive criteria for the removal of a representative; and

(8) a description of the relationship between the director and the public health board.

(f) The director is an ex officio, nonvoting member of a public health board established by the cooperative agreement.

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Sec. 121.047. FINANCES. The members of a public health district shall pay the costs necessary to operate the district, including costs for:

(1) staff salaries;

(2) supplies;

(3) suitable offices;

(4) health and clinic centers;

(5) health services and facilities; and

(6) maintenance.

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

SUBCHAPTER F. PUBLIC HEALTH CONSORTIUM


Sec. 121.101. DEFINITION. In this chapter, "consortium" means the public health consortium established under this subchapter.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1378, Sec. 6, eff. June 19, 1999.

Sec. 121.102. CONSORTIUM ESTABLISHED. Subject to availability of funds, the department shall establish a public health consortium composed of:

(1) The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio;

(2) The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center;

(3) The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center;

(4) The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston;

(5) The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston;

(6) The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler;

(7) the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center;

(8) The Texas A&M University Health Science Center;

(9) the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth; and

(10) any other public institution of higher education that elects to participate in the consortium.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1378, Sec. 6, eff. June 19, 1999.

Amended by:

Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 179 (H.B. 1844), Sec. 15, eff. September 1, 2013.

Sec. 121.103. GENERAL DUTIES. (a) Subject to the availability of funds, the department, in consultation with the consortium and local health units, local health departments, and public health districts, shall:

(1) develop curricula to provide training to public health workers;

(2) conduct research on improving health status outcomes and methods of monitoring those outcomes;

(3) develop performance standards for local health units, local health departments, and public health districts;

(4) develop competency certification standards for public health workers; and

(5) study the technology infrastructure available to local health units, local health departments, and public health districts and improve the use of this infrastructure to permit:

(A) statewide communication relating to disease surveillance and reporting of public health information; and

(B) immediate access to public health information and collaboration among public health professionals.

(b) The training curricula described by Subsection (a)(1) may include training for local health authorities.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1378, Sec. 6, eff. June 19, 1999.