May 27, 2009

"Rep Marquez worked so hard on this historic bill. For the first time ever, we can now stop the spread of colonias in El Paso County." Senator Shapleigh said.

Written by Senator Eliot Shapleigh,

AUSTIN - Today, the Texas Senate approved a bill by Representative Marisa Marquez (D-District 77, El Paso) and Senator Eliot Shapleigh (D- El Paso) that would ensure buildings in El Paso County's unincorporated areas are held to the same construction standard as that of other Texas counties.

H.B. 2833 would have building code standards that apply to the unincorporated areas in other counties of the state to also be applicable in El Paso County.

During the 2003 legislative session, when the Legislature created the Texas Residential Construction Commission, they exempted a number of counties along the border from the building code requirements applicable to other counties in the state. H.B. 2833 as amended would require enforcement of building code standards already in effect in other counties to the unincorporated areas of El Paso County.

Passage of this bill is important to economically-disadvantaged El Paso County subdivisions, known as colonias, which have an enduring  history of substandard housing. Along the Texas-Mexico border, more than 1,400 colonias suffer from faulty construction, open sewage, lack of sanitary water, dusty unpaved roads and no plumbing.

"Rep Marquez worked so hard on this historic bill. For the first time ever, we can now stop the spread of colonias in El Paso County," Senator Shapleigh said.

"This is a historic moment that will improve our communities and help to clean up the colonias, which have been neglected for far too long," said Representative Marquez. "Past delegations have fought this uphill battle for years and I am thrilled, as a freshman, to have helped our state move one step closer to making this new law a reality."

Passage of this bill would also ensure that new homes being built in anticipation of new troops and dependents moving to El Paso meet building standards. The Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process will bring an estimated 67,000 more people to El Paso County.

This bill will need to be signed by the Governor before passing into law.



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