During the Special Session, Governor Perry vetoed two bills affecting the design and construction industry. The first bill, SB 2141, clarified the statute of repose that holds that lawsuits against engineers and architects must be filed within 10 years of substantial completion of a project. The Governor vetoed this bill because he concluded that a provision of the bill “would prohibit engineers and architects from being designated responsible third parties in litigation if the statute of repose has lapsed”.
This does not end the question of the impact and application of the statute of repose on architect and engineers when they have been added as parties outside the 10 year repose limit. The Texas Supreme Court has heard arguments and is expected to rule on an interpretation of the statute in Pochucha v. Galbraith Eng’g Consultants, Inc., 243 S.W.3d 138, 141 (Tex.App.-San Antonio 2007, pet. granted) . A decision in that case is expected later this year.
The Governor also vetoed a second bill, HB 2820, which would have added the services of geoscientists and landscape architects to the list of professional services that must procured under the Professional Services Procurement Act. In his veto message, the Governor stated that the bill would have prevented “price-based competition for services by geoscientists and landscape architects, and therefore does not guarantee the best value for taxpayers when government entities contract for these services.”
In related legislative news, the Governor has also indicated that he will shortly call for a special session to deal, in part, with both outstanding issues related to the continued operation of the Texas Department of Transportation and the issuance of bonds for projects being constructed by TxDOT.