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Andrews Myers Monthly Law Alert
MOVING ANNOUNCEMENT

 

AM MONTHLY LAW ALERT
March 2017


INDIVIDUAL HEALTH INSURANCE REIMBURSEMENT ALLOWABLE AGAIN IF PROPERLY SET UP
By Tony Stergio

Many small employers were affected by the change in the health insurance law that prohibited employers from reimbursing employees for the cost of their individual health policies.  Under a new law passed late last year, Qualified Small Employers can adopt a Health Reimbursement Arrangement (a “QSEHRA”) to provide for employee health care reimbursement.  These new arrangements must comply with specific IRS requirements and are available only to employers with less than 50 full-time employees (and full-time equivalent employees) who offer no health plan coverage to its employees.  A QSEHRA can reimburse employees who provide proof of other medical coverage for various medical expenses, including the cost of individual health insurance, up to $4,950 for employee only coverage and $10,000 for family coverage.

For more information please contact Tony Stergio at 713.850.4214 or via email.


ONE REALLY GOOD REASON NOT TO IGNORE YOUR TEXAS FRANCHISE TAXES
By Manny Gardberg

May 15th is rapidly approaching and that means it’s time to file your annual Texas Franchise Tax Report. If you own or run a business in Texas and haven’t given this date much consideration, consider this your warning. A failure to timely file your report or pay taxes to the Texas Comptroller begins a process by which your organization forfeits certain rights to transact business in the state of Texas.
  Read more...


EXPEDITED PERMITTING ARRIVES IN AUSTIN
By R. Carson Fisk

After considering and evaluating the implementation of an expedited permitting program for several months, the program has finally arrived in the City of Austin. However, unlike various other cities where an additional fee may be all that is required, Austin has incorporated a number of items previously framed as “community benefits” into its program.

According to the website of the Development Services Department of the City of Austin, the Expedited Building Plan Review Program will serve as a “premium service [that] will accelerate the building plan review and permit process by holding a single-review session with a consolidated team of plan reviewers representing all of the required disciplines and the applicant’s design team.”  Read more...


CORPORATE BANKRUPTCY & INSOLVENCY PLANNING
By Josh Judd

Pre-bankruptcy planning refers to the process whereby a debtor facing significant claims protects its assets.  Bankruptcy planning can be legitimately used to deter litigation by reducing the size of the debtor’s assets; providing incentives for a creditor to seek an early and cheap settlement; and protecting and preserving assets. While some degree of bankruptcy planning is acceptable, there is a principal of “too much.” A bankruptcy court often has the primary duty to distinguish when pre-bankruptcy planning crosses the line. 
Read more...
 

CITY OF HOUSTON CHANGES THE RULES ON BID PROTEST PROCEDURES
By Kenton Andrews

Many contractors that do business with the City of Houston still believe that the City is still using bid protest procedures provided for in the most recent version of the City of Houston’s Procurement Manual. However, the City issued new administrative procedures in 2016, which made several procedural and substantive changes to the bid protest process that contractors should be aware of.

These changes include, but are not limited to, the following:
  1. A bid protester now must address and deliver its protest to the City’s Chief Procurement Officer instead of the City Attorney;
  2. A bid protester is no longer guaranteed a bid protest hearing;
  3. The Chief Procurement Officer now has the sole authority to hold an informal conference to discuss the merits of the bid protest;
  4. The Chief Procurement Officer has the sole authority to review and render a final, written decision (the prior procedure included a three person and cross department panel); and 
  5. The City’s Legal Department is no longer required to provide a written record of the protest or hearing.
A contractor that is considering pursuing a bid protest with the City of Houston should familiarize itself with the new administrative requirements, in addition to those found in the bidding documents, to avoid compromising its ability to effectively present its claim.  The link for the new administrative procedures can be found here. 

For more information please contact Kenton Andrews at 713.850.8631 or via email.

RECENT ACCOLADES - RISING STARS AND AV PREEMINENT RATINGS

AM Celebrates Three Rising Stars for 2017
Three Andrews Myers attorneys in the construction practice group have once again been recognized among the top young lawyers in Texas by Thomson Reuters’ SuperLawyers. The list appears in this month’s Texas SuperLawyers-Rising Stars Edition.

Tim Ross (2013 – 2017)
Billy Davis (2014 – 2017)
Kenton Andrews (2015 – 2017)

Rising Stars are described as “outstanding lawyers who have demonstrated superior professional potential.” Fewer than 2.5% of lawyers throughout the state are selected for this recognition, and all candidates must be age 40 and under, practicing 10 years or less, to meet eligibility requirements.

Martindale Hubbell Recognizes Tony Stergio in New Judicial Ratings for 2017
 Tony Stergio, already the longtime recipient of an AV© Preeminent™ Peer Review Rating from Martindale Hubbell, the nation’s leading legal services resource, where he scored a 5 out of 5 rating, the highest rating a lawyer can receive from their industry peers, has also recently been awarded with a Judicial Edition rating for 2017.  Tony has achieved an AV© Preeminent™Judicial Rating from Martindale Hubbell, the Highest Rating Achievable in both Legal Ability and Ethical Standards.

ANDREWS MYERS' HOUSTON OFFICE IS MOVING
 
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