80th Texas Legislature – Regular Session
Austin Newsletter No. 18
Governor Perry’s Signature Needed for HB 1892
HB 1892 by Representative Wayne Smith passed in the Senate. The significance of this bill is the moratorium amendment offered by Representative Lois Kolkhorst. Her amendment halted the use of comprehensive development agreements (CDA) for road projects. CDAs are the methodology which Texas Department of Transportation uses to fund Trans-Texas Corridor projects. The amendment requires a study of the best methods to fund and build road projects in the state.
This amendment is a major milestone in the war against the TTC. However, this is simply one of several hurdles which must be met. Governor Perry has ten days to veto the bill. If he does not veto HB 1892 it becomes a law. It is imperative we continue to speak with Governor Perry’s office regarding HB 1892 and explaining the importance of the bill.
HB 3 Voted From Committee
Representative Robert Puente’s HB 3 was voted from the Senate Natural Resources Committee. The bill creates a basin-by-basin process for developing recommendations to meet instream flow needs as well as freshwater inflows to affected bays and estuaries. It also requires Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to adopt recommendations of the basin groups on environmental flow standards. These standards will then be utilized in the decision-making process for new water right applications and in establishing an amount of unappropriated water to be set aside for the environment.
TFB Policy regarding environmental flows does not oppose HB 3. We will continue to follow this legislation to ensure landowners’ agricultural water rights are protected.
Water Conservation Bill Moves to the Senate
HB 4 by Representative Robert Puente relates to the water conservation policies of the state and has passed the House. The bill expressly supports voluntary land stewardship practices. These practices include runoff reduction, prescribed burning, managed grazing, brush management, erosion management, reseeding with native plant species, riparian management and restoration, and spring and creek-bank protection, and benefits the water resources of this state.
In addition, HB 4 creates a Water Conservation Advisory Council comprised of seventeen members appointed by Texas Water Development Board (TWDB). The Council monitors water conservation activities in the state and submits a biennial report on the progress.
The bill requires retail public water utilities to submit a conservation plan to the TWDB and is enforced by TCEQ. The TCEQ has the authority to enforce rules regarding lawn and landscape irrigation systems. Future public buildings constructed by the state have to install rainwater collection systems.
TFB supports HB 4.
(Section 151, Page 57, Lines 53-56.)
HB 1090 Headed to the Senate
HB 1090 by Representative David Swinford establishes a biomass renewable energy program at the Texas Department of Agriculture. The bill provides incentives for a farmer, logger or waste diverter to gather and deliver biomass material to operators of power plants to generate electricity. HB 1090 passed the House and has been referred to the Senate Natural Resources Committee.
TFB policy supports HB 1090.
(Section 142, Page 35, Lines 6-9)