Legislative Line – March 17, 2017
The deadline for legislators to file bills to be considered by the Texas Senate and House this session was 6 p.m. last Friday. The filing deadline does not apply to local bills, concurrent resolutions or simple resolutions. A total of 4,361 HB’s/HJR’s and 2,293 SB’s/SJR’s were filed for a total of 6,654 bills. 2,374 were filed in the last week. That compares to:
- 2017: bills filed by the deadline – 6,654
- 2015: bills filed by the deadline – 6,107
- 2013: bills filed by the deadline – 5,665
The Senate was in session Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. On Wednesday, the Senate approved SB 6 by Lois Kolkhorst which would require school districts, political subdivisions and state agencies to develop a policy requiring multiple-occupancy bathrooms or changing facilities to be designated for and used only by persons of the same biological sex as reflected on the person’s birth certificate. It was passed by a vote of 21 to 10 with all of the Republicans and Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr. (D-Brownsville) voting for the bill.
On Tuesday, the Senate Finance Committee took up SB 946 by Paul Bettencourt would set June 1st as the date for a chief appraiser to accept, approve, or deny a request for a Freeport exemption. It would move up rendition requirements for the Freeport exemption to April 1st. In support were representatives of Texas Association of Appraisal Districts and the Travis and Webb County Appraisal Districts. It was reported out favorably.
The House was in session Monday through Thursday this week. Budget writers wrapped up work on the House’s budget this week. The House Appropriations committee could vote on HB 1, the House’s version of the budget, as early as March 24, setting up floor debate in the House on March 31.
On Wednesday, the House State Affairs Committee took up SB 4 by Charles Perry and Charlie Geren, which would eliminate “sanctuary cities.” The committee heard 10 hours of testimony, and 570 witnesses signed up to testify. It was left pending.
Aid approved for Panhandle areas affected by wildfires
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has made critical resources available for those impacted by devastating wildfires in the Texas Panhandle, after Gov. Greg Abbott’s request for assistance. Texans who have suffered from these disasters can now get help from four programs, which address environmental conservation, livestock and other animals.
New Bills Filed:
SB 1383 by Chairman Charles Perry and the companion, HB 2862 by Rep. Ken King, would allow trucks transporting fluid milk to run up to 90,000 pounds, with a third axle. A prescribed route would be associated with the heavy permit allowing state regulators and milk haulers to access the safest route to the milk processing facilities along with a permit fee to assist in off-setting road impact. Both were filed this week.