Legislative Line – March 24, 2017
A report on action this week at the Texas Capitol from the Texas Association of Dairymen governmental relations team.
The Senate was in session Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this past week. .
On Monday, the Senate Agriculture, Water, and Rural Affairs Committee took up SB 1172 by Sen. Charles Perry, the statewide seed standardization law. It was left pending.
On Tuesday, the Senate passed SB 17 by Sen. Jane Nelson, which would phase out the franchise tax in increments in each biennium the estimated general revenue growth exceeds five percent. The committee substitute was adopted and it passed by a vote of 23-7.
On the same day, it also passed SB 2 by Paul Bettencourt, which would lower the ad valorem tax rollback rate from 8 percent to 5 percent and schedule an automatic election if a taxing jurisdiction exceeds that rate. The committee substitute and four floor amendments were adopted and it passed by a vote of 18-12.
On Wednesday, the Senate Finance Committee discussed and then unanimously voted out a committee substitute for SB 1, the general appropriations bill. The committee substitute appropriates $106.3 billion in general revenue, up from the $103.6 billion in the filed bill. The difference is made up from delaying the $2.5 billion transfer of sales tax revenue to the state highway fund from August 2019 to September 2019 (into the next biennium).
Here are some notable provisions of CSSB 1:
- Dedicates approximately $5 billion for transportation in accordance with Proposition 7;
- Includes $40 million to support infrastructure projects at Texas ports;
- Maintains the $800 million for border security approved last session.
Next Week: The Senate Transportation committee will meet Wednesday, March 29, at 8 a.m. to take up SB 1383 by Chairman Charles Perry, which 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. TAD supports this legislation.
The House was in session on Monday through Thursday to conduct routine business.
Wild Fires Continue in Texas Panhandle
According to the Texas A&M Forest Service, a new fire started in the Texas Panhandle just after 2 p.m. on Thursday.
The Rankin Ranch Road fire is in Roberts County, north of Miami, and has spread into Ochiltree County. It has already burned 60,000 acres and is 10 percent contained. Three homes in the area have been threatened by the fires.
A post from the Forest Service Twitter page late Thursday night said the fire was receiving “beneficial rainfall” and that helped drop the fire behavior to smoldering.