Last week, Governor Abbott laid out his priorities for the legislative session (early childhood education, higher education research funding, transportation, border security, and ethics–but not the environment), allowing the priorities to be considered by both houses in the first 60 days of the session. You can read more on the Texas Senate News page, the Texas House of Representatives News page, and from the Texas Tribune. (If you have a favorite source of info, please share!)
In the meantime, discussions about the budget continue, and legislators continue to file bills. Bills of environmental note relate to cutting down trees, ad valorem tax determinations, oil and gas wells, electric utilities, recycling, shark fins, flouide in drinking water, farmers markets, lightbulbs, groundwater conservation districts, the highway fund, public nuisances, community service, a coastal barrier system, agri- and eco-tourism, energy efficiency, wind power, the recreational use of rivers, and dedicated funds.
HB 1442: Relating to a property owner’s right to remove a tree or vegetation that the owner believes poses a fire risk.
HB 1548: Relating to comprehensive reviews of certain special districts.
HB 1459: Relating to the powers and duties of the West Harris County Regional Water Authority.
HB 1464: Relating to the procedure for determining that certain land is no longer eligible for appraisal for ad valorem tax purposes as agricultural or open-space land.
HB 1466: Relating to Parks and Wildlife Department procedures for the transfer of ownership of boats or outboard motors; providing penalties; creating a criminal offense.
HB 1485: Relating to the establishment of a Texas grocery access investment fund program.
HB 1501: Relating to a study concerning the presence and effects of plastic microbeads in water in the state.
HB 1513: Relating to the ad valorem taxation of qualified open-space land.
HB 1535: Relating to rates of and certificates of convenience and necessity for certain non-ERCOT electric utilities.
HB 1552: Relating to oil and gas wells that traverse multiple tracts.
HB 1565: Relating to the appraisal for ad valorem tax purposes of qualified timber land.
HB 1569: Relating to the creation of a defense under the Solid Waste Disposal Act for persons engaged in certain recycling transactions.
HB 1579: Relating to the sale and purchase of shark fins or products derived from shark fins; creating a criminal offense.
HB 1581: Relating to the duty of a water supply system to provide certain information to consumers regarding fluoride in drinking water.
HB 1584: Relating to a voluntary donation to the fund for veterans’ assistance when applying for a hunting or fishing license.
HB 1616: Relating to the establishment of a pilot program for the purchase of produce at farmers markets under certain nutritional assistance programs.
HB 1622: Relating to the allocation of certain revenue derived from the state gasoline tax.
HB 1625: Relating to an exemption from the sales and use tax for certain lightbulbs for a limited period.
HB 1633: Relating to application and notification requirements for a permit to drill an oil or gas well in or near an easement held by the Texas Department of Transportation.
HB 1635: Relating to the management of groundwater, including the classification of and the obtaining of information regarding groundwater and the formulation of desired future conditions by a groundwater conservation district.
HB 1637: Relating to the use of certain money deposited to the state highway fund for transportation projects in energy-producing regions of this state.
HB 1642: Relating to the rights, remedies, and liability of certain owners and operators of environmentally contaminated property; authorizing a fee.
HB 1643: Relating to abatement of public nuisances on undeveloped land in the unincorporated area of a county.
HB 1652: Relating to the permissible uses of the state highway fund.
HB 1662: Relating to the exemption of certain property from municipal drainage service charges.
HB 1665: Relating to notice of water level fluctuations to purchasers of real property adjoining an impoundment of water.
HB 1685: Relating to the satisfaction of a condition of community supervision requiring performance of community service.
HB 1687: Relating to a study of the feasibility and desirability of creating and maintaining a coastal barrier system.
HB 1696: Relating to the sale or delivery of motor fuel.
HB 1703: Relating to the disposition and identification of certain goods acquired by recycling entities and pawnbrokers; providing a civil penalty.
HB 1717: Relating to the use of municipal hotel occupancy taxes by certain municipalities for ecological and space exploration-related tourism.
HB 1722: Relating to the regulation of automotive wrecking and salvage yards in certain counties; increasing the civil penalty.
HB 1733: Relating to automobile liability insurance for drivers providing transportation network services.
HB 1734: Relating to the cessation of tolls by toll project entities in certain circumstances.
HB 1736: Relating to building energy efficiency performance standards; establishing the Building Energy Efficiency Advisory Committee.
HB 1738: Relating to the release of certain restrictions on the use of certain highway rights-of-way transferred to a municipality from the Texas Department of Transportation.
HR 525: Congratulating Michael Talbott on being named the 2015 Houston Engineer of the Year.
HR 547: Commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Texas A&M Forest Service.
HR 654: Recognizing February 25, 2015, as Transit Day at the State Capitol.
SB 580: Relating to water intake requirements for the Lower Colorado River Authority.
SB 603: Relating to the Texas Emissions Reduction Plan.
SB 610: Relating to limited liability for an agritourism entity involved in an agritourism activity.
SB 611: Relating to the confidentiality of certain water well reports.
SB 616: Relating to eliminating authority of municipalities to annex for limited purposes.
SB 635: Relating to the eligibility of property used in connection with renewable energy electric generation through the use of wind power for a limitation on appraised value of property for ad valorem tax purposes under the Texas Economic Development Act.
SB 636: Relating to the creation of a task force to evaluate recreational use of rivers.
Senate Joint Resolutions
SJR 33: Proposing a constitutional amendment to prohibit using revenues, other money, or account or fund balances dedicated by law for nondedicated general governmental purposes or for certification of appropriations for nondedicated purposes or entities.