Published May 6, 2021
First, some good news – our healthy soils bill, SB 1118, passed the House on 2nd reading late in the evening of May 5! After the 3rd reading and final vote today, the bill will head to the Governor’s desk. This is a great bill that will provide much-needed resources to help farmers and ranchers learn about and implement healthy soils methods on their land.
But while we celebrate this victory, our Home Food Security bill, is on life support. If the Calendars committee doesn’t schedule it for a vote by the full House in the next few days, it will die.
The Home Food Security Bill, HB 1686, would protect people’s right to raise food for themselves on their own property, by preventing cities and homeowners’ associations (HOAs) from banning front yard gardens or a few backyard chickens or rabbits.
The bill also prevents HOAs from banning cottage food operations. It allows cities and HOAs to adopt reasonable restrictions, such as banning roosters or to prevent odor or pest problems, as long as the restrictions don’t reach the level of effectively banning the gardens, chickens, rabbits, or cottage foods.
We have two ways for you to help: (1) calling your State Representative and (2) emailing the entire Calendars Committee!
Call your Representative to urge them to sign on to HB 1686
More co-authors means more pressure for the bill to be scheduled for a vote. We have several great co-authors already, but we need more.
Look up and find contact info for who represents you.
Sample message (please personalize, so that it’s not just reading from a script):
“Hi, my name is ___, and I live in [town]. I am calling to ask Representative ___ to co-author HB 1686, the Home Food Security Act and to help it move forward as soon as possible.
[Add a couple of sentences about why this matters to you – whether your city or HOA bans front yard gardens or chickens, or because of the need for people in the community to have access to affordable, healthy food, or you are a cottage food producer scared of being shut down by the HOA.]
Will Representative ____ co-author HB 1686 and help get it to the House floor?”
Email all of the members of the Calendars Committee
The Calendars Committee is a strange twist in the Texas legislative process. Generally, they only want to hear from constituents and people who make the time to go to the Capitol to physically visit their offices.
But at this point, we need to do more to get their attention. So we’re urging everyone to email all of the committee members. There are two key strategy points:
- Email only. Not calls – swamping them with calls from non-constituents will backfire.
- Keep your email short and polite.
If you are a constituent of one of the Calendars Committee members, then – and only then — call that member! The list is below, after the sample email:
Subject line: “Calendars, please set HB 1686 for a floor vote”
Dear Calendars Committee members:
[Write a couple of sentence about why this matters to you – whether your city or HOA bans front yard gardens or chickens, or because of the need for people in the community to have access to affordable, healthy food, or you are a cottage food producer scared of being shut down by the HOA.]
I urge you to set HB 1686, the Home Food Security Act for a vote on the floor of the House as soon as possible.”
Sign with your full name and a phone number
Email list for the full committee:
Dustin.Burrows@house.texas.gov; Joe.Moody@house.texas.gov; Tom.Craddick@house.texas.gov; Cody.Harris@house.texas.gov; Cole.Hefner@house.texas.gov; Ana.Hernandez@house.texas.gov; Ben.Leman@house.texas.gov; Jared.Patterson@house.texas.gov; Toni.Rose@house.texas.gov; Shelby.Slawson@house.texas.gov; James.Talarico@house.texas.gov
List of all the members, what areas they represent, and their phone numbers – for constituent calls only:
Chair: Rep. Dustin Burrows
Represents: Borden, Gaines, Lynn, Mitchell, Scurry, Terry counties and part of Lubbock County
Vice Chair: Rep. Joe Moody
Represents: Part of El Paso County
Rep. Tom Craddick
Represents: Crane, Dawson, Martin, Midland and Upton counties
Rep. Cody Harris
Represents: Anderson, Freestone, Hill and Navarro counties
Rep. Cole Hefner
Represents: Camp, Morris, Rains, Titus, Wood counties and part of Smith County
Rep. Ana Hernandez
Represents: Part of Harris County
Rep. Ben Leman
Represents: Austin, Burleson, Colorado, Fayette, Grimes, Lavaca and Washington counties
Rep. Jared Patterson
Represents: Part of Denton County
Rep. Toni Rose
Represents: Part of Dallas County
Rep. Shelby Slawson
Represents: Comanche, Coryell, Erath, Hamilton, McCulloch, Mills, San Saba and Somervell counties
Rep. James Talarico
Represents: Part of Williamson County
MORE INFORMATION: You can download our Fact Sheet to learn more about the bill.