Texas Legislative update

May 26, 2015:

With less than one week left in the Texas legislative session, things have been moving quickly.  We will do a thorough update after the session ends, but here are the current highlights:texas capitol

Good news:

* HB 1846, the bill that requires the state health department to publish notice of any agreements with FDA to implement federal food safety regulations, unanimously passed the Senate today and is on its way to the Governor.  This bill will provide important transparency and accountability in how the new regulations under the federal Food Safety Modernization Action are implemented in Texas.

* HB 262, to provide liability protection for landowners who allow their land to be used for community gardens, also unanimously passed the Senate today and is on its way to the Governor.  This bill would improve access to land for community gardens by addressing landowners’ concerns about potential lawsuits.

* HB 3298/ SB 1907, the water grid bill that we opposed, is dead as a stand-alone bill.  Moreover, we appear to have successfully blocked the efforts to push it through as an amendment to other bills.  Although nothing is guaranteed until the very end, it looks very likely that this plan to lay the groundwork for massive water marketing and conveyances is dead for this session.

Bad news:

Despite excellent committee hearings in the Senate, both HB 1900 (the property tax bill) and HB 91 (the raw milk bill) failed to be passed out of committee and are dead for this session.  Thanks to the efforts everyone made, we were able to move both bills much further than last session, gaining important ground as we continue to work on these issues.

Stay tuned for the full story on these and other bills next week!