What’s Moved, What Hasn’t, and What Comes Next at the Texas Lege

DPA /Landov

As the final week of the 83rd Legislative Session kicks into gear we can expect a flurry of activity at the Capitol. Lawmakers will be trying to pass a slew of bills that could affect Texas' water, energy and environment.

With precious little time left in Texas’ 83rd Legislative session, lawmakers will be working this week to vote still-living bills out of the House and Senate.

StateImpact Texas has compiled a short list of some bills related to water, energy and the environment that have made it through or may still have a shot. (This list is not meant to be comprehensive.)

Water Bills

SJR 1, by Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie and Rep. Allan Ritter, R-Nederland would create a State Water Implementation Fund through a constitutional amendment. The fund would assist in financing water projects outlined in the State Water Plan. Another bill designed to finance water infrastructure, HB 11, died in the House in late April. SJR 1 failed to be brought to the floor on Monday. Tuesday is the last day for it to be voted on in Second reading in the House.

SB 1169, by State Sen. Glen Hegar, R-Katy, would promote water conservation across the state by requiring recipients of financing for water projects from the Texas Water Development Board to create drought contingency plans, among other things. The bill was passed on third reading by the House calendar for Monday. Previously: Water for Texas: Lawmakers Say State Needs More Than Money

SB 199 by State Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, would require a yearly analysis of water use by power plants. The legislation could, according to the bill analysis, promote power generators to find ways to lower their water use. The bill was place on the House calendar for Tuesday. Previously: New Measure for State Water Plan Heads to the House Floor

HB 1461 by Rep. Jimmie Aycock, R-Killeen, which requires public water utilities that lose 10 percent, or more, of their total water supply to apprise customers on their bill and explain the cause. The bill was passed by the House on Monday.

Radioactive Waste

SB 791, by State Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, would allow more of the “hotter” low level radioactive waste from around the country to be sent to a new disposal facility on the Texas-New Mexico border. The facility is run by Waste Control Specialists, which is owned by Dallas billionaire Harold Simmons. The bill is was brought down by a point of order on Monday and returned to Committee. Previously: Hotter Radioactive Waste Could Be Coming To Texas

Emissions

SB 1727 by State Sen. Bob Deuell, R-Greenville, could reduce emissions in Texas through the implementation of several programs, such as a Natural Gas Vehicle Grant Program and an Energy Efficiency Grant Program. The bill received support from both environmentalists  — Sierra Club and Texas League of Conservation Voters — as well as major oil and gas companies — Chevron and Chesapeake Energy. The bill passed on third reading in the House on Monday.

HB 788 by State Representatives Wayne Smith and Ron Reynolds, puts the job of permitting for greenhouse gas emissions in the hands of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The EPA has been permitting companies that emit greenhouse gasses. The bill was passed out of House Monday with Senate amendments.

David Barer is a reporting intern with StateImpact Texas

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