Some Bills In the Texas Legislature We’re Watching For You – Part One

Austin, March 9, 2019 10:17 pm — While almost all the bills are in at the Legislature, we’re sifting through them for their pertinence to the energy industries in Texas.

These are the first of the bills we’re categorizing, but this list is temporarily incomplete — we will be adding to it over the next few days, so please check back with us shortly.

 

OIL AND GAS

 

Making the eminent domain laws more fair — three components designed to provide additional protections and transparency for landowners who are forced to undergo the condemnation process — SB 421

 

O&G production tax revenue to be returned to counties – HB 42

 

Removing the requirement that compressed natural gas and liquefied natural gas container manufacturers be licensed by the Railroad Commission of Texas, instead simply requires that these manufacturers be registered with the Commission because the current licensure requirement is duplicative of standards established by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASME) and United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) that these manufacturers must comply with – SB 532 (Sen. Birdwell)

 

Requiring for-profit entities seeking eminent domain condemnation to reimburse landowners if they attempt lowball offers to owners or stakeholders for targeted land – SB 421

 

Requirements for TCEQ air quality permits for O&G facilities, including analysis, inspection and maintenance – HB 225

 

Enhancing resources for emergency management for cyber-attacks against the state – HB 351

 

Creating a cyber-security council – HB350

 

Regulation of aggregate O&G production operations by the Railroad Commission, authorizing a fee – HB 509

 

Additional tax for land when its use changes – HB163

 

Required to be available online: environmental and water use permit applications – HB 245

 

Creating a revolving fund for disaster re-investment and infrastructure planning – HB 274

 

Applying funding for flood planning, mitigation and infrastructure – HB 478

 

Calling for protection of certain public freshwater areas – HB 488

 

Creating the consideration of the cumulative effects of air containment emissions as part of the emissions permitting process – HB 522

 

Appropriating water for use in aquifer storage and recovery – HB 720

 

Specifying the duties of the Texas Water Development Board for appropriations of water for use in aquifer storage and recovery – HB 721

 

Development of brackish groundwater – HB 722

 

Requiring TCEQ to develop water availability models for some river basins – HB 723

 

Authorizing TCEQ on the discharge of treated brackish groundwater and return flows diverted from trated brackish groundwater – HB 724

 

Enhancing regulation of groundwater – HB 726

 

Changing the name of the Railroad Commission – HB 857

 

Requiring the Railroad Commission to post its enforcement data online – HB 858

 

Limiting political contributions to Railroad Commission commissioners – HB 859

 

Revisiting the existing Aggregate Production Operations (sand mining) statute, doubling the current registration violation penalties –  with the TCEQ – HB 907 (Rep. Dan Huberty)

 

Increasing administrative penalties for Aggregate Production Operations (sand mining) violations and makes site inspections more frequent. Any funds collected from these higher penalty amounts would be directed to a water resources management account under TCEQ, to cover the increased oversight responsibilities of the agency – HB 908 (Rep. Dan Huberty)

 

Requiring TCEQ to adopt and publish “best management practices” for Aggregate Production Operations (sand mining) to model. Through the public comment process, the agency would create a system of structural, operational or vegetative practices to prevent or reduce water pollution wherever APO sites are located – HB 909 (Rep. Dan Huberty)

 

Creating a substantially more fair, equitable and transparent eminent domain process for thousands of Texans who are faced each year with the prospect of losing their private property through forced condemnation – HB 991 (Rep. DeWayne Burns)

 

Protecting private property rights by specifying that a private entity does not have the power of eminent domain for the purpose of developing or operating a high-speed rail project – HB 1367 (Rep. Cody Harris)

 

Prohibiting the High Speed Rail Project from beginning any construction until they have acquired all of the property necessary to complete the project – HB 1369 (Rep. Cody Harris)

 

Putting up roadblocks to the High Speed Rail Project by evaluating the feasibility of creating a statewide high-speed rail initiative through a public-private partnership – HB 1370 (Rep. Cody Harris)

 

HB 1408 would permanently shut down powertochoose.org. (Rep. Jared Patterson, R-Frisco)

 

To create the Generate Recurring Oil Wealth for Texas Fund— the “GROW Texas Fund,” to secure existing state revenue paid by oil and gas producers through severance taxes for specific re-investment in the Texas oil patch that has been strained to the brink by record-breaking production in recent years, money to be used exclusively to expand and improve highways and public roads, increase law-enforcement and first responder salaries, and revitalize education and skilled-workforce opportunities by dedicating money to teachers, schools, colleges and universities – HJR 82 and HB 2154 (Rep. Brooks Landgraf, Rep. Tom Craddick)

 

Creating action for the damage to property value caused by the use of an easement – HB 2470

 

Requiring Texas A&M University to study the effects of climate change and the preparedness of the state to address those effects – HB 3023 (Rep. Mary Gonzalez)

 

Stopping legislators from immediately becoming lobbyists after they leave office and requires a two-session “cooling-off” period before former legislators are legally able to lobby in Austin. – HB 3972

 

To create a substantially more fair, equitable and transparent eminent domain process for thousands of Texans who are faced each year with the prospect of losing their private property through forced condemnation.- SB 421 (Sen. Lois Kolkhorst)

 

To update current statute to codify current practices of the comptroller’s office basing eligibility for low-producing gas wells and oil leases on the higher production rates reported to the Railroad Commission or the Comptroller’s office – SB 925

 

 

ELECTRICITY AND UTILITIES

 

Enhancing security of the electric grid – HB 400

 

Funding through greenhouse gas emissions fees for energy efficiency programs by utilities, authorizing a new fee – HB 223

 

Creating special commissions and action for the damage to property value caused by the use of an easement, giving homeowners a right to file damage claims in a process similar to eminent domain land takings, in which property owners can appeal to a special commission if compensation doesn’t seem fair – HB 2470

 

Requiring utilities to train employees to spot power lines that are not in compliance with national electricity standards and report the results of annual inspections – HB 4150

 

Enhancing customer assistance programs at municipally-owned utilities – HB 382

 

Assistance for the paying of electricity bills for those who need it – HB 296

 

Enhancing resources for emergency management for cyber-attacks against the state – HB 351

 

Creating a cyber-security council – HB350

 

Calculation of charges for gas customers after natural gas leaks – HB 862

 

Administrative penalties for gas pipeline operators in not reporting leak incidents – HB 863

 

Requirements for natural gas pipeline leak and incident reporting – HB 864

 

Regarding maintenance of records for pipeline incident reporting – HB 865

 

Requiring changes in administrative policies for replacement of natural gas pipelines – HB 866

 

Requiring procedural changes for written disclosure to customers of natural gas leaks – HB 867

 

Requiring disclosure of the location of gas leaks – HB 868

 

Requiring the closing of the PowerToChoose website operated by the Public Utility Commission of Texas that enables customers to choose retail electric service plans and providers – HB 1408

 

Creating a limited sales tax exemption for some light bulbs – HB 451

 

Additional tax for land when its use changes – HB163

 

Municipalities’ comprehensive plan for long-range development including adoption of an environmental report – HB219

 

Creating a revolving fund for disaster re-investment and infrastructure planning – HB 274

 

Helping with notice for scheduled disconnection of water service by utilities – HB 458

 

Increase access to broadband internet for rural areas in Texas – SB 14

 

 

OTHER BILLS OF POSSIBLE INTEREST TO ENERGY INDUSTRIES

 

The economic stabilization fund – HB 20

 

The San Jacinto River Authority directors – HB33

 

Disaster Alert System – HB 34

 

Regional transit authorities use of the power of eminent domain – HB 71

 

Changes and water availability in strategic planning for some state agencies – HB 100

 

Information about oversize and overweight vehicles in driver education and safety courses – HB 105

 

Registration of automated motor vehicles – HB 113

 

Liability and reporting of accidents for certain motor vehicles – HB 119

 

Optional county fees for some vehicles in certain counties – HB 130

 

Rules over commercial vehicles’ electronic logging devices – HB 153

 

Creation of innovation districts – HB 228

 

Political subdivisions using federal funds – HB 230

 

A web portal to be created monitoring cross-border vehicle traffic – HB 260

 

Controlling the use by political subdivisions of public money for lobbying – HB 281

 

Creating a criminal offense for lobbying by former members of the legislature – HB 498

 

Enhancing safety standards of commercial motor vehicles in some counties – HB 511

 

Repealing an allowance authorizing administration and enforcement of some motor vehicle taxes – HB 894

 

Exempting some rural transit districts from taxes on some motor fuel – HB 916

 

Regarding enforcement of commercial vehicle safety standards in some municipalities – HB 917