November 1, 2019
Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick has new assignments for members of legislative committees.
Between sessions, the Lt. Governor and the Speaker of the House appoint interim committees to help guide the next legislature’s directions and decisions, with members holding hearings that will affect the next regular session in early 2021.
Among energy-related committees, the assigned subjects include Eminent Domain to be studied as joint charges for Natural Resources and Economic Development Committee and Water and Rural Affairs Committee: “Examine current law regarding the balance of private property rights and continued improvement in oil and gas infrastructure.
“Make recommendations to ensure stability between private property owner protections and emergent oil and gas infrastructure.”
The committees will also study Future Water Supply: “Examine current laws, processes, and water storage options and availability.
“Make recommendations promoting the state’s water supply, storage, availability, valuation, movement, and development of new sources.”
And the committees will look into a Groundwater Regulatory Framework: “Study the state’s groundwater regulatory framework and make recommendations to improve groundwater regulation, management, and permitting.”
Other assignments — Electricity, to be studied by the Business and Commerce Committee: “Assess the electricity market in Texas. Examine changes in customer demand, such as on-site storage, distributed generation, and electric vehicles.
“Study the usage of “non-wires alternatives,” including energy storage, and recommend legislative changes if needed. Identify barriers to the electric market at the state or local level. Make recommendations to maintain grid reliability and encourage the continued success of the electric market.”
Business and Commerce is also charged with looking at Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: “Examine current state and local laws regulating unmanned aerial vehicles.
“Identify any legislative changes needed to streamline regulation in a manner that promotes commerce and innovation while protecting public safety and the privacy and property rights of Texans”
The Business and Commerce committee is charged with looking to improve on previous legislation, including Senate Bill 14, relating to broadband service or facilities provided by an electric cooperative
Natural Disaster Funding to be studied by the Finance Committee: “Review federal, state, and local eligibility and
receipt of disaster funds from Community Development Block Grants – Disaster Relief and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“Identify any barriers to the effective utilization of those funds and recommend any changes to statute, rule, or practice to promote the efficient deployment of those funds and expedite recovery by affected citizens, businesses, and communities.”