May 29, 2019

100% of TLTA's Legislative Priorities Approved by Lawmakers

The Texas Legislature adjourned sine die on Monday, May 27, and we are proud to report that 100 percent of TLTA’s legislative agenda was approved by lawmakers and has been sent to Gov. Abbott. TLTA sought and won passage of the following four priority pieces of legislation:
  • HB 3228 - clarifies who has access to participate in TDI rate hearings
  • HB 1614 - updates and modernizes TTIGA statute 
  • SB 2128 - clarifies RON-related statute related to 'papering out' and recording e-notarized documents and e-closing documents
  • HB 1833 - establishes a mechanism by which the authority to sell real properties on behalf of partnerships and limited liability corporations can be assigned for transactions under $1,000,000.
    These important bills are now waiting in the governor's office, where he can sign them, veto them no later than June 16, or allow them to become law without his signature. 
 
In a typical legislative session, four of every five bills die before achieving passage. TLTA's overwhelming success this session should be attributed to the following people:
  • TLTA's Board of Directors, who approved our legislative priorities.
  • Legislative Chair Steve Streiff, who spent many hours at the Capitol and worked daily to advance our legislative mission.
  • TLTA's Legislative Committee, who reviewed countless bills and provided input on their potential impact as well as identified solutions to address concerns.
  • TLTA members who testified and advocated on our behalf at the Capitol, including Denise Holmes, Roland Love and Steve Streiff.
  • TLTA's Local Legislative Liaisons, who delivered on-demand, personal support that significantly improved our communication with legislators.
  • TLTAPAC Board of Directors and supporters, whose work helps us educate lawmakers.
  • TLTA's team of professional advocates, who helped us work with legislators and stakeholders to improve and advance our legislative priorities.
  • Of course, none of this would be possible without the legislators who filed and championed our legislative priorities, including Chairman Kelly Hancock, Sen. Brandon Creighton, Sen. Bryan Hughes, Rep. Sergio Munoz, Rep. Tom Oliverson, Rep. Tan Parker, and Rep. John Wray. Chairman Eddie Lucio III deserves special appreciation for his stewardship of the House Insurance Committee, which handled several of our priorities this session.
A full legislative report on the bills listed above, as well as other legislation that could impact our industry and our allies, will be delivered to you after the Governor's bill signing and veto period ends on June 18.
 
Leslie Midgley and Aaron Day will present a TLTA Legislative and Regulatory Update at our 2019 Annual Conference and Business Meeting. Their update will detail outcomes of the TLTA legislative priorities discussed above, as well as other legislative action that impacts our industry. Learn more, or register now

May 22, 2019

Final Week of the 86th Session

Five days remain in the 86th Session of the Texas Legislature, and lawmakers' workdays stretch past midnight to advance the few hundred viable bills that remain one step ahead of legislative deadlines.
 
We continue to successfully move forward TLTA's legislative priorities, and we are pleased to report that HB 3228—which would clarify who has access to participate in TDI rate hearings (a measure we are working to pass)—has been passed by the House and Senate. The bill is now headed to Gov. Abbott's desk, where he can sign the legislation, veto it, or let it become law without his signature. 
 
The House version of the TTIGA update bill (HB 1614/SB 2333) is included on the Senate's final local and uncontested calendar, which will be heard later this week. 
 
The RON-related 'papering out' legislation (HB 3060/SB 2128) has been passed by the House and Senate. The bill is now headed to Gov. Abbott's desk, where he can sign the legislation, veto it, or let it become law without his signature. 
 
Legislation related to certificates of authority that identify who has the authority on behalf of partnerships and corporations to sell real property (HB 1833/SB 977) is included on the Senate's final local and uncontested calendar, which will be heard later this week. However, we are working to help the bill sponsor take HB 1833 to the Senate floor with the hope of amending it in response to stakeholder feedback. 
 
With few exceptions, the 77 bills that we've been tracking this session are dead or have been revised in a way that satisfies our concerns and/or the concerns of our industry partners and allies. 
 
Elsewhere in the Texas Legislature, the conference committee for the state budget has made decisions on most issues other than the two biggest cost drivers – health and human services and funding for public education. Public education appropriations will remain on hold until the Legislature concludes its work on school finance reform legislation, HB 3. 
 
Following the conclusion of the legislative session, Leslie Midgley and Aaron Day will present a TLTA Advocacy Update at our 2019 Annual Conference and Business Meeting. Their update will detail outcomes of the TLTA legislative priorities discussed above, as well as other legislative action that impacts our industry. Learn more, or register now.  
 
SPECIAL NOTE: Congratulations to former legislator and title industry professional Rodney Anderson, who has been elected to chair the Dallas County GOP.

May 15, 2019

Less than 2 Weeks Remain in the Texas Legislature's 86th Session TDI Rate Hearing In Austin Next Week

Less than two weeks remain in the 86th Session of the Texas Legislature. Legislative deadlines are expiring, and the window to advance bills to final passage is closing rapidly.
 
We continue to advance TLTA's legislative priorities, and we are on track to achieve a passage rate exceeding the 20 percent passage rate for all legislation filed Capitol-wide. 
 
HB 3228—which would clarify who has access to participate in TDI rate hearings (a measure we are working to pass)—was heard by the Senate Business and Commerce Committee on May 9 and voted out on May 14. This legislation is now headed to the Senate Administration Committee.
 
The House version of the TTIGA update bill (HB 1614/SB 2333) was heard in the Senate Business and Commerce Committee yesterday. We are working to have the House bill voted out of the Senate committee at the next opportunity. 
 
The RON-related 'papering out' legislation we support (HB 3060/SB 2128) is in the Local and Consent Calendars Committee, and we are working to get it placed on the next local calendar to be set next week.
 
Legislation related to certificates of authority that identify who has the authority on behalf of partnerships and corporations to sell real property (HB 1833/SB 977) was heard in the Senate Business and Commerce Committee May 9. We are working to have the House bill voted out of the Senate committee at the next opportunity.
 
We continue monitoring the progress of these 77 bills, and we remain engaged in productive dialogue with stakeholders and the authors of the bills on this list.
 
Elsewhere in the Texas Legislature, the conference committee charged with negotiating the differences among the House and Senate versions of the state budget is on track and advancing. The state comptroller recently increased his revenue estimate for 2020-21 by $500 million, which gives appropriators more wiggle room as they negotiate the final state budget for the upcoming biennium. 
 
Only 12 days remain until the Texas Legislature's 86th Session adjourns Sine Die. 
 
Following the conclusion of the legislative session, Leslie Midgley and Aaron Day will present a TLTA Advocacy Update at our 2019 Annual Conference and Business Meeting. Their update will detail outcomes of the TLTA legislative priorities discussed above, as well as other legislative action that impacts our industry. Learn more, or register now.  

May 8, 2019

TLTA Bills in Senate Business and Commerce Committee Tomorrow

With less than three weeks remaining in the 86th Session of the Texas Legislature, legislative deadlines are passing and many bills are dying Capitol-wide.
 
We are pleased to report that we continue to advance TLTA's legislative priorities, and we've benefited from significant progress in the last week. 
 
HB 3228—which would clarify who has access to participate in TDI rate hearings (a measure we are working to pass)—was passed by the House on Friday, May 3. The Senate's Business and Commerce Committee is scheduled to hear it tomorrow, May 9.
 
The TTIGA update bill (HB 1614/SB 2333) was passed by the Texas House on Friday, May 3, and the Senate Business and Commerce Committee recommended it for the Senate's local and uncontested calendar. 
 
The House County Affairs Committee last week heard the RON-related 'papering out' legislation we support (HB 3060/SB 2128), passing SB 2128 in lieu of the companion (i.e., HB 3060). 
 
Legislation related to certificates of authority that identify who has the authority on behalf of partnerships and corporations to sell real property (HB 1833/SB 977) was passed by the House on Friday, May 3, and the Senate's Business and Commerce Committee is scheduled to consider HB 1833 tomorrow, May 9. 
 
We continue monitoring the progress of these 77 bills, and we remain engaged in productive dialogue with stakeholders and the authors of the bills on this list.
 
Elsewhere in the Texas Legislature, the Senate passed the House's school finance reform legislation, HB 3, after adding more than 40 amendments. Both chambers have appointed conference committees, and conferees are now charged with reconciling the chambers' different visions for the legislation.
 
Only 19 days remain until the Texas Legislature's 86th Session adjourns Sine Die. 
 
Following the conclusion of the legislative session, Leslie Midgley and Aaron Day will present a TLTA Advocacy Update at our 2019 Annual Conference and Business Meeting. Their update will detail outcomes of the TLTA legislative priorities discussed above, as well as other legislative action that impacts our industry. Learn more, or register now.  
 

May 1, 2019

Priority Bills Advancing, Upcoming Deadlines, Final Month of Session

TLTA's legislative priorities continue advancing in the Texas House and Senate.

HB 3228—which would clarify who has access to participate in TDI rate hearings (a measure we are working to pass)—was approved by the House Calendars Committee and has been placed on the House's General State Calendar.

Both chambers have held hearings on the TTIGA update bill (HB 1614/SB 2333). HB 1614 is on the House's local/uncontested calendar May 3. 

Likewise, the RON-related 'papering out' legislation we support (HB 3060/SB 2128) continues to advance. The House County Affairs Committee heard HB 3060 last week, and on Monday they heard SB 2128 in lieu of the companion (i.e., HB 3060). The committee approved SB 2128, and recommended it for the House's local/uncontested calendar. 

Legislation related to certificates of authority that identify who has the authority on behalf of partnerships and corporations to sell real property (HB 1833/SB 977) was approved by the House Calendars Committee and was placed on the House's General State Calendar. 

We continue monitoring the progress of these 77 bills. We are engaged in productive dialogue with stakeholders and the authors of the bills on this list that cause concern for our industry or our strategic partners.

Elsewhere in the Texas Legislature, the House passed SB 2 – the property tax reform bill supported by the Legislature's Big 3. And, legislative deadlines loom large as legislators, industries and advocates work to pass their priority legislation.

These are the deadlines that will come into play during the final month of the session (CLICK THE IMAGE TO ENLARGE):



Only 26 days remain until the Texas Legislature's 86th Session adjourns Sine Die. 

April 24, 2019

Priority Bills, Property Taxes, State Budget Conferees

TLTA's legislative priorities continue advancing in the Texas House and Senate.
 
The committee substitute for HB 3228—which would clarify who has access to participate in TDI rate hearings (a measure we are working to pass)—was approved by the House Insurance Committee and will now be taken up by the House Calendars Committee. We continue working with the Senate on their companion legislation – SB 1062
 
Both chambers have held hearings on the TTIGA update bill (HB 1614/SB 2333), and the House committee recommended it for their local/uncontested calendar.
 
Likewise, the RON-related 'papering out' legislation we support (HB 3060/SB 2128) has been voted out of the Senate and received in the House. The House County Affairs Committee heard HB 3060 last week. TLTA Legislative Chair Steve Streiff testified on behalf of TLTA in support of the bill. 
 
Legislation related to certificates of authority that identify who has the authority on behalf of partnerships and corporations to sell real property (HB 1833/SB 977) was approved by the House Business and Industry Committee for consideration by the entire House and will now be taken up by the House Calendars Committee. We continue working toward a hearing soon in the Senate.
 
We are monitoring the progress of these 77 bills. We continue engaging in productive dialogue with stakeholders and the authors of bills that cause concern for our industry or our strategic partners.
 
Elsewhere in the Texas Legislature, conferees for the state budget (HB 1) have been named (they met yesterday for an organizational discussion): 
  
House budget conferees 
  
John Zerwas of Richmond (Chair), Greg Bonnen of Friendswood, Sarah Davis of West University Place, Oscar Longoria of Mission and Armando Walle of Houston  
  
Senate budget conferees 
  
Jane Nelson of Flower Mound (Chair), Larry Taylor of Friendswood, Joan Huffman of Houston, Lois Kolkhorst of Brenham and Robert Nichols of Jacksonville  
  
State budget conferees are charged with working out the differences in the chambers' plans for appropriating the $250 billion available to spend during the upcoming 2020-2021 biennium. Once an agreement has been reached among conferees, the budget bill will be subject to an up or down vote in each chamber before moving on to the governor, who has line item veto power.  
  
NOTE: The House and Senate both propose investing an additional $9 billion in the state's school finance system, although they differ on how to fill the biggest spending buckets: property tax relief, education funding, teacher pay raises.
 
Only 33 days remain until the Texas Legislature's 86th Session adjourns Sine Die.

April 18, 2019

Major News in the Years-Long Battle Over Re-Regulation in Texas

There's major news in the years-long battle over re-regulation of Texas' successful promulgated rate system. We worked out a resolution that's been endorsed by TLTA's board of directors, the legislators carrying the standing bills with whom we've been working this session, and Texans for Free Enterprise, who joined their network of allies in commitment to this long-term solution. 
 
We are now working together to support passage of legislation that will resolve this lengthy debate while preserving our promulgated rate system and improving statutory language regarding our rate hearing process.
 
Putting this matter to rest will allow us to focus our time and resources on the many other matters of key importance to our industry and the consumers we serve.
 
The compromise language that is now being advanced would do the following:
  • It clarifies the process whereby an interested person can request a rate hearing, and it outlines the process for the Insurance Commissioner's consideration of that request. The parties that currently have the ability to automatically trigger a hearing, including TLTA and OPIC, remain unchanged. 
  • Additionally, the bill sets up a process whereby an interested person who has requested a hearing can ask that the hearing be moved to a contested format, and it sets out a process for the Commissioner to review and accept or deny that request through a hearing on the request. 
  • Finally, the bill provides interested individuals access to participate as a party in the hearing while retaining other parties' opportunity to challenge the standing of that individual and remove their party status.
TLTA believes the legislation as now drafted provides needed clarity regarding who can participate in the rate hearing process, and it outlines a process for how that access is attained while still maintaining the commissioner's discretion to act as appropriate when setting hearings or providing standing. 
 
This is good public policy that clarifies the ways in which the public can continue participating in the rate setting process.
 
A committee substitute for HB 3228 that's limited to the new measures listed above was heard in the House Insurance Committee on Tuesday. The bill was favorably received and the committee chair, members and bill author all expressed appreciation to the two parties for finding common ground so that a resolution could be reached in this longstanding dispute. It was also noted importantly that everyone has agreed there will not be any attempts to amend this bill throughout the process.
 
Watch a Video of the Hearing on HB 3228 (Advance to 2:01:30) »
 

Click the image above to watch the hearing (advance to 2:01:30)
 
TLTA's other legislative priorities are advancing in the Texas House and Senate. Both chambers held hearings on the TTIGA update bill (HB 1614/SB 2333), and the House committee recommended it for their local/uncontested calendar.
 
Likewise, the RON-related 'papering out' legislation we support (HB 3060/SB 2128) has been voted out of the Senate and received in the House. The House County Affairs Committee is scheduled to hear HB 3060 today. TLTA Legislative Chair Steve Streiff will be testifying on behalf of TLTA in support of the bill. 
 
Legislation related to certificates of authority that identify who has the authority on behalf of partnerships and corporations to sell real property (HB 1833/SB 977) was approved by the House Business and Industry Committee for consideration by the entire House and will now be taken up by the House Calendars Committee. We continue working toward a hearing soon in the Senate.
 
We are monitoring the progress of these 77 bills. We continue engaging in productive dialogue with stakeholders and the authors of bills that cause concern for our industry or our strategic partners.
 
Elsewhere in the Texas Legislature, efforts to repeal the franchise tax and a constitutional amendment that would lower property taxes by raising sales tax rates (a measure endorsed by the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the Texas House) continue to fight through choppy legislative waters.
 
Only 39 days remain until the Texas Legislature's 86th Session adjourns Sine Die. 

April 10, 2019

TLTA's Legislative Priorities Advancing as Planned and Objectionable Bills Remain Static

TLTA's legislative priorities are advancing in the Texas House and Senate. Both chambers held hearings on the TTIGA update bill (HB 1614/SB 2333), and the House committee recommended it for their local/uncontested calendar.
 
Likewise, the RON-related 'papering out' legislation we support (HB 3060/SB 2128) was heard in the Senate and recommended for their local/uncontested calendar. We expect the Senate bill to go to the floor rather than the local calendar, however, so it can be amended. 
 
Legislation related to certificates of authority that identify who has the authority on behalf of partnerships and corporations to sell real property (HB 1833/SB 977) was heard in the House Business and Industry Committee, and we will be working to have a hearing soon in the Senate.
 
The fact that each of TLTA's priorities are moving via identical companion bills in both chambers is an advantage. The existence of identical companion bills gives us room to maneuver as we encounter the legislative pitfalls that commonly hobble legislation before passage. For example, the rules governing the legislative process provide potential procedural advantage to identical companion bills when they pass each other en route from one chamber to the other. 
 
We continue engaging in productive dialogue with stakeholders and the authors of bills that cause concern for our industry or our strategic partners.
 
We are monitoring the progress of these 77 bills
 
On Thursday of this week, HB 2, which would cap city and county property tax growth, will be heard on the House floor. Elsewhere in the Texas Legislature, the National Federation of Independent Business and other legislative allies are working with the Texas Legislature to preempt cities that require private sector employers to offer paid sick leave, as the City of Austin has done.  
 
Only 47 days remain until the Texas Legislature's 86th Session adjourns Sine Die. 

April 3, 2019

Steve Streiff Testifies on Priority Legislation, State Budget Advances, Property Tax Relief, and More

HB 1833—TLTA priority legislation related to certificates of authority for entities—was heard in the House Business and Industry Committee on Tuesday. Rep. Wray laid out the bill, noting that passage of the legislation would help small business. TLTA Board Member Steve Streiff testified in support of HB 1833. It was left pending, as expected. 
 

TLTA Board Member Steve Streiff testifies in support of HB 1833

We continue to monitor the identical bills (SB 1062/HB 3228) filed by Chairman Hancock and Rep. Muñoz that would empower any interested person to compel the Commissioner of Insurance to initiate a title insurance premium rate hearing. These bills have not advanced, nor have they secured co-authors. Likewise, Sen. Taylor's SB 1437 relating to easements to be included in title commitments remains waiting in committee, where it was when we last reported on it. Your TLTA legislative staff and lobby team continue visiting with all three of these members, their staff, and committee staff to address our concerns with their legislation.
 
We also continue monitoring the development of these 77 bills and other issues that could impact our industry or industry partners. 
 
After more than 11 hours of debate and amendments, the Texas House passed their version of the state budget (HB 1) early Thursday morning. An additional $9 billion in state funding for public education was approved, with $3 billion of that amount assigned to property tax relief. The Senate Finance Committee meets today to vote out their own version of the budget, and they have indicated that their plan will include an additional $9 billion in public education funding. 
 
After the House finished its work on the budget, the House Ways and Means committee met and voted out HB 2, which would cap city and county property tax growth. The Senate version of this legislation (SB 2) could be heard on the Senate floor as early as this week. 
 
Today, the Texas House will debate that chamber's school finance reform and property tax relief bill (HB 3).
 
Elsewhere in the Texas Legislature this week, the regulation of short term rentals, cannabis law reform, free speech protections and hundreds of other bills are being vigorously debated Capitol-wide.
 
Only 54 days remain until the 86th Session of the Texas Legislature adjourns Sine Die. 

March 27, 2019

TTIGA Bill Advances, State Budget, Property Tax Relief, and More

The committee substitute for HB 1614—the TTIGA update bill that’s among TLTA’s 86th Session priorities—was reported favorably from the House Insurance Committee on Tuesday. Now it's headed to the House Calendars Committee before it can be heard on the House floor.

We continue to monitor the identical bills (SB 1062/HB 3228) filed by Chairman Hancock and Rep. Muñoz that would empower any interested person to compel the Commissioner of Insurance to initiate a title insurance premium rate hearing. These bills have not advanced, nor have they secured co-authors. Likewise, Sen. Taylor's SB 1437 relating to easements to be included in title commitments remains waiting in committee, where it was when we last reported on it. Your TLTA legislative staff and lobby team continue visiting with all three of these members, their staff, and committee staff to address our concerns with their legislation.
 
We also continue monitoring the development of these 77 bills and other issues that could impact our industry or industry partners. Among the bills we're monitoring is HB 2024 related to survival of mechanics retainage liens after foreclosure. That bill was heard in the House Committee on Business and Industry Tuesday, and Roland Love testified against the bill on behalf of TLTA. Also testifying against the bill were John Fleming on behalf of the Texas Mortgage Bankers Association, Karen Neeley on behalf of Indepdendent Bankers Association of Texas, and John Heasley on behalf of Texas Bankers Association. We had a very productive conversation with the bill's author, Rep. Romero, and we look forward to working with him.
 
Today on the floor of the Texas House, state representatives are discussing and revising the state budget (HB 1). More than 300 HB 1 amendments were prefiled as of the deadline on Sunday, and we expect the House's budget-related debate to continue until late tonight or early tomorrow morning. After the House approves its version of the budget, HB 1 will be sent to the Senate, where senators will approve their own version before a conference committee is assigned to work out the differences.
 
On Wednesday of next week, the Texas House will debate that chamber's school finance reform and property tax relief bill (HB 3) – subjects identified as the 86th Session's top priorities by the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the Texas House. HB 3 would inject $9 billion in new funding over the next two years. $2.7 billion of that new funding would be used to buy down local property tax rates for school districts. Prefiled amendments for HB 3 are due by Monday, April 1 at 5 p.m. 
 
Elsewhere in the Texas Legislature this week, legislation related to Hurricane Harvey recovery and future flood mitigation was passed by the Texas Senate. And, our Texas Realtor friends hosted their Day at the Texas Capitol yesterday, March 26. There were nearly 3,000 realtors on hand for the event, and we remain proud to call them our allies. 

March 20, 2019

TTIGA Bill Has Hearing, Property Tax Reform Advances, State Budget Development Continues

HB 1614—the TTIGA update bill that’s among TLTA’s 86th Session priorities —was heard in the House Insurance Committee on Tuesday March 19.
 
Denise Holmes, TLTA volunteer and member of TTIGA's Board provided effective testimony supporting passage of HB 1614, as did former legislator and title industry professional Rodney Anderson. The bill’s author, Rep. Tom Oliverson, was a staunch advocate for our industry when he closed his comments with a show of appreciation for all the services title agents provide beyond issuing title:
 
“Time is of the essence in these transactions. Many times consumers who are selling a home are waiting for funds to purchase another home. People who are buyers are expecting to have homeowners insurance premiums and that things will get paid in a prompt manner to avoid penalties. You could imagine what kind of positions these consumers are put into when something happens with the title agent and there’s nobody there to step in and make sure that these financial needs are met in a prompt manner.”
 
HB 1614 was left pending, as expected, and TLTA’s legislative team are working to move this priority legislation to the next step in the legislative process.
 
On Monday, the House Appropriations Committee voted to advance HB 1 (state budget for the 2020-21 biennium) and SB 500 (supplemental appropriations bill). The appropriations bills will be considered by all 150 members of the Texas House in the coming weeks, then the Senate will take up and consider both measures, replacing the House plan with the Senate plan and conference committees will be assigned to work out the differences. Learn more about the state budget advanced by House Appropriations Committee members.
 
House Public Education Committee Chairman Dan Huberty on Tuesday introduced a revised version of HB 3 – the House's public education and school finance reform legislation. HB 3 would inject $9 billion in new funding over the next two years. $2.7 billion of that new funding would be used to buy down local property tax rates for school districts. The members of the House Public Education Committee voted unanimously to advance HB 3.
 
Staff at TLTA are currently monitoring the development of these 77 bills and other issues that could impact our industry or industry partners.

March 13, 2019

TLTA's Legislative Priorities Filed, Bills We're Monitoring, Special Election Results

The bill filing deadline for the 86th Session of the Texas Legislature was March 8. Lawmakers filed more than 7,000 bills before the deadline. Staff at TLTA are currently monitoring the development of these 77 bills and other issues that could impact our industry or industry partners.
 
We continue to monitor the identical bills filed by Chairman Hancock and Rep. Muñoz that would amend statute to give any interested individual the ability to trigger a title insurance premium rate hearing, as well as the option to request that it be conducted as a contested hearing (SB 1062/HB 3228). We are working with these lawmakers to address our concerns with their legislation.
 
Additionally, Sen. Larry Taylor filed SB 1437 relating to easements to be included in title commitments. We are working with Sen. Taylor's office to address concerns about this proposed change.
 
TLTA's legislative team continues working to advance our Legislative Priorities for the 86th Session. We are pleased to report that Sen. Brandon Creighton filed the TTIGA update (SB 2333) and RON clarification (SB 2128) legislation that are included among TLTA's legislative priorities for the 86th Session. With the filing of these bills, all of TLTA's legislative priorities have been filed in both chambers of the Legislature. Review our priorities and the filed bills that could accomplish those priorities here
 
Ray Lopez won the special election runoff Tuesday night for the Texas House seat formerly held by state Rep. Justin Rodriguez. Read More »

March 6, 2019

Rep. Muñoz Files Title Insurance Regulation Bill, RON Clarification Filed, School Finance Reform

State Rep. Sergio Muñoz, Jr. filed a companion bill (HB 3228) to the bill filed by state Sen. Kelly Hancock (SB 1062) that would amend statute to give any interested individual the ability to trigger a title insurance premium rate hearing as well as the option to request that it be conducted as a contested hearing. As a reminder, Rep. Muñoz also filed a title insurance reregulation bill in the House last session. We are working with Chairman Hancock and Rep. Muñoz to address every concern about this proposed change.
 
TLTA's legislative team continues working to advance our Legislative Priorities for the 86th Session. We are pleased to report that state Rep. Tan Parker filed the remote online notary bill (HB 3060) that's included among TLTA's legislative priorities for the 86th Session. 
 
Our priorities this session include maintaining Texas’ successful title insurance system, modernizing the Texas Title Insurance Guaranty Association (HB 1614), clarifying the Remote Online Notary (RON) statute approved last session (HB 3060), and certificates of authority for entities (HB 1833 and SB 977).
 
In other legislative news, school finance continues to be the biggest issue of the 86th Legislative Session. House and Senate leadership have expressed similar goals (i.e., property tax reduction and reform of the system via which the state finances public school), but the two chambers appear to be taking different approaches to accomplishing their shared goals. The Texas House is coalescing behind HB 3, and during a press conference today Speaker Bonnen noted that the House's school finance bill is comprehensive, addressing property tax reduction, school finance reform, teacher pay raises, and other key issues in HB 3. The Senate is filing stand-alone bills designed to address these major issues individually: SB 3 for teacher pay raises, SB 4 for school finance reform (not filed yet), and SB 12 for increased funding to TRS.
 
After a special election victory yesterday, Christina Morales will fill the Texas House seat left vacant when Carol Alvarado won her seat in the Texas Senate at the end of 2018. Learn more »
 
The bill filing deadline for the 86th Session of the Texas Legislature is March 8. Lawmakers have filed more than 4,000 bills to-date. Staff at TLTA are currently monitoring the development of these 67 bills and other issues that could impact our industry or industry partners.

February 27, 2019

Chairman of Senate B&C Files Title-Related Legislation, Bill Filing Deadline Looming

State Sen. Kelly Hancock, chairman of the Senate's Business and Commerce Committee, filed SB 1062 this week. His bill would amend statute to give any interested individual the ability to trigger a title insurance premium rate hearing as well as the option to request that it be conducted as a contested hearing. We are working with Chairman Hancock's office to address every concern about this proposed change.
 
Elsewhere in the Capitol, budget writers continue to meet, and bills on the Governor's list of emergency items are being heard in committee, including property tax relief.
 
The bill filing deadline for the 86th Session of the Texas Legislature is March 8. Lawmakers have filed more than 3,700 bills to-date. Staff at TLTA are currently monitoring the development of these 44 bills and other issues that could impact our industry or industry partners.
 
TLTA's legislative team is working to advance our Legislative Priorities for the 86th Session. Our priorities include maintaining Texas’ successful title insurance system, modernizing the Texas Title Insurance Guaranty Association (HB 1614), clarifying the Remote Online Notary (RON) statute approved last session, and certificates of authority for entities (HB 1833 and SB 977).

February 20, 2019

Day at the Capitol, Our Legislative Agenda Continues to Advance

Nearly 300 title professionals from across Texas traveled to Austin last week and joined us as we went door-to-door in the Capitol on a goodwill mission to share our industry's powerful story with legislators and staff. 
 
We are very proud to report that title professionals visited all of the Capitol's 181 legislative offices. Legislators need to see our industry show up in good times and bad, and our 2019 Day at the Capitol successfully reminded lawmakers that Texas' title insurance professionals are good community partners who work for Texans. A big roaring 'thank you!' to everyone who participated last week, including our event sponsors: Stewart, Fidelity National Title Group, National Investors Title Insurance Company and First National Title Insurance Company.
 



Title professionals from across Texas went door-to-door in the Capitol Feb. 13 as part of a goodwill mission to share our industry's powerful story with legislators and staff
 
TLTA's legislative team is working to advance our Legislative Agenda for the 86th Session. Our priorities include maintaining Texas’ successful title insurance system, modernizing the Texas Title Insurance Guaranty Association (HB 1614), clarifying the Remote Online Notary (RON) statute approved last session, and certificates of authority for entities.
 
We are pleased to report that state Rep. John Wray last week filed the certificates of authority for entities bill (HB 1833).
 
Texas lawmakers have filed more than 2,900 bills to-date. Staff at TLTA are currently monitoring the development of these bills and other issues that could impact our industry or industry partners.

February 13, 2019

Bills We're Monitoring, Senate Property Tax Committee Advances

Texas lawmakers have filed more than 2,500 bills to-date. Staff at TLTA are currently monitoring the development of these bills and other issues that could impact our industry or industry partners.
 
Among the bills we are monitoring is HB 1560 by Dutton. As filed, HB 1560 would impose a new tax on title underwriters. Our legislative team engaged Rep. Dutton in conversations about the intended purpose of the legislation and its likely future direction, and it's clear that his bill is a work in progress. We'll continue to monitor HB 1560's development, but it appears we can have confidence that Rep. Dutton is receptive to our industry's concerns with the proposal as filed. Rep. Dutton is a talented legislator who has for years had a strong and positive relationship with our industry. If you have concerns or questions about our conversations with Rep. Dutton, please contact Aaron Day
 
The property tax reform proposal highlighted by the governor, lieutenant governor and speaker of the Texas House at a joint press conference in January was voted out of the Senate Committee on Property Tax on Monday. A committee substitute for SB 2 was adopted, as were 15 amendments. Senate sources say the bill could be heard on the Senate floor as early as Thursday.  
 
The special election to replace former state Rep. Justin Rodriguez in House District 125 was held Tuesday, and two candidates will advance to a run-off election – Fred Rangel and Ray Lopez. A date for the runoff has not been set. Learn more
 
We are excited to report that more than 300 title professionals are in Austin for TLTA's Day at the Capitol! We are going door to door on a goodwill mission to share our industry's story with legislators and staff. This is our industry's most important advocacy event this year, so thank you to all who are attending and supporting the mission!
 
TLTA's legislative team is working to advance our Legislative Agenda for the 86th Session. Our priorities include maintaining Texas’ successful title insurance system, modernizing the Texas Title Insurance Guaranty Association, clarifying the Remote Online Notary (RON) statute approved last session, and certificates of authority for entities.
 
We are pleased to report that state Rep. Oliverson filed the TTIGA bill (House Bill 1614) Tuesday morning. 

February 6, 2019

Governor's State of the State, Property Tax Reform, Day at the Capitol

Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Speaker of the Texas House Dennis Bonnen held a joint press conference last week to celebrate the filing of two identical pieces of property tax reform legislation – SB 2 by Bettencourt and HB 2 by Burrows. The state's "Big 3" leaders committed to remain united in their pursuit of property tax reform. Watch the press conference
 
The governor's property tax reform agenda was reiterated in his State of the State Address delivered to a joint session of the Texas House and Senate on Tuesday. He named five emergency items for the 86th Session of the Texas Legislature:
  • property tax reform
  • school finance and increased pay for teachers
  • school safety
  • Texas Mental Health Care Consortium
  • disaster response
You can watch the governor's State of the State, or read the text.
 
Texas lawmakers have filed more than 2,000 bills to-date. Staff at TLTA are currently monitoring the development of these bills and other issues that could impact our industry or industry partners. 
 
Additionally, TLTA's legislative team is working to advance our Legislative Agenda for the 86th Session. Our priorities include maintaining Texas’ successful title insurance system, modernizing the Texas Title Insurance Guaranty Association, clarifying the Remote Online Notary (RON) statute approved last session, and certificates of authority for entities.
 
Please make a plan to join us for TLTA's Day at the Capitol in Austin Feb. 12-13. We'll go office to office at the state Capitol, sharing our industry's powerful story with legislators, staff and other influencers. Register today.

January 30, 2019

Special Election Results, Day at the Capitol

The Senate Finance committee started meeting last week to continue its budget-writing process. Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound), who chairs the committee, said she is pursuing an aggressive agenda that would enable the Senate to debate the budget on the Senate floor in February. Prior to Feb. 7, House and Senate committee actions are limited to organizational meetings and agency briefings, unless the item under consideration is on the Governor's list of emergency items.

Special elections were held yesterday to finish out the terms of state Reps. Joe Pickett of El Paso, who stepped down earlier this month for health reasons, and Carol Alvarado of Houston, who won a special election in December to take over the state senate seat of Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia. 

In El Paso's HD 79, Art Fierro prevailed in the three-way race with 53 percent of the vote. In Houston's HD 145, two candidates are advancing to a run-off election: Christina Morales and Melissa Noriegan.

There will be another special election Feb. 12 to fill the seat of former state Rep. Justin Rodriguez, who took over as Bexar County Commissioner after Commissioner Paul Elizondo died in December. 
 
More than 1,746 bills have been filed on a wide variety of issues that could impact our industry or industry partners. Staff at TLTA are currently monitoring the development of these bills
 
Additionally, TLTA's legislative team is working to advance our Legislative Agenda for the 86th Session. Our priorities include maintaining Texas' successful title insurance system, modernizing the Texas Title Insurance Guaranty Association, clarifying the Remote Online Notary (RON) statute approved last session, and certificates of authority for entities.
 
Please make a plan to join us for TLTA's Day at the Capitol in Austin Feb. 12-13. We'll go office to office at the state Capitol, sharing our industry's powerful story with legislators, staff and other influencers. Register today.

January 23, 2019

Senate Committee Assignments, Senate Finance Hearings Begin, Bill Tracking and More From the 86th Session of the Texas Legislature

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announced the Senate's committee assignments last week, and the Senate's Finance Committee has already started meeting. For our industry, key Senate committees include Business and Commerce and State Affairs. Like last session, the Senate has created a special property tax committee charged with managing one of the session's most talked about issues - property tax relief. There's news that the chairmanship of the Senate's Agriculture Committee is changing.

Speaker of the Texas House Dennis Bonnen announced House committee assignments today. For our industry, key House committees include Insurance, Business and Industry, Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence, and State Affairs. To see who was assigned to these key committees, here's the list of House assignments sorted by committee.

More than 1,400 bills have been filed on a wide variety of issues that could impact our industry or industry partners. Staff at TLTA are currently monitoring the development of these bills.

Additionally, TLTA's legislative team is working to advance our Legislative Agenda for the 86th Session. Our priorities include maintaining Texas’ successful title insurance system, modernizing the Texas Title Insurance Guaranty Association and clarifying the Remote Online Notary (RON) statute approved last session.

Please make a plan to join us for TLTA's Day at the Capitol in Austin Feb. 12-13. We'll go office to office at the state Capitol, sharing our industry's powerful story with legislators, staff and other influencers. Register today.

January 16, 2019

Inauguration, Budget Proposals, Bill Tracking

Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick—who won second terms with victories in November—were sworn in yesterday at an outdoor inauguration ceremony attended by a large crowd of lawmakers, dignitaries and Texans from across the state.  

Abbott and Patrick’s inaugural speeches focused on reducing property taxes and reforming the way that Texas finances public schools. Lt. Gov. Patrick also endorsed pay raises for teachers, and a recommended state budget released by the Senate included increased funding for that purpose (the House released its preliminary budget proposal on Monday, calling for a 17% increase in funding for public education). We can expect Gov. Abbott to dive deeper into his session priorities during his state of the state address in February.


Calleen Smith, Tirey Smith of Lone Star Title, Shelly Martin and TLTA President John Martin enjoy a barbecue lunch on Capitol grounds following inauguration ceremony

Last week the Texas House and Senate adopted their respective rules, making some minor changes to their committee structures in the process. In the House, the changes in committee makeup suggest that the already powerful House State Affairs Committee may be even more influential this session, and the Senate created a committee dedicated to property taxes. We expect members’ committee assignments to be released as early as the end of this week.

Members and staff of TLTA are working the Texas Capitol and advancing our priorities, including maintaining Texas’ successful title insurance system, modernizing the Texas Title Insurance Guaranty Association and clarifying the Remote Online Notary (RON) statute approved last session.

More than a thousand bills have been filed on a wide variety of issues that could impact our industry or industry partners. Staff at TLTA are currently monitoring the development of these bills.

Please make a plan to join us for TLTA's Day at the Capitol in Austin Feb. 12-13. We'll go office to office at the state Capitol, sharing our industry's powerful story with legislators, staff and other influencers. Register today.