June 2, 2021


The 87th Session of the Texas Legislature adjourned Sine Die Monday, May 31. Due to delays in the delivery of U.S. Census data, lawmakers will return to Austin for a special legislative session no later than the end of September to attempt to redraw congressional and legislative maps. And, there are other issues that Gov. Abbott and statewide leaders have signaled may be part of a special session in the near future, including election reforms. But for now, legislators' 87th Regular Session work is concluded, and the special session(s) to come will continue to develop in the weeks ahead. 
 
The Governor's veto period is now in effect, but we are pleased to report that our Quitclaim Bill, SB 885 by Sen. Hughes, has already been signed by Gov. Abbott and will become law effective Sept. 1, 2021.
 
The other bill we worked to pass this session, Homestead Certainty, HB 3115 by Rep. Shine, has been passed by the House and Senate and is awaiting action by the governor. The Governor of Texas can either veto a bill, sign it, or allow it to become law without his signature. Our communication with Gov. Abbott's office on this legislation has been positive, and we are hopeful that our Homestead Certainty Bill will also be effective Sept. 1, 2021. 
 
The bills TLTA worked to pass during the 87th Legislative Session were approved by TLTA's Board of Directors as recommended by our Legislative Committee, which is chaired by Steve Streiff.
 
We are grateful for the lawmakers and everyone on our legislative team who made this record of success possible in a very unique and challenging session. We are proud to report that TLTA and all our members walked from the Texas Capitol with some important public policy wins in hand, and throughout it all we maintained good relationships with the lawmakers who filed, carried and supported our industry's priorities. Thank you, all!
 
Here are updates regarding other issues on which we've been working:
 

Foreign Purchase of Property Near Military Bases

HB 2825 would have required title companies to keep current information on zoning status of properties within 25 miles of military installations in Texas, check buyer's names and company ownership against a designated list, and inform the seller that a buyer's name or company matches this list of a "scrutinized company" or otherwise flagged individuals. This bill died in the legislative process and was not revived as an amendment. 
 

Redaction of Racial Covenant Language in Property Records

SB 30 as initially filed would have created a system via which certain discriminatory provisions from a recorded conveyance instrument or document could be redacted from the land records after the county clerk made a legal determination about the provision. Following TLTA’s work with the bill author to suggest improvements to the bill language, the TLTA Board voted to support this amended bill. The result is a bill that allows for the filing of a subsequent instrument which modifies the offensive language in the deed. The bill now sets forth a process where a judge makes the legal determination as to whether the provision is subject to removal. This bill was approved by both the Senate and House and has been sent to the Governor. 
 

ACH Transactions and Good Funds

HB 2240 / SB 1958 would have changed the definition of good funds to include ACH consumer transfers if certain conditions are met. This bill was proposed by an ACH vendor last year, and in response, TLTA assembled a group of national underwriter tech experts and Texas independent agents to review the proposal and develop a list of criteria that we thought were critical to be included in any such proposal. TLTA's Board adopted a neutral position on this legislation in March after the bill author, former longtime Texas House Insurance Committee chairman John Smithee, agreed to address some fundamental concerns we had about the bill language. As the bill progressed through the legislative process, the bill author incorporated additional changes to address industry and other stakeholder concerns both in the version adopted by the House and the committee substitute that the Senate Business and Commerce Committee approved. This bill died along with a number of other bills on the Senate's final Local and Uncontested Calendar of the session.  
 

Photo ID for Filing in Real Property Records

HB 2414 would require that photo IDs be presented to and stored by the county clerks for each filing in the real property records. This would create hardship for title agents in rural counties where e-recording is not possible. TLTA recommended limiting the bill to counties that also provide for e-recording, but this proposal was not accommodated. This bill died during the legislative process. However, HB 3415, a photo-ID bill originally limited to the largest urban counties, was amended in the Senate's Local Government Committee on Friday, May 21, making the bill's application statewide. TLTA worked to amend the bill to limit it to counties that provide for electronic recording or otherwise exclude rural counties. Chairman Hancock successfully added an amendment that addressed our concerns when the bill was heard on the Senate Floor. The amended version of HB 3415 has been sent to the Governor.
 

Mechanics Lien Reform

The goals of HB 2237's author and the building trades stakeholders who would be impacted by the bill include improving the timelines associated with perfecting liens. This bill represents a multi-session conversation of which TLTA and our members have been a part. Our industry suggested and obtained amendments to improve the current bill. This bill has been sent to the Governor. 
 
In addition to the bills listed above, TLTA tracked and worked more than 150 bills this session. We actively worked to address concerns and sought improvements to these bills to avoid unintended consequences and preserve our daily functions as title agents and underwriters.
 
The TLTA Legislative Committee, our Local Legislative Liaisons, our Grassroots Network and our PAC Board of Trustees are all part of our team of engaged legislative advocates. Learn More About TLTA's Legislative Process and How You Can Get Involved »
 
Want to learn more about our association's work during the 87th Session? Register now for our Annual Conference and Business Meeting, which will be held live and in-person at the brand-new Kalahari Resort in Round Rock Aug. 9-11. Our conference program includes a legislative update by TLTA's Government Affairs Director, Aaron Day, and TLTA Legislative Committee Chair, Steve Streiff. 

May 26, 2021


Texas legislators are in the final days of the 87th Legislative Session, which will adjourn Sine Die on Monday, May 31. Approximately 4 of every 5 bills filed this session are dead, and those bills that still have a chance of achieving final passage are fighting against a series of daily deadlines that grow more restrictive by the day. 
 
We have exciting updates on the bills TLTA is working to pass this session, including SB 885, Sen. Hughes' Quitclaim Bill, which has been signed by the Gov. Abbott and will be effective starting Sept. 1, 2021.  
 
The other bill we are working to pass this session, HB 3115 by Rep. Shine, the Homestead Certainty Bill, is on the Senate's final Local and Uncontested Calendar.

For your reference, here's our Master Legislative Tracking List and Action Report, which was updated today, April 28. This report includes updates on the bills TLTA is trying to pass this session, updates regarding other bills on which TLTA's Board of Directors has taken positions, as well as a link to the larger list of more than 150 bills on which we are working this session. Click the image to access this helpful tool:
 
 
 
Only 5 days remain in the 87th Legislative Session, but special sessions are expected due to redistricting and other issues. 
 

Bills TLTA Is Trying to Pass

The bills TLTA is trying to pass during the 87th Legislative Session were approved by TLTA's Board of Directors  as recommended by our Legislative Committee , which is chaired by Steve Streiff. TLTA is seeking passage of two statutory changes that would improve real estate transactions:
In addition to the bills we are trying to pass listed above, you can review our broader Master Legislative Tracking List and Action Report, which includes other bills on which TLTA's Board has taken positions, as well as a link to a list of the more than 150 bills we are working this session. We have been actively addressing concerns and seeking improvements to these bills to avoid unintended consequences and preserve our daily functions as title agents and underwriters.
 

Questions about TLTA's legislative process and how you can get involved?

 The TLTA Legislative Committee, our Local Legislative Liaisons, our Grassroots Network and our PAC Board of Governors are all part of our team of engaged legislative advocates. Learn More About TLTA's Legislative Process and How You Can Get Involved »

May 19, 2021


Less than two weeks remain in the 87th Legislative Session, and some major legislative deadlines passed last week, killing thousands of bills in the process. We're grateful to report that some of the good bills (i.e., the bills TLTA is actively working to pass this session) made the cut and are in great shape, including SB 885, Sen. Hughes' Quitclaim Bill, which has been passed by both the Senate and House and is now headed to Gov. Abbott's desk. 
 
The other bill we are working to pass this session, HB 3115 by Rep. Shine, the Homestead Certainty Bill, was passed by the House Tuesday, May 11, and had a hearing in the Senate Business and Commerce Committee on May 18. The Texas Association of Builders and the Independent Bankers Association of Texas joined TLTA's Aaron Day, registering in favor of the bill during the hearing. The bill was left pending, which was expected. 
 
Also heard at yesterday's hearing and left pending was HB 2240, the Good Funds Bill on which TLTA's Board adopted a neutral position at the beginning of the legislative session after the bill author agreed to address some fundamental concerns we had about the bill language. As the bill progressed, the bill author incorporated additional changes to address industry and other stakeholder concerns both in the version adopted by the House and the committee substitute that the Senate Business and Commerce Committee is now reviewing.

For your reference, here's our Master Legislative Tracking List and Action Report, which was updated today, April 28. This report includes updates on the bills TLTA is trying to pass this session, updates regarding other bills on which TLTA's Board of Directors has taken positions, as well as a link to the larger list of more than 150 bills on which we are working this session. Click the image to access this helpful tool:
 
 
 
Only 12 days remain in the 87th Legislative Session, but special sessions are expected due to redistricting and other issues. 
 

Bills TLTA Is Trying to Pass

The bills TLTA is trying to pass during the 87th Legislative Session were approved by TLTA's Board of Directors  as recommended by our Legislative Committee , which is chaired by Steve Streiff. TLTA is seeking passage of two statutory changes that would improve real estate transactions:
In addition to the bills we are trying to pass listed above, you can review our broader Master Legislative Tracking List and Action Report, which includes other bills on which TLTA's Board has taken positions, as well as a link to a list of the more than 150 bills we are working this session. We have been actively addressing concerns and seeking improvements to these bills to avoid unintended consequences and preserve our daily functions as title agents and underwriters.
 

Questions about TLTA's legislative process and how you can get involved?

 The TLTA Legislative Committee, our Local Legislative Liaisons, our Grassroots Network and our PAC Board of Governors are all part of our team of engaged legislative advocates. Learn More About TLTA's Legislative Process and How You Can Get Involved »

May 12, 2021


Great news for TLTA this week as the Texas Legislature enters the final three weeks of the 87th Session: SB 885, Sen. Hughes' Quitclaim Bill that TLTA is working to pass this session, has been passed by both the Senate and House and is now headed to Gov. Abbott's desk. Great work legislative team!
 
The other bill we are working to pass this session, HB 3115 by Rep. Shine, the Homestead Certainty Bill, was passed by the House Tuesday, May 11, and is awaiting referral to a Senate Committee. 
 
For your reference, here's our Master Legislative Tracking List and Action Report, which was updated today, April 28. This report includes updates on the bills TLTA is trying to pass this session, updates regarding other bills on which TLTA's Board of Directors has taken positions, as well as a link to the larger list of more than 150 bills on which we are working this session. Click the image to access this helpful tool:
 
 
 
Only 20 days remain in the 87th Legislative Session, but special sessions are expected due to redistricting and other issues. 
 

Bills TLTA Is Trying to Pass

The bills TLTA is trying to pass during the 87th Legislative Session were approved by TLTA's Board of Directors  as recommended by our Legislative Committee , which is chaired by Steve Streiff. TLTA is seeking passage of two statutory changes that would improve real estate transactions:
In addition to the bills we are trying to pass listed above, you can review our broader Master Legislative Tracking List and Action Report, which includes other bills on which TLTA's Board has taken positions, as well as a link to a list of the more than 150 bills we are working this session. We have been actively addressing concerns and seeking improvements to these bills to avoid unintended consequences and preserve our daily functions as title agents and underwriters.
 

Questions about TLTA's legislative process and how you can get involved?

 The TLTA Legislative Committee, our Local Legislative Liaisons, our Grassroots Network and our PAC Board of Governors are all part of our team of engaged legislative advocates. Learn More About TLTA's Legislative Process and How You Can Get Involved »

May 5, 2021


Key, end-of-session legislative deadlines start to kick in as early as May 10, and we've officially entered the final stretch of the Texas Legislature's 87th Regular Session, which will adjourn Sine Die on May 31.
 
SB 885, Sen. Hughes' Quitclaim Bill that TLTA is working to pass this session, continues to make great progress. The House Local and Consent Calendar Committee met May 4 and set SB 885 on the May 8 local calendar. Because the House committee passed the version of the bill approved by the Senate, no conference committee would be required if the House passes it on their local calendar without amendments.
 
The other bill we are working to pass this session, HB 3115 by Rep. Shine, the Homestead Certainty Bill, remains in the House Calendars Committee, and we are working with that committee's members to win approval of the bill's consideration on the House floor. Our interactions with Calendars Committee members continue to be positive, but there are more than 500 bills in Calendars currently, and we are working with the members to ensure HB 3115 is seen as a priority. 
 
For your reference, here's our Master Legislative Tracking List and Action Report, which was updated today, April 28. This report includes updates on the bills TLTA is trying to pass this session, updates regarding other bills on which TLTA's Board of Directors has taken positions, as well as a link to the larger list of more than 150 bills on which we are working this session. Click the image to access this helpful tool:
 
 
 
Only 27 days remain in the 87th Legislative Session, but special sessions are expected due to redistricting and other issues. 
 

Bills TLTA Is Trying to Pass

The bills TLTA is trying to pass during the 87th Legislative Session were approved by TLTA's Board of Directors  as recommended by our Legislative Committee , which is chaired by Steve Streiff. TLTA is seeking passage of two statutory changes that would improve real estate transactions:
In addition to the bills we are trying to pass listed above, you can review our broader Master Legislative Tracking List and Action Report, which includes other bills on which TLTA's Board has taken positions, as well as a link to a list of the more than 150 bills we are working this session. We have been actively addressing concerns and seeking improvements to these bills to avoid unintended consequences and preserve our daily functions as title agents and underwriters.
 

Questions about TLTA's legislative process and how you can get involved?

 The TLTA Legislative Committee, our Local Legislative Liaisons, our Grassroots Network and our PAC Board of Governors are all part of our team of engaged legislative advocates. Learn More About TLTA's Legislative Process and How You Can Get Involved »

April 28, 2021


The House Business and Industry Committee met yesterday, April 27, and recommended SB 885, Sen. Hughes' Quitclaim Bill that TLTA is working to pass this session, for the House's local and consent calendar. Because the House committee passed the version of the bill approved by the Senate last week, no conference committee would be required if the House passed it on their local calendar without amendments.
 
The other bill we are working to pass this session, HB 3115 by Rep. Shine, the Homestead Certainty Bill, remains in the House Calendars Committee, and we are working with that committee's members to win approval of the bill's consideration on the House floor. 
 
For your reference, here's our Master Legislative Tracking List and Action Report, which was updated today, April 28. This report includes updates on the bills TLTA is trying to pass this session, updates regarding other bills on which TLTA's Board of Directors has taken positions, as well as a link to the larger list of more than 150 bills on which we are working this session. Click the image to access this helpful tool:
 
 
 
Only 33 days remain in the 87th Legislative Session, but special sessions are expected due to redistricting and other issues. 
 

Bills TLTA Is Trying to Pass

The bills TLTA is trying to pass during the 87th Legislative Session were approved by TLTA's Board of Directors  as recommended by our Legislative Committee , which is chaired by Steve Streiff. TLTA is seeking passage of two statutory changes that would improve real estate transactions:
In addition to the bills we are trying to pass listed above, you can review our broader Master Legislative Tracking List and Action Report, which includes other bills on which TLTA's Board has taken positions, as well as a link to a list of the more than 150 bills we are working this session. We have been actively addressing concerns and seeking improvements to these bills to avoid unintended consequences and preserve our daily functions as title agents and underwriters.
 

Questions about TLTA's legislative process and how you can get involved?

 The TLTA Legislative Committee, our Local Legislative Liaisons, our Grassroots Network and our PAC Board of Governors are all part of our team of engaged legislative advocates. Learn More About TLTA's Legislative Process and How You Can Get Involved »

April 21, 2021


We've entered the final six weeks of the 87th Legislative Session, and in approximately three weeks, end-of-session deadlines will begin to kick in. With the limited timeline remaining and the continued advancement of key legislative responsibilities, including the state budget for the upcoming biennium and the supplemental appropriations bill (both of which are scheduled to be heard on the House floor today, April 22), the mood at the Legislature has grown more serious and the pace at which bills are living or dying increases daily.
 
SB 885, the Quitclaim Bill by Sen. Hughes that TLTA is working to pass this session, was passed by the Texas Senate April 21 and will now head to the House for referral to committee. And, the House companion to the Quitclaim Bill, HB 3320 by Rep. Landgraf, was heard in the House Business and Industry Committee Tuesday, April 20. Roland Love, chair of TLTA's Regulatory Committee, testified on behalf of TLTA and the bill was well received by the committee members.
 
Earlier in the session we reported that TLTA's Board of Directors adopted a neutral position on SB 30 and similar racial covenants bills with the commitment TLTA would work with legislators to minimize any unintended consequences. Following our industry's opportunity to work with SB 30's bill author and other stakeholders on the continued development and redrafting of the bill, TLTA's Board of Directors adopted a support position on SB 30 and any identical bills during their quarterly meeting Tuesday, April 20.
 
We've received numerous questions on HB 2240 regarding ACH transactions and good funds. We appreciate the valuable input and the conversations with those of you who have shared your input with us. As a reminder, TLTA's Board of Directors has adopted a neutral position on HB 2240 (i.e., we are not actively opposing it, nor are we actively supporting it). Over the last few months, we've been contacted by the bill's author and proponents, and we've shared with them our concerns and suggestions regarding how the bill could be improved to provide more consumer and industry protections. The bill author and proponents agreed to accept our suggested changes, and the bill language has been amended twice – here is the engrossed version containing the suggested amendments that the Texas House approved. This process of working with legislators and proponents to improve bills with which we have concerns is a customary part of the legislative process we utilize when engaging on bills of interest to our industry, and our approach is a legislative norm that legislators value. This bill has passed out of the House, but it has not yet been referred to a committee in the Senate. We’ll continue to keep you informed on its status.
 
For your reference, here's our Master Legislative Tracking List and Action Report, which was updated today, April 21. This report includes updates on the bills TLTA is trying to pass this session, updates regarding other bills on which TLTA's Board of Directors has taken positions, as well as a link to the larger list of more than 150 bills on which we are working this session. Click the image to access this helpful tool:
 

 
 
Only 39 days remain in the 87th Legislative Session, but special sessions are expected due to redistricting and other issues. 
 

Bills TLTA Is Trying to Pass

 The bills TLTA is trying to pass during the 87th Legislative Session were approved by TLTA's Board of Directors as recommended by our Legislative Committee, which is chaired by Steve Streiff. TLTA is seeking passage of two statutory changes that would improve real estate transactions:
In addition to the bills we are trying to pass listed above, you can review our broader Master Legislative Tracking List and Action Report, which includes other bills on which TLTA's Board has taken positions, as well as a link to a list of the more than 150 bills we are working this session. We have been actively addressing concerns and seeking improvements to these bills to avoid unintended consequences and preserve our daily functions as title agents and underwriters.
 

Questions about TLTA's legislative process and how you can get involved?

 The TLTA Legislative Committee, our Local Legislative Liaisons, our Grassroots Network and our PAC Board of Governors are all part of our team of engaged legislative advocates. Learn More About TLTA's Legislative Process and How You Can Get Involved »

April 14, 2021


We are pleased to introduce our new Master Legislative Tracking List and Action Report, which includes updates on the bills TLTA is trying to pass this session, updates regarding other bills on which TLTA's Board of Directors has taken positions, as well as a link to the larger list of more than 150 bills on which we are working this session. Click the image to access this helpful new tool:
 

 
 
SB 885, our Quitclaim Bill, was heard by the Senate State Affairs Committee this week, and Roland Love, chair of TLTA's Regulatory Committee testified in support of the bill. A committee substitute containing clean-ups on which we worked with the bill author, including a change to ensure this statutory language cannot be used in the context of adverse possession, was adopted and approved by the committee. The Senate Floor is the next step in the legislative process.
 
In last week's update we reported that HB 3115, our Homestead Certainty Bill, was left pending following the House Business and Industry Committee hearing. The committee met again late last week and approved HB 3115, which must now go to the House Calendars Committee before it can be sent to the House floor.
 
Only 46 days remain in the 87th Legislative Session, but special sessions are expected due to redistricting and other issues. 
 

Bills TLTA Is Trying to Pass

The bills TLTA is trying to pass during the 87th Legislative Session were approved by TLTA's Board of Directors as recommended by our Legislative Committee, which is chaired by Steve Streiff. TLTA is seeking passage of two statutory changes that would improve real estate transactions:
In addition to the bills we are trying to pass listed above, you can review our broader Master Legislative Tracking List and Action Report, which includes other bills on which TLTA's Board has taken positions, as well as a link to a list of the more than 150 bills we are working this session. We have been actively addressing concerns and seeking improvements to these bills to avoid unintended consequences and preserve our daily functions as title agents and underwriters.

April 7, 2021


One of two bills on TLTA's affirmative legislative agenda for the Texas Legislature's 87th Session, HB 3115 by Rep. Shine, was heard during a Texas House Business and Industry Committee hearing yesterday. Steve Streiff, chair of TLTA's Legislative Committee, was on hand to testify in favor of HB 3115, which we are referring to as our Homestead Certainty bill.

Also heard at yesterday's hearing was HB 1679, which provides that a mechanic’s lien can survive a foreclosure up to the retainage amount. TLTA's Board of Directors adopted a neutral position on this bill earlier in the legislative session. 

While all bills considered at yesterday's House Business and Industry Committee hearing were left pending, including our Homestead Certainty bill, Chairman Turner indicated that the committee would meet again later this week to vote out pending legislation. 

HB 2825 by Rep. Bonnen was heard today in the House Defense and Veteran's Affairs committee. TLTA's Board of Directors adopted an oppose position to the bill as filed, which would require title companies to keep current information on zoning status of properties within 25 miles of military installations in Texas, check buyer's names and company ownership against a designated list, and inform the seller that a buyer's name or company matches this list of a "scrutinized company" or otherwise flagged individuals. This would represent a departure from the neutral third-party status of title professionals and would create enormous costs for the industry. TLTA Board of Directors and Legislative Committee member Claire Harman testified on behalf of TLTA. Her testimony was well received, and the bill's author was open to TLTA's feedback on alternative and more efficient approaches to the bill's goal.

In addition to the affirmative legislative agenda items on which we are working, our legislative team is monitoring 151 of the more than 7,000 bills filed this session. Review a list and description of the proposed pieces of legislation we are monitoring. If these bills begin to move through the process and TLTA takes official positions on them, we’ll provide more detailed information about our stance and how they might affect you and your business.

Only 53 days remain in the 87th Legislative Session, but special sessions are expected due to redistricting and other issues.

March 31, 2021


TLTA's legislative team is hard at work as the Texas Legislature reaches speed and charges into the final 60 days of the 87th Session. Our focus continues to be on working with our bill authors to secure committee hearings for the bills on TLTA's affirmative legislative agenda. In addition to educating committee members and staff about the bills our industry wants to see passed this session, we are working with real estate-related allied industries and other stakeholders to learn all we can about other legislation included among our bills to watch this session, as well as sharing our industry's positions, interests and legislative history, as appropriate.

As reported in our Legislative Update on March 17, TLTA's Board of Directors decided to remain neutral on HB 2240 (relating to the disbursement of funds from a trust fund account by a title insurance company, title insurance agent, or escrow officer), as long as the committee substitute addressed our industry's concerns. The committee substitute that was adopted this week did address our industry's concerns, although there is some further language tweaking to take place later in the process. Our association's position remains neutral as the bill heads to the House's local and consent calendar.

As noted above, in addition to the affirmative legislative agenda items on which we are working, our legislative team is monitoring 151 of the more than 7,000 bills filed this session. Review a list and description of the proposed pieces of legislation we are monitoring. If these bills begin to move through the process and TLTA takes official positions on them, we’ll provide more detailed information about our stance and how they might affect you and your business.

Only 60 days remain in the 87th Legislative Session, but special sessions are expected due to redistricting and other issues.

March 25, 2021


We continue to make progress on TLTA's affirmative legislative priorities. Since our last report, the House companion to SB 885, HB 3320 by Rep. Landgraf, was referred to the House Business and Industry Committee. Learn more about this important Quitclaim Bill
 
SB 1594 by Sen. Buckingham, the Senate companion to our Homestead Certainty Bill, HB 3115, was referred to the Senate Business and Commerce Committee. You may recall that the chairman of that committee, Sen. Hancock, joined our TLTA Board meeting via Zoom in November to give board members a preview of the legislative session. 
 
In addition to the affirmative legislative agenda items listed above, our legislative team is monitoring 151 of the more than 7,000 bills filed this session. Review a list and description of the proposed pieces of legislation we are monitoring. If these bills begin to move through the process and TLTA takes official positions on them, we’ll provide more detailed information about our stance and how they might affect you and your business.
 
Only 68 days remain in the 87th Legislative Session, but special sessions are expected due to redistricting and other issues.

March 17, 2021


We received good news this week: TLTA's affirmative legislative priority, SB 885 related to the statute of limitations for quitclaims, was referred to the Senate State Affairs Committee, which is chaired by the bill's author, Sen. Bryan Hughes. Learn more about Sen. Hughes' Quitclaim bill. We've requested a committee hearing for this bill, and we're grateful the chairman is leading the charge on this good public policy. 
 
In addition to the affirmative legislative agenda item listed above, our legislative team are monitoring 149 of the more than 7,000 bills filed this session. Review a list and description of the proposed pieces of legislation we are monitoring. TLTA's Board of Directors met recently and took positions on some of the legislation we are monitoring:
  • HB 2240: TLTA will maintain a neutral position on this bill related to change in the definition of good funds, as long as the committee substitute contains key features agreed to by stakeholders.
  • HB 1679: TLTA will maintain a neutral position on this bill, which provides that a mechanic’s lien can survive a foreclosure up to the retainage amount.
  • HB 2825: TLTA will oppose this bill related to certain transactions involving real property located near military bases.
  • Various bills related to racial covenants, including SB 30: TLTA will maintain a neutral position on the various bills designed to redress the existence of racial covenants in the real property record. TLTA's legislative team will seek to mitigate unintended consequences where possible.

The electricity outages that occurred during winter storm Uri continue to dominate the legislative and political discussions at the Capitol and around the state. The outcome of the complex debate surrounding this issue will impact the fate of many pieces of legislation this session, as it has created a rift between the Texas Senate and House, as well as leaving the PUC and ERCOT without appointed executive leadership.  
 
Only 74 days remain in the 87th Legislative Session, but special sessions are expected due to redistricting and other issues.

March 10, 2021


We are pleased to report that the second of TLTA's two legislative priorities, our Homestead Certainty bill related to homestead affidavits, was filed in the Texas House this week by Rep. Hugh Shine. You can review his bill, HB 3115, and this one-pager we developed to help explain the bill to legislators and stakeholders.
 
As reported in last week's Dateline, TLTA's other affirmative legislative priority, SB 885 related to the statute of limitations for quitclaims, was filed by Sen. Bryan Hughes in the Senate. Learn more about Sen. Hughes' Quitclaim bill.
 
The bill filing deadline is this Friday, and we are so grateful to our bill authors, Sen. Hughes and Rep. Shine, for ensuring our industry has a chance to advance these important priorities. As previously reported, this is a challenging session to win legislators' attention due to pandemic-related disruptions and considerations. Kudos to our legislative team for their hard work educating our bill authors and staff, engaging stakeholders, and helping get everyone comfortable with the good public policy we will continue working to pass before the legislative session adjourns at the end of May. 
 
In addition to the two affirmative legislative agenda items listed above, our legislative team are monitoring more than 100 of the approx. 4,000 bills filed to-date. Review a list and description of the proposed pieces of legislation we are monitoring
 
In addition to pandemic-related challenges this session, the power and water outages related to Winter Storm Uri are dominating almost every political and policy discussion statewide. Still, legislative business continues throughout the Capitol—more and more of it in-person—and most major committees held hearings this week to discuss bills – the first time this session that's happened.

March 3, 2021


We are pleased to report that one of TLTA's two legislative priorities for the 87th Session of the Texas Legislature was filed in the Texas Senate this week - SB 885 related to the statute of limitations for quitclaims. Learn more about what our quitclaim bill does.
 
To date, 3,778 pieces of proposed legislation have been filed. The deadline for bill filing is next Friday, March 12. TLTA’s Legislative team is closely monitoring a large number of bills that could impact our industry. Click here to see a list and description of each of those proposed pieces of legislation. 
 
As noted in last week's Dateline, the Legislature continues to hold special hearings on the power and water outages that accompanied the recent severe winter storm, and reform of the systems governing our state's electricity grid is now among the list of emergency items designated by Gov. Abbott for consideration by the Texas Legislature during the first 60 days of the legislative session. Those hearings continue this week.
 
Additionally, the Texas House recently announced their standing committee schedule for the session, and House committees met this week for organizational hearings.

Feb. 24, 2021


Legislative business was temporarily on hold last week as communities statewide responded to the series of crises generated by the unprecedented winter storm. Normal legislative activities resumed this week, with the Senate Finance and House Appropriations committees resuming their work on the state budget.
 
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick issued his 31 priorities for 2021 this week. Please note that among his priorities is removing racist restrictions from real estate deeds (see item 30 in the press release linked above). While the Lt. Gov.'s statement notes that the removal of these restrictions will be carried out via Senate Bill 30, that bill has not been filed yet. As you may recall, this is an issue on which our industry has worked in previous sessions.
 
As noted in last week's Dateline, special hearings are being held this week on the power and water outages that accompanied last week's severe winter storm, and reform of the systems governing our state's electricity grid has now moved onto the list of emergency items designated by Gov. Abbott for consideration by the Texas Legislature during the first 60 days of the 87th Legislative Session.

Feb. 17, 2021


All legislative hearings this week have been cancelled due to severe winter weather. While normal legislative operations are on hold, there is a great deal of legislative activity related to the power outages that have accompanied this challenging weather event.
 
Gov. Abbott has declared ERCOT (the nonprofit that manages our state's electricity grid) an emergency item, which allows legislators to vote on legislation related to ERCOT during the first 60 days of session, along with the other emergency items he named earlier this year.
 
Additionally, Texas House Speaker Phelan called for a joint hearing of the House State Affairs and Energy committees, and the hearing is scheduled Thursday, Feb. 25. 

We will continue to monitor the situation at the Capitol and provide more information as normal legislative operations resume in the days ahead. 

Feb. 10, 2021


Speaker of the Texas House Dade Phelan announced House committee assignments on Thursday, Feb. 4, and there are many new faces in leadership roles. Here are some committee assignments of which you should be aware:
 

Insurance Committee

Rep. Tom Oliverson, who carried our TTIGA bill last session, has been named chairman of the House Insurance Committee. We enjoy working with Chairman Oliverson and his staff, and we look forward to a good working relationship this session and beyond. Longtime friend and Insurance Committee member Rep. Hubert Vo will serve as vice chair. 
 

Business and Industry Committee

We have enjoyed a longstanding, productive working relationship with B&I's new chair, Rep. Chris Turner. This committee oversees the Property Code, where most of our industry's issues reside. Rep. Cole Hefner will serve as vice chair. 
 
Review House committee assignments by committee »
Review House committee assignments by member »
 
Legislative activity remains relatively subdued due to the pandemic, but the Senate Finance Committee began their hearings on SB 1 – the Senate's version of the state budget for the upcoming 2022-23 biennium. During the Finance Committee's first budget hearing on Monday, Comptroller Hegar reviewed his Biennial Revenue Estimate, and the Legislative Budget Board provided a summary of SB 1. Crafting a state budget for the upcoming biennium is the only responsibility legislators are constitutionally required to fulfil during the legislative session, therefore all legislative activity at the Capitol is impacted by the budget's development. 

Feb. 3, 2021


During Gov. Abbott's State of the State address earlier this week, he designated five emergency items that the Texas Legislature may vote on within the first 60 days of the 87th Legislative Session:
  • COVID-related civil liability protection for businesses
  • expanding broadband internet access
  • election integrity
  • prevent local governments from "defunding the police"
  • bail system reform
Once House Committees are named (Speaker Phelan indicated at a recent event we could expect to see members' committee assignments sometime this week), we can expect public hearings on bills related to the issues listed above, as well as a general increase in the volume of legislative activity in general. 
 
It is worth noting that the Senate Finance Committee will start their hearings on the state budget next week. As previously reported, passing a state budget, or General Appropriations Act (GAA), is the only assignment that legislators must complete every session, and all issues being debated in the Capitol are impacted by appropriators' decisions about state funding for the upcoming biennium.

Jan. 27, 20201


The 87th Session of the Texas Legislature continues this week. The House and Senate met briefly yesterday and today, and both chambers have adjourned again. While the House and Senate will not meet again formally until Feb. 9, legislative work continues as members file new legislation, work with stakeholders on filed legislation, and wait for announcement of House committee assignments.

Governor Abbott will be delivering his State of the State address Feb. 1, and for the first time that we can recall, the address will be held in the evening and broadcast statewide. Here are additional details, including how you can watch.

The Senate Special Redistricting Committee is holding hearings in the Senate chamber this week and will continue to hold hearings into February. While these hearings are organized around particular regions and population centers, the committee will hear redistricting-related testimony about any part of the state at any hearing. You can review a list of their upcoming hearings here


Jan. 20, 2021


The 87th Session of the Texas Legislature is in motion, and it's already shaping up to be a session unlike any session our industry has seen before. If you want to learn more about the unique challenges facing the current Texas Legislature, including the state's response to COVID-19, redistricting, and a challenging budget cycle, be sure to attend the upcoming installment of our Town Hall Insights Series Feb. 2, during which Evan Smith of the Texas Tribune will help us make sense of the legislative session ahead. You can RSVP now for Evan's presentation.
 
The Texas House and Senate have adopted their rules, including special rules related to coronavirus protocols. Notably, both chambers are requiring public testimony to be delivered in person, although there are special exceptions that allow invited testimony to be delivered remotely. 
 
The Texas Senate has named committees. We are pleased to report that Sen. Kelly Hancock has retained his chairmanship of the Senate Business and Commerce Committee. Chairman Hancock oversaw some key industry legislation last session, and he recently provided TLTA's Board of Directors insights regarding what we can expect from the legislative session.
 
The Capitol has been closed for several days due to security concerns related to the inauguration, but it is expected to reopen as early as tomorrow.
 
Both chambers are adjourned until Jan. 26. 

Jan. 13, 2021


The 87th Session of the Texas Legislature commenced Tuesday, Jan. 12. The new Speaker of the Texas House, Dade Phelan, was elected, Gov. Abbott addressed both chambers with a message about the importance of working together on behalf of all Texans in the months ahead, and other opening day ceremonies were carried out as possible under coronavirus-related protocols.
 
The Texas Capitol is open, but visitors must receive a clear COVID-19 rapid test before they are allowed to enter the building. Once inside, there are State Preservation Board protocols that must be followed, including wearing masks. Additionally, the House and Senate have their own rules and guidelines, so visitors are finding some legislators' offices open without an appointment, while other offices require clear COVID-19 tests, appointments and more before visitors are allowed to enter.  
 
House and Senate rules are expected to be adopted by tomorrow, and we've been told that their general rules will include new or altered coronavirus-related protocols. If you are planning to travel to the Capitol, we encourage you to call ahead or contact us for current rules.
 
Additionally, it's worth noting that Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar issued the Biennial Revenue Estimate (BRE) on Monday, Jan. 11. The BRE provides direction for appropriators who are trying to determine the volume of discretionary funds available to craft the state budget for the next biennium. Every issue discussed at the Texas Capitol is impacted by the development of the state budget. And, as Comptroller Hegar hinted when he spoke at TLTA's Town Hall Meeting late last year, the BRE was stronger than expected, giving legislators more wiggle room as they work on the issues important to them and their districts.