TLTA's legislative priorities

Our legislative priorities for the 87th Legislative Session were approved by TLTA's Board of Directors  as recommended by our Legislative Committee , which is chaired by Steve Streiff.
 

Bills we are monitoring

We are currently tracking the following bills of interest .
 

If you hear something that causes concern, or you have questions, please let us know

TLTA staff and our lobby team work under the direction of TLTA's Board of Directors  and Legislative Committee  to pursue the fulfilment of our legislative priorities, work with industry allies on broader legislative issues that could impact the real estate marketplace, and monitor all legislation filed during the legislative session. Working alongside the TLTA members who make up our corps of Local Legislative Liaisons, we maintain open lines of communication with legislators and legislative leadership, make ourselves available to answer questions, and actively work the legislative process to protect and strengthen our industry.
 
While our team is strong, there's always room for one more. If you hear anything about legislation or legislative activity that causes you concern, would you alert us, please? Our legislative footing is most stable when we identify and address problems early in the process, so please let us know if you hear about issues that could impact our industry, or if you have relationships with legislators or staff of which we should be aware.

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.