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.

Jan 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.

Jan 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.