A Greener Dome: The TLCV Capitol Report. Volume 2, Issue 3 + April 8, 2013

April 8th, 2013

A Greener Dome: The TLCV Capitol Report

Volume 2, Issue 3 + April 8, 2013

The Legislative Session is more than halfway over and we’re now at the point where the rubber meets the road.  Some bills are moving at a brisk clip and contentious floor debates and votes have already occurred.  Now is also the time for bills to have hearings if they are to have a realistic shot at passage.  

Here’s a look at some legislation of interest the Texas League of Conservation Voters is following, identified as “The Good,” “The Bad,” and “The Ugly.”  This list is my no means exhaustive. 

Calls and emails to your State Senator and State Representative are appreciated to help get the bills on the “Good” list rolling.  To find out who represents you or their contact information, look here.  We will send out action alerts if bills on the “bad” list are moving.

In This Issue

The Good

SB 1239 (Rodriguez) and HB 3701 (Lucio III) – Netmetering

The net metering bill, addressing compensation for excess electricity generated by a retail electric customer’s on-site power generation, was referred to Business & Commerce Committee in the Senate and State Affairs in the House. Neither committee has set a hearing date for the legislation.

SB 342 (Estes) and HB 178 (Larson) – Water Conservation

These identical bills address tax breaks on water-efficient products and water conservation systems.  SB 342 has been heard in the Senate Finance Fiscal Matters Subcommittee, while HB 178 has yet to be set for a hearing in the House Ways and Means Committee.

SB 535 (West) and HB 2746 (Strama) – Energy Efficiency

The bills would expand the State’s Energy Star Tax Holiday program to capture more energy efficient products.  SB 535 has yet to be heard in the Senate Finance Fiscal Matters Subcommittee.  The House Bill has yet to be heard in House Ways and Means.

SB 645 (Ellis) and HB 1473 (Rodriguez) – Beverage Container Recycling

These bills would implement a beverage container recycling program in Texas which has been shown to dramatically increase recycling and decrease litter in other states.  HB 1473 is pending in House Environmental Regulation and the Senate companion bill has yet to be heard in the Senate Finance Fiscal Matters Subcommittee. {Back to Top}

The Bad

HB 2026 (Sanford) – Renewable Portfolio Standard Repeal

A bill that would terminate the renewable energy credits trading program and repeal the State’s highly successful Renewable Portfolio Standard had a rocky hearing in State Affairs.  It remains pending in that committee, where we hope it will stay.

HB 2416 (Springer) – Bag Ban Ban

The so-called “Shopping Bag Freedom Act” is a bill that would ban any bag bans. The bill generated some ink and broadcast airtime for Rep. Springer, but little more.  The legislation was heard in House Urban Affairs, and we’re rooting that it’s had its 15 minutes of fame and won’t be moving.

HB 824 (Calligari) – Spill Reporting

If there’s a poster child for the “bad” category in our legislative update, it’s got to be HB 824 with its aim to create a volume-based exemption for reporting accidental spills and discharges from wastewater facilities.  Unfortunately, this one cleared the House Natural Resource Committee and is on its way to House Calendars.

SB 957 (Fraser) and HB 2082 (Ritter) – Contested Case Hearings

These two bills would dramatically alter the way the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) handles certain permits and the judicial and administrative review process. The bills would shift the burden of proof on permits to the public, limit public input, and restrict evidentiary hearings.  The Senate version is pending in Natural Resources, while the House version has not yet been heard in committee. {Back to Top}

The Ugly

HB 1496 (Van Taylor) – Hydraulic Fracturing

We’ve saved the most audacious for last.  HB 1496 would restrict a municipalities’ ability to impose restrictions on hydraulic fracturing to protect public safety by adding any interest in an oil or natural gas well to the definition of private real property.  There are bad public policy ideas, and then there are really bad ones.  HB 1496 has been left pending in Land and Resource Management Committee in the House. {Back to Top}


Your Support Is Critical
TLCV would not be successful at the Capitol and beyond without your generous support.  We ask you to consider making a gift of $10, $25, $50 or more today to support our work through the 2013 Legislative Session.  Together, we can advance a green agenda at the Capitol and hold legislators accountable for their environmental votes through our biannual legislative scorecard.  Thank you for all that you do.  {Back to Top}
David Weinberg
Executive Director
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