We apologize for frequent and lengthy emails. We are doing our best to
inform you during an extraordinary Texas legislative session. Do what you can with any and all of this! Looking to be an active independent? Join us this THURSDAY (not Wednesday!) on a statewide conference call at 8 pm. Reply for conference instructions.
After you read this, do the deed! Contact your legislators – Texas House and Senate – find them right here.
Wednesday, April 12, 8 am (sorry for the late notice) hearing of the House Ag & Livestock Committee. OPPOSE SB 1172/HB 2758 and kill this truly insane bill that would prevent cities and counties from regulating any seed “in any manner, including planting seed or cultivating plants grown from seed.” More here.
Also, on Wednesday — fresh from Texans for Accountable Government — you can also sign in against Rep. Larry Phillips’ bill HB 2861, up for hearing in the Transportation Committee (notice here), which would hand 14 Texas highways from Dallas-Ft. Worth, Austin, San Antonio (including I-35 through those cities), down to the valley (including one bridge to South Padre, FM 1925 in Hidalgo County, Hwy 77 in Cameron County) to a private, foreign corporation, plus re-authorize all 10 grandfathered toll projects until 2023! No eminent domain for private gain!
Tomorrow, 10:30 am, House Natural Resources Committee Hearing, SUPPORT HB 3417, Rep. Tracy King (D-Uvalde). The bill would require groundwater districts to consider impacts to exempt wells when issuing permits and would encourage monitoring.
Tomorrow, 2 pm, our own LIV Board Member, Calvin Tillman, testifies to the Texas House Land & Resources Management Committee SUPPORT HB 2684. Calvin’s study explains why awarding attorney fees to landowners facing lowball offers when their land is seized, is a no-brainer.
Thursday Hearing! Watch Out Hays County!
OPPOSE HB 2540, Rep. Jason Isaac (R-Hays County) will be heard by the Special Purpose Districts Committee on Thursday, April 13 at 8 am. Hays Caldwell Public Utility Agency will be changed to the Alliance Regional Water Authority (AWRA); providing authority to issue bonds; granting the power of eminent domain; providing authority to impose fees. LIV has no desire to add to the 9,000 entities in Texas that have eminent domain authority. The bill has lots of other problems, including giving ARWA overly broad geographic reach, too many types of water projects it could do and overly broad service areas. There is some hope the bill could be trimmed back to restrict ARWA to its current geographic reach, with the possibility it could be used for regional conjunctive use projects that might make sense and also reduce the feeding frenzy on the Simsboro aquifer east of the IH-35 corridor. For now, oppose this puppy!
Good Bills/Bad Bills and…more! Add these to your calls to your legislators, found here.
The Very Best Bill for Independent Voters this Session!
Ending Straight Ticket Voting – Support HB 25/SB 2175
Do you know that the largest impediment to independent candidates in Texas is straight ticket voting? Texas is one of only 10 states left that allow voters to, with one punch, vote for one party’s candidates. The results can be devastating to the better candidates who might just so happen to be on the other ticket or are running independent or third party. Let’s ensure that voters think before they vote! This is at the top of House Speaker Joe Straus’s agenda.
More Good Bills!
Water: LIV also supports Sen. Jose Menendez’ (D-San Antonio) SB 1796, to protect the Edwards Aquifer and recharge zone from sewage effluent and HB 3166, by Rep. Eddie Lucio III relating to the consideration of modeled sustainable groundwater pumping in the adoption of desired future conditions in groundwater conservation districts. Both are currently pending n committee.
Rep. Cyrier’s HB 3996 for a Sunset Review of San Antonio Water System has a new co-sponsor, Rep. Leighton Schubert (R-Brenham – district map here)! So far, no takers in San Antonio will get in the way of the SAWS buzz saw and sign on to sponsor…even on the heels of 100s of pages of amendments to Vista Ridge recently unveiled by SAWS and flagrant abuse of SAWS ratepayers to pay for the failing Vista Ridge $3.4B project. What’s it gonna take to get San Antonians to take care of their rogue water utility, hmmm?
More Bad Bills!
Water: The hearing last night on SB 1392 (this year’s Gridzilla – a full water grid for Texas to move masses of groundwater for developers to build out in dry areas) scored a big one for landowners and local groundwater management! Watch the video here (SB 1392 starts at about 2:45) – thank you for calling-in, showing up and talking to your reps and senators! The testimony was rich, the opposition was clear, a committee substitute was rolled out…but will Sen. Charles Perry listen to reason? The bill will likely be back again likely next week. Read LIV’s comments here.
We are monitoring a bill by Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston), SB 1296 that could do harm to Texans’ petition rights by calling for judicial review in ballot language disputes but allowing for the delay if the judges don’t get to it. Many thanks to Texas Municipal League for catching this one and opposing it. Still, it could come back sometime after Easter for another hearing before the Local & Uncontested Calendar.
Keep up the good work, independent Texas!
PS Don’t forget the very important meeting for Milam and Burleson countians on April 18th. Visit the calendar on our website!