Minimal groundwater legislation to pass during legislative session

By Victoria Whitehead, HPWD General Counsel

As this issue of The Cross Section is emailed, the 86th Texas Legislature prepares to adjourn "sine die" on May 27.

HPWD tracked more than 100 bills this legislative session.  With just a few days remaining in the regular session, it appears the following bills are still moving forward:  

-          Aquifer Storage & Recovery: Permitting Process, Financial Incentives, & TWDB Studies (HB 720, HB 721, HB 1052, HB 726, SB 1041, & HB 1594)

-          Brackish Groundwater Permitting (HB 722)

-          Creation of an Interregional Planning Council for Regional Water Planning Groups (HB 807)

-          Government Transparency: Open Meetings & Fiscal Transparency (HB 305)

-          Property Tax: Rollback Rates & Appraisal Process (HB 2 & SB 2)

Bills that didn’t quite make it past the finish line:

-          Similar Rules within a Groundwater Management Area (SB 1010)

-          Attorney’s fees for landowners when a GCD is a party (HB 2125 & SB 851)

-          Permitting for rural water utility providers (HB 2122 & HB 2249)

-          Efforts under Chapter 36 to ensure GCD rules are science based and effectively protect private property rights.  (HB 2123 & SB 2026)

Good News: Very few pieces of legislation will pass.  Bad News: Many topics of importance to the legislature went unresolved and will likely emerge again next session.  The legislative session ends on Monday, May 27th. 

An overview of the 86th Texas Legislative Session will be presented to the HPWD Board of Directors at their June 11 meeting in Lubbock.