The 86th Session of the Texas Legislature is now in full swing. Friday marks the end of the seventh week, with 14 more to go. Committee hearings are also starting to ramp up as the two chambers refer more and more bills to their respective committee.
So far more than 3,200 bills and joint resolutions have been filed, which is about half of what we expect by the time the bill filing period closes at the beginning of March.
Throughout the week TSCRA staff have met with key legislators and legislative staff to discuss a variety of issues and proposed bills that could impact beef producers and landowners across Texas. Those issues, to name a few, include animal health, labeling requirements, rural broadband access, ag and open-space property valuation, and of course, eminent domain.
On the eminent domain front, the final negation meeting with reform opponents concluded yesterday. Though TSCRA and other landowner groups have offered numerous concessions throughout the three weeks of negotiation, our opponents are still procrastinating and have yet to agree to anything.
As members and landowners, it is important to continue contacting your legislators. Please tell them you support eminent domain reform and ask them to support H.B. 991 or S.B. 421. You can find contact information for your lawmakers here.
Finally, this week TSCRA government affairs staff had the privilege of hosting a delegation of the Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association from Australia. Australia is beginning to see increased oil and gas exploration in areas traditionally used only cattle production. Oil and cattle have coexisted in Texas for quite some time, and we were glad to share some of our experience and policy expertise with our counterparts from Australia.