April 9, 2021
There are only 51 days left in the 87th Texas Legislative Session. At times that can seem like an eternity, but when you consider all the procedural hurdles that a bill has to get through to get passed, it’s really not long at all.
We’ve been busy monitoring more than 750 of the bills working their way through that process. All of them have the potential to impact your life as a cattle producers and landowner for better or worse. Over the past couple of weeks, the Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association government relations staff has been busy working with legislators and their staff as those bills are heard in House and Senate committees.
In many cases those efforts are to tweak language to ensure they don’t have an unintended negative effect on cattle production or to make sure positive impacts are extended to the ranching community. In other cases, we are extremely involved in advocating for legislation you have determined to be important through TSCRA’s policy process.
All of those efforts are starting to pick up steam in recent weeks. Fake meat bills are moving in both the House and Senate, as are bills that will expand rural access to broadband. Several bills to address concerns from Winter Storm Uri have been heard in committee in the House and at least one is now on its way to the House floor. TSCRA Second-Vice President Carl Ray Polk testified earlier this week on H.B. 4296, which will allow ag producers to use dyed diesel during times of disaster if they can’t get clear diesel.
Legislation to protect Texas cattle producers from out-of-state livestock diseases and pests also made its way through the House Committee process and will be going before the full House for consideration soon, as will a bill to better protect producers from trespass and property damage.
Legislation to restore critical liability protections to cattle producers has already passed the House and is now in Senate for consideration there.
Of course, eminent domain reform is also still on the top of our priority list, and we are working diligently to keep those efforts alive and moving forward.
Throughout the whole process, TSCRA’s officers and leaders have been engaged and in Austin frequently to provide testimony on behalf of the association.
Today’s short update doesn’t do justice to all that we’re doing and everything that’s happening in the Capitol right now, but rest assured, we have plenty to keep us hopping for the next 51 days. I’ll have more soon, but also be sure to follow us on Facebook to get updates on the legislation we’re working on as it happens!
Until next time.
Jeremy Fuchs is Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association’s director of policy communications and government relations