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Arlington, TX 76010

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Texas Legislative Session

I was really hoping to not have to go here, but it seems our fair state is dead set on halting progress when it comes to energy security. Before we dive into the bills at hand, let’s explore quickly how bills become laws in Texas.

First, while many of the forty-nine other United States have legislative sessions year-round, the Texas legislative session only lasts roughly six months every other year (See ‘How often does the legislature meet?’ here: https://house.texas.gov/resources/frequently-asked-questions/#:~:text=The%20Legislature%20of%20the%20State,regular%20session%20is%20140%20days.). So, if you have the desire to research suggested bills and make public comments, the good news is you only really have to pay attention for a short period of time, the downside of course is that you will have a lot of work to do and little time to do it in if you want to prepare your statements and submit them in time to be considered by your representatives and the legislative body.

Now, as for how a bill becomes law in Texas, see here: https://house.texas.gov/about-us/bill/. Basically, bills are put forth by either the Texas Senate and will be preceded with an ‘SB’ for Senate Bill XX, or a member of the Texas House of Representatives and will be preceded with an ‘HB’ for House Bill XX (XX correlates to the numbers designated to the bill). Once a bill is introduced, it is put before the respective chamber during the “first 60 calendar days of a regular session” (https://house.texas.gov/about-us/bill/), where it is then assigned to a committee. During the committee process, bills may be either formally or informally heard, and may allow for public testimony, or may not – thus it’s important to keep track of when they will be added to the committee calendars for discussion, and be sure to contact your representative prior to that discussion if you wish to provide an opinion, outside of providing public testimony of course which must be done on the exact day the bill is presented in the chamber and public comments are admissible. If passed in either chamber, the bill goes to the subsequent chamber to be read and amended (if applicable), and finally passes to the Governor’s desk. This part is crucial since it’s the last step our local government takes before a bill becomes law, so please check out the following paragraph from the same link:

“Upon receiving a bill, the governor has 10 days in which to sign the bill, veto it, or allow it to become law without a signature. If the governor vetoes the bill and the legislature is still in session, the bill is returned to the house in which it originated with an explanation of the governor’s objections. A two-thirds majority in each house is required to override the veto. If the governor neither vetoes nor signs the bill within 10 days, the bill becomes a law. If a bill is sent to the governor within 10 days of final adjournment, the governor has until 20 days after final adjournment to sign the bill, veto it, or allow it to become law without a signature.” (https://house.texas.gov/about-us/bill/).

Awesome! Now that you understand exactly how bills become laws in Texas, it’s time to read up on a few bills that could increase the cost of solar and wind in Texas:

Check them out within the links provided, and add your thoughts within the comment section below; or, call your representatives today to voice your opinion!

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Weatherization: Money You Spend Now to Save Long Term

One word I’ve heard more this week than I ever cared to is weatherization. According to several articles, if the Texas energy grid had just been “weatherized” prior to the storm last week, several people in the state would have had power and water during the coldest week in 30 years, and a few more might even still be alive. So what even is weatherization/winterization and why is it so important? You can look this word up on Webster’s dictionary and you will find that it essentially means “preparing for winter”, which I’m sure comes as no surprise, however it also is not very helpful if you really want to understand what the process entails.

Thus, here is a quick link which explains winterization in your home: https://www.thebalancesmb.com/how-to-winterize-plumbing-pipes-844862; another on winterizing large equipment: https://www.macallister.com/winterizing-equipment/; and here is an easy 234-page read on best practices for weatherization in the Midwest: https://www.energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2016/06/f32/Midwest_Wx_Best_Practices_May_2007.pdf. In case you’re not an ERCOT board member, or a politician in charge of regulating the energy industry, here’s a slightly shorter article on weatherization and how to prevent frozen gas pipes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/thebakersinstitute/2021/02/19/winterization-and-the-texas-blackout-fail-to-prepare-prepare-to-fail/?sh=3de8c087c838and please find the graphic within which shows how temperature can affect the flow of gas in a pipeline:

It’s safe to say this process is not simple, it is time consuming, and can be costly – however, as I’ve come to learn this week, it is also essential. Texas does not often have winter storms that bring snow or last for longer than a day at a time – at the end of last year I was joking that Santa usually wore shorts in Texas, and that while I knew all of the words to “White Christmas” I had never actually seen one. I think after last week’s debacle, weatherization may become something we start to familiarize ourselves with in the future. It is certainly something I hope my elected and appointed officials familiarize themselves with now, as climate change could potentially exacerbate this problem.

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What To Do If Your Pipes Burst

Hopefully none of you will need this advice, but given what we’ve seen so far during this Texas snowstorm, it’s likely some of you will – check out the following links for what to do to prevent your pipes from freezing/bursting in this weather, and what to do if your pipes do break!

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