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:
- SB 3 (https://capitol.texas.gov/tlodocs/87R/billtext/pdf/SB00003E.pdf#navpanes=0),
- SB 1278 (https://capitol.texas.gov/tlodocs/87R/billtext/pdf/SB01278I.pdf#navpanes=0), and
- HB 4466 (https://capitol.texas.gov/tlodocs/87R/billtext/pdf/HB04466I.pdf#navpanes=0).
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!