The 87th Legislature hit the first major deadline this week.  All house bills that haven’t passed the House by today are dead, with the exception of the few dozen local bills waiting for placement on a Local & Consent Calendar.  House members worked late into the night this week trying to get through the calendars.  The next big deadline is May 22, which is the iast day for House committees to report Senate bills and joint resolutions.

Highlights This Week

Royalty Suspense
SB 1259 by Birdwell
Sent to the Governor

SB 1259 by Birdwell (companion HB 3262 by Smith) passed the House on May 7 with a unanimous vote of 142-0, and was sent to the Governor on May 12.  This bill clarifies language on the long-standing practice of temporarily withholding payments when there is a dispute over rightful royalty ownership. Once the dispute is resolved, the rightful owner is paid in full. A recent court decision noted the statute needed “clear language from the legislature” confirming the intent. Without this clarification, it could become necessary to file an interpleader lawsuit in these instances, requiring the rightful owner to have to hire a lawyer to get their money from the court.

Pandemic Liability Protection Act
SB 6 by Hancock
H Committee Report Filed

SB 6 by Hancock was voted out of House JCJ on April 28 on a unanimous vote of 8-0.  The committee report was filed today, so it should be received in Calendars shortly.  Since the Governor declared pandemic liability an emergency item, SB 6 will go on the Emergency Calendar and be at the top of the list for the day it is set.  SB 6 passed the Senate 29-1 on April 8.  The tracking report below contains a summary of the bill.

Eminent Domain
HB 2730 by Deshotel, Burns, Geren, King K., Canales
Received in the Senate

HB 2730 passed the House this week on a nearly unanimous vote of 144-1 and is now is the Senate awaiting referral. This bill is the product of 6 years of discussions between the Coalition for Critical Infrastructure and various landowner groups.  HB 2730 now has the support of all CCI member organizations, Texas Farm Bureau, Texas Association of Realtors, and a number of landowner organizations.  Eminent domain reform has passed the Senate in various forms in the past two sessions, so we hope this agreed bill will be successful

Trucking Litigation Reform
HB 19 by Leach
First placed on Senate Intent 5-14-21

After a long floor debate, HB 19 passed the House April 30 on a vote of 81-49.  The negotiated substitute passed Senate Transportation May 12 on a unanimous vote of 9-0.  It can be heard by the full Senate on the second day it appears on the Intent Calendar sometime next week.  Details on the bill are included in the tracking report below.

All bill information is available here https://capitol.texas.gov/Home.aspx

TCJL Tracking Report 5-14-21

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