Update: 86th Texas Legislature

Expect lawmakers to file thousands of bills — including more than 100 relating to the Texas energy market.

Get ready — the Texas Legislature returns to Austin on Jan. 8 for its 86th Regular Session. Expect lawmakers to file thousands of bills — including more than 100 relating to the Texas energy market and its energy consumers. The vast majority of these bills will die during the legislation session’s 140 days, but not all. And a few that reach the governor’s desk will affect home utility bills.

The first day for the pre-session filing of bills was Nov. 12, and since then more than 600 have been submitted. Just below are a few we have our eye on. And stay tuned. We’ll continue to provide updates as the session progresses.

• Senate Bill 76, by state Sen. Bob Hall, R-Edgewood. This legislation calls for the creation of a Grid Security Council, with members appointed by the governor — including members representing the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (the state’s primary power grid), the Texas Military, the Texas Division of Emergency Management, the state Office of Risk Management and power generation companies. The mission of this council will be to monitor economic, environmental, regulatory and technological developments that bear upon grid security. SB 76 also requires that this new council to submit a report to lawmakers prior to each legislative session. SB 76 is identical to House Bill 400, filed by state Rep. Tony Tinderholt, R-Arlington.

• Senate Bill 185, by state Sen. Boris Miles, D-Houston. This bill sets forth various public notification requirements in the case of a leak by an oil or gas well. SB 185 also calls for the creation of a “Blowout Emergency Alert System.”

• House Bill 296, by state Rep. Mary Ann Perez, D-Houston. This legislation creates new requirements for retail electric providers, municipal utilities and electric cooperatives to advise certain low-income customers of bill-payment assistance programs that may be available to them.

 

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