The biennial Texas Legislature has convened in Austin and already lawmakers have filed more than 1,500 bills, including more than a dozen relating to the state’s electricity and gas markets. A few of these energy-related bills could affect home rates.
And more are on the way. Expect to see at least 100 bills relating to energy before the 140-day session concludes this summer. Most of this legislation will die before making it to the governor’s desk, but not all. So check back soon. We’ll be sure to provide timely updates as lawmakers continue their work. Here are some early highlights:
- By unanimous consent, the 150 members of the Texas House have elected state Rep. Dennis Bonnen, an Angleton Republican, to lead them as speaker. Bonnen has been a member of the House for more than 20 years. He replaces former Speaker Joe Straus, a Republican of San Antonio who did not run for re-election.
- Democrats picked up seats in both the House and Senate during the recent mid-terms. The Texas Senate now has 19 Republicans and 12 Democrats, with the Democrats picking up two seats there. The House is now 83 Republicans and 67 Democrats, with the Democrats picking up 12.
- State Rep. Rafael Anchia made news this month by filing a suite of high-profile bills relating to gas utility safety. In total, the Dallas Democrat filed 11 gas-utility bills (and more on other topics). Anchia’s gas utility bills include HB 867 and HB 868 that increase requirements for the public disclosure of potentially dangerous gas utility leaks, and HB 866 that requires gas utilities to replace older cast iron piping with more modern plastic piping before 2021. Anchia’s legislation comes in response to public outcry after a 2018 gas explosion destroyed a Dallas home and killed a 12-year-old girl.
- In all, House lawmakers have filed more than 1,000 bills and Senate lawmakers have filed more than 400. The deadline for bill filing is March 8. The 86th Texas Legislature adjourns sine die on May 27.
Is a policy analyst for TCAP, a coalition of cities and other political subdivisions that purchase electricity in the deregulated market for their own governmental use. Because high energy costs can impact municipal budgets and the ability to fund essential services, TCAP, as part of its mission, actively promotes affordable energy policies. High energy prices also place a burden on local businesses and home consumers.