To borrow from the cliché that making laws is like making sausages, and its best not to see how either are made, I thought I’d give a glimpse into what it looks like when the meat grinder is fired up.
Last week we saw several fruits of our labors take shape. TMHA constantly works on bills that could have an impact in our industry. We currently have many of these types of irons in the fire, but a few examples were heard in committee last week.
First was HB 2101. This bill would require roofing contractors to register with TDLR. This is an example of a bill we read when filed and flagged as a potential problem. Our concern was an added layer of regulation on retailers who work to refurbish manufactured homes that may sometimes involve roof work.
We met with the bill author to express our concerns and to advocate for an exemption. Then we drafted language and worked to include these edits in a subsequent version of the bill. The bill was heard in committee on March 19. We had been told our exemption was included in the new version of the bill. Trust, but verify.
Now some of you might have been on spring break with your kids last week. I’m sure you had an exciting time, but to make sure you don’t miss out, you can re-live with us the moment in archived committee video.
Rep. Capriglione lays out his bill at the 9:49 mark. Testimony of the 24 witnesses continues until the 3:28:57 mark. In the nearly three and a half hours of testimony on this one bill, did you catch the good news? Go to the 58:15 mark. During one of the witnesses testifying against the bill he is asked a question by the committee chairman, and they begin looking at the list of exemptions in the committee substitute (the term used for a new version of the bill language). The chair then mentions the exemption for a person licensed under 1201.003. That is the new retailer exemption we advocated for, and we are grateful to Rep. Capriglione’s for his willingness to hear us out and decide to exclude us from his bill.
The next afternoon Rep. Shine laid out in the House Ways and Means Committee H.B. 492, HJR 34 and HB 493. The bills would provide a temporary property tax exemption for certain property following a disaster. We wanted to ensure that if any of the bills pass that personal property manufactured homes were specifically included and eligible for the temporary exemption.
Rep. Shine is a friend to our industry. In fact, a few years ago we took Rep. Shine on a factory tour of the TRU plant in his Belton district. Building relationships with members and making them more knowledgeable about our industry, many times years in advance, is what positions us in the future to approach members on future legislation.
As you will hear at the 39:10 mark of testimony, Rep. Shine told the committee that personal property manufactured homes were added to the eligible property types in a committee substitute.
The odds are that less than one-quarter of bills filled make it across the finish line. At this point in the session it is too hard to tell what will make it and what won’t. This being the case, we operate with the assumption everything is going to make it, but the truth is we will work on dozens of bills like these with amendments in committee or on the floor, only to see them perish as they are statistically likely to do. However, we continue to hammer away so that if any of these do make it to the governor’s desk we are properly positioned.
And for those who have read this article, and your conclusion is that you just as soon get your sausage from under the refrigerated glass display case at the grocery store, we understand.
Just know that we are in the back with the butcher, and his meat grinder.