Last week two bills that are at the center of TMHA’s proactive legislative agenda were heard in committee.
After a bill is filed, the next step is a committee hearing. In committee the bill’s author lays out the bill and then testimony is heard from proponents and those opposing the legislation.
H.B. 2970 by Chairman Guillen was heard in the House Land and Resource Management (LRM) Committee. This bill with the caption, “Relating to the municipal regulation of HUD-code manufactured homes,” would allow certain types of new, real property, manufactured homes inside city zoned areas for single-family homes. I testified in favor of the measure, and the Texas Municipal League representatives registered their opposition.
H.B. 2706 by Rep. Shine was heard in the House Urban Affairs Committee. I again testified in favor of this bill as well, which would, among other things, add regulatory flexibility during times of disaster, licensing exemptions for some MH community sales, and clarify the inventory lien perfection process for manufactured homes.
At this stage of the session, the typical process is to hear a bill in committee and then leave it pending for about a week. During this time, additional information is gathered by members and staff that will culminate in a committee vote.
And now in late breaking news, members of the LRM committee just gathered (Tuesday, March 28th) after the House adjourned on the floor to vote on pending bills. TMHA is pleased to announce that H.B. 2970 was just voted out of committee 9-0. This successful vote moves this legislation one more step forward in the process.
Once a bill is voted out of committee by a majority of the committee members, it then goes the very important Calendars Committee to compete with all the other hundreds (soon to be thousands) of bills for space on the full House floor for debate among the 150 members. H.B. 2970 is on its way to Calendars. We hope that H.B. 2706 is also brought up soon for a committee vote.
In other top-level session news, both chambers have their versions of the property tax relief bills moving. The Senate has completely passed out their version which would increase the homestead credit from $40,000 to $70,000 and also increase the credit for tangible personal property used in the production of income from the current $2,500 to $25,000. The House version takes a slightly different approach and would limit the tax appraised value increase from the current 10 percent on homesteads down to 5 percent, but for all property. TMHA advocated to ensure that both real and personal property manufactured homes would be eligible under both tax relief options.
When the dust finally settled on the bill filing deadline, 7,903 bills where filed. So not quite to 8,000, but close, and the most bills ever filed. After reading and prioritizing all of the bills filed, TMHA’s team is actively tracking and working on just over 300. I’ll spare you the full list, but as we go through the session, I’ll highlight activities on some of the bills.
For this week, there are a couple of interesting bills that will be heard in committee:
H.B. 2266 - Relating to judicial review of certain local laws applicable to state license holders. This is a state level preemption bill that would supersede local ordinances on a person who already has a state issued license and provide a legal remedy to bring a lawsuit to enjoin (stop) the local law.
H.B. 2838 - Relating to the exclusion of the operation of certain vehicles from commercial driver's license requirements. This bill adds an exemption from state CDL requirements for certain close-range transportation for lower weight (less than 48,000lbs), non-passenger vehicles. For our industry, the exclusion is limited because any vehicle with air brakes would not fall under this proposed exemption.
H.B. 3952 - Relating to the jurisdiction of courts in cases of forcible entry and detainer and forcible detainer. This bill would allow statutory county courts to also hear eviction cases, meaning there would be more potential court options to work through the eviction docket.
H.B. 2789 - Relating to regulation of accessory dwelling units by political subdivisions. This bill would eliminate most of the local restrictions on ADUs and would allow for more ADUs similar to what is occurring in other states.
H.B. 3826 - Relating to the time for the issuance of municipal building permits. This bill clarifies the existing law that requires a city to issue a permit or denial within 45 days of application. The bill would prohibit a city from being able to simply deny the permit because the city was not able to determine the request within the 45 days.
The above list of bills are just a few of the dozens of bills that are in committee this week, and that we are focused on and/or working on.
Needless to say, it will be another busy week at the Capitol.
Stay tuned for more updates, including the outcomes of several key votes we expect over the next couple of weeks.