From the Nearly Here 86th

It’s nearly Thanksgiv….Session.

Every two years it seems the time between the November elections and the start of the Texas legislative session flies by.  Perhaps in part due to the holidays, but mostly I think it is spurred on by the growing and intensifying excitement.  For Session to start that is.

Yes, that isn’t a typo; I said excitement.  Sure, Santa coming in a little over a month is exciting, but not compared to the start of a new legislative session (I’m willing to concede I might be a bit of an outlier in my opinions on this one).

How can you not get excited about 6000+ bills being filed, new committee assignments, and the certainty of fireworks coupled with the uncertainty of not knowing when they will go off?

The race to see who will replace retiring Speaker Joe Straus started out looking like we would see some beginning-of-session action when eight members filed to run for the House’s top spot.  But as of this week it appears this contest is not so much a race of many, but a relaxing jog of one. 

Rep. Dennis Bonnen appears to have secured enough support to lay claim to the House gavel come January.  He has at least 109 members pledging him their support, and only needs 76 to win.  Rep. Bonnen has already started announcing new staff hires to support what certainly appears to be the eventuality of him becoming the next Speaker of the House in Texas.

In many ways, it feels like the coming 2019 Session has already started.  Bill filings began after the election, which means our daily morning routine from now until the bill filing deadline in March will be a cup of coffee and reading through the latest bills filed.

I’m happy to say we are already tracking several bills.  Just by way of examples of what we typically will add to our tracking, HB 61 by Rep. James White would modify the options for lighting equipment on escort flag vehicles.  And HB 69 by Rep. Ina Minjarez would terminate a residential lease upon a tenant’s death.  Rep. James White also filled HB 153 that would prohibit the requirement of electronic logging devices by DPS for commercial vehicles traveling only intrastate (only within the boundaries of Texas).

I think the winner out of the gate for probably most obscure and most likely to elicit a, “Damn, right!” response to those reading the bill is Rep. Matt Krause’s bill, HB 234, that would prohibit any city, county of local health official from adopting a local ordinance that prohibits a child from having a lemonade stand.

We are just a few days in and there have already been 487 total bills filed. 

In the event not everyone shares my enthusiasm for the start of Session, if the tryptophan from this year’s Thanksgiving turkey doesn’t knock you out on the couch for an afternoon nap, let me know, and I can send along more bills you can read.