Recap from the 88th

Tags: Advocacy

Welcome once again to our series of posts recapping the 2023 Texas Legislative Session. We have grouped posts on bills that passed into subject matter categories for ease of reference and readability.

The categories are:

Looking at the session from 40,000 feet, only a few bills from the total amount filed made it into the endzone. Matching a statistically low mark from the 2021 “COVID” Session, only about 15 percent of the more than 8,000+ bills passed. Specifically, just 1,246 bills passed, and then from there 76 were vetoed by Governor Abbott. Typically, we expect about 25 percent of the bills to pass, but the new trend after this session seems to indicate that passing a bill has gotten harder.

Within our series of posts, we call to your attention about three-dozen bills and a few stories along the way that we think those in the manufactured housing industry will take particular interest in. TMHA was successful in our advocacy efforts to have a bill we worked on, H.B. 2706, be part of the limited few that did pass and will become law in September.

The landlord/tenant space saw a lot of bills filed that would, had they passed, negatively impacted landlords, including manufactured home community owners. Fortunately, the landlord defensive advocacy efforts prevented these bills from becoming law. Offensively in the landlord/tenant space, Texas will once again return to the long-established state preemptive process for conducting evictions. The new law will supersede and end all the local eviction procedures many cities and justice courts adopted following the pandemic. The bill, …well an amendment to a bill, marked a major victory to end the confusion, delay, and growing patchwork of local eviction requirements.

There are also several pro-housing development bills that passed, which we explore in detail and should help ease some of the local regulatory burden to build more housing in Texas.

There was clearly one area of Texas law that proved to be off-limits for any new policy. There were over 70 bills attempting to impact, through state preemption, city zoning authority. From this group about 40 bills had some level of movement, including a bill championed by TMHA to preempt city zoning to allow specific conforming types of manufactured homes in all single-family zoned districts. There were also zoning bills on multi-family height restrictions, minimum lots sizes, and bills on accessory dwelling units, to name a few. None of these bills ultimately passed successfully through both chambers, though some did come close, proving at least for this 2023 session that impacting established city zoning authority was a bridge too far.

But this is not to say that all aspects of state preemption were unsuccessful. Quite significantly, one massively impactful bill did pass that will be fundamental in shaping local governments in Texas for decades.

TMHA supported, along with many other business and industry groups, what the city opposition labeled the “Death Star” bill. Nearly eight years in the making, H.B. 2127 is arguably the most significant law ever to pass on state level preemption over local control.

And finally, our comprehensive manufactured housing specific posts cover other bills we think you might be interested in, ranging from beefed up penalties for people wrongly claiming service animals, to a new statewide electronic local ordinance and e-mail alert system, with even a few RV related bills thrown in for good measure.

Special Sessions appear to be in our immediate future throughout this summer. With many consequential issues still at stake, like property tax reform. We continue to work diligently during these Special Sessions and will provide future updates as we work through the summer, and possibly fall months here in Austin.