June 2, 2021
The 87th Session of the Texas Legislature adjourned Sine Die Monday, May 31. Due to delays in the delivery of U.S. Census data, lawmakers will return to Austin for a special legislative session no later than the end of September to attempt to redraw congressional and legislative maps. And, there are other issues that Gov. Abbott and statewide leaders have signaled may be part of a special session in the near future, including election reforms. But for now, legislators' 87th Regular Session work is concluded, and the special session(s) to come will continue to develop in the weeks ahead.
The Governor's veto period is now in effect, but we are pleased to report that our Quitclaim Bill
, SB 885
by Sen. Hughes, has already been signed by Gov. Abbott and will become law effective Sept. 1, 2021.
The other bill we worked to pass this session, Homestead Certainty
, HB 3115
by Rep. Shine, has been passed by the House and Senate and is awaiting action by the governor. The Governor of Texas can either veto a bill, sign it, or allow it to become law without his signature. Our communication with Gov. Abbott's office on this legislation has been positive, and we are hopeful that our Homestead Certainty Bill will also be effective Sept. 1, 2021.
The bills TLTA worked to pass
during the 87th Legislative Session were approved by TLTA's Board of Directors
as recommended by our Legislative Committee
, which is chaired by Steve Streiff.
We are grateful for the lawmakers and everyone on our legislative team who made this record of success possible in a very unique and challenging session. We are proud to report that TLTA and all our members walked from the Texas Capitol with some important public policy wins in hand, and throughout it all we maintained good relationships with the lawmakers who filed, carried and supported our industry's priorities. Thank you, all!
Here are updates regarding other issues on which we've been working:
Foreign Purchase of Property Near Military Bases
would have required title companies to keep current information on zoning status of properties within 25 miles of military installations in Texas, check buyer's names and company ownership against a designated list, and inform the seller that a buyer's name or company matches this list of a "scrutinized company" or otherwise flagged individuals. This bill died in the legislative process and was not revived as an amendment.
Redaction of Racial Covenant Language in Property Records
as initially filed would have created a system via which certain discriminatory provisions from a recorded conveyance instrument or document could be redacted from the land records after the county clerk made a legal determination about the provision. Following TLTA’s work with the bill author to suggest improvements to the bill language, the TLTA Board voted to support this amended bill. The result is a bill that allows for the filing of a subsequent instrument which modifies the offensive language in the deed. The bill now sets forth a process where a judge makes the legal determination as to whether the provision is subject to removal. This bill was approved by both the Senate and House and has been sent to the Governor.
ACH Transactions and Good Funds
/ SB 1958
would have changed the definition of good funds to include ACH consumer transfers if certain conditions are met. This bill was proposed by an ACH vendor last year, and in response, TLTA assembled a group of national underwriter tech experts and Texas independent agents to review the proposal and develop a list of criteria that we thought were critical to be included in any such proposal. TLTA's Board adopted a neutral position on this legislation in March after the bill author, former longtime Texas House Insurance Committee chairman John Smithee, agreed to address some fundamental concerns we had about the bill language. As the bill progressed through the legislative process, the bill author incorporated additional changes to address industry and other stakeholder concerns both in the version adopted by the House and the committee substitute that the Senate Business and Commerce Committee approved. This bill died along with a number of other bills on the Senate's final Local and Uncontested Calendar of the session.
Photo ID for Filing in Real Property Records
would require that photo IDs be presented to and stored by the county clerks for each filing in the real property records. This would create hardship for title agents in rural counties where e-recording is not possible. TLTA recommended limiting the bill to counties that also provide for e-recording, but this proposal was not accommodated. This bill died during the legislative process. However, HB 3415, a photo-ID bill originally limited to the largest urban counties, was amended in the Senate's Local Government Committee on Friday, May 21, making the bill's application statewide. TLTA worked to amend the bill to limit it to counties that provide for electronic recording or otherwise exclude rural counties. Chairman Hancock successfully added an amendment that addressed our concerns when the bill was heard on the Senate Floor. The amended version of HB 3415 has been sent to the Governor.
Mechanics Lien Reform
The goals of HB 2237
's author and the building trades stakeholders who would be impacted by the bill include improving the timelines associated with perfecting liens. This bill represents a multi-session conversation of which TLTA and our members have been a part. Our industry suggested and obtained amendments to improve the current bill. This bill has been sent to the Governor.
In addition to the bills listed above, TLTA tracked and worked more than 150 bills
this session. We actively worked to address concerns and sought improvements to these bills to avoid unintended consequences and preserve our daily functions as title agents and underwriters.
The TLTA Legislative Committee, our Local Legislative Liaisons, our Grassroots Network and our PAC Board of Trustees are all part of our team of engaged legislative advocates. Learn More About TLTA's Legislative Process and How You Can Get Involved »
Want to learn more about our association's work during the 87th Session? Register now
for our Annual Conference and Business Meeting, which will be held live and in-person at the brand-new Kalahari Resort in Round Rock Aug. 9-11. Our conference program includes a legislative update by TLTA's Government Affairs Director, Aaron Day, and TLTA Legislative Committee Chair, Steve Streiff.