TLTA's legislative priorities

Our legislative priorities for the 87th Legislative Session were approved by TLTA's Board of Directors as recommended by our Legislative Committee, which is chaired by Steve Streiff. TLTA is seeking passage of two statutory changes that would improve real estate transactions:
Next steps for both pieces of these TLTA affirmative legislative agenda items start with securing committee hearings. 
 

Questions about TLTA's legislative process and how you can get involved?

The TLTA Legislative Committee, our Local Legislative Liaisons, our Grassroots Network and our PAC Board of Governors are all part of our team of engaged legislative advocates. Learn More About TLTA's Legislative Process and How You Can Get Involved »

April 7, 2021


One of two bills on TLTA's affirmative legislative agenda for the Texas Legislature's 87th Session, HB 3115 by Rep. Shine, was heard during a Texas House Business and Industry Committee hearing yesterday. Steve Streiff, chair of TLTA's Legislative Committee, was on hand to testify in favor of HB 3115, which we are referring to as our Homestead Certainty bill.

Also heard at yesterday's hearing was HB 1679, which provides that a mechanic’s lien can survive a foreclosure up to the retainage amount. TLTA's Board of Directors adopted a neutral position on this bill earlier in the legislative session. 

While all bills considered at yesterday's House Business and Industry Committee hearing were left pending, including our Homestead Certainty bill, Chairman Turner indicated that the committee would meet again later this week to vote out pending legislation. 

HB 2825 by Rep. Bonnen was heard today in the House Defense and Veteran's Affairs committee. TLTA's Board of Directors adopted an oppose position to the bill as filed, which would require 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 would represent a departure from the neutral third-party status of title professionals and would create enormous costs for the industry. TLTA Board of Directors and Legislative Committee member Claire Harman testified on behalf of TLTA. Her testimony was well received, and the bill's author was open to TLTA's feedback on alternative and more efficient approaches to the bill's goal.

In addition to the affirmative legislative agenda items on which we are working, our legislative team is monitoring 151 of the more than 7,000 bills filed this session. Review a list and description of the proposed pieces of legislation we are monitoring. If these bills begin to move through the process and TLTA takes official positions on them, we’ll provide more detailed information about our stance and how they might affect you and your business.

Only 53 days remain in the 87th Legislative Session, but special sessions are expected due to redistricting and other issues.

March 31, 2021


TLTA's legislative team is hard at work as the Texas Legislature reaches speed and charges into the final 60 days of the 87th Session. Our focus continues to be on working with our bill authors to secure committee hearings for the bills on TLTA's affirmative legislative agenda. In addition to educating committee members and staff about the bills our industry wants to see passed this session, we are working with real estate-related allied industries and other stakeholders to learn all we can about other legislation included among our bills to watch this session, as well as sharing our industry's positions, interests and legislative history, as appropriate.

As reported in our Legislative Update on March 17, TLTA's Board of Directors decided to remain neutral on HB 2240 (relating to the disbursement of funds from a trust fund account by a title insurance company, title insurance agent, or escrow officer), as long as the committee substitute addressed our industry's concerns. The committee substitute that was adopted this week did address our industry's concerns, although there is some further language tweaking to take place later in the process. Our association's position remains neutral as the bill heads to the House's local and consent calendar.

As noted above, in addition to the affirmative legislative agenda items on which we are working, our legislative team is monitoring 151 of the more than 7,000 bills filed this session. Review a list and description of the proposed pieces of legislation we are monitoring. If these bills begin to move through the process and TLTA takes official positions on them, we’ll provide more detailed information about our stance and how they might affect you and your business.

Only 60 days remain in the 87th Legislative Session, but special sessions are expected due to redistricting and other issues.

March 25, 2021


We continue to make progress on TLTA's affirmative legislative priorities. Since our last report, the House companion to SB 885, HB 3320 by Rep. Landgraf, was referred to the House Business and Industry Committee. Learn more about this important Quitclaim Bill
 
SB 1594 by Sen. Buckingham, the Senate companion to our Homestead Certainty Bill, HB 3115, was referred to the Senate Business and Commerce Committee. You may recall that the chairman of that committee, Sen. Hancock, joined our TLTA Board meeting via Zoom in November to give board members a preview of the legislative session. 
 
In addition to the affirmative legislative agenda items listed above, our legislative team is monitoring 151 of the more than 7,000 bills filed this session. Review a list and description of the proposed pieces of legislation we are monitoring. If these bills begin to move through the process and TLTA takes official positions on them, we’ll provide more detailed information about our stance and how they might affect you and your business.
 
Only 68 days remain in the 87th Legislative Session, but special sessions are expected due to redistricting and other issues.

March 17, 2021


We received good news this week: TLTA's affirmative legislative priority, SB 885 related to the statute of limitations for quitclaims, was referred to the Senate State Affairs Committee, which is chaired by the bill's author, Sen. Bryan Hughes. Learn more about Sen. Hughes' Quitclaim bill. We've requested a committee hearing for this bill, and we're grateful the chairman is leading the charge on this good public policy. 
 
In addition to the affirmative legislative agenda item listed above, our legislative team are monitoring 149 of the more than 7,000 bills filed this session. Review a list and description of the proposed pieces of legislation we are monitoring. TLTA's Board of Directors met recently and took positions on some of the legislation we are monitoring:
  • HB 2240: TLTA will maintain a neutral position on this bill related to change in the definition of good funds, as long as the committee substitute contains key features agreed to by stakeholders.
  • HB 1679: TLTA will maintain a neutral position on this bill, which provides that a mechanic’s lien can survive a foreclosure up to the retainage amount.
  • HB 2825: TLTA will oppose this bill related to certain transactions involving real property located near military bases.
  • Various bills related to racial covenants, including SB 30: TLTA will maintain a neutral position on the various bills designed to redress the existence of racial covenants in the real property record. TLTA's legislative team will seek to mitigate unintended consequences where possible.

The electricity outages that occurred during winter storm Uri continue to dominate the legislative and political discussions at the Capitol and around the state. The outcome of the complex debate surrounding this issue will impact the fate of many pieces of legislation this session, as it has created a rift between the Texas Senate and House, as well as leaving the PUC and ERCOT without appointed executive leadership.  
 
Only 74 days remain in the 87th Legislative Session, but special sessions are expected due to redistricting and other issues.

March 10, 2021


We are pleased to report that the second of TLTA's two legislative priorities, our Homestead Certainty bill related to homestead affidavits, was filed in the Texas House this week by Rep. Hugh Shine. You can review his bill, HB 3115, and this one-pager we developed to help explain the bill to legislators and stakeholders.
 
As reported in last week's Dateline, TLTA's other affirmative legislative priority, SB 885 related to the statute of limitations for quitclaims, was filed by Sen. Bryan Hughes in the Senate. Learn more about Sen. Hughes' Quitclaim bill.
 
The bill filing deadline is this Friday, and we are so grateful to our bill authors, Sen. Hughes and Rep. Shine, for ensuring our industry has a chance to advance these important priorities. As previously reported, this is a challenging session to win legislators' attention due to pandemic-related disruptions and considerations. Kudos to our legislative team for their hard work educating our bill authors and staff, engaging stakeholders, and helping get everyone comfortable with the good public policy we will continue working to pass before the legislative session adjourns at the end of May. 
 
In addition to the two affirmative legislative agenda items listed above, our legislative team are monitoring more than 100 of the approx. 4,000 bills filed to-date. Review a list and description of the proposed pieces of legislation we are monitoring
 
In addition to pandemic-related challenges this session, the power and water outages related to Winter Storm Uri are dominating almost every political and policy discussion statewide. Still, legislative business continues throughout the Capitol—more and more of it in-person—and most major committees held hearings this week to discuss bills – the first time this session that's happened.

March 3, 2021


We are pleased to report that one of TLTA's two legislative priorities for the 87th Session of the Texas Legislature was filed in the Texas Senate this week - SB 885 related to the statute of limitations for quitclaims. Learn more about what our quitclaim bill does.
 
To date, 3,778 pieces of proposed legislation have been filed. The deadline for bill filing is next Friday, March 12. TLTA’s Legislative team is closely monitoring a large number of bills that could impact our industry. Click here to see a list and description of each of those proposed pieces of legislation. 
 
As noted in last week's Dateline, the Legislature continues to hold special hearings on the power and water outages that accompanied the recent severe winter storm, and reform of the systems governing our state's electricity grid is now among the list of emergency items designated by Gov. Abbott for consideration by the Texas Legislature during the first 60 days of the legislative session. Those hearings continue this week.
 
Additionally, the Texas House recently announced their standing committee schedule for the session, and House committees met this week for organizational hearings.

Feb. 24, 2021


Legislative business was temporarily on hold last week as communities statewide responded to the series of crises generated by the unprecedented winter storm. Normal legislative activities resumed this week, with the Senate Finance and House Appropriations committees resuming their work on the state budget.
 
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick issued his 31 priorities for 2021 this week. Please note that among his priorities is removing racist restrictions from real estate deeds (see item 30 in the press release linked above). While the Lt. Gov.'s statement notes that the removal of these restrictions will be carried out via Senate Bill 30, that bill has not been filed yet. As you may recall, this is an issue on which our industry has worked in previous sessions.
 
As noted in last week's Dateline, special hearings are being held this week on the power and water outages that accompanied last week's severe winter storm, and reform of the systems governing our state's electricity grid has now moved onto the list of emergency items designated by Gov. Abbott for consideration by the Texas Legislature during the first 60 days of the 87th Legislative Session.

Feb. 17, 2021


All legislative hearings this week have been cancelled due to severe winter weather. While normal legislative operations are on hold, there is a great deal of legislative activity related to the power outages that have accompanied this challenging weather event.
 
Gov. Abbott has declared ERCOT (the nonprofit that manages our state's electricity grid) an emergency item, which allows legislators to vote on legislation related to ERCOT during the first 60 days of session, along with the other emergency items he named earlier this year.
 
Additionally, Texas House Speaker Phelan called for a joint hearing of the House State Affairs and Energy committees, and the hearing is scheduled Thursday, Feb. 25. 

We will continue to monitor the situation at the Capitol and provide more information as normal legislative operations resume in the days ahead. 

Feb. 10, 2021


Speaker of the Texas House Dade Phelan announced House committee assignments on Thursday, Feb. 4, and there are many new faces in leadership roles. Here are some committee assignments of which you should be aware:
 

Insurance Committee

Rep. Tom Oliverson, who carried our TTIGA bill last session, has been named chairman of the House Insurance Committee. We enjoy working with Chairman Oliverson and his staff, and we look forward to a good working relationship this session and beyond. Longtime friend and Insurance Committee member Rep. Hubert Vo will serve as vice chair. 
 

Business and Industry Committee

We have enjoyed a longstanding, productive working relationship with B&I's new chair, Rep. Chris Turner. This committee oversees the Property Code, where most of our industry's issues reside. Rep. Cole Hefner will serve as vice chair. 
 
Review House committee assignments by committee »
Review House committee assignments by member »
 
Legislative activity remains relatively subdued due to the pandemic, but the Senate Finance Committee began their hearings on SB 1 – the Senate's version of the state budget for the upcoming 2022-23 biennium. During the Finance Committee's first budget hearing on Monday, Comptroller Hegar reviewed his Biennial Revenue Estimate, and the Legislative Budget Board provided a summary of SB 1. Crafting a state budget for the upcoming biennium is the only responsibility legislators are constitutionally required to fulfil during the legislative session, therefore all legislative activity at the Capitol is impacted by the budget's development. 

Feb. 3, 2021


During Gov. Abbott's State of the State address earlier this week, he designated five emergency items that the Texas Legislature may vote on within the first 60 days of the 87th Legislative Session:
  • COVID-related civil liability protection for businesses
  • expanding broadband internet access
  • election integrity
  • prevent local governments from "defunding the police"
  • bail system reform
Once House Committees are named (Speaker Phelan indicated at a recent event we could expect to see members' committee assignments sometime this week), we can expect public hearings on bills related to the issues listed above, as well as a general increase in the volume of legislative activity in general. 
 
It is worth noting that the Senate Finance Committee will start their hearings on the state budget next week. As previously reported, passing a state budget, or General Appropriations Act (GAA), is the only assignment that legislators must complete every session, and all issues being debated in the Capitol are impacted by appropriators' decisions about state funding for the upcoming biennium.

Jan. 27, 20201


The 87th Session of the Texas Legislature continues this week. The House and Senate met briefly yesterday and today, and both chambers have adjourned again. While the House and Senate will not meet again formally until Feb. 9, legislative work continues as members file new legislation, work with stakeholders on filed legislation, and wait for announcement of House committee assignments.

Governor Abbott will be delivering his State of the State address Feb. 1, and for the first time that we can recall, the address will be held in the evening and broadcast statewide. Here are additional details, including how you can watch.

The Senate Special Redistricting Committee is holding hearings in the Senate chamber this week and will continue to hold hearings into February. While these hearings are organized around particular regions and population centers, the committee will hear redistricting-related testimony about any part of the state at any hearing. You can review a list of their upcoming hearings here


Jan. 20, 2021


The 87th Session of the Texas Legislature is in motion, and it's already shaping up to be a session unlike any session our industry has seen before. If you want to learn more about the unique challenges facing the current Texas Legislature, including the state's response to COVID-19, redistricting, and a challenging budget cycle, be sure to attend the upcoming installment of our Town Hall Insights Series Feb. 2, during which Evan Smith of the Texas Tribune will help us make sense of the legislative session ahead. You can RSVP now for Evan's presentation.
 
The Texas House and Senate have adopted their rules, including special rules related to coronavirus protocols. Notably, both chambers are requiring public testimony to be delivered in person, although there are special exceptions that allow invited testimony to be delivered remotely. 
 
The Texas Senate has named committees. We are pleased to report that Sen. Kelly Hancock has retained his chairmanship of the Senate Business and Commerce Committee. Chairman Hancock oversaw some key industry legislation last session, and he recently provided TLTA's Board of Directors insights regarding what we can expect from the legislative session.
 
The Capitol has been closed for several days due to security concerns related to the inauguration, but it is expected to reopen as early as tomorrow.
 
Both chambers are adjourned until Jan. 26. 

Jan. 13, 2021


The 87th Session of the Texas Legislature commenced Tuesday, Jan. 12. The new Speaker of the Texas House, Dade Phelan, was elected, Gov. Abbott addressed both chambers with a message about the importance of working together on behalf of all Texans in the months ahead, and other opening day ceremonies were carried out as possible under coronavirus-related protocols.
 
The Texas Capitol is open, but visitors must receive a clear COVID-19 rapid test before they are allowed to enter the building. Once inside, there are State Preservation Board protocols that must be followed, including wearing masks. Additionally, the House and Senate have their own rules and guidelines, so visitors are finding some legislators' offices open without an appointment, while other offices require clear COVID-19 tests, appointments and more before visitors are allowed to enter.  
 
House and Senate rules are expected to be adopted by tomorrow, and we've been told that their general rules will include new or altered coronavirus-related protocols. If you are planning to travel to the Capitol, we encourage you to call ahead or contact us for current rules.
 
Additionally, it's worth noting that Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar issued the Biennial Revenue Estimate (BRE) on Monday, Jan. 11. The BRE provides direction for appropriators who are trying to determine the volume of discretionary funds available to craft the state budget for the next biennium. Every issue discussed at the Texas Capitol is impacted by the development of the state budget. And, as Comptroller Hegar hinted when he spoke at TLTA's Town Hall Meeting late last year, the BRE was stronger than expected, giving legislators more wiggle room as they work on the issues important to them and their districts.