January 10, 2017

Dateline Austin Exclusive: Overview of the Texas Legislature

Texas Land Title Association | Jan. 10, 2017

The Texas Legislature begins its 85th session today, and this session has the potential to impact our industry more than ever before. That’s why TLTA has put together the following overview of the legislative process: to give you the information you need to follow bills, as well as a quick but thorough refresher on how the entire process operates.

As you already know from our Breaking News correspondence, one bill was filed in December that would radically disrupt our industry: SB 372 by Sen. Bob Hall (R-Edgewood). This bill would dramatically alter the way our Texas title insurance system functions and negatively impact Texas homebuyers. TLTA will be keeping you up-to-date on this bill and any others related to title insurance that arise during the session. You can get talking points or additional information on our industry to use during the session in the Texas Title Insurance Works Toolbox. If you haven't already done so, please register for Day at the Capitol. Get details.

Texas Legislature Overview 
Number of members in each chamber: There are 150 members of the Texas House of Representatives and 31 members of the Senate. House members serve two-year terms, while Senate members have four-year terms.
Party House Senate Overall
Democrats 55 11 66
Republicans 95 20 115
Total 150 31 181
There are 28 new legislators being sworn in today. See the list.

It's important to understand how a bill becomes a law: There are many steps involved for a bill to make the journey from filing to the Governor's desk – it's not an easy process! There are four major stages that a bill must pass through before becoming a law: introduction, committee action, floor action and enrollment. At any one of these stages, a bill could be debated, amended, passed or killed. Here are three great resources that explain this in more detail:
Read this detailed summary on the Texas House of Representatives website
Read this brief summary on the Texas Legislature Online
View the flow charts on pages 11 and 12 of this Texas Legislative Committee document

Want to stay on top of things? Here's how you can follow a bill:
Go to the Texas Legislature Online. In the center of the page, near the top, is an option titled “Search Legislation.” Type in what you’re looking for (make sure it includes SB or HB), set the drop-down menu under “Legislature” to “85 (R) – 2017” and hit “Go.”

Read the Entire Texas Legislature Overview »

Two Registration Options for Day at the Capitol – Register Today!

Book your hotel room by Friday, Jan. 13, to receive the group discount!

This year, attending Day at the Capitol is more important than ever, and we are offering two registration options.
The two-day option – Feb. 13-14. Recommended if your schedule and budget permits. Benefits include: 
Hear keynote presentations from guest legislators
Get an in-person briefing and have the opportunity to ask questions
Meet and visit with colleagues with whom you'll be making legislative calls
Visit with the TLTA lobby team
Enjoy networking and being an active part of the legislative process

The one-day option – Feb. 14. If you can only come for one day, please come anyway!

Participate in the Feb. 9 orientation webinar to get tips and FAQs
Arrive at the Capitol on Tuesday, Feb. 14 to pick up your materials and hit the ground running

Register online or using the printed form.
Book Your Hotel Room »
Learn More »

TLTA is scheduling live webinars for spring 2017. Register now, or book your On-Demand version today!

Claims (Wednesday, Jan. 25)
This webinar is designed to educate both title and escrow personnel about claims-handling procedures and agent responsibilities.
Credit Where Credit Is Due (Wednesday, Feb. 15)
More info on this webinar coming soon!
1031 Exchange (Wednesday, March 8)
Are you a closer looking for closure on recognition of capital gains or losses? Get the 4-1-1 on 1031s!