December 3, 2021, Number 45
Download the full .pdf version here: TML Legislative Update Number 45
speaker phelan announces sunset advisory appointments
Last week, Speaker Phelan appointed Rep. Justin Holland (R – Heath), Rep. Keith Bell (R – Forney), Rep. Terry Canales (D – Edinburg), and Rep. Travis Clardy (R – Nacogdoches) to the Sunset Advisory Commission, with Rep. Holland being appointed as Vice Chair. The commission is comprised of five senators and five representatives with two additional members representing the public. It is charged with reviewing each state agency every ten years providing the legislature the opportunity to closely examine an agency’s mission, priorities, and performance and take action to address problems identified. The commission is set to review the following agencies, among others, during the 2022 – 2023 review cycle:
- Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT)
- Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ)
- Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCLOE)
- Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC)
- Office of Public Utility Counsel (OPUC)
- Texas Water Development Board (TWDB)
- Office of State-Federal Relations (OSFR)
The League will continue to monitor the sunset review process and report on the Commission’s recommendations.
railroad commission proposes emergency prioritization rules
The Railroad Commission (RRC) is proposing rules relating to the prioritization of natural gas distribution during a curtailment event (i.e. when a gas utility determines that its ability to deliver gas may become inadequate to support continuous service to its customers on its system and it reduces deliveries to one or more customers). The rules will make permanent the RRC’s emergency order issued in February of 2021, which modified the natural gas utility curtailment priorities to protect the needs of individual customers and electric generation customers.
Interested persons may submit comments in the following ways: (1) by mail to Rules Coordinator, Office of General Counsel, Railroad Commission of Texas, P.O. Box 12967, Austin, Texas 78711-2967; (2) online at www.rrc.texas.gov/general-counsel/rules/comment-form-for-proposed-rulemakings; or (3) by electronic mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments must be filed by 5:00 p.m. on January 7, 2022.
tceq increases certain solid waste fees
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) adopted rules increasing the fees it collects for industrial solid waste and hazardous waste generation and management. In response to comments, TCEQ anticipates increasing the generation fee in four equivalent increases over a period of four years beginning on January 1, 2022 with future adjustments on each subsequent January 1. For management fees, TCEQ will begin charging increased fees for the first adjustment and second adjustment on March 1, 2022, and on September 1, 2023, respectively, and future adjustments, if necessary, on each subsequent September 1. TCEQ will monitor fund balances and projected revenue each fiscal year to determine if adjustments are necessary.
nlc releases pandemic response playbook
Last week, the National League of Cities (NLC) released its “Local Fiscal Recovery Funds Playbook” to assist cities with navigating the federal American Rescue Plan Act. According to NLC, the playbook is designed to “educate local leaders on the value of this historic funding program, help local leaders access critical implementation resources from the Treasury and NLC, and generate the biggest impact for their communities.”
NLC’s Local Fiscal Recovery Funds Playbook can be accessed here.
filing period for primary election now open; several legislators not returning
With the opening of the filing period for the 2022 primary election on November 13, many current legislators have announced their retirement or intent to seek election to a different office. In some cases, the new district maps have prompted a member to run for a different seat in the same chamber.
The members listed below have announced they will not run for their current seat, whether due to retirement or to run for other office. Again, some of the members listed below may return to the legislature representing a different district, or in a different capacity altogether:
- Rep. Michelle Beckley (D – Carrollton)
- Rep. Kyle Biedermann (R – Fredericksburg)
- Rep. Jeff Cason (R – Bedford)
- Rep. Garnet Coleman (D – Houston)
- Rep. Jasmine Crockett (D – Dallas)
- Rep. John Cyrier (R – Lockhart)
- Rep. Joe Deshotel (D -– Beaumont)
- Rep. Alex Dominguez (D – Brownsville)
- Rep. John Frullo (R – Lubbock)
- Rep. Dan Huberty (R - Houston)
- Rep. Celia Israel (D – Austin)
- Rep. Phil King (R – Weatherford)
- Rep. Matt Krause (R – Fort Worth)
- Rep. Lyle Larson (R – San Antonio)
- Rep. Ben Leman (R – Anderson)
- Rep. Eddie Lucio III (D – Brownsville)
- Rep. Mayes Middleton (R – Wallisville)
- Rep. Ina Minjarez (D – San Antonio)
- Rep. Jim Murphy (R -– Houston)
- Rep. Claudia Ordaz-Perez (D – El Paso)
- Rep. Chris Paddie (R – Marshall)
- Rep. Tan Parker (R – Flower Mound)
- Rep. Eddie Rodriguez (D – Austin)
- Rep. Scott Sanford (R – McKinney)
- Rep. James Talarico (D – Round Rock)
- Rep. John Turner (D – Dallas)
- Rep. James White (R – Hillister)
- Sen. Dawn Buckingham (R – Lakeway)
- Sen. Eddie Lucio (D – Brownsville)
- Sen. Jane Nelson (R – Flower Mound)
- Sen. Larry Taylor (R – Friendswood)
- Sen. Kel Seliger (R – Amarillo)
The filing period for the 2022 primary remains open until December 13, 2021. The League will continue to update the list above in future editions of the Legislative Update as more legislators announce their intentions for the upcoming election.
covid-19 update (no. 210)
All pandemic-related updates, including information about the American Rescue Plan’s city-related provisions, will be in this Legislative Update Newsletter from now on.
IRS Releases FAQ for CLRF Funding
The Internal Revenue Service has released an FAQ for state and local governments on taxability and reporting of payments from Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds. Of particular interest to many cities is the guidance related to accounting for premium pay to employees. The entire FAQ can be accessed here.
Texas Supreme Court Issues 45th Emergency Order of the COVID-19 Pandemic
The Supreme Court has renewed and amended its 43rd Emergency Order which, among other things:
- Permits all Texas courts to use video and teleconferencing methods in civil and criminal cases through February 1, 2022;
- Allows justice and municipal courts to suspend or modify trial-related and pretrial hearing deadlines through March 1, 2022;
- Urges justice and municipal courts to “move swiftly to return to regular pretrial and trial proceedings as soon as reasonably feasible before March 1, 2022;”
- Continues the authority of courts to modify certain procedures and deadlines in child-protection cases; and
- Allows courts to continue to use reasonable efforts to hold proceedings remotely with certain exceptions or actions required.
The complete Order can be found here.
TML member cities may use the material herein for any purpose. No other person or entity may reproduce, duplicate, or distribute any part of this document without the written authorization of the Texas Municipal League.