• January 17, 2011



150 150 Elect Todd Hunter


The 140 day clock of the 82nd Legislative session officially began ticking away at noon on January 11th with the swearing in of the 82nd Legislature. During those 140 days the Texas Legislature will meet in Austin to work on two years’ worth of legislative concepts and ideas. In last week’s article, I outlined some of the bills which have been filed for the 82nd session and I would like to take this week’s article to continue to introduce to you some more of those bills.

Of the multitude of issues which will be addressed by bills being filed this session, two have already managed to make their way to the forefront of the Legislature’s lawmaking agenda by Governor Rick Perry’s Proclamation declaring them as emergency items. The two emergency items relate to the protecting of private property rights/addressing eminent domain issues, and abolishing sanctuary cities in Texas. The listing of these issues by Gov. Perry as emergency items allows lawmakers to begin considering these issues during the initial thirty days of the legislative session.

One bill to watch is Senate Bill (SB) 18 which seeks to confront the issue of eminent domain. SB 18 would expand upon the protections the State of Texas has put into place for private property owners since the United States Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that “public use” included economic revitalization projects. In 2005 the Texas Legislature defined “public use” to exclude any use in which confers a private benefit on behalf of a private party. SB 18 would seek to take the defense of private property a step further and establish that an entity with eminent domain authority must state with specificity the public use in which the entity intends to acquire the property, amongst various other new provisions.

Other bills to watch are:

• HB 380 relates to the constitutional limit on the rate of growth of appropriations and the use of surplus state revenues.
• HB 382 relates to the authorization and regulation of poker gaming and the duties of the Texas Lottery Commission.
• HB 401 would require that a voter present proof of identification.
• HB 470 relates to the addition of Salvia divinorum and its derivatives and extracts to Penalty Group 3 of the Texas Controlled Substance Act.
• SB 298 seeks to eliminate the set-aside of a portion of designated tuition for student financial assistance at public institutions of higher education.

These bills and many others will try and make their way through the legislative process during the session’s 140 day sprint. If you would like to follow any of these bills or any others which have been filed and working their way through the process, these websites are a great resource:
The Texas Legislature
The Texas House of Representatives
The Texas Senate
If you have questions or comments regarding any of the filed bills mentioned in this article or any other bills which have been filed, please do not hesitate to call my Capitol or District Office. As always, my offices are available at any time to assist with questions, concerns or comments (Capitol Office, 512-463-0672; District Office, 361-949-4603).