While I have primarily focused on legislation around sand mining, legislators in both the Texas House and Senate have filed bills that address other aspects of the Harvey disaster. I have arbitrarily grouped them into several categories below to make this rather lengthy list easier to follow.
Remember how residents received no warning to evacuate before water invaded their homes? Remember how the storm overwhelmed emergency response systems?
- Rep. Will Metcalf introduced HB26 that would create an alert system. It stipulates that the dam operator must provide: time of release, expected duration of release, expected level of flooding that will result, etc.
- Rep. Richard Raymond introduced HB34 that would create a statewide disaster alert system under the Texas Division of Emergency Management (which is part of DPS).
- Rep. Sarah Davis sponsored HB1294 requiring emergency management training for officers and employees of political subdivisions whose responsibilities include emergency preparedness or management.
- Sen. Boris Miles introduced SB 285. It would require the Governor to issue a proclamation each year before hurricane season. The proclamation would direct state agencies, municipalities and counties to review and update hurricane preparedness plans. It would also require them to conduct community outreach and education activities on hurricane preparedness.
- Sen. Charles Perry introduced SB396 relating to state and regional flood planning. It would create a state flood planning process administered by the Texas Water Development Board.
Concerned about that upstream dam that might flood you?
- Rep. Gina Hinojosa introduced HB137 that would require the TCEQ to notify communities of significant dam hazards.
Involving Public in Permitting Processes
Concerned about how sand mine and superfund sites get permitted next to your water supply without anyone in your community knowing?
- Rep. Jessica Farrar introduced HB245. It would require applicants for environmental and water-use permits to post a copy of the applications online.
Flood Insurance Disclosure
Did you think you had flood insurance coverage when you didn’t?
- Rep. Mary Ann Perez filed HB 283. It would require insurers to disclose on the top page of a commercial or residential policy whether the policy covers loss caused by flooding.
Disclosure of Prior Flooding
Concerned that the people selling you a home might not fully disclose flood risks and the property’s history re: flooding?
- Senator Joan Huffman introduced SB339. relating to a seller’s disclosure notice for a residential property regarding floodplains, flood pools, or reservoirs. It would require a seller of residential property to disclose existing information about whether the property is within the 100-year floodplain, the 500-year floodplain, the flood pool of a reservoir, or within five miles downstream of a reservoir and the property has flooded in a flood event.
Adequacy of Infrastructure
Concerned about how our infrastructure couldn’t handle Harvey and about how long it is taking to fix those issues?
- Rep. Dade Phelan introduced HB478 that would help fund flood planning, mitigation and infrastructure projects.
- Rep. Amando Walle introduced HB801 that would establish a task force to conduct a comprehensive study on flood control infrastructure for Harris County.
- Sen. Boris Miles introduced a companion bill to HB801. SB 179 requires U of H to provide staff and administrative support for the task force. It also directs Harris County Flood Control to advise the task force.
- Rep. Dennis Paul introduced HB1010 that would establish regional flood planning that includes a prioritized list of projects necessary to meet the needs of the region for the next 10 years.
- Rep. Eddie Lucio III introduced HB1059 that requires the TCEQ to appoint a Green Stormwater Infrastructure and Low Impact Report Group. It would report every other year on systems and practices that manage stormwater, and that protect water quality and associated habitat.
- Sen. Charles Perry sponsored SB397 related to the funding of flood-related projects by the Texas Water Development Board. It also includes flood-related projects administered by the State Soil and Water Conservation Board.
- Senator Brandon Creighton introduced SB695. It creates a Texas Infrastructure Resiliency Fund administered by TWDB to provide grants, low-interest loans, or zero-interest loans to eligible political subdivisions. for
- flood projects.
- Sen. Charles Perry proposed a constitutional amendment providing for the creation of a State Flood Plan Implementation Fund to assist in the financing of certain flood-related projects. It also calls for transferring $1.2 billion from the economic stabilization fund into State Flood Plan Implementation fund on 11/30/19.
Concerned about whether aggregate production operations (sand mines) will destroy a river near you?
- Rep. Terry Wilson, introduced HB509. It would allow the Railroad Commission to regulate aggregate production and requires them to consider the cumulative impact of multiple operators in an area.
- Rep. Dan Huberty filed HB907 that increases penalties for failure to register aggregate production operations.
- Huberty also introduced HB908. It increases penalties for other violations by aggregate production operations and requires inspections by the TCEQ every two years instead of three.
- HB909, also by Huberty requires the TCEQ to establish a set of Best Management Practices for aggregate productions operators.
- Sen. Donna Campbell introduced SB694. It increases the frequency of aggregate production operations by the TCEQ and allow unannounced inspections for APOs that had violations in the preceding two years. It also increases the maximum possible penalty for APO violations to $20,000 per day from $10,000.
Aquifer Storage and Retrieval
Concerned about loss of lake capacity due to sedimentation from flooding? About subsidence? About the long-term availability of ground water?
- Rep. Lyle Larson introduced HB720. It appropriates water for use in aquifer storage and recovery projects.
- HB721, also sponsored by Larson, requires the Texas Water Development Board to conduct studies of aquifer storage and recovery, and to prepare and submit reports on the same.
Concerned that no dedicated entity is looking out for the interests of Lake Houston Area residents?
- Rep. Dan Huberty introduced HB911 that creates a Lake Houston Watershed Commission that will be responsible for planning for the area, share information and publish information.
If you are aware of other bills that should be on this list, please contact me. I will update it periodically throughout the legislative session.
You can track the progress of bills through the legislative session by clicking on links to the bills above. You can also track a group of bills by creating a list at My Texas Legislature Online.
Posted by Bob Rehak on 2/16/2019
536 Days since Hurricane Harvey