87th Texas Legislative Session Wrap-Up

87th Texas Legislative Session Wrap-Up

Texas Capitol Building
Texas Capitol in Austin

There were a number of key bills passed in the 87th Texas Legislative Session that will impact business.  This includes eminent domain, Pandemic Liability, ERCOT/Utility Weatherization, delivery of wine, beer and mixed drinks, PPP loans and more.

Since redistricting did not get addressed, the Governor will be calling a special session to address that issue.

Other issues for a special session could include election integrity, distribution of federal funds and bail reform.

Here are some key updates:

1.Eminent Domain

SB 2730 Deshotel and Burns/Kolkhorst

Gives property owners the right to file a written complaint with the Texas Real Estate Commission for misconduct by right-of-way or easement agents

Adds to the Land Owner Bill of Rights an addendum of required terms for the instrument of conveyance of a pipeline or electric utility easement

Requires the Office of Attorney General to do a biennial review, with input from the public, of the Landowner Bill of Rights

Requires right-of-way or easement agents to take courses to get or renew a certificate of registration every two years (16 hours)

Requires a trial court to appoint special commissioners not later than the 30th calendar day after a petition has been filed

SB 721 by Schwertner/Leman

Requires a condemning entity to divulge to a property owner current and existing appraisal reports relating to the property and what the intended use will be at a commissioners hearing

SB 725 by Schwertner/Leman

Requires that a penalty for the change of use of agricultural land resulting from condemnation is the obligation of the condemner

HB 4107 by Burrows/Kolkhorst

Obligates a common carrier, prior to accessing property for a preliminary survey to be used as a part of the power of eminent domain, to give a property owner, in writing, the notice of intent to access the land and an indemnification provision against any damages caused during the survey


2. Economic Development Act

Various bills were filed to address the Texas Economic Development Act which will expire December 31, 2022

Legislation filed varied from extending the expiration date by four years (later amended to two years), to extending the expiration 10 and 12 years with a number of substantive modifications

Proposed changes affected application fees and content, payments, types of qualifying projects and reporting methods.

None of these measures passed. Therefore, short of these issues being placed on the agenda of a special session, the 88th Legislative Session in 2025 will be the earliest they can be addressed


3. Pandemic Liability Act

SB 6 by Hancock/Leach

Provides liability protection to employers who acted in good faith during the pandemic and if they do so in future

Limits set for death, injury and property damage

Liability Protections during Pandemic or Disaster


4. ERCOT/Utility Weatherization

SB 2 by Hanock/Paddie

Provides for the restructuring of ERCOT

Changes board composition from 16 to 11 directors

A committee will appoint 8 of the directors

The committee will include three people and will be made up of one appointee each from the Governor, Lt. Governor and Speaker of the House

 SB 3 by Schwertner/Paddie

Requires utility companies, and some natural gas companies, to upgrade to be able to withstand severe weather incidents

Requires utility regulators to develop an emergency alert system for power outages and severe weather

Gas facilities that will be required to weatherize their facilities will be ones that are deemed to be critical infrastructure to maintaining utility services

Creates $6.5 billion of rate-payer-backed, state approved bonds for natural gas utilities and electric coops to cover costs associated with the winter crisis


5. Bulk Storage

SB 900 by Schwertner/Paddie

Addresses safety issues related to fires and explosions for bulk storage tanks

Sets standards and design integrity for bulk storage tanks of 21,000 gallons or more

TCEQ will develop the rules by September 2023


6. Paycheck Protection Program

HB 1195 by Geren/Hancock

Makes PPP loans and grants nontaxable under the Texas Franchise


7. Natural Gas Bans

HB 17 by Deshotel/Birdwell

Prevents cities and counties from banning natural gas use


8. Wine, Beer and Mixed Beverage Delivery

HB 1024 by Geren/Hancock

Allows pickup and delivery of beer, wine and mixed beverages

Provides for pick-up and delivery by third-parties

Makes permanent the waiver Gov Abbott’s implemented during the pandemic that allowed restaurants with a mixed beverage permit as well as a food and beverage certificate from the Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission to sell beer, wine, and mixed beverages along with orders for food