Over the past month or so, I have been hunting and gathering information from a variety of sources, including the Texas REALTORS® Legislative Liaison, the Austin American-Statesman, the Austin Business Journal and my own eavesdropping while secreted behind the curtains of offices that I am not supposed to have access to. By all counts (and there are certainly contradictory accounts), this 87th Session of the Texas Legislature will be an interesting one, and nobody really knows how it will end up.
No matter what happens, TREPAC will ensure our elected city, county, state and national elected officials understand the issues that concern us: property owner rights and issues of special concern to REALTORS®.
Let’s take a look at a few things that have happened in the Texas Legislature so far this year:
As of this writing, in early February, Texas REALTORS® was closely watching 687 bills out of 2,135 bills that had already been introduced. We expect that there may be upwards of over 6,000 bills introduced for consideration this session. But the Texas Constitution says they cannot take up any bills within the first 60 days of session, so the great raucous committee hearings and floor debates have not even started yet.
So … nothing very controversial or interesting has happened so far. Well, okay, maybe a few things.
Voting on Daylight Saving Time
Senate Bill 471 was introduced by Sen. José Menéndez (Senate District 26) and House Bill 1405 by Rep. Lyle Larson (House District 122), to allow voters to decide if Texas should observe standard time or daylight saving time year-round.
This is not the first time lawmakers have proposed a possible change to daylight saving time. In 2019, the Texas House passed a resolution that would allow voters to choose whether to keep observing daylight saving time.
In a joint statement, the lawmakers say that both daylight saving time and standard time can impact the well-being of people across the state, and that eliminating any “unnecessary time switch provides a commonsense solution to help prevent these problems, and allows the voters of Texas to make the decision about what is best for them.”
A Proposal for Texas Secession
HB 1359 is pretty simple: If approved, and if all the pieces and parts were to fall in line, the November 2 state ballot would include a non-binding referendum question: “Should the legislature of the State of Texas submit a plan for leaving the United States of America and establishing an independent republic?”
And remember, so far our 87th Legislative Session has been pretty quiet!
Texas REALTORS® Winter Meeting February 16-18
Before the session really gets going, plan to attend the Texas REALTORS® Winter Meeting, held virtually from February 16th through February 18th.
Members from across Texas will join together to learn and conduct business meetings. The program is developed specifically to provide insight and discussion on how to identify available resources, navigate challenges, and implement plans for a successful 2021 year. The event is free, but you do have to register at https://www.texasrealtors.com/wintermeeting.
I am really proud to note that on the morning of February 18th, I will be interviewing newly elected Texas Senator Cesar Blanco from El Paso. Senator Blanco will discuss, among other things, how our Legislators will work together this session, and what their Legislative priorities will be. We expect it will be a casual conversation with the Senator about issues important to all Texas property owners and REALTORS®.
Your Day at the Texas Capitol
REALTOR® day at the Texas Capitol is going virtual in March. REALTOR® Day is a cornerstone event in our state associations advocacy efforts. We are adapting this year’s event by hosting virtual meetings with members of the 87th Texas Legislature throughout March.
The 2021 legislative session will look different than in years past, and the need for REALTORS® to advocate for Texas real estate is more important than ever. Look for more information and dates in your e-mail inboxes soon!
A History of Success
TREPAC works for you in lots of different ways, and I want to end this article with these sentiments: The mission of TREPAC/Texas REALTORS® Political Action Committee is to raise and disburse funds to promote home ownership, protect real property rights, and increase political awareness.
TREPAC, along with our national and local REALTOR® associations, have a proven track record of advocating on behalf of property owners and our REALTOR® members.
We can be proud that our REALTOR® organizations have maintained strong relationships with elected officials at all levels, regardless of political party, and that is one of the biggest reasons why our advocacy efforts are so successful.
All our decisions begin locally, and we welcome every opportunity to educate members on what it means to be the REALTOR® Party.
We are comprised of individuals who bring their own ideas and ideals, and we unite in our shared goal of advancing public policies for the betterment of property owners, our communities and the real estate profession.