Ken Kramer (512-476-6962, office; 512-626-4204, cell)
Cyrus Reed (512-740-4086, cell)
Donna Hoffman (512-477-1729; 512-299-5776, cell)

 Lone Star Chapter

Here's what unfolded in the final minutes of the life of HB 2833:

Shortly before 1:30 a.m., Thursday, May 26 Sen. Staples attempted to suspend the regular order of business on the Senate floor (the usual motion to bring up a bill for consideration) to take up and consider HB 2833. He said that he had hoped to do more with this bill but that he was going to move to amend the bill to strike everything below the enacting clause and substitute a study of the issue rather than pursuing the provisions of the bill.

Sen. Barrientos of Austin - a strong opponent of HB 2833 - rose on the Senate floor to state that he had proposed a study in lieu of the bill earlier in May but Sen. Staples rejected it in committee. He also stated that the Lt. Governor could initiate an interim study; a bill wasn't necessary to do that. He then raised a point of order against further consideration of the bill.

After considerable discussion with the Lt. Governor (the presiding officer) and the Senate parliamentarian, Sen. Barrientos withdrew his point of order in return for a agreement that Sen. Staples would withdraw his bill. Sen. Staples then withdrew the bill. At that point the bill was dead since any House bill had to be considered that night before the Senate ended its session or the bill was dead due to an end-of-session deadline. Although there were concerns that supporters of HB 2833 might try to insert the language of that bill into some other piece of legislation, that did not happen. Apparently due to the level of opposition generated against HB 2833, no one wanted to see their legislation killed as a result of inserting that language into their bill.

Thanks to everybody who communicated to their legislators in opposition to this bill. It was the strong opposition from cities, counties, and environmentalists and other public interest groups that forced Sen. Staples to try to attempt a fall-back position that ultimately failed, and the widespread opposition to the bill strengthened the resolve of Sen. Barrientos and others to be vigorous in killing the bill. Without pressure from all of you, this bill might well have passed.

Therefore, please pat yourselves on the back for a job well done. Thanks to you the power of local governments to protect water quality has been preserved.

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explore, enjoy and protect the planet


Message to Lone Star Chapter Activists
From: Ken Kramer, Director, Lone Star Chapter, Sierra Club

Austin , TX —All of the faxes and phone calls to Senate offices from Sierrans and other activists in opposition to HB 2833 paid off. HB 2833, as you recall, was the infamous regulatory "takings" bill that would have torpedoed local government attempts to protect water quality (and would have done a lot of other bad things). The bill died in the Texas Senate in the wee hours of Thursday, May 26, but before it finally died its Senate sponsor Todd Staples had decided - due to the overwhelming opposition to the bill - to narrow the bill to nothing more than an interim "study" of the issue. Even that last-minute manuever wasn't enough to save this bad piece of legislation.