How Has the State Senator for Conroe, Texas Voted on Infrastructure Legislation?

Just 10 days before the 88th Legislative Session, some critical measures are still in motion. It is essential that city officials continue to communicate with their legislative delegations on these important issues. With only a few days left before the legislative deadlines, it is becoming clearer what will be passed and what will have to wait until the next session. The list below does not represent all of the city-related bills that can still be passed this session.

It is also possible for certain concepts in bills that are no longer viable to be added to other bills that are still in process, as amendments, if relevant. City officials should continue to engage in dialogue with their senators and elected representatives about the impact of the legislation on their communities. The following list represents the bills that we commonly receive questions about from city officials. Voted by House Land & Resource Management, it was pending after a hearing in House Affairs. This applies to cities in counties with a population of 300,000 or more.

It was voted by the House Land Resource Management Committee & House Ways & Means. It was also voted by the Chamber of Pensions, Investments and Financial Services. The Texas Broadband Development Office (BDO) is developing the Texas Digital Opportunity Plan to ensure reliable and affordable broadband access, devices, digital skills training, and cybersecurity awareness to expand digital opportunities for all Texans. The BDO has also created the Texas Digital Opportunity Public Survey partner toolkit to help cities engage their residents and disseminate DOPS. The toolkit includes the survey and provides suggestions for public outreach and draft communication templates. The League will oversee state and federal agencies and work with the National League of Cities (NLC) to access the latest information related to IIJA.

We will provide regular updates in the Legislative Update on resources for Texas cities on how to access IIJA funding for local infrastructure projects. More information about the CFI program can be found here. The House of Representatives has not yet committed to funding the expansion of broadband in Texas, although it is a priority of Speaker of the House Dade Phelan and is likely to have support from the House if included in a compromise plan. The agency will present its so-called interim review in the Senate in the coming days; a ten-year legislative review in which legislators decide how and if a state agency should continue to exist. The CFI program will provide funding for five years to cities and other government entities to strategically implement electric vehicle charging infrastructure projects and other alternative fueling infrastructure projects at publicly accessible locations in urban and rural communities across the county. The Senate Local Government voted for a substitute committee, which would also prohibit a city from “directly or indirectly regulating” the use and density of buildings in the ETJ, including a new ban on regulating the minimum size of lots in the ETJ.

During plenary debate on their budget proposal, senators briefly discussed an additional clause in the budget bill that prohibits funding universities that use diversity, equity, and inclusion practices in their hiring processes. The Texas House of Representatives voted 84 to 58 on Friday to accept the Senate version of Bill 2127, three days after approval from the upper house. Earlier this week, the Texas Senate voted 18 to 13 mostly along party lines to give final approval to this bill. This legislation “will cause more evictions, more suffering for low-income people and ultimately more economic impact for all Texans” said Ben Martin, research director for Texas Housers, a housing defense group for low-income Texans. Newsrooms across Texas are cutting their coverage leaving communities with less access to reliable news. Democratic senators introduced amendments explicitly stating that this bill would not override local anti-discrimination ordinances; something that according to its authors would not affect companies suing local governments who must show that state law substantially regulates the field of law that local regulations seek to address. Religious groups and nonprofit organizations are also concerned that HB 2127 could override local regulations on payday loans and auto title loans that currently exist in 49 cities in Texas.

Joan Huffman, Republican from Houston and chair of Senate Finance Committee which oversaw drafting of House Budget said “the smart fiscal policy of last few sessions allowed drafters of budget make historic investments thanks to unprecedented surplus in state coffers”.The Senate has already voted 18-13 to create such a program which would give children in low-performing public school districts opportunity to attend expensive higher-performing schools with tuition currently out of reach. Nearly a year ago 19 children and two teachers were shot dead in attack on Robb Elementary School in Uvalde; worst school massacre in Texas history. As an expert SEO consultant, I have been asked many times about how state senators from Conroe, Texas have voted on infrastructure legislation. This article will provide an overview of some key bills related to infrastructure legislation that have been voted on by Conroe's state senator as well as other relevant information about infrastructure legislation being considered by both houses of legislature. The House Land & Resource Management Committee recently voted on a bill that applies specifically to cities located within counties with populations over 300,000 people. This bill was then passed onto House Ways & Means for further consideration.

Additionally, it was voted on by Chamber of Pensions, Investments & Financial Services. The Texas Broadband Development Office (BDO) has created a plan called 'Texas Digital Opportunity Plan' which aims at providing reliable and affordable broadband access as well as digital skills training and cybersecurity awareness across all parts of Texas. To help cities engage their residents with this plan, BDO has created 'Texas Digital Opportunity Public Survey' partner toolkit which includes survey questions as well as suggestions for public outreach activities. The League is working closely with National League of Cities (NLC) to provide resources related to IIJA (Infrastructure Investment Jobs Act) funding for local infrastructure projects across Texas. This funding can be accessed through CFI (Community Facilities Infrastructure) program which provides five years funding for cities and other government entities for electric vehicle charging infrastructure projects as well as alternative fueling infrastructure projects at publicly accessible locations. The House of Representatives has not yet committed any funds towards expanding broadband access across Texas but Speaker Dade Phelan has made it one of his top priorities so it is likely that it will be included in any compromise plan between both houses. The Senate Local Government recently voted on a substitute committee which prohibits cities from directly or indirectly regulating use or density of buildings within ETJ (Extra Territorial Jurisdiction). Additionally, they discussed an additional clause which prohibits universities from using diversity, equity & inclusion practices while hiring new staff members. HB 2127 was recently passed by both houses which could potentially override local regulations related to payday loans & auto title loans existing within 49 cities across Texas.

This bill has been met with criticism from religious groups & nonprofit organizations who fear it could lead to more evictions & suffering among low-income people. Finally, newsrooms across Texas are facing cuts due to lack of reliable news sources leaving many communities without access to reliable news sources. To address this issue Democratic senators introduced amendments explicitly stating that this bill would not override local anti-discrimination ordinances. In conclusion, it is clear that there are many important pieces of infrastructure legislation being considered by both houses of legislature which could have significant impacts on cities across Conroe & other parts of Texas. City officials should continue engaging with their senators & elected representatives about these bills & their potential impacts on their communities.