As the 87 legislative session ends, I’m happy to report that the three pieces of legislation that were either STPRA authored or strongly supported passed!
The human smuggling bill, SB 576, was of the utmost importance to us in the current climate of illegal immigration run amuck. The legislation will give county sheriff’s and district attorney’s the ability to enhance prosecution of human smugglers. It was a nail biter till the end, but with the great push exerted by Representative JM Lozano, and with support from the Governor’s office, some of our members and others, it made it over the finish line with no amendments or changes. In addition, we would like to thank Senator Chuy Hinojosa who authored the legislation on the Senate side, along with Joan Huffman and Representatives Ryan Guillen and Terry Canales, who co-sponsored the bill on the House side.
Our first bill to have already been signed by the Governor, deals with Carrizo cane-relating to the confidentiality of the identity of certain landowners who participate in a State Soil and Water Conservation Board program to manage or eradicate an invasive species. Working group member, Charles Maley, worked it through the process with focused dedication. A big thank you Charles! We’d like to thank Senator Lois Kolkorst (SB 634) and Representative Doc Anderson for authoring the legislation in the Senate and the House.
And last, but not least, the imminent domain survey bill (HB 4107) that was initiated by STPRA director, Frank Armstrong and written by STPRA board president, Eric Opiela. HB 4107 provides notice of entry for the purpose of exercising the power of eminent domain by a common carrier pipeline. We didn’t get the length of time of prior notice we wanted, but we will work to improve it next session.
Representative Dustin Burrows was a big help with both the human smuggling and imminent domain bills.
I would like to thank our working group team and a couple of others who volunteered their time at the Capitol to testify on behalf of our bills, other association bills and rallied against bad bills that would have negatively affected landowners. Thank you to Eric Opiela, Frank Armstrong, Charles Maley, Brooks County Sheriff Benny Martinez, and the Brooks/Jim Wells County District Attorney, Carlos Garcia.
Many of you may not have been aware that the Kleberg/Kenedy County District Attorney and STPRA member, John Hubert, was the true author of the human smuggling bill. As a district attorney, he knew what was needed to improve prosecution outcomes and to help deter human smuggling. We were more than glad to champion this piece of legislation alongside John. Thank you, John!
STPRA chairman, Whit Jones and I traveled to Austin last week to personally thank our legislators for carrying and passing our three pieces of legislation. Here are some photos of that occasion.
Rep. Doc Anderson, Susan Kibbe, Whit Jones
Whit Jones, Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, Susan Kibbe
Rep. Terry Canales, Whit Jones, Susan Kibbe, Reps. JM Lozano, and Ryan Guillen
STPRA continues to work with law enforcement and others, thinking outside of the box on how to secure the Texas-Mexico border. Landowners up and down the border are weary with the feeling of abandonment by the federal government. We will continue to strive to bring recourse to their plight.
Until next month,