Lawmakers File Water and Infrastructure Bills


Texas Capitol building | Image by Thomas Chen

Texas lawmakers have filed three bills to improve water and broadband infrastructure.

Texas Speaker of the House Dade Phelan announced last week that the Texas House of Representatives has three new priority bills aimed at building a more “resilient” state,

These new bills include HB 9 from Rep. Trent Ashby (R-Lufkin), HB 10 from Rep. Tracy King (D-Uvalde), and HB 14 from Rep. Cody Harris (R-Palestine).

HB 9 would establish the Texas Broadband Infrastructure Fund. This fund would be used to expand the availability of broadband internet across the state, as well as improve reliability in schools, 911 services, and other consumers.

Ashby also filed House Joint Resolution 125, which will allow Texas voters to decide whether this bill becomes state law.

Rusty Moore, chief operating officer of Big Bend Telephone Company in Alpine, told The Texas Tribune that the passage of this bill depends on transparency and how well citizens understand it.

“This is a fine illustration of the foundation of our democracy, and I do think it will be favorably met,” said Moore, according to The Texas Tribune. “As long as it’s framed out appropriately and illustrates what I think is key: transparency and accountability for the recipients,” he continued.

Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar said in a statement to KERA that this new bill presents a number of opportunities for the state of Texas.

“As the administrator of the Texas Broadband Development Office, I believe that expanding reliable access to high-speed internet presents a significant opportunity for Texas to energize local economies, provide greater access to telemedicine, increase educational opportunities, and safeguard Texas’ role as the economic engine of our nation,” said Hegar in a statement, according to KERA.

HB 10 would create the Texas Water Fund. This new fund would dedicate billions of dollars to improve water infrastructure across the state, fund new water sources, and develop water transportation infrastructure.

HB 10 would also establish a technical assistance program that would account for water loss audits and allow oversight by the legislature. Like Ashby, King filed a joint resolution that allows Texans to decide whether this bill will be signed into law.

Finally, HB 14 aims to improve access to housing through property development and property review. Cities and counties that fail to complete these projects would then be required to use a third-party resource to complete the task.

“The Texas Legislature must continue to support our state’s rapidly-increasing demand for internet, water, and housing, and I appreciate Representatives Ashby, King, and Harris for filing legislation that would lay the necessary foundations to continue fostering those efforts,” said Phelan in a press release.

Speaker Phelan said that officials would discuss these bills more in the coming weeks.

The Dallas Express reached out to the offices of Reps. Ashby, King, and Harris for additional comment but did not receive a response from any by the publication deadline.

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12 days ago

No municipality should allow a single building permit application to move forward unless all infrastructure, including water, power and communications as well as roads and sewage and garbage disposal can be permanently and perpetually guaranteed to all residents and businesses.
Really Simple.