A great energy efficiency bill, HB 2392, still has a shot to pass the Senate, but your State Senator needs to hear from you today! The bill would create a revolving loan program for Texas homes and businesses known as "WHEEL" which would be run through the State Energy Conservation Office (SECO). The "Warehouse for Energy Efficiency Loans" is designed to leverage private funds or Federal funds for energy efficiency with additional private dollars. This program has been successful in states such as Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Hawaii.
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Make two quick calls this week: one to your State Senator and one to your State Representative. HB 849, creating two state sales tax-free weekends for firearms and hunting supplies, must be stopped in the Senate Finance Committee. SB 228, creating one such weekend, must be stopped in the House Ways and Means Committee! Both bills have already been approved in the chambers where they originated and have been referred to committees in the opposite chambers for a public hearing, which is where we have to stop them.
On the House floor today, the state water grid amendment by Rep. Lyle Larson of San Antonio was stripped off an unrelated water bill, SB 1301, under threat of a point of order that could have killed the bill itself. In response to this development, Ken Kramer, Water Resources Chair of Sierra Club’s Lone Star Chapter, issued the following statement.
In brief, parks do well, TERP and extra inspectors for oil and gas still short-changed, and other bills face uncertain future.
On the House floor today, legislation to evaluate a so-called state water grid was resuscitated as an amendment to an unrelated water bill, SB 1301.
In response to this development, Ken Kramer, Water Resources Chair of Sierra Club’s Lone Star Chapter, issued the following statement:
In a national report released this week, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) ranked the top 51 cities in the United States for policies and programs designed to save energy – including in some cases water and gas. Five Texas cities made the list. While no Texas cities scored in the top five, several – including Austin and Houston – were near the top of the list.
Two bills to add energy efficiency programs at the State Energy Conservation Office, or SECO (under the Comptroller of Public Accounts), were discussed on the House Floor on the last days to get a House bill approved and sent to the Senate. Despite both bills being extremely modest in scope, the Texas Public Policy Foundation and the Texas Conservation Coalition, among others, targeted them. One failed on third reading while the other passed and has moved onto the Senate. Why? Let’s talk politics.
[Original post: Evelyn Merz, Houston Chronicle, May 18, 2015]
The Texas Legislature, while opening a door to adequately fund the Texas state park system via appropriation of the sporting-goods sales tax, is quietly closing a window so that less tax revenue actually flows into the pool.
If you were to read the pretty, glossy one-pagers from the Texas Public Policy Foundation, or listen to the testimony by the Public Utility Commission, or lobbyists representing American Electric Power, or those entities suing the EPA over its proposed Clean Power Plan (CPP), you would think the EPA is trying to force Texas to stop using air conditioning or shut off all of our coal plants tomorrow. The reality is that it Texas is in great position to meet those goals if market trends continue. However, these opponents of EPA’s plan are fighting those trends. That’s not very business friendly, is it?
To those of you who took action on our alert opposing legislation to create an ill-advised state water grid for Texas, thank you!. Unfortunately – despite our best efforts – House Bill 3298 passed the Texas House and is now in the Texas Senate. Fortunately we have a good shot at stopping this legislation in the Senate IF you will contact your Senator immediately in opposition to HB 3298. With less than three weeks left in the legislative session, there’s no time to waste.