Key Accomplishments: 88th Legislature
With an eye on a resilient future, the 88th Legislature made a profound commitment to building the Texas of tomorrow. From improving water infrastructure and increasing broadband access, to enhancing state parks and expanding the state’s energy portfolio, this session was about laying the groundwork for enduring prosperity and progress.
Texas 2036 seized the opportunity presented by the unprecedented surplus to invest in the state’s infrastructure. These efforts resulted in almost $5 billion in generational investments and a dozen bills that would generate long-term value that will resonate for generations. Each investment signifies a commitment to fostering a robust, thriving Texas that delivers unparalleled opportunities and an enriched quality of life for all Texans.
Historic Budget: Generational Investments
The Legislature made significant, meaningful appropriations towards addressing Texas’ long-term infrastructure challenges. Outside of flood and hurricane resiliency, most of the listed funding is contingent on voter approval in the fall.
- $1 billion for water infrastructure and supply
- $1.1 billion for state parkland acquisition and development
- $1.5 billion for broadband
- $1.2 B for flood and hurricane resiliency
Preparing for Water Needs:
Aimed towards repairing aging, deteriorating water systems and creating new water supplies, two new dedicated water funds are in the works thanks to a $1 billion investment.
Senate Bill 28 and Senate Joint Resolution 75 Sen. Perry (R) / Rep. T. King (D)
Bridging the Digital Divide:
$1.5 billion will support expansion of broadband internet service to underserved and unserved areas of the state through a dedicated fund.
House Bill 9 and House Joint Resolution 125 Rep. Ashby (R) / Sen. Huffman (R)
Creating New State Parks:
To safeguard, improve and create new state parks as the state’s population continues to grow, the Centennial Parks Conservation Fund holds the potential to preserve and expand our natural landscapes for future generations.
Senate Bill 1648 and Senate Joint Resolution 74 Sen. Parker (R) / Rep. Walle (D)
Expanding More Energy Sources:
Given the potential for hydrogen as part of Texas’ energy future, new legislation establishes a critical framework for the growth and development of this promising energy sector.
House Bill 2847 Rep. Darby (R) / Sen. Sparks (R)
Notable Infrastructure Legislation
Texas Space Commission: Creates the Texas Space Commission and Aerospace Research and Space Economy Consortium, after Texas lawmakers included $350 million in their budget. HB 3447: Rep. Bonnen (R) / Sen. Huffman (R)
Flying Vehicles: Reactivates the Advanced Air Mobility Advisory Committee to assess state law and any potential changes needed to facilitate the development of advanced air mobility operation and infrastructure. SB 2144: Sen. Parker (R) / Rep. Cook (R)
Geothermal Well Ownership: Authorizes a geothermal energy operator to take possession of an abandoned oil or gas well for the purposes of geothermal energy production. SB 1210: Sen. Blanco (D) / Rep. Guerra (D)
Removing Barriers to Housing Growth: Eases administrative barriers to new housing construction by allowing third parties like engineers and inspectors to review permitting and planning documents when cities are unable to do so within statutorily mandated timelines. HB 14: Rep. Cody Harris (R) / Sen. Bettencourt (R)
Electric Vehicle Registration Fees: Offsets declining motor vehicle fuels tax payments by requiring electric vehicles to pay a registration fee to help the state continue to fund highway development and maintenance. SB 505: Sen. Nichols (R) / Rep. Canales (D)
Water Workforce Development: Allows high school students to earn a wastewater operator certification, creating a pathway for students to earn a needed credential for entering a critical workforce sector. HB 1845: Rep. Metcalf (R) / Sen. Perry (R)
Utility Regulatory Reform: Removes a regulatory disincentive for the consolidation of water and wastewater utilities, enabling better managed utilities to absorb distressed systems and creating better economies of scale for source water, rate base and workforce utilization. HB 3232: Rep. Rogers (R) / Sen. Perry (R)
Broadband Program Improvements: Updates definitions of broadband, clarifies provisions regarding the state’s broadband development map and permits the Broadband Development Office to award grants, financial incentives and low-interest loans for broadband infrastructure projects. SB 1238: Sen. Nichols (R) / Rep. Ashby (R)
These bills supported by Texas 2036 have been sent to the Governor pending review and potential signature during the veto period, which lasts until June 18, 2023.