Public Citizen’s Priorities for Special Session of Texas Legislature

The First Special Session of the 87th Legislature ignores issues important to all Texans. Governor Abbott’s agenda does NOT include:

  • COVID relief or electricity ratepayer assistance
  • Demand-side strategies for energy security
  • Electricity grid improvements and transparency
  • Climate change action and adaptation
  • Healthcare Access

 Public Citizen supports the following legislation filed as of July 8 in the 87th first special session. (Note: this list does not include bills related to state election administration. Public Citizen is a member of the Texas Election Reform Coalition and endorses its positions.)

Demand-Side Strategies for Energy Security

No legislation passed during the 87th regular session addresses the demand side of the energy equation. Reducing energy use is the cheapest way to ensure that supply meets demand and that Texans have affordable, reliable energy. Demand-side strategies are an opportunity for investment in people and small businesses with projects such as home weatherization and solar + battery storage. Public Citizen supports:

HB 50 by Rep. Reynolds – 1% energy efficiency goal by 2025 (SB 243/HB4556 in the 87th regular session).

Transparency in Power Supply

At a recent Public Utility Commission, it was revealed that ERCOT typically learns about planned outages from natural gas, coal, and nuclear power plants less than 24-hours before they occur. Transparency and better reporting is needed for all generators.

HB 63 by Rep. Beckley – requires system operators to report to ERCOT within 24-hours when power supply may not meet demand.

For details or comment please contact:

Adrian Shelley, ashelley@citizen.org, 713-702-8063

The Honorable Lon Burnam, lonburnam@gmail.com, 817-721-5846.

Legislation We Support

Climate Change Action & Adaptation

Climate change makes severe weather more likely, including extreme winter storms. Texas must act now to mitigate climate change and adapt to its impacts. We support:

HB 48 by Rep. Reynolds – climate and weather variability planning at state agencies (filed in the 87th regular session as SB 306, HB 1949, HB 1656, HB 2017, HB 3642, and HB 4178).

HB 52 by Rep. Reynolds – methane controls for oil and gas facilities (refile of HB 896 (87R)).

HB 53 by Rep. Reynolds – study version of methane controls for oil and gas facilities (refile of HB 897 (87R)).

HB 18 by Rep. Gervin-Hawkins – Railroad Commission study and report on gas flaring.

HB 19 by Rep. Gervin-Hawkins – Railroad Commission public reporting of gas flaring.

 Healthcare Access

HJR 5 by Rep. Bucy –Medicaid expansion.

HJR 7 by Rep. Israel – Medicaid expansion.

 Support for Federal Voting Rights Acts

Public Citizen supports federal reform of voting laws to promote access to the poles. We support the following resolutions:

HCR 2 by Rep. Ron Reynolds – urging Congress to pass HR 1, the For the People Act.

HCR 3 by Rep. Ron Reynolds – urging Congress to pass HR 4, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.

HCR 8 by Rep. Bucy – urging Congress to pass HR 1, the For the People Act, and HR 4, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.

 Other Priority Legislation

HB 51 by Rep. Reynolds – creating the Texas Environmental Justice Advisory Council.

HB 87 by Rep. Gervin-Hawkins – healthy and safe school water plan (refile of HB 605 (87R)).

HB 99 by Rep. Murphy – creation of disaster response loan fund (refile HB 2812 (87R)).

For details please contact:

Adrian Shelley, ashelley@citizen.org, 713-702-8063.

The Honorable Lon Burnam, lonburnam@gmail.com, 817-721-5846.