Different approaches to Texas disaster law reform are at a crossroads in exchanging housing versions of the Senate


Austin, Texas, 3 minutes ago — — Feud between Texas House and Senate Reached boiling point on Thursday When a member of the House of Representatives resigns until Sunday.

As the bill passed its deadline, the move effectively killed hundreds of Senate bills that had not yet been confirmed by the House Commission. Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) 45 And Senate Bill (SB) 1025 From Senator Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury) reforming the Texas Disaster Law.

But Birdwell’s law is not completely dead.It took a new form as follows Substitute for House Building (HB) 3, Texas Pandemic Correspondence What the House of Representatives approved last week..

His updated version of the HB3 shell, unanimously approved by the Senate Secretary of State on Friday, could have similar support, as the previous iteration of Birdwell’s proposal had already been approved by the Senate. Expected.

Assuming the Senate approves the new version before the deadline of Wednesday, May 26, it is up to the House to send reforms to the governor by the final deadline of May 30.

Texas last Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have formed a state to convene a state legislature. What was noteworthy when Congress began in January was how lawmakers would shake state law in response to a pandemic.

However, the House of Representatives and the Senate did not share the same idea about the correct approach to the problem.

At House, Congressman Dustin Burrows (R-Lubbock) proposed HB 3 and created a new section right next to the Texas Government code. Chapter 418, Known as the Texas Disaster Act.

The Texas Disaster Act was the basis for Greg Abbott’s many presidential orders through the COVID-19 pandemic, but Burroughs’ original bill was a concrete way for the Texas government to deal with the pandemic situation. Was outlined.

As originally submitted, HB 3 did not show a substantial deviation from Abbott’s approach to the coronavirus pandemic, but subsequent iterations of Burroughs’ bill require greater legislative oversight. Attempted to address concerns from activists and lawmakers that they were.

First, the provisions of the “Pandemic Disaster Legislative Oversight Committee” Added, The Vice-Governor, the Speaker of the House, and a few committee chairs would have approved to consider a pandemic disaster declaration 30 days after being issued by the Governor.

And In the final house version of HB3If the governor renews an order for more than 30 days, the legislature must approve mask obligations, business closures, or surgical restrictions, and the governor must renew a pandemic disaster for more than 90 days. You need to call a special legislative assembly.

The House of Representatives sought to develop a comprehensive plan on how to handle certain types of disasters, but the Senate reformed the Disaster Law itself to require legislative oversight of widespread disasters. I want to

“As passed by the House of Representatives, HB3 did not reform the Texas Disaster Act. Rather, it created a new legal system that would speak strictly to the pandemic,” Birdwell said Thursday night in the Senate. I said when I introduced HB3 to the committee.

“But our disaster and emergency law issues aren’t limited to pandemics that can occur once in a generation,” he said. “The inherent imbalance codified by the Texas Disaster Act guarantees a comprehensive reform of this law.”

To that end, Birdwell removed the HB 3 text and replaced it with a modified version of the original proposal.

However, as Birdwell addressed some of the bill’s criticisms, “an attempt to have a spirit of compromise with the House of Representatives,” and additional limitations of what can be achieved without the bill, some attention is paid to his proposal. Should have been changed. It was a constitutional amendment.

Most importantly, instead of HB 3, Birdwell’s original proposal required state legislature approval to renew a serious disaster declaration beyond the first 30 days. The Governor will allow you to renew once, but every day you seek congressional approval for more than 60 days.

“Going from 30 to 60 gives me the opportunity to try to build a discussion with House to see what we can reach an agreement on,” Birdwell said. It was.

The extended timeline gives the governor more time to deal with disasters throughout the state and end it at his own will, as Abbott did. State-wide freeze This winter.

The new version of Birdwell’s Reform Bill also cuts out one of three eligible sizes of disasters that require legislative oversight if extended beyond limits.

Reforms will continue to apply to disasters that affect two-fifths of a county or half of the state’s population, but will affect at least two-thirds of counties with three or more trauma service areas. Does not apply to disasters. State. “

By removing the final qualifying size, Birdwell said the Hurricane Harvey disaster, which Abbott has been updating since the 2017 storm, does not fall into a category that requires legislative opinion.

Birdwell has also tweaked the HB3 language as it does not involve a constitutional amendment like the SB 1025.

“Only constitutional amendments can force the governor to actively call in the legislature,” Bridwell said. “Therefore, the only option in this bill to force the governor to do something is if we say, and if we eliminate him.” You can’t do anything without the approval of the legislature. “

As a result, SJR, who died in the House of Representatives, said the Governor would “convene” the legislature to renew the Eligible Disaster Declaration, but said the HB 3 alternative “unless approved by the legislature.” [. . .] The Governor may not renew such a declaration for more than 60 days.

If the Senate approves the bill, the Senate will return to the House of Representatives and the decision to agree to the change in the Senate will be left to Burroughs, the author of the HB3 House of Representatives.

“Important work has been done on HB3 from both rooms to ensure that a framework is in place to protect our freedom from government intrusions in the event of a public health emergency. “Burrows said Texan.. “The most important purpose is to ensure that our rights are protected, and the final product of Congress ensures that Texas people, not the government, drive the best decisions for their families. I will. “

“I look at the Senate HB3 submarine to see if it’s closely related to the bill we sent and if we need to hold a meeting to make the best possible bill. I will, “Barrows said.

The final day for the House of Representatives and the Senate to agree on a final plan prepared by the Conference Committee is Sunday, May 30.

However, final approval from Congress is not the final hurdle to the proposal. You also need to avoid the veto from Abbott.

Different approaches to Texas disaster law reform are at a crossroads in exchanging housing versions of the Senate

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