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Exotic Wildlife Association
Legislative Update
March 5, 2015 

EWA Legislative Update



The EWA was at the Capitol this week to support important pieces of legislation.


S.B. 179

would allow concealed handgun holders to qualify for the proficiency test also with a .22 caliber pistol. Current law allows only .32 and up.

EWA supported the bill



S.B. 273

allows citizens to file complaints (with evidence) and the attorney general to enforce fines ($1000 for a first offense, $10,000 for subsequent offenses) against political subdivisions that unlawfully post signs that prohibit concealed weapons on property where concealed handgun license holders (CHL holders) are legally permitted to carry.

EWA supported the bill


SB 31

allows volunteer fire Department to have up to hold up to 10 sales tax-free fundraisers during a calendar year.

EWA supported the bill.


SB 140

allows farmers and ranchers to buy communication instruments strictly for their farming and ranching activities exempted from sale taxes.

EWA supported the bill



SB 1, By Nelson, Birdwell, et all. A bipartisan bill.

S.B. 1 reduces the property tax burden on homeowners by increasing the homestead exemption for school district taxes from $15,000 to 25 percent of Texas home median market value. The exemption amounts are estimated to be $33,625 in 2016 and $35,979 in 2017.   S.B. 1 holds harmless the school districts as a result of the increased homestead exemption. Any local taxing units that currently offer the optional homestead exemption must maintain the current exemptions offered for 10 years.

EWA supported the bill



SB 7, by Nelson, Birdwell, at all. A bipartisan bill.

In 2013 the legislature lowered the franchise tax from 1% to 0.95% for most businesses and from 0.5% to 0.475% for retailers and wholesalers. This will expire onDec. 31, 2015. SB 7 would lower the tax to 0.85% for most businesses and to 0.425% for retailers and wholesalers and makes these reductions permanent.

EWA supported the bill.


SB 8 by Schwertner, Birdwell, et all. A bipartisan bill.

S.B. 8, also known as the Small Business Tax Relief Act, exempts all businesses with $4 million or less in total annual revenue from the franchise tax. According to estimates by the Office of the Comptroller of Public Accounts of the State of Texas, had this exemption been in effect in 2013, it would have amounted to a $380 million tax cut and eliminated the franchise tax burden for 61,000 of the 117,000 businesses subject to franchise taxation. The Small Business Tax Relief Act will exempt 52 percent of businesses subject to the franchise tax, while decreasing franchise tax collections by less than percent.

EWA supported the bill.


EWA was able to negotiate HB 965. The bill would change the definition of elk from exotic livestock to livestock in the Agricultural Code and would define them nongame indigenous animals in the Parks and Wildlife Code. It would also fully exempt them from any regulation and authority from TPWD. Elk and elk hybrids will also be specifically named in the Health and Safety Code to allow producers to process and sell elk meat. The committee substitute of HB 965 as written changes nothing of the current management of privately owned elk in low or high fences. We thank Rep. Nevarez and his constituents, as well as Texas Deer Association, Texas Animal Health Commission, and Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept. for their support and collaboration.

EWA has withdrawn its opposition and it is now neutral to the bill.


We are looking forward to seeing you in San Marcos at the Embassy SuitesMarch 13 and 14 for our Annual Membership Meeting! We will be presenting an oral legislative update at the meeting of the Board of Directors at 9 AM on March 13th.

The electronic Legislative Update will resume on March 20. As usual, please feel free to contact us with any question. You can read the bills at  http://www.capitol.state.tx.us

Thank you and see you on March 13th!

Respectfully submitted by your EWA Legislative Committee,

Marida Favia del Core Borromeo, Chairman

Terry Caffey, Gib Lewis, Todd Franks,
Chas. Schreiner IV, Bruce Fairchild