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Exotic Wildlife Association
Legislative Update
June 2, 2015 

To all EWA members:

 

This will, in all likelihood, be the final legislative update for this session of the legislature. I know that our membership has been inundated with so many of these alerts it was sometimes difficult to keep up with and follow the process as the various bills made their way through the legislative process. On behalf of the EWA board of Directors, the staff and me personally, I would like to publicly thank those people and associations that worked with the EWA and helped make this, in my opinion, a very successful legislative session for private property rights and the strengthening of our constitution. The EWA would like to personally thank EWA members John Harwood, and Gib Lewis, the Texas Deer Association, the Dallas Safari Club, the Texas State Rifle Association, and the NRA for their effort and assistance in this legislative session. Lastly, the EWA could not do what we do without the tireless effort and expertise of one of the most talented ladies in this whole process and that is EWA board member, Marida Favia del Core Borromeo. This association and membership is truly blessed to have her at the helm of our legislative committee.

 

Charly Seale

Executive Director

 

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EWA Legislative Update

06-02-15

 

The 84th Legislative session ended Monday June 1. Including resolutions in memory to loved ones, 11,335 bills were filed of which 5665 passed. Of those, 6276 House and Senate bills were filed, of which 1323 were passed. As of today, 3 have been vetoed by the governor. We had under our radar about 130 bills, some of which we acted upon, some we remained neutral; some of them never moved beyond introduction.

 

We are particularly proud, among the others, to have supported our members Chip and Alice Combs’ bill, the Holly Combs Act; the Constitutional Amendment to Right to Hunt and Fish; the bill to limit liabilities to farmers and ranchers when they engage in agrotourism; our engagement and negotiations in the elk bill to protect our interests.

 

We thank you wholeheartedly for your participation and your support. We could have not done it without your phone calls and help. We also wholeheartedly thank EWA Honorary Board member Gib Lewis for his tireless efforts to kill the animal rights bills and for his crucial help for the Right to Hunt and Fish. Furthermore we sincerely thank the following people for their help to make the Right to Hunt and Fish a reality: EWA member John Harwood for his initial help to engage with the NRA to write the Right to Fish and Hunt bill; Tara Railly Mica and Alice Tripp with the NRA and TSRA and Walt Smith and Milam Mabry of The Mallard Group with the Dallas Safari Club for their crucial role and strategies at all stages of the bill. We are grateful to Tara and Alice also for the brilliant and tireless efforts to pass Second Amendment Rights bills and to fend off those that would have endangered those rights so very dear to us. Last but not least we are very grateful to the Texas Deer Association and Ceci Wallace for the close collaboration and support in many issues and for their tireless efforts to defend the deer industry.

 

This may be the last legislative update. Gov. Abbott has twenty days to veto any bill; otherwise bills become law with or without his signature. If he vetoes any bill that we have followed we will let you know. Otherwise, we take our leave from you, at least for now. As usual, please feel free to contact us at any time through the EWA office should you have any question or comments. Below is the final bill track. Thank you again.

 

Washington, D.C.

EPA finalized its rule on WOTUS, or Water of the United States. It is a 300 pages document and the printed official version is not out yet. No details are available at the moment and we will let you know when we know something.

 

84th Texas Legislature

www.capitol.state.tx.us.

 

Agriculture and Livestock

  • SB 970, relating to the failure to handle certain animals in accordance with rules of the Texas Animal Health Commission; amending provisions subject to a criminal penalty, was signed by the Governor.
  • SB 971, considering motor vehicles used for transportation of fertilizer and animal feed as implements of husbandry, was signed by the Governor.
  • HB 965, reclassifying elk, is dead.
  • SB 140, Relating to a sales and use tax exemption for telecommunications services used for the navigation of certain farm and ranch machinery and equipment, signed into law, effective on 9/1/15.
  • SB 987,allowing owners of dangerous wild animals to be exempted from current law if they belong to the Zoological Association of America (ZAA), is dead.

  • HR 1508, expressing support for the use of sound science to study and regulate modern agricultural technologies and opposition to legislative or regulatory action that may result in unnecessary restrictions on the technologies, is dead.
  • No animal cruelty bill survived the session.

Christianity

  • HB 315, relating to the issuance of “In God We Trust” specialty license plates, is on its way to the governor.
  • SB 2065, relating of the freedom of individuals and organizations to refuse to engage in marriage ceremonies against their sincere beliefs and faith, like same-sex marriage, is on its way to the governor.
  • HCR 30, supporting prayers, the word “God,” and the Ten Commandment in public places, is dead.

Education

  • HB 135, relating to inclusion of a course on the United States Constitution in the curriculum requirements for public high school students, is dead.

Federal Government

  • SCR 1, claiming sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution over all powers not otherwise enumerated and granted to the federal government by the U.S. Constitution, is dead.
  • HCR 32, urging the U.S. Congress to propose and submit to the states for ratification a federal balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution, is dead.
  • HCR 29, declaring that presidential executive orders cannot interfere with states’ rights, is dead.
  • SCR 13, urging the U.S. Congress to end the ban on crude oil exports, was signed by the governor.
  • HJR 77, applying to the Congress of the United States to call a convention under Article V of the United States Constitution for the limited purpose of proposing one or more amendments to the constitution to impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, to limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and to limit the terms of office of federal officials and members of Congress, is dead.

Miscellaneous

  • SB 988 – The Holly Combs Act – relating of the family rights to handle the body of a family member murdered by the spouse, is on its way to the governor.
  • SB 31, relating to the authority of certain volunteer firefighter and emergency services organizations to hold tax-free sales or auctions, is signed into law effective immediately.

Private Property Rights

  • SB 610, relating to limited liability for an agritourism entity involved in an agritourism activity, is on its way to the governor.
  • SB 1812, relating to transparency in the reporting and public availability of information regarding eminent domain authority; providing a civil penalty, is on its way to the governor.
  • HB 1190, relating to the compensation of property owners whose property is damaged as a result of a pursuit involving a federal law enforcement agency, is on its way to the governor.
  • HB 2303, relating to a landowner’s liability for injuries incurred during certain recreational activities, is on its way to the governor.
  • SB 474, helping property owners in eminent domain proceedings, is dead.
  • HB 2595, Relating to the use of municipal initiative and referendum to restrict property rights, is dead.
  • No amendment attached to any bill about allocated oil wells and forced pooling, that we opposed, made into law.

Second Amendment Rights

  • Open Carry-HB 910 is on its way to the governor who promised to sign it into law. The law allows CHL holders to openly carry. It makes a Class C Misdemeanor with a fine up to $200 if a CHL holder trespass with a concealed weapon in a place where a person is forbidden from carry a weapon under 30.06 penal code and a Class A misdemeanor if the person, given oral communication, refuses to leave. A CHL holder commits an offense if he carries openly on the property of another without the other person’s consent: a Class C misdemeanor and a Class A if he refuses to leave. A government entity that is not a school, polling place, a court, hospital, correctional facility and others under current law may not forbid a CHL holders from carrying a gun on its premises. A CHL holder may not openly carry on the premises of an institution for higher education. The amendment to ban law enforcement from asking documents to those who openly carry was stripped out of the bill in conference committee. This law was passed 102-43 in the House and 20-11 in the Senate. The law will take effectJanuary 1, 2016.
  • Campus Carry – SB 11 is on its way to the governor who promised to sign it into law. The law will allow CHL holders to carry handguns concealed on campus of public, private, and independent institutions of higher education, with some exceptions. Open carry creates a Class A misdemeanor with up to one year in jail and up to $4,000 in fines. The institutions of higher education may establish reasonable rules for the storage in dormitories administered by the institutions upon consulting students, staff, and faculty. They may not ban CHL holders from carrying on campus.  Some private institution may opt out and ban concealed carry in events sponsored by the institution or on passenger transportation vehicle owned by the institution after having consulted students, staff, and faculty.  Institutions of higher education must submit a report of their rules to the legislature by September 1 of every even numbered year. Unlawful carry of a weapon in a private or independent institution that opted out is a Class A Misdemeanor with up to one year in jail and $4,000 in fines. The law forbids anyone from carrying a weapon in hospitals, and pre K, primary, and secondary schools. The bill was passed in the Senate 20-11 and the House 98-47. The bill becomes law on September 1, 2015.
  • SB 473, relating to defenses and exceptions to the prosecution of the criminal offense of the possession, manufacture, transport, repair, or sale of certain prohibited explosive weapons, firearms, and related items was signed by the Governor.
  • SB 273, relating to certain offenses relating to carrying concealed handguns on property owned or leased by a governmental entity; providing a civil penalty, is on its way to the governor.
  • HB 905, relating to the regulation of knives by a municipality or county, is on its way to the governor.
  • HB 554, Relating to a defense to prosecution for the offense of possessing or carrying a weapon in or into the secured area of an airport, is on its way to the governor.
  • HB 573, Relating to a defense to prosecution for the offense of possessing or carrying a firearm on the premises of a polling place, is dead.
  • SB 179, lowering the caliber from .32 to .22 to qualify for a CHL, is dead.
  • None of the bills on a sale tax holiday for hunting and firearms survived.

Taxes

  • HB 1464, relating to property taxes of landowners 65 years old or older, is on its way to the governor.
  • SB 46, Relating to the confidentiality of certain property tax appraisal photographs, is on its way to the governor.
  • HB 2306, Relating to the additional tax imposed on land appraised for ad valorem tax purposes as qualified open-space land if a change in use of the land occurs, is dead.
  • HB 1932, Relating to the eligibility of land for appraisal for ad valorem tax purposes as qualified open-space land on the basis of its use for wildlife management, is dead.

Water

  • HB 4112, relating to the rights of an owner of groundwater, is on its way to the governor.
  • HB 30, that would allow a scientific study to identify the areas that are conducive to desalination projects, is on its way to the governor.
  • HB 200, regulating groundwater was amended to include private property rights and other provisions asked by several agricultural groups including the EWA, is on its way to the governor.

Wildlife

  • SJR 22, the Right to Hunt and Fish, has been filed with the Secretary of State to be on the ballot on 11/3/15.
  • HB 801, relating to planning for the use of and liability resulting from prescribed burns by the Parks and Wildlife Department, is on its way to the governor.
  • HB 3271, relating to the creation of a deer management program commission, was never heard and is dead.
  • HB 3272, relating to the identification of white-tail deer, was never heard and is dead.
  • HB 2471, relating to the period during which breeder deer may be transferred for release (Spring Release), was never heard and is dead.

 

 

Respectfully submitted by your EWA Legislative Committee,

Marida Favia del Core Borromeo, Chairman

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