June 26, 2023 -- The 88th Texas Legislative session concluded as one of the most direct and sustained attacks on local authority and city services. Legislators filed a record of 8,000+ bills during the regular session with roughly 2,000 affecting city services.
In preparation for the legislative session, the City of Houston identified legislative priorities pushing for changes in state law that improve city services and public safety. These issues include reforms on street racing, bandit signs, Tier II reporting, auto sears, Houston Forensic Science Center reporting, Lake Houston funding (flood mitigation), and changing Emergency Detention Orders.
While keeping the safety and welfare of Houstonians at top of mind, the Government Relations Team tirelessly defended against countless attempts by the Legislature to preempt a blistering amount of city services. Three detrimental bills listed include House Bill 2127, “Death Star Preemption”, Senate Bill 1015, which limits a city’s role in contesting electric utility rate hikes, and House Bill 3340, which would have unraveled historic progress made under the 2017 pension reform.
The Government Relations team worked diligently to gather written and oral testimony from experts within each city department to ensure that Houston’s story was being told and the impacts of these bills to Houstonians would be minimal.
Even in the face of stern opposition this session, the City of Houston garnered several legislative successes including, convention center and major events funding (Senate Bills 1057 and 1158, respectively), catalytic converter reforms (Senate Bill 224), and concrete batch plants permitting and distancing requirement reforms (Senate Bill 1397).
Overall, this report highlights the City’s legislative successes, challenges, and testimonies for each bill that directly impact city services and operations, while also serving as a resource.
The City of Houston 2023 Legislative Report is available for review at www.houstontx.gov/legislative-report-2023/.