Updated: Jun 2, 2021
Texas/TCAA Legislative Session Update - Community Association Legislation
The Texas legislative session is almost complete. Tuesday, May 25th is the deadline for the House to pass all bills and resolutions (except for local bills), and Wednesday, May 26th is the last day for the House and Senate to finally pass all bills and resolutions. The final day of the legislative session is on Monday, May 31st.
CAI-TCAA’s team has been successful in stopping or improving multiple bills at the Texas capitol that could negatively impact community associations and their volunteers, though the problematic SB 1588 is nearing final approval at the capitol. SB 1588 makes substantial and unwarranted changes to multiple provisions of the Texas Property Code relevant to property owners’ associations, including restricted service on architectural review committees, changes to fees related to resale certificates and increased liability for POAs, new requirements for association websites, and publicly available documents, new and redundant requirements for filing management certificates and likely new filing fees, and converting hearings before Board into adversarial proceedings. Several amendments were also added on the House floor, including:
allowing suits to be filed against POAs in Justice of the Peace Court for claimed violations of Chapter 209 of the Texas Property Code
requiring that service contracts worth more than $50,000 be sent out for bid
permitting homeowners to construct swimming pool enclosures
permitting homeowners to install certain home security measures, including fences, in locations prohibited by the plan of development of a community
permitting the unfettered display of religious items is based on a “sincere religious belief”
The bill as passed by the House contains numerous problematic provisions, and CAI-TCAA’s team will continue efforts to improve the bill in conference committee, where House and Senate negotiators will work on a final compromise version of the bill. Other bills relevant to property owners’ associations include: SB 581 (Bettencourt/Schofield) outlines the extent to which a property owner’s association may restrict some displays of religious items at a residence. The bill provides a property owners’ association with only minimal ability to regulate such displays. Though CAI-TCAA continues to have concerns that the bill will allow offensive or problematic yard displays, our advocates were able to amend the bill to include some restrictions where displays may be located. The legislation has been sent to the Governor. HB 3571 (Bonnen) would make it unlawful for property owners’ associations to prohibit an owner from installing a “security measure,” including a security camera, a motion detector, or perimeter fence. It would, however, allow the association to regulate the type of fencing that is installed. The bill is pending in a Senate committee, but the substance of the bill was also added to SB 1588, which has been tentatively approved by both chambers. Major Bills Near Legislative Finish Line Most major pieces of legislation at the Texas capitol are still in the final stages of consideration and negotiation as we enter the last week of the legislative session. The highest-profile remaining bills fall primarily into two categories: (1) Republican priority issues and (2) state response to the February winter disaster. Other bills of note include HB 3 (defining the governor’s powers during a pandemic or disaster), HB 5 (expanding broadband access), and HB 1927 (allowing permitless carry of handguns), each of which has some level of bipartisan support. The Republican priority bills that remain pending include SB 7 (enacting election reform and restrictions), SB 10 (prohibiting taxpayer-funded lobbying), and SB 29 (regulating transgender student-athletes). Governor Greg Abbott has already signed SB 8 – the “fetal heartbeat bill” – which bans most abortions in Texas. That legislation is certain to be challenged and ruled on by federal courts, possibly even the U.S. Supreme Court. Bills related to the winter storm and related energy production issues that are still awaiting final approval include HB 14 (critical infrastructure assessment), HB 2000 (power plant winterization), SB 3 (disaster response measures), and SB 985 (review of disaster preparedness plans).
Community Association Issues
We hope to hear from you about the issues of concern to you and your neighbors. We also encourage you to share your support of community associations with your local legislators. For more information on the Texas Legislature and updates on TCAA activities and events, please visit www.txcaa.org or www.caionline.org/txlac.
Contact Your Legislators The legislative session has ended, but you should still contact your local representatives throughout the year and ahead of the 2021 session to share your concerns and opinions. Here’s how to contact your state legislators: By telephone You can find Texas Capitol and local district office telephone numbers for your legislator by searching Who Represents Me? on Texas Legislature Online. By e-mail E-mail is handled by each office individually. For e-mail options, see the Texas Senators and House Membership websites.
Between now and the next legislative session, TCAA wants you to get involved with our association and help in our efforts to support and protect community associations across Texas. Visit the TCAA website for more information on activities, events, and updates: www.txcaa.org