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Legislative Session Wrap Up

Yesterday, the final deadline passed and Governor Abbott took action on all of the bills that were passed during the legislative session.  As we stated in an earlier email, there were 7,324 pieces of legislation filed by the Legislature.  Of those filed, 1,429 were passed.  Governor Abbott signed 1,323 and vetoed 58.  There were 144 that the governor allowed to become law without his signature.  One of those bills was HB 1140.

 

Even though HB 1140 was not signed, the bill took immediate effect.  This bill amends the Occupations Code which will allow the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) to change fees for vehicles stored at vehicle storage facilities.  We anticipate that the agency’s towing advisory committee will begin discussions on this issue in one of the upcoming meetings.  The next Advisory Board Meeting will be July 30, 2019.

 

Another important bill was HB 61.  It was signed by the governor in early May.  Although HB 61 authorized escort flag vehicles to use flashing blue and amber lights, the new law will allow for tow trucks to also use flashing blue lights.  This bill will not be effective until September 1, 2019.  We will provide more information in another upcoming update.

 

Private Property Impounds

 

Prior to the legislative session, we met with TDLR staff to discuss the problems that you and others in our industry faced when trying to uphold your contracts with your private property clients.  During the session, we worked with members of the Legislature to resolve the issue through legislation, but time ran out.  In the next month, representatives from Southwest Tow Operators will meet with TDLR staff to see if there is a resolution to this issue. If there is no resolution, Southwest Tow Operators will start the process to request an opinion from the Texas Attorney General.  In this request, we will ask if the agency can enforce the Occupations Code dealing with private property impounds without considering the Private Property Code, too.  Once the agency seeks the request, the Attorney General will have 180 days to issue an opinion.

 

 

Next Session

 

While the next legislative session does not begin until January of 2021, the next 18 months will be the most critical in preparing our agenda.  Additionally, TDLR will be undergoing sunset review.  What is sunset? 

 

The Sunset Commission is made up of members from the Senate and House, plus 2 public members.  Every state agency is required to go through a review process by the Texas Sunset Commission every 12 years to ensure that the agency is still needed and is running efficiently.  The agency will perform a “self-evaluation” and submit it to the Commission.  Next, the Sunset staff will do their own review and will meet with industry stakeholders before they issue their report and recommendations to the Commission members.   Representatives from the Southwest Tow Operators will meet with Sunset staff in the upcoming months to provide our input.

 

 

 

Southwest Tow PAC

 

We are currently trying to build our PAC so that we can give contributions to legislators who were industry champions.  We would appreciate your contribution in any amount.  Every bit helps build our overall fund.  While our funds are slim at this time, we would like your involvement when we deliver checks and will be calling on those of you who are constituents of our champions.

 

One way you can help is by becoming a Southwest Tow Operators member.  If you are already  a member, please consider upgrading your membership level.  If you would like to contribute to the Southwest Tow Operators PAC, please contact our office and we will be happy to assist with payment options.

 

Please stay tuned for future legislative updates.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. 

 

Thank you all for the continued support.

Contact Info

  • Southwest Tow Operators
  • 660 N Central Expressway, Suite 230
  • Plano, Texas 75074
  • Toll Free: (866) 320-9300

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