TCAP Current Issue 52
TCAP Current
Issue 52 | February 2019

We’re six weeks into the new legislative session — still early yet – although thousands of bills already have been filed and many referred to key committees.

For those watching electricity issues, keep an eye on the House State Affairs Committee, chaired by Rep. Date Phelan; and the Senate Business and Commerce Committee, chaired by Kelly Hancock. For gas utility issues, watch the House Energy Resources Committee, chaired by Chris Paddie; and the Senate Natural Resources Committee, chaired by Brian Birdwell. You can also watch House and Senate committee hearings live on the Internet, at links found here and here.

One legislative issue that popped up early relates to the state-sponsored electricity-shopping website, PowerToChoose.org. House Bill 1408, by state Rep. Jared Patterson, would bar the state from operating "a website that lists retail electric service plans or providers for the purpose of enabling or assisting a customer’s selection of a retail electric service plan or provider." This is a key function of PowerToChoose.

The legislation has drawn fire from Dave Lieber, the consumer watchdog for The Dallas Morning News. He recently wrote that although PowerToChoose has had its problems, Texas consumers benefit from the state-sponsored neutral website. This is our view also. Expect us to watch HB 1408 closely as the session proceeds.

Another bill on our radar is House Bill 2011, by state Rep. Charlie Geren. Under a strange quirk in law, many cities and other tax-exempt governmental entities must pay state tax assessments on electricity purchases. That means that under certain circumstances, the state of Texas supplements its own budget by taking dollars from otherwise tax-exempt local governments. Geren’s HB 2011 corrects this unfunded mandate by barring the collection of the state Miscellaneous Gross Receipts Tax on electricity sold to cities and other governmental entities.

In all, House lawmakers have filed more than 2,100 bills and Senate lawmakers have filed nearly 900. The deadline for bill filing is March 8. The 86th Texas Legislature adjourns sine die on May 27.

Keep up to date on legislative issues we're tracking

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About TCAP

Want to find out more about the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power? Check out our website. You also can learn more about the state's deregulated electricity market by checking out the in-depth reports at TCAPTX.com.

Email TCAP policy analyst R.A. Dyer at rdyer@tcaptx.com for more details.

If you have any questions about this newsletter or have a news tip, feel free to contact TCAP policy analyst R.A. "Jake" Dyer. He can be reached by email at rdyer@tcaptx.com.


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