TSPS Legislative Day was held on March 22, 2017.
The 85th Regular Session of the Texas Legislature began January 10 (2nd Tuesday) and will be in session for 140 days until Adjournment sine die on May 29th. Bill pre-filing began November 14, 2016 and the 60-day bill filing deadline was March 10th. A large number of bills were filed during the bill filing period, several of which could have an impact on the Surveying Profession. In addition, the Texas Board of Professional Land Surveying (TBPLS) is up for Sunset Review beginning soon after the session adjourns sine die. TSPS, through its Executive Director DJ Kyle, Legal and Legislative Counsel Mark Hanna, Executive Committee, Governmental Affairs Committee, and members have been watching the progress of these bills and prepare to respond in favor or against the bills when appropriate. TSPS organized a Legislative Day at the Capitol for March 22nd. Members able to attend the event were asked to make appointments to meet with their State Representative and Senator during the day. The appointments were compiled into a list and groups of TSPS members spread out through the Capitol for meetings with 20 Legislators and/or their staff. Being in the Texas Capitol during session, traversing from one office to another, being actively involved in the process is quite an experience. For the most part, our groups were greeted by and met with intelligent, attentive, note-taking staff and/or their boss the legislator.
The following messages were delivered to the legislators:
TSPS Supports the Texas Board of Professional Surveying as an independent licensing agency which is functional and vital in carrying out its duties of oversight, rule review/development, regulation and enforcement of the surveying profession to maintain the necessary level of protection for the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Texas. TSPS Respectfully Requests that the members of the Texas Legislature support the TBPLS by voting to include the Board’s Legislative Appropriation Request in HB 1 and SB 1 . . . and if possible . . . by approving funding for an additional part-time person to assist with the administration of complaints (0.5 FTE).
The TBPLS will be reviewed by the Sunset Commission in 2017, beginning soon after the Eighty-Fifth Regular Session adjourns sine die on May 29, 2017. During that process, TSPS will support the continuation of the TBPLS as an independent licensing agency which is necessary for the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of Texas.
TSPS supports HB 1325 by Representative Navarez – Under current law, surveying services (the surveying of real property) are the only professional services subject to the sales and use tax. HB 1325 would remove those services from Section 151.0048(a) of the Tax Code.
TSPS supports SB 127 by Senator Huffines – This legislation would require the TBPLS to broadcast over the Internet live video and audio of each open meeting of the Board and provide access to the broadcast on the Board’s Internet website. This would allow land surveyors and the public to observe the board meetings without traveling to Austin.
TSPS is monitoring HB 106 by Representative Martinez – This bill amends current law regarding certain images captured by an unmanned aircraft. TSPS will monitor HB 106 to assure that the current provision authorizing the use of unmanned aircraft by a registered professional land surveyor in connection with the practice of professional surveying remains intact. SB 838 by Senator Zaffarini is a companion bill.
TSPS is monitoring HB 352 by Representative Murr – HB 352 adds Section 11.098 to the Water Code so as to provide a procedure by which a state agency may issue an opinion that a water course is navigable and a process for the effected land owner to challenge the opinion. TSPS will monitor this legislation to assure compliance with applicable state law regarding the surveying of real property.
Thank you to the TSPS members who made appointments and were able to attend our Legislative Day. The day was a big success thanks to your efforts and time. Also, special thanks to Timo Garza - a new TSPS Affiliate member and former State Representative, Mark Hanna - TSPS Legal and Legislative Counsel, and DJ Kyle - TSPS Executive Director for their expert assistance in preparing for the Legislative Day and guidance in making the legislative contacts.
View TSPS Legislative Day Photos Here