The 2021 legislative session is coming into the final stretch, and it’s do-or-die time for pending legislation. For the following bills, phone calls to your representative are helpful, but only contact your representative or senator if they sit on the relevant committee. House Transportation and House Calendars are the committees to contact right now.
Also, please only contact your own legislator. Calls from non-constituents and calls regarding bills that a legislator is not yet able to vote on will at best have no effect, and at worst can exasperate the legislator and sour their feelings about a bill.
Things can happen fast at the legislature, so a bill’s status this morning may change by this afternoon. With that in mind, here’s where we are as of Friday morning, April 23:
- The bill clarifies that riding in a crosswalk is legal and increases the penalty for motorists who injure a bicyclist or pedestrian in a crosswalk.
- SB 1055 passed the Senate unanimously last week and has been sent to the House.
- HB 2081 is in the House Calendars Committee now waiting for a vote to go to the House floor.
- This resolution encourages TxDOT to use already available federal bike/ped/trail money to fund larger, signature bicycle network and trails projects in Texas, instead of smaller grants that spread dollars too thinly to be as effective. (This resolution is not a mandate.)
- This resolution also allows TxDOT to provide up to 75% of the required local match, a requirement that is a significant burden for small and rural communities.
- Creating trails and other facilities for safe biking and walking helps lower health costs and gives an economic boost to the communities that have those facilities.
- HCR 65 is in the House Calendars Committee now waiting for a vote to go to the House floor.
- Currently, some rainy day funds, i.e., general revenue funds, go to TxDOT and may only be used for public roadways.
- This Joint Resolution would allow voters to decide if they want to give TxDOT more flexibility and allow those funds to also be used for public transportation, public bicycle paths, and public sidewalks.
- HJR 109 is in the House Transportation Committee waiting for a vote to go to the Calendars Committee.
- SJR 40 has not yet had a hearing in the Senate Transportation Committee.
In addition to these bills, many other good bills are working their way through the respective transportation committees, and BikeTexas has registered support on behalf of Texas bicyclists for several other bills that are pending. The three bills above are the ones for which we are working with the bill authors’ offices and therefore where we are concentrating the bulk of our efforts right now.
Enough time remains in the legislative session to pass all three bills. We’re sending out Action Alerts to constituents of committee members as these bills come up in committee, and expect to be sending an alert to all BikeTexas supporters soon asking you to contact your Representative for at least one of these bills. Want to get an alert when it’s time to contact your Representative or Senator? Sign up here and provide your legislative districts so we can get you the specific information you need.