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An Update, and What You Can Do.
What’s happening now.
The 2009 Safe Passing bill, House Bill HB 827, authored by Representatives Linda Harper-Brown, Carol Kent, Eddie Lucio III and Ellen Cohen, will be heard by the Texas State House Committee on Transportation on Tuesday, March 24 at 8:00 am, in room E2.014.
The bill includes the “3-feet clearance” provision for cars passing cyclists. It has also been expanded to address right and left hooks and harassment for a range of “vulnerable road users” including pedestrians, persons in wheelchairs, utility workers, motorcyclists and others on the road or roadside not in a protective steel vehicle shell. Click here for the current text of the bill.
What you can do to help.
Below are the Representatives on the Transportation Committee, with their party affiliation and general district areas.
Supporting HB 827
Rep. Linda Harper-Brown, (Primary Author) R- Irving, Dist. 105
Rep. Ryan Guillen, D- Rio Grande City, Dist. 31
Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon, D- San Antonio, Dist. 120
Uncertain on support for HB 827
Rep. Joseph Pickett, (Chair) D- El Paso, Dist. 79
Rep. Larry Phillips, (Vice-Chair) R- Fannin, Grayson, Dist. 62
Rep. Bill Callegari, R- Harris, Dist. 132
Rep. Yvonne Davis, D- Dallas, Dist. 111
Rep. Jim Dunnam, D- Waco, Dist. 57
Rep. Tommy Merritt, R- Longview, Dist. 7
Rep. Todd Smith, R- Euless, Dist. 92
Rep. Wayne Smith, R- Baytown, Dist. 128
- If you are represented by a State Representative who serves on the Transportation Committee, please call or email your Representative to ask for their “Yes” vote. If they already support HB 827, thank them. If they are uncertain on HB 827, urge them to vote “Yes”. Communication should be direct and frank but should always be respectful. If you are not a constituent of any of these Representatives, please do not contact their offices because it creates additional unnecessary staff work. They naturally place much higher value on contact from constituents.
- If you live in the Austin area or can easily travel to Austin, come to the hearing at 8:00 a.m. (More details are below.) Please wear business attire including coat and tie for men. Even if you do not have a Representative on the committee who represents you, your presence is very important. RSVP to Mark Stine at email@example.com or 512-476-7433 is appreciated. We also appreciate cc’s or forwards to Mark of email communication sent to and received by you from your Representative.
- If your State Representative is not on the Transportation Committee, please do not contact them yet. Your communication will be much more effective once the Safe Passing Bill has its language finalized, passes the Transportation Committee and goes to the full House. BikeTexas will keep you updated.
Information for attending the hearing.
The committee session will start on Tuesday, March 24, 2009 at 8:00 a.m. in Capitol Extension room E2.014. You can expect to spend most of the morning there. The Chair often switches agenda items so we never know exactly when our bill will come up for action.
BikeTexas has promised the Committee Chair to limit our testimony to four witnesses addressing four different aspects of the bill. In this way, we present this case effectively but succinctly so that limited Committee time is used wisely.
Click here for maps of the Capitol area, including the public parking garage (parking rates are reasonable), and the Capitol Extension.
Please contact Mark Stine (firstname.lastname@example.org) at 512-476-7433 if you have questions. Call Mark at cell 512-921-0581 the day of the hearing if needed.
We’ve been working and waiting long for this.
All of us know how important this bill is for the overall safety of cyclists in Texas. We are optimistic that we will have success but we all must still work every step of the way in this laborious process. Our sincere thanks to all of you who have stepped up to support BikeTexas in this effort.
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