|The 87th Regular Texas Legislative Session has come to an end, and while we may be calling it a “regular” session, we know that it was anything but that. A special session is scheduled for July, and we’re paying attention to see if anything related to active transportation will come up. In the meantime, here is a look at how some bills about bicycling fared:|
|The Lisa Torry Smith Act: SB 1055 (link is to bill text)|
Governor Abbott signed the Lisa Torry Smith Act into law on Friday, June 18, and it will go into effect on September 1. Under the new law, drivers who injure or kill vulnerable road users in crosswalks will face increased penalties.
|HB 3665 (link is to bill text)|
This bill expands the definition of “bicycle” to include tricycles and bicycles with adaptive technology that allow people with disabilities to ride. This law gives those types of bicycles the same rights and responsibilities as other bicycles. Governor Abbott signed HB 3665 into law on Tuesday, June 15, and it will go into effect on September 1.
|HCR 65 (link is to bill text)|
This resolution would have encouraged 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 would have allowed TxDOT to provide up to 75% of the federally required local match, a requirement that is a significant burden for small and rural communities.
HCR 65 stalled in House Calendars and died in committee.
|HJR 109/SJR 40 (link is to House bill text)|
Currently, some rainy day funds, i.e., money from general revenue, go to TxDOT and may only be used for public roadways.
This Joint Resolution would have allowed voters to decide whether to give TxDOT more flexibility and allow those funds to also be used for public transportation, public bicycle paths, and public sidewalks.
Both HJR 109 and SJR 40 died in their respective transportation committees.