(TEXAS) – Today, Governor Greg Abbott will sign Senate Bill 2 and Senate Bill 3 into law, which together were the Texas Legislature’s priority legislation during the 87th Session to respond to February’s winter storm disaster.
The two bills passed with bipartisan support and provide some needed changes to the weatherization and oversight of our electric grid. However, several amendments by Democratic representatives that would have ensured consumers are considered and protected under this legislation were stripped in the final version of the bill. Democrats championed other proposals to shore up our electric-grid long term all session, but they were never seriously considered by the Republican-controlled Legislature.
“Time and again this session, Republican leaders in the legislature prioritized industry over everyday Texans, advancing legislation for energy producers while allowing bills that would protect consumers to fall by the wayside,” said Rep. Erin Zwiener (D-Driftwood), whose amendment on SB 3 to establish a grant program to provide for resiliency and reliability at critical health care facilities was removed during conference committee. “These bills make some positive changes to our system, but do not go nearly far enough to ensure Texans will be safe and protected should anything like this ever happen again.”
Throughout the 87th Regular Session, Democrats filed bills and offered amendments that would have ensured the people of Texas were at the center of the Legislature’s response to the energy crisis. The following is a brief list of notable efforts spearheaded by Democrats:
- HB 1533 by Rep. Ron Reynolds, which would have created a loan program to incentivize energy efficiency. (Left Pending in Environmental Regulation)
- HB 3460 (The POWER Texas Act) by Rep. Ana Hernandez, which would have created a grant program to provide direct financial assistance to consumers affected by the 2021 winter storm. (Left Pending in State Affairs)
- HB 4090 by Rep. James Talarico, which would have created a grant and loan program for the installation of on-site solar energy and energy storage. (Never Received Hearing in State Affairs)
- Amendment 10 on SB 3 by Rep. Penny Morales-Shaw, which would have required ERCOT to share information affecting residential consumers with the PUC. (Stripped in Conference Committee)
- Amendment 2 on HB 2000 by Rep. Erin Zwiener, which would have incentivized demand reduction and energy efficiency in projects funded under the program established in HB 2000. (Voted Down in House)