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It’s been a 48-hour roller coaster ride for SB 545. The great news? SB 545 is still poised to establish a rebate program that would jumpstart the generation of distributed rooftop solar in Texas. However, after failing to gain passage in the House by its midnight deadline on Tuesday, it’s no longer SB 545. Hmmm…
Last night was the deadline for House bills to pass the Senate. And for what seemed like a very long two minutes, the Senate saved many of its own bills by adding them as amendments to House bills already on the Senate intent calendar. (The House had failed to take them up before its deadline the night before.)
ACT’s been following HB 1243 by Rep Gallego is because it addresses one of ACT’s recommendations for renewable energy – establishing net metering. Net metering enables people to sell back surplus electricity they generate from roof-top solar, small windmills and other renewable sources to their electric provider. HB 1243 is one of the final bills passed by the House last week.
As we’ve reported all week, as the House stalemate continued through Tuesday, the chances for Senate bills to make it through the House evaporated. When the clock hit midnight on Tuesday, all the bills on the House Major State and General State calendars died. What the Senate did last night was to attach bills onto other bills – as amendments. Senator Fraser, the Senate sponsor of HB 1243, offered SB 545 (his bill) as an amendment, so SB 545 has a second life as an amendment on HB 1243.
Now SB 545/HB 1243 faces another hurdle: being accepted as a germane amendment by the House. If the House concurs on the bill as amended, it goes on. If not, the amendment is removed in a conference committee and the amendment dies. The deadline for the House to consider all Senate amendments is tomorrow at midnight. So while we can all celebrate that the sun didn’t set on solar energy last night, we’re still riding the roller coaster.
(For a far-more entertaining and personal explanation of the current state of solar legislation in the Texas Legislature, you might try Public Citizen’s Texas Vox. This post is already making the rounds on the web. Pass it on so your friends can get a feeling for how happy we all are about what happened last night.)
2013 ACT Legislative Agenda
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About ACTThe Alliance For A Clean Texas (ACT) brings together environmental, public interest, consumer rights and religious organizations from around the state dedicated to improving public health, quality of life and the environment in Texas by working for change at the regulatory and legislative levels.