Most bills filed in each legislative session fail. For the most part we are thankful for that. But today we summarize a few that survived while you weren’t paying attention. As usual, there are winners, losers, and rainouts.
HB 2730 beefs up the “Landowners’ Bill of Rights” in eminent domain negotiations and proceedings. It amends the Property Code, Water Code and Occupations Code. The effective date is January 1, 2022. Winner: Landowners.
SB 885 gives teeth to quitclaim deeds. It used to be that an owner who takes title through a quitclam could not be a bona fide purchaser and would be on notice of unrecorded conveyances and/or instruments not in their chain of title. Winner: Stability of Texas titles.
Civil Practice and Remedies Code §6.025 is amended and §13.006 is added. After the fourth anniversary of the date a quitclaim deed for real property is recorded in the deed records the deed will not affect the question of the good faith of a subsequent purchaser or creditor and is not notice to a subsequent purchaser or creditor of any unrecorded conveyance or transfer or encumbrance of the real property. This change applies only to quitclaims recorded after the effective date of Septmber 1, 2021. Before this amendment, §16.025 applied only to forgeries.
SB1259 hoses (can’t think of a dignified term) royalty owners by amending Natural Resources Code §91.402 to deny a common-law cause of action for breach of contract against a payor who withholds payments for a title dispute. The exception is if the contract requiring payment specifies otherwise (which they rarely ever do because it hasn’t been necessary). It applies to actions filed after the effective date of the Act, which, piling insult upon injury, was immediately upon the May 24th signing by the Governor. This is a legislative “fix”, on the second try, to the 2018 Texas Supreme Court decision in ConocoPhillips et al v. Koopmann. Loser: Royalty owners.
HB 3648 requires the Public Utilities Commission and the Railroad Commission to adopt rules to designate certain natural gas entities as critical during an energy emergency. Here is a summary by the House Research Organization. Winner: Consumers, … or a rainout?
SB 2154 requires that members of the Public Utilities Commission be residents of Texas. Winner: Consumers, … or a rainout?
SB 760 requries solar energy operators to clean up after their facilities are decommissioned and to provide financial security to see that it gets done. Winner: Landowners.
Lessees of state lands, pay attention. SB 1258 amends the Natural Resources Code to address a state lessee’s duty to drill an offset well or pay compensatory royalties if horizontal wells treated by hydraulic fracturing are located within 1,000 feet of a state lease. The Act specifies when an offset well would not be required, which depends on the location of the horizontal drainhole. Winner: Taxpayers and the state budget.
Your musical interlude, for old times’ sake. Winner: Black Lung disease. Loser: J. D. Vance’s relatives and pretty much all the characters in Justified.