The 2017 Legislative Session started on January 10th, though the battle between two of our most powerful politicians in Texas -- the Speaker of the House, Joe Straus and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick -- has created a big slowdown in legislation. The bill filing deadline is March 13th. Sine die (the end of the session) is May 29th.
We here at the League of Independent Voters are focused on this legislative agenda. While both parties are divided and trying to do-in their competition from the other side, a united citizenry is getting educated and organized to protect our resources and to push for comprehensive electoral reform.
- Protection of groundwater from water profiteers looking to "market" water to high-growth cities. Who pays? Landowners and ratepayers, not to mention the aquifers.
- No Eminent Domain for Private Gain!
- Broadscale Election Reform to expand our electoral choices.
We will be discussing these issues at the upcoming Independent's Lobby Day (Friday, March 24) and LIV Conference (Saturday, March 25).
Find who represents you in Texas here.
If you're a non-aligned independent voter -- you vote for the person, not the party -- please join the all-volunteer League of Independent Voters by becoming a dues paying member.
LIV is a non-profit, 501c4 membership organization dedicated to protecting our natural resources and opening up and cleaning up elections in Texas. Boy howdy, do need electoral competition! Have you noticed that while everyone is fighting, the special interests are stealing the store? Texans, of all persuasions must and can work together.
Read the latest news. We're still fighting the San Antone hose aka Vista Ridge. That's the $3.4 billion, 142-mile Vista Ridge water pipeline from Burleson County that the San Antonio City Council majority delivered to the central Texas real estate lobby In November 2014. On November 19, 2015, the San Antonio Council voted for water rate hikes that included a 50%+ increase mostly to pay for some of the most expensive water in Texas -- Vista Ridge -- draining the critical slow-recharge Simsboro aquifer formation. . (Read the details on our Vista Ridge page).
Water is THE pivotal issue in the current gold rush in Texas that is driving unaffordability and a dangerous stress on our natural resources. Austin real estate developer, Brian Rodgers, tried to reason with the "growth lobby" to take their foot off the pedal. Check out our "Costs of Growth" page here and join the League of Independent Voters.
In the last legislative session (2015) we sicced the dogs on Gridzilla, the water grabbing monster. That was a plan to (NO on HB 3298/SB 1907), in the 2015 legislative session. We also protected our petition rights (NO on HB 2595). But we must ready our movement for the 2017 legislative session as "water and land grabs" continue unabated across Texas. State agencies -- from the Railroad Commission, to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, to the Texas Water Development Board -- need major reforms. Check out our events page for events near you, and join the League to support this all-volunteer outfit that is fighting for YOU! Here's our brochure (we're happy to mail one to you) and here's our join page.
Below is more on the last session (2015). "Gridzilla", the water sucking monster on her way from California threatens the new 2017 legislative session. Keep an eye on news from LIV by becoming a member.
More on the 2015 legislative session -- "Gridzilla", House Bill 3298 (SB 1907 in the Senate), introduced by Rep. Lyle Larson (R-San Antonio) was a $2 million study for the development of a market and conveyance network for water in the Texas. Larson and others in state and local government want to move masses of water to the "triangle" -- DFW, Austin and San Antonio -- to build in areas without local water supply. The grid was not helping those communities already in dry areas who need help. The grid is strikingly similar to the California water "model" -- moving water to aid developers building in dry areas. The California water crisis has already shown water conveyance before water conservation is a disastrous policy. It should not go without mentioning that California's crisis is now exacerbated by the scandalous practice of injection fracking fluids into aquifers! ProPublica reported this in July 2014.
Gridzila passed the House in the 2015 session, but not without significant opposition from 32 House members who voted NO to Gridzilla-- a range of urban and rural legislators. It hit major road blocks in the Senate. The League participated in a coalition with farmers, landowners and environmentalists -- from tea party to greens -- to slay Gridzilla. This kicked off a debate in this session, barely covered in the media.
Most important, we hope you will become a dues paying member to support this all-volunteer outfit that is working to unite voters across the partisan divide -- to fight for our land, water and to clean up and open up Texas politics.
You can reach us via email or phone (512.213.4511) for more. Thank you Texas!
Got questions? Contact us at 512-213-4511 or email@example.com
**** The following was posted in January 2015, at the start of the Texas Legislative Session. Go to our news section for reports and updates on how we did. ****
The League of Independent Voters is uniting Texans across the partisan divide behind our key goal in the 2015 Legislative Session. That is our work to protect our most precious resource -- groundwater. A virtual gold rush on groundwater in Texas is fueling unbridled in-migration population growth to Texas while the costs for water (and all kinds of infrastructure needed to serve this growth) are offloaded on to the backs of current residents. Take our simple actions and join the conversation about our solution -- Conservation First, Convey Later. (Be sure to visit our "Cost of Growth" section for more on the growth shell game in Texas.)
Wanna do more? Hop on one of our every other Sunday 6 pm, conference calls, invite us to your community or just give us a call at 512-213-4511. Keep reading...and get involved. P.S. We love you most for your action, including becoming a dues paying member to support our work. Use the Saddle Up link over yonder to the right ===>
We thank these Texas advocates for farmers, landowners, environment and wildlife who spoke to the Senate Agriculture, Water and Rural Affairs Committee on April 13th, in opposition to a study on the “Texas water grid” bill (HB 3298 & SB 1907). More here.
Watch this 1-minute excerpt of Rep. Lyle Larson at the April 8 hearing on why he thinks Texas needs a "study" on a statewide water grid -- to conduct large-scale movement of groundwater to the Texas triangle -- DFW, San Antonio and Austin. Join us to ditch HB 3298 and for a real solution. More here.
Just in case you missed this Wednesday's hearing of House Natural Resources Committee on Rep. Keffer's HB 3597. This was a rare show of an affected landowner who came to the Capitol on his own -- Mark Young of Sealy, Texas (Austin County), who fought against Electro-Purification and won. Young is "extremely opposed", for good reason, to HB 3597. Thank you, Mr. Young. More here.
Linda Curtis, Independent Texans, testifies before the House Natural Resources Committee, in support of Hays County citizens asking for protection of their groundwater. Curtis calls out the hypocrisy of Hays County officials trying to grab groundwater from those living over the Simsboro in Lee and Bastrop counties. More here.
Tom Glass, testifies on behalf of the League of Independent Voters to the House Elections Committee in support of ending straight ticket voting in Texas. With only 10 states left using straight ticket voting, Glass lays out why this is not good government. P.S. Both major party chairs testified against this good government reform.
The Texas water grabs are also forcing Texans to reevaluate our voting strategies. Can the newly emerging independent voters of Texas force real change from the grassroots?
Read this national article from Men's Journal writer, Paul Solotaroff, "Who Stole Our Water?"
Top Three Water Grabs in Texas are:
(Top Ten coming soon!)
#1: The Marvin Nichols Reservoir that NE Texans have successfully fought for 14 years:
But the retooling of the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) has opened the floodgates (literally) on this water, land and money wasteful project. What is also driving the problem is the refusal of Texas cities to control their growth and even the go-along-to-get-along posture of some environmental organizations. More here.
#2: The aquifer just east of the City of Austin in Lee and Bastrop counties managed by Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District:
Private water profiteers (Forestar Real Estate Group, EndOp LP), together with their friends in political office, are driving the notion that it's fine and dandy to drain aquifers for almighty growth. While developers profit, Texans lose their resources and when it's all over, residents and landowners will pay through the nose. P.S. As everyone argues over who gets the water underneath Lee and Bastrop counties, fracking has increased in the area and is threatening contamination of the water everyone wants! More on the grab here and here on fracking.
#3 Refusal of Texas municipalities to conserve first!
Taking the City of Austin as one example. The Austin Water Utility insisted on building a fourth water treatment plant (Water Treatment Plant #4). Then pushed to close down a perfectly good water treatment plant for a real estate deal! Now, this new nearly $1B plant is the biggest reason for painful water rate hikes (16% this year) into the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, it won't be needed for another 17 years and AWU still refuses to mothball this project. The result is that the more Austinites conserve the more AWU is driven to rate hikes!
Mother Nature is ieading the biggest water grab of all. It's called the Texas Drought and only she, Mother Nature, is entitled.
Want a yard sign? Join the League and let's talk about us coming to your community. If we've been there already, there's likely a sign you can pick up nearby. Just give us a call, send us an email or send out a smoke signal and we'll be there!
Check out this video from the Texas Water Wars Conference held at McKinney Roughs in Cedar Creek in March of 2011. That's Brian Rodgers, Austin developer and whistle-blower on the voracious real estate lobby that can't bring enough population growth (in-migration) to Texas. Guess what? There's not enough water, y'all!