By Elsa Maxey
As a resident of Fort Bend County, do you know how many new laws may soon be affecting you? The Texas legislature, which is meeting in special session on school finance, the state budget and other issues, passed 1,379 bills during its 140-day regular session. The session ended in May and the governor was sent the bills for approval or veto.
So, how long does he have?
He has twenty days after final adjournment of the session. That’s how long Governor Rick Perry has to consider over a thousand bills and Sunday, June 19, is the last day he can sign, veto them or according to state law, allow them to become law even without his signature.
There’s a bill among those on the governor desk that will restrict the powers of homeowners associations (HOAs) and in Fort Bend County, it could impact hundreds of them. Other HOA bills are for strengthening homeowners’ voting rights and there are also reform bills having to do with foreclosures and dues, even one that specifies a priority of payments for homeowners in arrears. HOAs in this area have been the subject of contention by some residents and most notably, the First Colony Community Services Association came under fire by homeowners who disagreed with plans they said were inconsistent with survey results. There are other HOAs whose actions have been subject to homeowner discontentment and disapproval along the lines of what the legislature intends to correct.
So when could these bills that may become law be effective? For those that do not specify a start date, the effective date is August 29. Fort Bend County residents are encouraged to track the status of bills of interest to them by going online to the Texas Legislature website. Note that bills that do make it into law are not automatically reintroduced at the next session.
Also, there are joint resolutions, 10 of them by the 82nd Legislature, that propose amendments to the Texas Constitution and these do not require the approval of the governor. Expect to see them on the ballot on November 8, 2011 for your “yea” or “nay.”