Sporting goods tax could exclusively go to funding Texas parks and historical sites

Sporting goods tax could exclusively go to funding Texas parks and historical sites

Parks around the State of Texas could start receiving some extra money in the fall. In 1993, legislation was passed in order to more adequately fund the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Up to 94 percent of all of the taxes collected from the purchase of sporting goods were to be used to fund local, regional and state parks, with the other six percent of the taxes collected heading to the Texas Historical Commission in order to maintain the State…

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Rep. Zwiener’s HB 4158, ‘Hill Country Night Sky Tourism Bill,’ becomes law

Rep. Zwiener’s HB 4158, ‘Hill Country Night Sky Tourism Bill,’ becomes law

Dark Sky cities in the Texas Hill Country can now use their hotel occupancy tax dollars to protect the night sky. Representative Erin Zwiener’s (D-Driftwood) HB 4158 is now law and effective immediately.  HB 4158, the Hill Country Night Sky Tourism bill, gives small cities in Hays and Blanco Counties another important tool to invest in local tourism efforts. This legislation recognizes the importance of dark skies to visitors and residents of the Hill Country and allows communities to use…

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Texas could gain millions in federal funding to help at-risk fish and wildlife

Texas could gain millions in federal funding to help at-risk fish and wildlife

Texas could receive more than $50 million annually to pay for initiatives that support at-risk fish and wildlife populations under a bipartisan bill introduced in Congress. Known as the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (RAWA), House Resolution 3742 would provide $1.3 billion every year to states and $97.5 million to tribes. The Texas Alliance for America’s Fish and Wildlife says the funding wouldn’t require new taxes. It would be supported by existing federal revenues. Under the Endangered Species Act, which Congress passed in 1973, species can be listed…

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Kinder Morgan wins Texas court challenge, removing obstacle to $2 billion gas pipeline

Kinder Morgan wins Texas court challenge, removing obstacle to $2 billion gas pipeline

Kinder Morgan can begin work on a $2 billion natural gas pipeline without having the Texas energy regulator approve its proposed route, a state judge ruled on Tuesday. The decision removes a challenge to the state’s licensing process that lets gas pipeline companies determine their own route and acquire land without a landowner’s consent. Texas is in the midst of a pipeline-construction boom with multibillion-dollar projects under way to bring shale oil and gas to market. A Travis County District…

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City Council opposes pipeline; calls for review of potential impact to aquifers

City Council opposes pipeline; calls for review of potential impact to aquifers

Joining several other Central Texas communities, the Austin City Council on Wednesday unanimously approved a resolution opposing a natural gas pipeline that energy company Kinder Morgan is routing through the Hill Country. The 430-mile pipeline is proposed to travel from West Texas to the Gulf Coast, crossing over the Trinity and Edwards aquifers, cutting through natural habitat areas, as well as privately owned Hill Country properties. Working with members of the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club and the TREAD…

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Letter to the Editor, Legislature approves funding for parks

Letter to the Editor, Legislature approves funding for parks

by Jensie Madden, Comal County, TX, with the Comal County Conservation Alliance Letter to the Editor of New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung Published June 11, 2019 As the 86th session of the Texas Legislature draws to a close, I am celebrating the passage of legislation to allow Texans to vote in support of state parks. Thanks to the co-sponsorship of Senator Donna Campbell and Representative Kyle Biedermann along with many other legislators, a joint resolution will allow for the placement of a…

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House bill opens tap for WCID3 despite opposition

House bill opens tap for WCID3 despite opposition

On May 22, HB 1806 was voted through by the Texas Senate, clearing the way for the San Antonio Water System to sell 1,500 acre feet of water across county lines from Bexar into Kendall. Despite vigorous and organized opposition by local leaders – including Cow Creek Groundwater Conservation District chairman Milan J. Michalec, who protested the bill before committee members in Austin – HB1806 will reverse water management law established in 1993. After its passage, Michalec spoke strongly against…

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Hill Country landowners fight for land in proposed gas pipeline’s path

Hill Country landowners fight for land in proposed gas pipeline’s path

Hill Country landowners flooded a Travis County courtroom Tuesday hoping to thwart the construction of a natural gas pipeline they say poses safety risks and drives down the values of their multi-million dollar properties. Sitting shoulder to shoulder and wearing “Save the Water” stickers, dozens of landowners grumbled as lawyers for Houston-based Kinder Morgan, which plans to route the $2 billion Permian Highway Pipeline Project through their backyards, downplayed potential health hazards, or referenced the power they say the company…

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Eminent domain reform died in the Texas Legislature this session

Eminent domain reform died in the Texas Legislature this session

Texas state lawmakers looking to reform the eminent domain process were unable to find common ground this session, despite hundreds of hours of negotiation. State Sen. Lois Kolkhorst’s Senate Bill 421 sought to better protect property owners when private companies condemn their land — a nod to landowners in Texas who’ve grown accustomed to encroaching oil and gas pipelines. The bill would’ve required public meetings between property owners and industry groups and instituted measures to prevent low-ball offers to property…

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Landowners, pipeline company meet in court today

Landowners, pipeline company meet in court today

Attorneys for Hill Country landowners along with the city of Kyle and Hays County have prepared for a fight this morning with lawyers for Kinder Morgan Texas Pipeline and the Texas Railroad Commission over the route of the proposed natural gas pipeline and whether the commission has lived up to its constitutional responsibility in overseeing Kinder Morgan’s exercise of its power of eminent domain. Kinder Morgan proposes to build the approximately 430-mile Permian Highway Pipeline through the Hill Country, between…

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