That bill, House Bill (HB) 300, is the first priority bill of the chamber to pass on a floor vote. Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin) is the author alongside 38 joint authors or coauthors, including 12 Republicans.
Gov. Greg Abbott and Comptroller Glenn Hegar have both given their support to the legislation, the latter of whom called taxes on such products “archaic.” Before the vote, the Texas House Republican Caucus sent out a member notice that it is neutral on the bill, indicating some intra-caucus opposition. Just before Howard’s bill came up, Rep. Steve Toth (R-The Woodlands) pulled an amendment he had planned for HB 300, removing any speed bump the bill might have faced.
According to the original fiscal note for the bill, it’d reduce state sales tax collections during the next biennium by $195 million.
“HB 300 would help by alleviating some of the financial burden families have when trying to take care of their family,” Howard said, laying out the bill.
Howard then moved passage and the body approved it by voice vote with no objection.
The three other bills passed included:
- HB 446 that’d strike the term “mentally retarded” as part of the statutory definition of someone with an intellectual disability
- HB 590 that’d establish requirements for “Texas honey” product labeling
- HB 608 that’d add Diwali to the list of holidays before which fireworks may be sold
All passed with little, if any, opposition.
While this is the first set of bills considered on the House floor, both chambers have been busy holding committee hearings and the Senate has already sent over 50 passed bills to the House.
The upper chamber’s first bill passed was the restoration of felony status for illegal voting; others include the $16.5 billion property tax relief slate and a priority bill that’d move certain responsibilities from the Department of Family and Protective Services to the Health and Human Services Commission.
The biggest potential pressure points between the two chambers — school choice, appraisal reform plans, professor tenure restrictions, postpartum Medicaid coverage extension, and electricity market reform — have either not yet made their way into, or been brought up for consideration in, the opposite chamber.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Senate, which tends to move faster than the lower chamber, continued passing legislation. The House will reconvene at 10 a.m. Wednesday to pass Tuesday’s bills on third reading and take up a second calendar that includes four bills, one of which limits the application of the death penalty on offenders with a “severe mental illness.”
Disclosure: Unlike almost every other media outlet, The Texan is not beholden to any special interests, does not apply for any type of state or federal funding, and relies exclusively on its readers for financial support. If you’d like to become one of the people we’re financially accountable to, click here to subscribe.
Brad Johnson is a senior reporter for The Texan and an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.