AUSTIN, TX. — Yesterday, Rep. Drew Springer (R – Muenster) filed legislation to help rural areas with both overburdening fines from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and the ability to build roads in small counties.
Currently, the TCEQ charges the same amount in fines for an offense in a sparsely populated area as they do for an offense in a largely populated area.
“Before Session, I hosted 22 town hall forums across my district,” said Springer. “The number one complaint I received was that the TCEQ was overregulating and way over-fining small populations. A $50,000 fine to the City of Dallas spread out over a population of 1 million people is only $.05 each. However the same fine to the City of Floydada is over $25 a person. Citizens of Texas should not be penalized for living in small towns; all citizens in Texas should be treated equally.”
HB 3222 requires the TCEQ to take into account the population of a county or municipality before assessing a fine. Fines must then be assessed proportionally equal for all cities and counties in the state.
Rep. Springer also filed HJR 137 to give small rural areas more flexibility to construct and maintain private roads.
“Until the last census, Garza County had no problem maintaining old rural roads,” said Springer. “While the population of the county remained under 5,000 for citizens, the addition of a 2,000 person Federal prison for Illegal’s to be deported was built and knocked them over the threshold for the Constitutional private road exemption for small counties.”
Springer’s HJR 137 solves this problem by changing the maximum population for this exemption from 5,000 to 7,500.
If you have any questions about either of these or any bills filed by Rep. Springer this Session, please feel free to contact him at [email protected]