Hunting feral hogs from hot air balloons, plus more interesting bills filed by Houston-area legislators

Kyle has organized a festival to celebrate the city with balloons and live music Sept. 1-2.

Kyle has organized a festival to celebrate the city with balloons and live music Sept. 1-2.

Thousands of bills have been filed in the Texas Legislature this session related to the state’s transportation, education and health care needs. However, a variety of other bills with topics ranging from hunting to emojis have also been filed by legislators in the North Houston area.

Here are a few bills of note:

Hunting feral hogs from air balloons

If this bill is passed into law, a qualified landowner would be allowed to contract to participate as a hunter or observer by using a hot air balloon to take depredating feral hogs or coyotes—those ravaging or causing damage to land—under the authority of a permit. The legislation was filed by state Rep. Mark Keough, R-The Woodlands, March 9.


Stopping usage of the Chilean flag emoji

This resolution urges all Texans not to use the Republic of Chile flag emoji when referring to the state of Texas’ flag. The resolution states that, because of its similar colors and style, the Chilean flag is often used as a substitute in text messaging and on social media platforms for the Lone Star State’s flag even though it does not represent the state of Texas. The resolution was filed by state Rep. Tom Oliverson, R-Cypress, Feb. 16.


Authorizing a tax-free weekend for gun sales

Firearms and hunting supplies, such as ammunition, archery equipment gun cases and hunting decoys, would be exempt from sales tax for a limited period if this bill is signed into law. The legislation would exempt firearms and supplies from sales taxes if they are purchased during the weekend between midnight on Saturday of the last full weekend in August and midnight on the following Sunday. The bill, filed by state Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, was referred to the Finance Committee on Jan. 25.


Abolishing property taxes

This bill would abolish property taxes if signed in law, stating they are an inequitable means to generate revenue necessary to fund essential services for residents. The legislature would be tasked with creating a more equitable means of funding services, according to the bill, but it does not provide more specifics. The legislation, which was filed by state Rep. Valoree Swanson, R-Tomball was referred to the Ways and Means Committee March 6.


Restricting fireworks usage

Members of a county’s commissioners court would be able to prohibit the use of fireworks in unincorporated areas during certain hours if this bill is signed into law. There could be exemptions for certain holidays, including New Year’s Eve and the Fourth of July. An offense related to this bill would result in a Class C misdemeanor. A scheduled public hearing for the bill, which was filed by state Rep. Kevin Roberts, R-Spring, will be on March 23.


Bill to abolish county board of education

Each county board of education, board of county school trustees and office of county school superintendent in a county with a population of 3.3 million or more would be abolished beginning this September if this legislation passes. The assets, liabilities and contracts of a board abolished by the bill was be transferred to the county’s commissioners court. The bill is one of several related to county boards of education filed by state Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston. The legislation was referred to the Education Committee on March 9.


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