Property taxes, disaster response, term limits: Dozens of bills filed by The Woodlands-area legislators this session

The Woodlands area's state senator and representative have filed around 180 bills this year combined. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)
The Woodlands area's state senator and representative have filed around 180 bills this year combined. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)

The Woodlands area's state senator and representative have filed around 180 bills this year combined. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)

Two and a half months into the Texas Legislature's 2021 session, nearly 200 pieces of draft legislation filed by The Woodlands area's representatives in Austin are now moving through the House and Senate for further review before they have the chance to become state law.

Topics covered in the bills authored or co-authored by state Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, and state Rep. Steve Toth, R-The Woodlands, include elections administration, management of the state's electric grid, property taxes, abortion, the COVID-19 pandemic and public education. A sampling of lawmakers' bills filed this year is listed below, and the full texts and statuses of all Senate and House bills may be found through the Legislature's website.

Senate Bill 4, authored by Creighton and nine other Republican senators, would block the state and any local governmental entity from signing financial agreements with professional sports teams unless teams play the national anthem before home games. A public hearing on the bill is scheduled for March 26.

"Recently, concerns have been raised around the state and nation about the intentional disregard for our nation's national anthem as professional sports teams in taxpayer-subsidized stadiums have chosen to omit the national anthem being played before sporting events much to the dismay of many Texans," the authors wrote in a Senate analysis of the bill. "Sports and sporting venues have historically played a role in uniting Texans from all walks of life, yet the recent decision to use the national anthem as a dividing force have brought into question why these professional sports teams are able to do so on the taxpayer's dime while amassing immense wealth themselves."

SB 29, authored by a slate of 16 senators, including Creighton, would prohibit students' participation in interscholastic athletic activities designated for a different biological sex than the sex determined at their birth, in events authorized by public school districts and open-enrollment charter schools. A public hearing on the Senate bill is set for March 26, and an identical bill was also filed in the House this year.


SB 865, authored by Creighton, would mandate a study of local governments' mass notification disaster alert systems and examine the possibility of establishing such systems statewide. Creighton's bill remains in the Senate's business and commerce committee as of March 25. An identical bill was also filed in the House.

SB 1096, authored by Creighton, would cap appraisal offices' increases to a residence homestead's appraised value at the lesser of two calculations. The first limit would be the home's market value in the most recent tax year for which it was valued. The second limit would be the sum of 3% of the property's appraised value in the preceding tax year for homes under $1 million and 5% for homes over $1 million, plus the property's appraised value in the preceding tax year, plus the market value of new improvements to the home. The bill remains in the Senate's local government committee as of March 25.

SB 1295, authored by Creighton, would provide for thousands of dollars in annual funding from the state to support at-risk undergraduate students at eligible regional universities. The bill remains in the Senate's higher education committee as of March 25. An identical bill was filed in the House.

SB 1780, authored by Creighton, would establish a reserve network of public health professionals, community and government health agencies, and health care organizations as part of a new Texas Epidemic Public Health Institute based from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. The bill had not been referred to a Senate committee as of March 25.

Senate Joint Resolution 45, authored by 15 senators, including Creighton, would propose a constitutional amendment relating to emergency powers held by the governor and Legislature that Texas voters would consider in this year's November election. The amendment would require the governor to call a special legislative session to approve the renewal of emergency or disaster declarations or to issue new orders that affect large portions of the state. The resolution remained in the Senate's state affairs committee as of March 25. More details on the proposal are included in its enabling legislation, SB 1025, which also features Creighton as an author and remains in the Senate's state affairs committee.

House Bill 69, authored by Toth, would prohibit abortions at or after the 12th week post-fertilization; state health and safety code currently has a 20-week limit in place. The bill remained in the House's public health committee as of March 25.

HB 114, authored by Toth, would prevent state agencies from issuing permits or entering into agreements with high-speed rail projects if such projects did not first secure federal construction permits and approvals. The bill remained in the House's transportation committee as of March 25.

HB 1978, authored by Toth, would prevent the Texas governor from declaring a state of disaster because of COVID-19. The bill remained in the House's state affairs committee as of March 25.

HB 3592, HB 3593 and HB 3716, all authored by Toth, would each change certain operational aspects of the state's electric grid.


  • HB 3592 would require the organization managing the Electric Reliability Council of Texas power region to be composed of 15 members appointed on staggered terms and with the consent of the state senate.

  • HB 3593 would require wind-powered electric generation facilities to maintain at least 75% of generating capabilities while operating.

  • HB 3716 would prevent the Public Utility Commission of Texas from acquiring or using bulk-≥power system equipment that could be vulnerable to sabotage or security breaches.


All three bills remained in the House's state affairs committee as of March 25.

HB 4550, authored by Toth, would block any political body in the state from issuing "universal basic income," or recurring, unconditional cash grants, to its residents. The bill had not been referred to a committee as of March 25.

House Joint Resolution 7, authored by Toth, would propose a constitutional amendment setting six-session term limits for anyone serving in the state house or senate, beginning with the 2023 legislative session. Voters would consider the measure in this November's election. The resolution remained in the House's state affairs committee as of March 25.

By Ben Thompson
Ben joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2019 as a reporter for The Woodlands area and began working as Austin's City Hall reporter in April 2021.