House Bill 1540, which bears an amendment that would replace the general manager of the San Jacinto River Authority, will go up for a public hearing on May 12.

As of May 11, the next meeting of the Senate Water, Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee reviewing the bill was scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. May 12 with HB 1540 listed among the bills to be discussed.

The backstory: HB 1540 was originally proposed as a bill to bring the SJRA in line with recommendations made by the Sunset Advisory Commission for four river authorities in 2022.

The SJRA monitors water quality in the San Jacinto basin, provides water to municipal utility districts and other entities, and operates the Lake Conroe Dam, according to the bill. The bill follows the recommendations of the Sunset Advisory Commission, but an amendment added by Rep. Will Metcalf, R-Conroe, added the stipulation that the board of directors must replace the general manager of the SJRA. If the bill is passed and becomes law, it will take effect Sept. 1. According to the amendment, the board of directors of the SJRA would need to appoint the general manager of the authority no later than the 30th day after the effective date of the act.

Diving in deeper: The SJRA board of directors is appointed by the governor, and the board appoints the general manager. Under the amendment, the board would need to appoint someone to the position—which is held by Jace Houston—who has not held the position within the past six months.

While a statement from the SJRA on May 10 indicated the board's support for the general manager, two local entities within the area covered by the SJRA passed resolutions supporting the bill and Metcalf's amendment.

The city of Magnolia passed a resolution May 9 supporting the bill with the amendment.

In a May 9 meeting of the Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District, members also passed a resolution supporting the bill and amendment.

Metcalf's office did not immediately respond to a request for additional comment. In an email update to his constituents sent May 7, he cited lawsuits the SJRA has been involved in with other entities and businesses as well as SJRA fees among the reasons he pursued the amendment.

Editor's note: This story was updated to include the correct first name of Rep. Metcalf.