Updated 2:25 p.m.

House Bill 1540, a bill before a Texas Senate committee as of May 8, proposes several changes to the makeup of the board of directors of the San Jacinto River Authority as well as an amendment by Rep. Will Metcalf, R-Conroe, that would remove SJRA General Manager Jace Houston.

In a nutshell: The body of the bill states that it follows recommendations of the Sunset Advisory Commission released in November.
  • It calls for seven board members, who would be appointed by the governor and serve for four years.
  • One director is designated president of the board by the governor.
  • The bill outlines various grounds for removal, such as not possessing the needed qualifications.
Diving in deeper: An amendment added April 27 states:
  • “Not later than the 30th day after the effective date of this Act, the board of directors of the San Jacinto River Authority shall appoint the general manager of the authority.”
  • It also specifies: “The board of directors may not appoint or reappoint an individual as general manager if the individual was appointed or employed by the authority as general manager during the six months preceding the effective date of this Act.”
What they’re saying: In a statement, Metcalf said: “Let me be clear: My amendment to the SJRA sunset bill has nothing to do with my opinion of the SJRA general manager as a person. This is strictly about doing what is best for my community that I love and trying to find a long overdue resolution to our county’s ongoing water problems.”

The SJRA said in a phone call on May 10: “The majority of our board of directors supports Jace Houston, and we ... are waiting to see how it comes out in the legislature.”

On May 9, the city of Magnolia passed a resolution of support for Rep. Metcalf's amendment to the bill.

What’s next

As of May 8, the bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Water, Agriculture and Rural Affairs. It passed the House on April 28.

Editor's note: The story was updated to include a comment from the SJRA and information about a resolution passed by the city of Magnolia.