Issued April 11, 2017
Above link pulls up a Report on 37 bills that I identify as pertinent to Texas property owners associations. Bills that are moving have updated descriptions. The first page lists the 37 bills in numerical order - House and Senate Bills separately, and identifies the "topic" I've assigned to each bill. The next 11 pages of the Report have thumbnail descriptions of the 37 bills - in alpha order of topics. The last two pages are devoted to the TWO Omnibus Bills - one page for each, so you can see all of their components at a glance.
What's New and Hot? The Chicken Bill!!

NEW to Report #5, Senate Bill 1620 by Taylor says political subdivisions must let folks keep a max of 6 chickens - per person . A house with 5 people . . . you do the math. "Political subdivisions" are cities, counties, and special districts.
HOAs are not political subdivisions. So, at first glance, SB 1620 doesn't pertain to HOAs. But,  SB 1620 does nothing to assure private property owners and operators, such as HOAs, that their chicken restrictions are still enforceable.  Also, citified HOAs may lack chicken rules because they rely on city ordinances to ban chickens. Some HOA rules (and landlord rules) prohibit "farm animals" - which may or may not extend to backyard "pet" chicks - SIX per person. 
Bias. Although I love eggs and chickens, I assume some folks don't want to live next to a hen house. That may not be an option if SB 1620 passes. (My cats would be hugely entertained by chickens next door.)
Status. This bill is slip-sliding through the Session with no attention or opposition. The Senate passed it on April 5. Next stop - a House committee hearing. 
Thanks to a Wimberley reader for alerting me to SB 1620.  
What Changed? Religious Displays
After its public hearing on March 6, House Bill 522 by Schofield et al went from having no limits on religious displays to having ill-fitting limits that require a roadmap to follow. It looks like the HOA is largely "hands off" of any kind of religious display that's removed within 30 days, or within 45 days for displays relating to a holiday or religious event. No mention of intervals between consecutive displays. Hope to heck I'm wrong that HB 522 ties the HOA's hands when your neighbor competes in the Great Christmas Light Fight or other extreme displays. Religious and holiday displays may trump neighborhood nuisance.
Why - you ask - does the bill allow religious displays that are made with building materials, painted on walls, attached to stop signs, placed in rights of way, distract motorists, and use lights, sound, streamers, and balloons? Because the text is copied from the State law protecting political signs. One reason we aught to care about a badly written bill is that - after it becomes law - the lousy wording is likely to be borrowed for future laws with unrelated purposes. 

POA Bills. Of the 37 POA-pertinent bills in Report #5:

1 (Chicken Bill) has been approved by Chamber 1 - status #4
7 are out of Committee in Chamber 1 - status #3
4 had hearings and are pending in Chamber 1 Committee - status #2
3 are being heard this week in a Chamber 1 committee - status #1
22 have been assigned to Committees in Chamber 1 - status #1

Timeline.  April 10th is the 91st day of the 140 day Session - the 2/3rds mark. The final 49 days are the most interesting - and frightening - as the pace picks up in a mad dash for the finish line. There is still time for any bill - even the POA Omnibus Bills - to become law.

Hearings. 4,300 bills have not yet been scheduled for a public hearing, which is the first step in becoming law. That's 65% of the 6,567 bills filed in the House and Senate. On the other hand, 2,267 bills (35%) are seeing action. 
Fingers Crossed

The OMNIBUS POA Bills (aka the "ominous bills") aren't moving . . . yet.  Each is assigned to a committee in its chamber of origin. But, none has been scheduled for a public hearing. Collectively, the bills comprise 12 significant law changes for subdivision HOAs. My beef with omnibus bills of any kind is that testimony is taken on the multi-faceted bill as a whole, and the unrelated subparts get little if any attention. If you want a law change that would get shot down as a stand-alone proposal, stick it in an omnibus bill. May the POA Omnibus Bills rest in peace.
2017 Dates of Interest - 
January 10, 2017 - Opening day of 85th Regular Session
March 10, 2017 - Deadline for filing bills
May 8, 2017 - Last day for House committees to report bills
May 29, 2017 - Last day of Session - 140th day (no exceptions)
June 18, 2017 - Last day Governor can veto or sign a bill that passed 
August 28, 2017 - Effective date for bills without specific effective dates
This newsletter's voice belongs to Sharon Reuler, about whom there's more info than you want or need on  Sharon Reuler, PC  website.
You may forward this newsletter to your people. I invite you to tell me about my mistakes and to share with me what you know about pending POA bills. The contact info below tells you how to reach me. If I'm not responsive, it's because I'm joyfully tied-up with my day job. Although I aspire to be active on social media, I'm still old school. 
If this newsletter was forwarded to you, please click here to become a subscriber.