Fire is a natural process and is important for the proper functioning of most Texas ecosystems. Prescribed burning is a powerful tool used by land managers to mimic the effects of natural fires. While prescribed burning draws upon many of the skills used in firefighting,
it is classified and regulated in Texas as a land management activity.
H.B. 1009 would reclassify prescribed burning as a firefighting activity and make it illegal for any municipal employee who is not a full-time, permanent civil service employee of a fire department to participate in any wildland firefighting activity, including prescribed burning.
H.B. 1009 would hinder natural resource management by restricting and bureaucratizing prescribed burning and could ultimately be detrimental for public safety by ending collaborative relationships that facilitate wildland fire training for fire departments.
TXSER is closely monitoring this piece of legislation. H.B. 1009 has been referred to the Calendars Committee. This committee determines if the bill moves on to the Senate.
Committee Chairs are: Rep. Todd Hunter, Chair and Rep. Donna Howard, Vice-Chair. Other committee members include: Reps. Roberto Alonzo, Trent Ashby, Byron Cook, Sarah Davis, Charlie Geren, Helen Giddings, Kyle Kacal and Ken King.
1. Call the Committee Representatives soon and follow up with a letter or email to express your concern about this bill. If your representative is not on the committee, contact the Chair, Todd Hunter. See the below link for talking points that you may use, amend, or, write your own.
2. We are watching the bill and will notify interested folks if, and when, it moves to the Senate.
If you wish to receive updates on H.B. 1009, contact Gwen Thomas at
to be put on the information list.
Please join TXSER in taking action on this important piece of legislation.
2. H.B. 78 - Parks and Wildlife Dept. Funding
(Submitted by our colleagues at Audubon Texas)
Texas State Parks provide over 600,000 acres of natural habitat critical for birds, wildlife, and people. In 2015, the Texas Legislature passed H.B. 158, a bill securing 94% of the Sporting Goods Sales Tax as a consistent source of funding for the future of our state and local parks. However, an error in the legislation did not make this funding the permanent source it was envisioned as.
Budget conferees for this year's Legislative Session have been named and are meeting to take a critical vote on H.B. 78 - a bill that would permanently dedicate the Sporting Goods Sales Tax to the parks and provide approximately $313.5 million to the parks over the next biennium. Without this funding, the parks will face a shortfall of roughly $100 million.
Now is the time to call on all House and Senate budget conferees to fully fund our state and local parks.