After the most significant rainfall event in the history of the nation, Houstonian’s demanded an answer to their flooding problems. Hurricane Harvey rallied the efforts of many groups focused on solutions and joined through the Houston Stronger Campaign. Houston Stronger advocated for a $2.5 billion bond election, an investment to equitably reduce Harris County’s flood risk by executing over 230 regional flood control projects in all of Harris County’s 23 watersheds. With the passage of that bond the next step was creating a dedicated flood infrastructure fund to ensure the money was available for the allotted projects, that’s where Senate Bill 7 and Proposition 8 came in. Prop 8 will created a permanent state Flood Infrastructure Fund that the Texas Water Development Board would be authorized to use for projects related to flood drainage, mitigation, and control.
Senator Brandon Creighton joined the West Houston Association and its membership on October 9th, to discuss the passage of Prop 8 through the Texas legislature. Before the last 72 hours of the 5-month session the Senator said he would’ve given Prop 8 along with a few other big bills no more than a 30% chance of passing. Though everyone can sympathize and understand the need for recovery dollars, each area wanted a guarantee that they’d see some funding and their fair share. Senator Creighton reminded the group that historically the State allows counties, cities and school districts to work directly with the federal government for disaster recovery. But instead of worrying about setting a precedent, the legislature was focused on responding to an unprecedented crisis. “We passed the most comprehensive flood mitigation and disaster recovery bill that I think the nation has seen for any state, and hopefully will be a model for other states.”
Senate Bill 7 (SB 7) would designate where revenue for the Flood Infrastructure Fund can come from. Revenue could come from legislative appropriations; general obligation bonds; fees and other sources that the legislature dedicates for the fund; repayments of loans made from the fund; interest earned on credits; depository interest; money from gifts, grants, or donations; and revenue bonds or other sources that the Texas Water Development Board designates for the fund. Proposition 8 would create the Flood Infrastructure Fund. The Texas Water Development Board would be authorized to use the fund for projects related to flood drainage, mitigation, and control. (Ballotpedia)
“We need you to vote and get others to vote for the Flood Infrastructure Fund. SB 6 revamps the Texas Department of Emergency Management. SB 7 provides local matching funds to local entities to draw down federal dollars. But we have to approve the Flood Infrastructure Fund and we have to encourage others to understand the importance of it. SB 8, for the first time ever, sets up a state wide flood plan [to be kicked off in 2024].”
Thank you to Senator Brandon Creighton for all his efforts in the legislature and for joining us at our 2019 State Issues Forum. Thank you to our event sponsors and wonderful membership for joining us at for another great event. Early voting begins October 21st and ends November 1st. Election day is November 5th be sure to cast your vote for Prop 8!