MAJOR BREAKING NEWS: Austin, May 18 – Governor Greg Abbott signed House Bill 1982 into law, to go into effect September 1, 2017, which provides for election of the board of directors of the Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District (LSGCD)!
House Bill 1982, authored by Representative Will Metcalf (R-Conroe), Representative Mark Keough (R-The Woodlands) and Representative Cecil Bell (R-Magnolia), was amended to reflect the language of Senate Bill 2250, authored by Senator Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe) and Senator Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville).
The new law changes the composition of LSGCD from appointed to elected board of directors. In addition, the board alters from nine to seven members. The law also introduces term limits where a member could not serve for more than three 4-year terms.
Early May, the Montgomery County delegation passed legislation addressing the Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District (LSGCD) board of directors. Today, Governor Greg Abbott signed House Bill 1982 into law, which goes into effect on September 1, 2017.
The passage of this legislation is a major victory for regular citizens of Montgomery County who use water, for large groundwater producers, and for most municipalities and utility companies. It’s a defeat for special interests who want to force the price of water higher in order to support the desires of lobbyists and vendors. On the defeated side of the ledger are Halff Associates, Inc., the engineering firm which obtains numerous contracts from the San Jacinto River Authority (SJRA), Bobby Jack Adams, the local vice president of Halff, Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal who has business interests closely tied to Adams who is Doyal’s best friend and business partner, and the incumbent board members of LSGCD, other than Webb Melder whom the Montgomery County Commissioners Court appointed to that board, over Doyal’s objection, in order to represent the interests of citizens.
Melder, groundwater producer Simon Sequeira, developer Michael Stoecker, local sage and political activist Bill O’Sullivan, and Conroe City Councilman Duane Ham lobbied intensely for the passage of this legislation. As a community we should thank all of them as well as our local legislators.
“Montgomery County’s needs are well represented in the Legislature and I was pleased to work together with the delegation to give the people a voice on how we manage our groundwater,” said Senator Creighton.
“This legislation will provide direct representation by the people on an issue which is of such great public importance,” said Senator Nichols. “I look forward to continuing to work with the delegation for the constituents of Montgomery County.”
“This has been a long time coming,” said Representative Metcalf. “Our citizens will finally have a voice in selecting the Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District Board. The entire county will have a seat at the table, and the 2 seats added by our Senate colleagues will reflect the needs of the county’s largest groundwater users. Friday, May 6 was a great day for all of Montgomery County!”
“Months of discussions with constituents and stakeholders have resulted in the HB 1982 being presented in the Legislature and ultimately passed,” said Representative Keough. “I am proud to be working with the entire Montgomery County delegation to bring change to this important board, ultimately placing the tax payers in charge of the future of this board.”
“HB 1982 and its Senate companion bill SB 2250 allow for the LSGCD board to be elected instead of appointed, empowering the citizens of Montgomery County,” said Representative Bell.