This week, two important pieces of legislation began moving through the Texas Legislature. H.B. 1890 was filed by Rep. Phil Stephenson, R-Wharton, and S.B. 784 by Sen. Juan Hinojosa, R-Corpus Christi, was referred to the Senate Finance Committee.
H.B. 1890 is based, in part, on the tough conflict of interest and internal controls standards in the federal Sarbanes-Oxley Act. It would ban financial institutions from advising the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association or Texas Public Finance Authority on their bonding capacity and then participating in issuing those bonds. There is an obvious conflict of interest if an advisor is paid to give its recommendations for a financial transaction and is subsequently allowed to earn fees facilitating that transaction. In order to shield our state entities from any appearance of wrongdoing, such a ban on self-dealing is both proper and necessary.
S.B. 784 provides for a sales tax holiday on items essential for hurricane preparedness. For a three-day weekend at the end of April every year, all Texans would be able to purchase storm shutters, generators, batteries and other products to protect their property tax free. This bill serves two purposes. The bill encourages citizens to mitigate property loss and it educates them on the importance of such investments. And although all Texans do not live along the coast, all of the tax free items are helpful during tornadoes and hailstorms that plague the rest of the state.