House Bill 1293

House Bill 1293 filed to update Chapter 131 of the Texas Agriculture Code

Representative Tracy King has sponsored House Bill 1293, to update Chapter 131 of the Texas Agriculture Code relating to bees and beekeeping in Texas.

You can read, or download, the entirety of the House Bill 1293 at this link Please note that only those sections of Chapter 131 to be changed are in the bill. You will notice strikethrough writing to indicate those things that will be deleted, and underlined writing indicating the proposed additions.

For the full text of the existing Chapter 131 bee laws in Texas, please go to the Texas Apiary Inspection Service web site as linked.

The process for the legislation is as follows:

  • The bill will now be assigned to a committee and set for a hearing in the assigned House Committee.
  • If the bill passes the House Committee, it will be placed on the calendar for consideration on the floor of the House.
  • If the bill passes the House, it will be transferred to the Senate and assigned to a Senate Committee.
  • If the bill passes the Senate Committee, it will be placed on the calendar for consideration on the floor of the Senate.
  • If the bill passes the Senate with no changes in either committee or on the floor, it will be enrolled and sent to the Governor for signature.
  • If the bill passes the Senate with changes, it will go back to the House, back to the House Committee and back to the House floor for a vote.
  • If passed and signed by Governor Abbot, the new laws will be effective September 1, 2017¬†with certain penalties effective on September 1, 2018

 

If you’d like to subscribe to the RSS feed for House Bill 1293, go to texasbeekeeprs.org and click on the blog link, and finally the subscribe icon.

For questions about the proposed legislation please send them to – 131questions@texasbeekeepers.org for a quick response.

 

 


7 Replies to "House Bill 1293"

  • Georgina Chaires Garcia
    February 15, 2017 (3:58 pm)
    Reply

    The current revision does not address the synchronization of Ag exemption for tax
    purpose across the state from one country to another. Will this be addressed?

    • Roger Farr
      February 15, 2017 (8:28 pm)
      Reply

      Georgina,

      The Texas Agriculture Code, Chapter 131 deals with bees and honey; HB 1293 will update the bee and beekeeping portion of the code.

      Agricultural tax exemption and the requirements to claim apiculture as an exemption are implemented by the county tax appraisers in Texas. Apiculture was only recently added as an approved exemption, however there is no agreement amongst the counties as to how many hives per acre are required to obtain the exemption.

      There is a separate group working to educate and inform the county tax appraisers. You can find out more on the TBA website at this URL – http://texasbeekeepers.org/ag-valuation/.

      Thanks for your question.

      Regards,

      Roger Farr
      TBA Area Director

  • Michael Leidner
    February 21, 2017 (12:55 pm)
    Reply

    The agriculture tax exemption is currently tied to the 6 hive registration number. If the requirement for registration is increased to 25, the ag exemption requirements will follow suit. This bill, if passed, will lead to landowners losing thousands of dollars through agriculture exemptions.

    The writers of this bill did not even try to grasp the ramifications of the unintended consequences of this bill.

    • Roger Farr
      February 21, 2017 (4:01 pm)
      Reply

      Michael,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Actually, the six hive number you refer to is in the current Chapter 131 laws as part of the definition of an apiary. It is not tied to whether a beekeeper is registered or not. All registration is currently voluntary.

      Regarding the agricultural exemption, each county appraiser is responsible for setting what is reasonable and customary for the particular agricultural end use in their county.

      Regards,

      Roger Farr
      TBA Area Director

    • Donald Sanderlin
      March 8, 2017 (4:08 pm)
      Reply

      I’m near retirement,if changed to 25 hives the older I get the more difficult it will be on me. I hope to suppliment my retirement
      income with bees. Why make it more difficult. Please leave it as is. DS.

  • Hobbist Beekeeper
    March 7, 2017 (4:22 am)
    Reply

    As a small scale hobbyists, we live on a 3-acre homestead property and currently not managing/or planning to do more than 6 hives for personal use. The amended HB1293 SECTION 1 is not only unnecessary but invasive to the fourth amendment US constitution ‘rights to privacy.’ Even though our situation falls under volunteer registration, the problem is the power of authority that is granted through the amended HB1293 SECTION 1 allowing state apiary regulator to enter property without owner’s permission, notification, and evidence of probable cause/due process.

    When precautionary principle under preventative, for the concern of spreading of disease(s) and public safety, is applied to all levels of operation regardless to the hive volume or size of operation, the small guys like us end up getting the short end of the stick with greater negative impact than large scale beekeepers (i.e no Ag exemption, no Ag insurance, no tax exemption, and less resources, time and capital to deal with the bureaucratic proceedings).

    Why is HB1293 redefining ‘Apiary’ to take out the current ‘limit’? Is there a published/proven record of ‘risk based’ data concluding that small scale hobbyists with less than 6 hives show ‘significant’ contribution to the spread of diseases/safety to the public that’s equivalent to or greater than large scale beekeepers?

    • Roger Farr
      March 10, 2017 (11:19 am)
      Reply

      Dear Hobbist Beekeeper,

      Thanks for your comments on the proposed amendments to Section 131 of the Agriculture Code contained in HB 1293.

      Regarding entry into property, the Chief Apiary Inspector already has that power under Section 131.102, to determine if a violation of Subchapter C or D of this chapter has occurred or is occurring. Also, the Texas Department of Health has the same powers regarding the enforcement of subchapter E.

      Regarding the number of hives to define an apiary, there is no reasonable basis for the number of hives in the current law to be set at 6. Defining an “apiary” as it is defined in HB 1293 as “a place where colonies of bees or nuclei of bees are kept” is clearer. This is a matter of cleaning up the existing laws and is not a risk based decision. On a related topic, county tax assessors need to determine the density of hives in their county that are required to classify the property as “apiculture use”, and therefore eligible for the agricultural property tax exemption.

      Regards,

      Roger Farr
      TBA Area Director


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