HB 1480 / SB 472

Bill Information:
HB 1480 (John Cyrier) https://capitol.texas.gov/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=87R&Bill=HB1480 and
SB 472 (Lois Kolkhorst) https://capitol.texas.gov/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=87R&Bill=SB472
Relating to the protection of animal and crop facilities; creating a criminal offense.

Summary Timeline:
Senator Kolkhorst first introduced this bill in the 2019 legislative session. Just prior to the bill being laid out in committee, vandals did major damage to a Brazoria County Beekeepers Association’s bee yard. [link to Houston article below] This event made national news. [link to nytimes article below] We discussed this situation and prior incidents in Texas with the Senator. She added “managed bee colonies”, specifically, to her bill so they would be included. Honey bees are not identified as “livestock” under the Texas Agriculture Code. The bill advanced, but time ran out in the session before a final vote could be taken.

Senator Kolkhorst and Representative Cyrier have reintroduced the bill this session. Other than a minor issue with one section of the bill, which we believe will be addressed, the bill has been favorably received.

Why it matters to TBA?
Beekeepers have suffered from hive vandalism and theft that negatively impacts the bee colonies as well as the beekeeper’s business. Strengthening penalties could deter the crime altogether or allow for more equitable justice in these situations.

Update as of May 19, 2021:
HB 1480 passed the House May 14 and was considered in a hearing before the Water, Agriculture, & Rural Affairs Committee. There were questions from some members about the necessity of the bill given existing criminal statutes. The bill remains pending in the committee. Companion SB 472 was considered in the Water, Agriculture, & Rural Affairs Committee, but left pending as well.

Update as of June 1, 2021:
HB 1480 passed both House and Senate and has been sent to the Governor for his signature.

Update as of July 1, 2021:
HB 1480 was signed by Governor Abbot on June 18, 2021 and becomes effective on September 1, 2021.

Additional Resources:

News Articles related to Texas beehive vandalism