HB 365 / SB 365

Bill Information:
HB 365 (Andrew Murr) https://capitol.texas.gov/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=87R&Bill=HB365
HB 1078 (Brooks Landgraff) https://capitol.texas.gov/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=87R&Bill=HB1078
Relating to the limitation of liability for farm animal activities.

Summary Timeline:
We have been studying ways to limit civil liability for beekeepers for several years. Two bills were introduced this session (HB 365 by Rep. Murr and HB 1078 by Rep. Landgraf) to strengthen Chapter 87 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code relating to the limitation of liability for farm animal activities. This presented an opportunity to discuss the need for apiculture to be included in the Chapter. We appreciate that both Rep. Murr and Rep. Landraf were amenable to incorporating beekeeping into their bills after discussing the unique characterization of honey bees and beekeeping in the Texas Agriculture Code.

We have submitted proposed changes to HB 365 to Representative Murr, and we expect that he will incorporate apiculture into the language before a final vote in the House.

We will continue to look at ways that may offer more general limited liability protection for keeping bees as such statutes have been passed in other states.

Why it matters to TBA?
Because TBA supports responsible public education, this could offer some limited liability protection at some public events for beekeepers. This bill could also provide some protection for beekeepers who hire people to work for them.

Update as of April 9, 2021:
Twelve additional House members signed on as co-authors to Rep. Murr’s bill. On March 31, 2021, Rep. Murr offered a floor amendment to HB 365 to include apiculture and honey bees in the bill so that beekeepers would also benefit from the limited liability provisions should the bill become law. HB 365, with the amendment, unanimously passed the House and has been sent to the Senate. Pending a sponsor and committee assignment, the bill will then be considered by the Senate.

Texas Agriculture Law Blog – April 9, 2021

  • * Farm Animal Liability Act bill moves forward as amended.
    You may recall from our post a week ago that HB 365 is currently pending and would modify the Texas Farm Animal Liability Act to ensure application to working farms and ranches. For more detail, click here. The bill continues to move through the legislative process, having now been passed by the House and now pending in the Senate. There has been an important amendment, which has added “a honeybee kept in a managed colony” to the definition of “farm animal.” This is an important change for beekeepers, as it would allow them to raise the Farm Animal Liability Act as a defense if someone is injured by a honeybee while engaging in something falling within the definition of a farm animal activity. [Read amended bill here.]

Update as of May 19, 2021:
HB 365 has passed both the Senate and the House without objection. It will be sent to the Governor for his signature.

Update as of June 1, 2021:
HB 365 has been sent to the Governor for his signature.

Update as of July 1, 2021:
HB 365 was signed by Governor Abbot on June 4, 2021 and becomes effective on September 1, 2021.

Additional Resources:

Letter to Rep. Murr 3/21/21
Wilhelm v. Flores – Supreme Court Case
Except from “A Brief Overview of Bee Law in Texas” by Donald Ray Burger