SB 617 / HB 1652

Bill Information:
SB 617 (Lois Kolkhorst) https://capitol.texas.gov/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=87R&Bill=SB617
HB 1652 (Terry Wilson) https://capitol.texas.gov/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=87R&Bill=HB1652
Relating to the regulation of certain direct sales of food to consumers and a limitation on the fee amount for certain permits.

Summary Timeline:
SB 617 was filed by Senator Kolkhorst and companion bill HB 1652 was filed by Rep. Wilson. It is our understanding that this language is meant to clarify existing language in the Health and Safety Code that is unclear. We have reached out to Senator Kolkhorst and Rep. Wilson for additional information.

These bills would ensure that local health departments comply with the laws passed last session, limiting the permit fees they can impose on farmers’ market vendors and allowing food producers to provide samples of their products at the market. The bill has been sent to the Senate Health & Human Services Committee and the House Public Health Committee.

Why it matters to TBA?
Many of our members and beekeepers frequent farmer’s markets to sell their products. It is important that markets be affordable for small producers to have an outlet to sell their products in public markets.

Update as of May 19, 2021:
SB 617 passed the Senate April 29 and was referred to the House Public Health Committee. SB 617 was voted out of committee May 19 and will be placed on the calendar for consideration by the full House.

Update as of June 1, 2021:
SB 617 passed both House and Senate and has been sent to the Governor for his signature.

Update as of July 1, 2021:
SB 617 was signed by Governor Abbot on June 14, 2021 and became effective immediately.