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Perry Signs House Bill 4 authored by Fraser

Special to the Courier

Governor Rick Perry on Tuesday, May 28, signed House Bill 4, which allows Texas to meet its future water needs. Texas District 24 Senator Troy Fraser of Horseshoe Bay authored the bill. Fraser represents Bandera County in the Texas Senate.

District 24 is also comprised of Bell, Blanco, Brown, Burnet, Callahan, Comanche, Coryell, Gillespie, Hamilton, Kerr, Lampasas, Llano, Mills and San Saba counties, as well as potions of Taylor and Travis counties.

"I am pleased to stand with Governor Perry, Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst and Chairman Ritter as this important legislation becomes law," Fraser said. "I have been lucky to be part of many pieces of landmark legislation, but funding for the State Water Plan is probably the most important of my career."

House Bill 4 is structured to provide meaningful financing to water providers across the state. According to Fraser, it finally moves Texas in the right direction of funding the state's future water needs. The State Water Implementation Fund for Texas is a water infrastructure bank that will revolve funds, so that over time - if properly capitalized - it can finance all the strategies included in the 2012 plan.

"The next step is to get out the vote in support of the constitutional amendment to move the $2 billion to the newly created SWIFT," Fraser explained. "We had an army of people helping us pass this legislation - from realtors, to manufacturers, to farmers - who now need to work on mobilizing their members to get out the vote in November."

He continued, "The drought not only has an impact on the health and safety of our communities but it also affects our state's economy and the ability to attract new businesses. I can think of no better legacy than to have developed a mechanism to fund the State Water Plan so that our children and our grandchildren and future generations will have the water they need to prosper."

With sufficient funding, HB 4 would:
• restructure the Texas Water Development Board to a three- member, full time board;
• set out the oversight and management of the fund;
• direct the local regions and the Water Development Board to prioritize projects;
• enhance the state's bonding capability from existing constitutionally created programs and revenue bond programs;
• encourage innovative technologies such as water reuse and desalination; and
• recognize the importance of conservation use - while providing that funding must be directed toward rural communities.