Austin, Texas
April 28, 2021

Honorable DeWayne Burns, Chair, House Committee on Agriculture & Livestock
Jerry McGinty, Director, Legislative Budget Board
SB703 by Buckingham (Relating to the continuation and functions of the Department of Agriculture, the Prescribed Burning Board, and the Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation and the abolishment of the Early Childhood Health and Nutrition Interagency Council.), As Engrossed

No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.

The bill would amend several Codes to continue the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA), the Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation, and the Prescribed Burning Board for 12 years. The bill would re-establish the GO-TEXAN marketing program in statute and requires TDA to adopt rules to govern the program. The bill would eliminate TDA's licensure of aquaculture facilities, but maintains other aquaculture requirements at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The bill provides rulemaking authority to the Prescribed Burning Board to set standards for prescribed burning, as a semi-independent agency administratively attached to TDA. 

The bill would make certain changes to agency enforcement practices, such as coordinating with other agencies and developing enforcement plans and removing subjecting qualifications for seed certification. The bill provides TDA with authority to create advisory committees in rule and abolishes numerous advisory committees that are either no longer needed or are already abolished. The bill would re-establish the Citrus Budwood Advisory Council and updates TDA's statute to reflect the requirements of the person-first respectful initiative.

The bill would eliminate the inactive Texas Rural Foundation and Early Childhood Health Nutrition Interagency Council and would amend or add certain across-the-board recommendations by the Sunset Commission for TDA, the Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation, and the Prescribed Burning Board regarding separating policymaking and administrative functions, and maintaining a system to act quickly on complaints received. The bill would require the agency to establish a Farmer Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Program.

Based on information provided by the Sunset Commission and the Department of Agriculture, this analysis assumes that duties and responsibilities associated with implementing the provisions of the bill could be accomplished utilizing existing resources.

The bill would take effect September 1, 2021.

Local Government Impact

No significant fiscal implication to units of local government is anticipated.

Source Agencies:
116 Sunset Advisory Commission, 302 Office of the Attorney General, 529 Hlth & Human Svcs Comm, 551 Department of Agriculture, 582 Commission on Environmental Quality, 710 Texas A&M Univ System Admin, 733 Texas Tech University, 802 Parks and Wildlife Department
LBB Staff: