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HomeNL-2019-04 HB298

Texas House Bill 298
April 2019

The Texas legislature is back in session, for their 105-day, every-other-year work.

One of the Bills that has been filed is HB298, "Relating to the procedure by which a state agency may issue an opinion that a watercourse is navigable."

Paddlers can only travel on public waterways, not those that are private property, and a waterway that is "navigable" is by definition under Texas law, public.  This bill describes a procedure by which the navigable status of waterways will be determined. There have been instances in the past whereby landowners have been able to get waterways declared non-navigable / private based upon unscientific means and upon the opinions of only a few people.

You can see the full particulars about the bill here.

You can learn more about the navigability issue in our "Resources" section, here.

The Bill has been introduced and referred to the House Natural Resources Committee.

With a limited session time and over 7,000 bills filed, this bill will likely be a low priority item and it is possible nothing will happen with it. A similar bill in the previous session went nowhere.

However, it pays to be aware of what's going on in the legislature that affects our water rights, so this is a Bill to watch. Several lawyers who are HCC members have been made aware of the Bill and are reviewing it, and other stalwart water rights people and organizations like Tom Goynes and the Texas River Protection Association, are monitoring the situation.