ReEnergize Texas’ Green Fee Bill Passes Senate Committee 5-0

Original post found at the ReEnergize Texas blog, courtesy of Trevor Lovell:

At a hearing of the Texas Senate Committee on Higher Education today SB 2182, known as the green fee bill, “was reported favorably to the Calendars Committee by unanimous vote, clearing another hurdle on its way to becoming law.

Only two weeks ago the bill was looking badly wounded after staff working for Higher Education Committee Chairwoman Zaffirini (D-Laredo) noted “philosphical concerns” with the bill’s statewide approach to approving environmental service fees, prompting bill author Sen. Eliot Shapleigh (D-El Paso) to pull the bill from a scheduled hearing. In response and virtually overnight, ReEnergize Texas mobilized an Earth Week campaign, generating constituent phone calls from El Paso, Austin, San Antonio, College Station, and elsewhere throughout the state.

Aggie Adrienne Jones (seen here talking to US Rep. Lloyd Doggett) sent a letter supporting SB 2182

Aggie Adrienne Jones (seen here talking to US Rep. Lloyd Doggett) sent a letter supporting SB 2182

Walking into the Senate Higher Education Committee office on Earth Day, ReEnergize Texas Director Trevor Lovell was greeted by staff holding ironic smiles and saying “Our phones have been ringing off the hook… you wouldn’t have anything to do with that, would you?”
Adrienne Jones, seen here talking to US Congressman Lloyd Doggett, sent a letter supportin SB 2182

Aggie Adrienne Jones (seen here talking to US Rep. Lloyd Doggett) sent a letter supporting SB 2182.

By the following Monday SB 2182 had been set for a Wednesday hearing. Students from UT Pan America, South Texas College, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, and UT Austin wrote letters to the members of the committee, asking them to support the bill.

A couple key excerpts:

“As students, we’re ready to see these changes on campus. This March the Aggies voted 76% in favor of Texas A&M investing more in environmentally sustainable services. That is more student support for one issue than in the history of the University..”

-Amanda Grosgebauer, Texas A&M

“Now that ASARCO is closed and the citizens are looking for change, they should be able to look at UTEP for guidance, and having the bill passed will allow them to see UTEP’s example and inspire the citizens to do the same.”

-Rafael Rivera, University of Texas El Paso

“I believe that the shift for a more sustainable home and economy begins with the students that our past generation has placed the burden on. So, if we want a chance for our younger generation to survive, shouldn’t they receive the tools that will guide them through this shift to improve this planet we call home?”

-Rob Diaz, Texas Tech University

Apparently it worked because the committee members approved the bill unanimously. This will send a strong signal of bipartisan support for the concept, helping the bill move smoothly through the rest of the process.

For more on ReEnergize Texas and our legislative agenda, visiting our Greening State Government page.

Congratulations to all of you who have been a part of this so far very successful campaign!