Texas House Speaker Appoints Darby to Water Committee
Texas House Speaker Joe Straus announced Friday that State Rep. Drew Darby of San Angelo is appointed to the newly created State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT) advisory committee. Darby is one of three that Straus appointed Friday.
Said Straus, the appointees will work to ensure that efforts to improve the state’s water supply are properly and effectively implemented. They will also help the full House prepare to address water matters in the next legislative session, which begins in January 2015.
“Water remains a top priority for the Texas House because it remains critical to the Texas economy and our quality of life,” said Straus, whose district encompasses the San Antonio region. “These Members will play an important role in building consensus around smart, responsible water solutions.”
Straus also appointed Reps. Allan Ritter of Nederland and Eddie Lucio III of Brownsville to serve on board. Rep. Ritter will serve as the advisory committee’s Co-Chairman. Statute requires that the advisory committee consist of one Member from the House Appropriations Committee (Darby), one from the Natural Resources Committee and one at-large Member.
The Legislature created the SWIFT advisory committee to oversee the Texas Water Development Board’s implementation of House Bill 4. Passed by the 83rd Legislature and signed into law by Governor Perry in 2013, House Bill 4 established the SWIFT account to pay for needed water supply and conservation projects across Texas. Last November, Texans voted by a three-to-one margin to dedicate funding for those projects in the Texas Constitution in Nov. 2013 by approving Proposition 6.
The advisory committee will offer recommendations on how projects in the State Water Plan should be prioritized, how to meet the legislation’s goals for conservation and assistance for rural areas and agriculture, the management of the SWIFT and any other related issues the committee chooses.
“The Legislature took historic action to address our water needs last year, and Texas voters supported that effort,” Straus said. “These Members will help see that this new fund operates in an appropriate and transparent way, just as taxpayers were told it would.”
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