Senator Tommy Williams
P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0104

April 1, 2005
Contact: Lauren Hutton (512) 463-0104

State Sen. Tommy Williams' Senate Bill 734 passes in the Texas Senate

AUSTIN -- State Sen. Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, is pleased to announce the passage of Senate Bill 734 in the State Senate Thursday, which will further protect the rights of property owners who wish to hunt on their own land.

SB 734 essentially protects private property owners who are annexed by a city but who wish to continue hunting on their land or leasing it out to sportsman until nearby development occurs.

"As Texas cities grow, the opportunities for hunting or sport shooting diminish," Williams said. "Most cities have an outright ban on the discharge of firearms, and in many cases, no exceptions are made on recently-annexed land for hunting or sport shooting, leaving annexed landowners little or no recourse."

SB 734 allows for hunting with certain firearms to continue on annexed tracts of land _10 acres or more for shotgun, 50 acres or more for rifle and pistol _ while protecting public safety by prohibiting firearms from being discharged near any occupied structure or in any manner that would cause projectiles to cross property lines.

"Hunting and sport shooting should be considered an agricultural operation on city annexed lands and a property right when public safety is not at risk," said Alice Tripp, the Legislative Associate for the Texas State Rifle Association, the state affiliate for the National Rifle Association. "We appreciate Sen. Williams protecting this right."

In other news, Sen. Williams laid out eight of his bills in various Senate Committees this week. The Property Tax Accountability Act, filed as Senate Bill 18, was one of those bills and was heard in the Senate Finance Committee Thursday. The PTA Act calls for increasing the standards for the accountability of local elected officials when it comes to raising taxes by addressing public notification rules and petition requirements.

First elected in 1996 to the Texas House of Representatives, Tommy Williams was later elected to the Senate in 2002 and re-elected in 2004. He represents Senate District 4, covering all or portions of Montgomery, Harris, Liberty, Chambers, Jefferson and Orange counties. Williams serves as Vice Chairman of the State Affairs Committee and as a member of the Senate Criminal Justice, Education and Finance committees.