Texas is one step closer to reducing fees charged to citizens wanting a license to carry a handgun. A bill previously passed by the Texas Senate cleared final reading in the House on Wednesday.
Senate Bill 16 passed a preliminary vote in the Texas House on Tuesday after making its way there following passage by the Texas Senate on March 27. The act applies to decreasing the fees for the issuance of an original or renewed Texas License to Carry (LTC).
The cost to obtain the LTC will be reduced $100 and be $40 after the bill becomes effective. Renewal fees would also cost $40. The renewal fee is now $70.
The NRA Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) immediately commended Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and Senators Robert Nicols (R-Jacksonville) and Joan Huffman (R-Houston) “for prioritizing and pre-filing legislation for the 85th regular session to address License To Carry (LTC) fees in Texas. This is important legislation for the 2017 Texas Legislative Session–License To Carry (LTC) fees in the Lone Star State are some of the highest in the nation. No hard-working, law-abiding Texan should be priced out of the ability to exercise his or her right to self-defense,” the statement from the legislative arm of the NRA said.
Early on, Lieutenant Governor Patrick named passage of Senate Bill 16 as one of his 2017 top legislative priorities. In January, the Lt. Governor released a statement that said, “SB 16 will make lawful carry more affordable for law-abiding citizens across the state. No Texan should be deprived of their right to self-protection because of onerous licensing fees imposed by the state.”
The Texas House of Representatives finally passed by a vote of 129 to 17 on Wednesday. During a procedural vote on Tuesday, the bill passed by a vote of 111 to 30.
The sponsors of the bill in the Texas House were Representatives Phil King (R-Weatherford), John Zerwas (R-Richmond), Kyle Kacal (R-College Station), Bryon Cook (R-Corsicana), and DeWayne Burns (R-Cleburne). There were 36 co-sponsors in the House.
There were 16 coauthors, all Republicans, in the Texas Senate.
Once it reaches his desk after approval from the Senate, Texas Governor Greg Abbott is expected to sign the legislation. In January, Abbott said that the state should not make Texans pay a fee for a license to carry.
Nearly two years ago, Governor Abbott signed the bill into law authorizing those with a License to Carry the ability to open carry a holstered handgun, Breitbart Texas reported. The law became effective January 1, 2016.
The fiscal note from the Legislative Budget Board estimates a negative impact of almost $22 million dollars through August 31, 2019. As originally filed, the bill called for the removal of a fee for the issuance of an original, duplicate, modified, or renewed license.
Pending the governor’s signature, the law will become effective on September 1, 2017.