Texas Legislative Session Ends, Leaving Crypto Bills in Limbo for Nearly Two Years
The regular legislative session in Texas came to a close on Monday, leaving several crucial bills, including those related to cryptocurrency, unresolved for potentially 19 months. Texas operates on a biennial legislature schedule, meaning that state lawmakers convene for regular sessions only once every two years. The next regular session is slated to begin on January 14, 2025.
One of the prominent legislative matters left in limbo is a Texas Senate bill aimed at eliminating tax breaks for cryptocurrency miners and imposing stricter regulations on energy consumption. The bill, known as Senate Bill 1751, received unanimous approval from the Senate in early April before being referred to the House committee. Unfortunately, the House did not vote on the bill before closing the session, leaving its fate uncertain.
Sponsored by three Republican state senators, Senate Bill 1751 drew criticism from crypto advocates in the area. Kristine Cranley, the director of business development at the Texas Blockchain Council, expressed concerns about the bill’s impact on miners, noting that it imposed an “arbitrary cap” on their operations, leading to increased costs for grid stabilizing services.
Announcing special session #1 to cut property taxes for hardworking Texans and crack down on illegal human smuggling. pic.twitter.com/UcVUsY9SLL
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) May 30, 2023
Another crypto-related bill, House Bill 1666, made some progress in the legislative process but has yet to become law. The bill requires cryptocurrency exchanges to hold sufficient reserves to cover any obligations to their customers. It passed the House in April and the Senate in May before being sent to Governor Greg Abbott on May 22. Governor Abbott has 20 days to sign or veto the bill. If no action is taken, the bill will become law without his signature.
However, crypto-related policies were not the only bills that lawmakers failed to finalize before the session’s deadline. Proposals to utilize a budget surplus for property tax cuts and enhance border security also fell short of completion. In response to the unfinished business, Governor Abbott has the authority to call for a Special Session to address these matters. Shortly after the regular session ended on Monday, Abbott announced the convening of a Special Session focusing on property tax and border security policy.
In a statement, Governor Abbott acknowledged the remaining critical items that must be addressed, but he did not mention any specific crypto policies. It remains to be seen if further gatherings will be called before January 2025. It is worth noting that after the conclusion of the regular session in 2021, Governor Abbott called for three special sessions, each lasting approximately 30 days, to tackle between 10 and 20 different topics.
The fate of crypto-related bills in Texas now hangs in the balance, with the crypto community and stakeholders eagerly awaiting a resolution. The prolonged uncertainty regarding regulations and tax incentives for miners and exchanges may have implications for the cryptocurrency industry in the state. For now, stakeholders will have to wait and see if a Special Session will be called to address these critical matters or if they will have to wait until the next regular session in 2025 for potential legislative action.
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