HB 19 Changes the Trajectory of Lawsuit Abuse in Texas

SMA Contact: Kimberly Leggett

AUSTIN—Texas Trucking Association (TXTA) and Southwest Movers Association (SMA) applaud the Texas House of Representatives and the Texas Senate on the passage of House Bill 19. With the House concurring with the revisions made in the Senate on a vote of 106-38, the bill will change the trajectory of lawsuit abuse and ensure that the 80,000 trucking companies that call Texas home can continue to operate without abusive lawsuits threatening their livelihoods. 

“Today is a monumental day for the Texas trucking industry,” said TXTA President and CEO and SMA Executive Director John D. Esparza. “For too many years, the trucking industry has been a lucrative profit center for some trial attorneys—often times preying upon victims of accidents and guiding them to frivolous lawsuits, while also manipulating and misleading jurors on the facts of the case.”

House Bill 19 is a bipartisan piece of legislation that ensures accident victims are compensated when wrongfully injured, while also protecting businesses across the state from biased and unfair courtroom tactics. 

“Truck drivers go through rigorous training and most truck companies have safety compliance policies beyond what is required by the government,” said Esparza. “Despite the narrative created by the opposition, there is a culture of safety within the trucking community—but when an accident does occur at the negligence of a driver or company, we want them to be held just as accountable as anyone else. Our own families travel the same highways as our trucks. Safety has and always will be a top priority of the trucking industry.”

Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) designated trucking tort reform as priority legislation. House Bill 19 was authored by Chairman Jeff Leach (R-Plano) and more than 70 co-authors in the House of Representatives. The bill was sponsored in the senate by Senator Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood) and a bipartisan group of 16 co-sponsors. Representative Eddie Lucio, III (D-Brownsville) led efforts by a coalition of democrats that ultimately gave House Bill 19 the bipartisan support that carried over into the Senate. The final bill reflected input through public testimony and a broad coalition of stakeholders.  

“We owe a great deal of thanks to numerous legislators who worked across the aisle to support House Bill 19,” said Esparza. “The collaborative effort demonstrates how devastating the continued abuse of our legal system would be for the Texas economy. Truck drivers are the backbone of the economy and what is bad for truckers is bad for Texans.” 

House Bill 19 now heads to Governor Abbott for his signature and will take effect on September 1, 2021. 

“HB 19 will bring relief to the 735,000 employees that rely on the trucking industry. It will guarantee trucks are able to continue delivering to the 82 percent of communities that rely exclusively on trucks for their goods, without the inflation resulting from this abuse being passed on to consumers,” said Esparza.

Texas Trucking Association is a trade organization dedicated to enhancing the effectiveness of its members by advocating sound public policies, providing excellence in education, training, and information, and promoting a safe, dependable, and cost-effective motor transportation system to better serve the people of Texas. For more information, visit www.texastrucking.com.

Southwest Movers Association (SMA) is a trade association representing the household goods moving industry in Texas. SMA is dedicated to enhancing the performance and profitability of moving companies and promoting a safe and reliable moving industry that includes strict adherence to state laws and ethical standards. To learn more, visit www.mytexasmover.com