The Texas legislature recently passed two bills that may help the state’s agricultural interests, according to State Senator Kel Seliger.

Seliger said Senate Bill 1260 allows for non-residents (including immigrant workers) to receive a Commercial Drivers License (CDL) if they are able to provide a worker’s visa, passport, I-94 documentation and a Social Security number.

“The face of the license will have the words "NONRESIDENT" printed on the front and the license will be issued only for the length of the visa or I-94, whichever expires first,” Seliger said. “This ensures that the license will serve only as a valid ID during the stay that is authorized. This was one of the priorities for the agricultural entities that are such an important part of the economy of the Panhandle, South Plains, and Permian Basin,” he said.

The issue was important to several agricultural segments, including custom harvesters who needed migrant workers to operate farm equipment and drive trucks during a short harvest season. Before the measure was enacted into law, temporary U.S. residents could receive a CDL permit only if they would be in country for at least one year and with at least six months remaining on their visas.

In his continued efforts to protect groundwater throughout the Texas Panhandle, Senator Seliger also sponsored Senate Bill 1383, which was passed and will provide groundwater districts the opportunity to investigate allegations between adjoining landowners of violations of groundwater permits and groundwater district rules.