AAPL Scores Big Win for Members With Passage of Our Sponsored Texas Landman Bill

On May 24, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed AAPL-sponsored landman bill, SB 604, into law. The bill amends the existing state code to harmonize the AAPL definitions and descriptions of a landman, landwork and land professional within the state code to better reflect the full breadth, scope and types of work performed by landmen in Texas. 

These amendments ensure AAPL members receive the same employment treatment, tax benefits and unauthorized practice of law protections for work performed in renewables and other energy sources, in addition to the existing protections for AAPL members working in oil and gas. 

Specifically, SB 604 provides three key areas of benefits and protections for AAPL members performing landwork in Texas to adopt the official AAPL definitions and expand the types of energy sources in which our members either now work or may in the future, to include the broadly defined “other energy sources” that applies to renewables, geothermal, hydrogen and even other yet unknown sources. 

The three key areas provided by SB 604 are: (1) Unauthorized Practice of Law protection. In Texas, landmen are already protected from unauthorized practice of law penalties but our bill expands those protections to the full scope and breadth of work performed by landmen; (2) Independent Contractor Status. In Texas, landmen who meet specified criteria may be recognized as independent contractors, and with that the full protections the law affords. Our bill also expands those protections and ensures they apply to the full range of services performed in all energy sources; and (3) Landman Carve Out for the Franchise/Margin Tax. In Texas, landmen are provided with a franchise/margin tax exemption. Our bill ensures the exemption applies to the full scope of work performed. 

This bill’s passage is even more impressive because ordinarily only a few introduced bills in Texas are signed into law. For perspective, in the last Texas legislative session (2021), only about 15% of bills introduced were ever enacted — so this is a huge victory for AAPL and members like you!

SB 604 takes effect immediately, except for the tax provision, effective Jan. 1, 2024.

Access a copy of SB 604 at capitol.texas.gov/tlodocs/88R/billtext/html/SB00604F.htm.

Access a full legislative analysis at capitol.texas.gov/tlodocs/88R/analysis/html/SB00604H.htm.