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March 24, 2017

Week in Review - March 24


Both the House and the Senate will reconvene on Monday, March 27 at 2pm.
Video Broadcasts: House | Senate

Budget Bill
The committee substitute for SB 1 was voted out of committee this week and is anticipated to be on the Senate floor for further consideration on Tuesday, March 28. Finance Chair Jane Nelson listed some of the appropriations made in the bill which includes:

  • $2.6 billion for enrollment growth
  • $25 million for E-Rate for all public schools
  • $65 million new public-private partnership for high quality pre-k in addition to the $1.6 billion for formula funding
  • $316 million to fund SB 788 to address TRS shortfall
  • $44 million increased funding for graduate medical education
  • $40 million for infrastructure projects at Texas ports
  • $430 million increased funding to CPS
  • $244 million increased funding to mental health

Bills on the Move Spotlight
Taxes

CSSB 2 (Bettencourt), which passed out of the Senate in an 18-12 vote with four adopted floor amendments, could require taxing entities to hold an election if the amount of maintenance & operating funds (M&O) they plan to collect from property taxes is 5 percent more than what they took in the previous year. There is an exception in the legislation if any part of the taxing unit is in a declared disaster area. This bill will now move over to the House for further consideration.

SB 17 (Nelson), which passed out of the Senate in a 23-7 vote, would decrease the rates of franchise tax under certain circumstance. The bill will now move over to the House for further consideration.

House Ways and Means took up several tax bills on March 22 and left them pending including but not limited to:

  • HB 382 (Murphy) & HJR 38 (Murphy) relating to the exemption from ad valorem taxation of real property leased to and used by certain school. Proposing a constitutional amendment to limit the time that a person may serve as a member of the Texas Legislature.
  • HB 1890 (Capriglione) relating to the information required to be included in or with a school district ad valorem tax bill.
  • HB 513 (Davis) relating to the reappraisal for ad valorem tax purposes of property damaged in a disaster.

Contracts
HB 1295 (Capriglione) relating to the disclosure of interested parties by business entities contracting with governmental entities and state agencies; authorizing a civil penalty – was left pending after a public hearing in the House Committee on General Investigating & Ethics on March 23.

HB 1610 (Kuempel) relating to the disclosure of interested parties by business entities contracting with governmental entities or state agencies penalty – was left pending after a public hearing in the House Committee on General Investigating & Ethics on March 23.

Health Care
SB 267 (Schwertner), which unanimously passed out of the Senate as substituted with one adopted floor amendment, would require periodic inspections of licensed hospitals among other things.

Transportation
SB 312 (Nichols) the TxDOT Sunset bill passed out of the Senate unanimously with three adopted floor amendments on March 21. The bill will now move over to the House for further consideration.

Environment
HB 101 (Craddick), which passed out of the House unanimously on March 22, relates to the development of and contracting for reclaimed water facilities in certain municipalities. The bill will now move over to the Senate for further consideration.

HB 1818 (Gonzales) the Railroad Commission of Texas Sunset bill is on the House Calendar for March 28. Proposed amendments will need to be filed on Monday, March 27 by 10:00am.

SB 28 (Creighton), as substituted, which was voted unanimously from the Senate Transportation Committee on March 22, would create a ship channel improvement revolving fund.

Election
SB 5 (Huffman) which would require a voter to present proof of identification has been placed on the Senate Intent Calendar and could be pulled up by the Senate to debate next week.

HB 25 (Simmons) relating to the elimination of straight-party voting was voted favorably out of House Elections in a 5-2 vote on March 23.

Education
SB 3 (Taylor) school voucher legislation was taken up in Senate Education on March 21 and the committee heard just over 9 hours of testimony and discussion on the bill. The committee substitute was laid out but was not available on TLO at the time of publication. The bill as substituted was passed out of Senate Education on March 23 with 7 ayes and 3 nays.

HB 21 (Huberty) relating to the school finance system was heard in the House Public Education committee on March 21 as substituted and left pending. The latest version has a different structure for hardship grants and $250 million additional funds bringing the current total of HB 21 to total $1.9 billion. HB 21 will come up again in committee on March 28 – it is possible at that time a version of the bill will be voted out and sent to the House floor for further consideration.

Pensions
SB 2190 (Huffman) relating to the public retirement systems of certain municipalities was heard on Monday, March 20 in Senate State Affairs and voted favorably from committee as substituted.

HB 43 (Flynn) relating to the public retirement systems of certain municipalities will be heard in House Pensions on Monday, March 27.

Upcoming Committee Hearings
The latest hearing information can be found by visiting HillCo’s “Legislative News from Texas.” Please note that dates and times are subject to change and additional hearings dates may also be added at any time so you will want to re-visit the page frequently to confirm hearings.

Education Update

House Public Education will meet on Tuesday, March 28 to take up a full agenda of bills covering multiple topics including HB 21 (Huberty) relating to school finance.
The Subcommittee on Educator Quality will meet on Monday, March 27 to take up a full agenda covering multiple topics including improper student-teacher relationships and professional development.

House Ways and Means will meet on Wednesday, March 29 to take up a full agenda covering multiple topics including the franchise tax.
Hearing details are subject to change, the latest hearing information can be found by visiting HillCo’s “Legislative News from Texas.”
Dr. Jeremy Lyon, Superintendent of Frisco ISD, is retiring and will be taking a new role as the first president of Cooper Youth, part of the Cooper Institute, a national non-profit dedicated to advancing preventive health practices for children.
Read more

Health Care Update

Budget
On Thursday, March 22, Senate Finance voted to send the final committee version of SB 1 to the full Senate. This version maintains Medicaid caseload cost growth at FY 18 forecasted levels, identifies roughly $400 million in Medicaid cost containment quality and efficiency measures, increases funding for CPS services by $430 million, and increases funding for mental health by $244 million. SB 1 is expected to be heard before the full Senate early next week.

Spotlight on Committees
House Human Services will meet on March 27 will meet to hear bills part of the continuing effort to support childcare services in the state, including HB 1542 relating to placement and HB 2124 relating to notification to federal agencies about abuse and neglect investigations, as well as other legislation related to payments and cost savings under Medicaid

House Public Health will meet on March 28 to consider twelve bills relating to public benefits for individuals released from jail, mental health services provision, and hearing aids, among other issues.

On March 27, Senate Health & Human Services will meet to hear a variety of bills surrounding long-term care in state facilities and other issues, including SB 924 relating to dispute resolutions for violations of health and safety standards and several bills related to administrative penalties.

Senate Health & Human Services will also meet on Wednesday, March 29 to hear Sunset (SB 224) and operations legislation (SB 81, SB 1924) relating to the Cancer Prevention and research Institute of Texas and other bills related to mental illness, childcare, prescription drug benefits, and Office of the Inspector General investigations.
Read more

Joint Advisory Committee on the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas - March 23, 2017

The State Water Implementation Fund for Texas Advisory Committee met on March 23 to review to a share semi-annual update of the Texas Treasury Safekeeping Trust and the Texas Water Development Board on the status of the SWIFT.
The report below details these discussions.
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Senate Education - March 23, 2017

The Senate Education Committee met on pending business, voting out four bills including the school voucher bill SB 3 (Taylor).
The report below details these discussions.
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Senate Nominations - March 22, 2017

The Senate Committee on Nominations met on March 22 to take up SB 670 concerning the appointment of all three head of the HHS agencies and SB 705 concerning protection of personal data for individuals considered for nomination, as well as discussing the nomination of several individuals. The report below focuses on SB 670 and SB 705.
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House General Investigating & Ethics - March 23, 2017

The House Committee on General Investigating & Ethics met to take up a full agenda. This report covers discussions on HB 1295 and HB 1610 relating to disclosure while contracting with governmental entities.
The report below details these discussions.
Read more

Senate Finance - March 22, 2017

The Senate Committee on Finance met to vote out the Senate’s budget bill which will appropriate $106.3 billion in general revenue. This report details those discussions. CSSB 1, the Senate budget bill is expected to be considered on the Senate floor on Tuesday, March 28.
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Senate Transportation - March 22, 2017

The Senate Committee on Transportation met to take up several bills on the agenda. This report focuses on SB 28 (Creighton) that relates to the financing of ports in the state which was voted favorably out committee as substituted and will now move to the Senate floor for further consideration.
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House State Affairs - March 22, 2017

The House Committee on State Affairs met March 22 to take up several pieces of legislation. This report covers HB 773 relating to information on projected changes in weather, water availability, and climate variability in strategic plans of certain state agencies.
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House Natural Resources - March 22, 2017

The House Committee on Natural Resources met on March 22 to take up several water-related bills and to consider other pending business.

The report below details testimony provided on HB 2005, relating to the duty of the Texas Water Development Board to conduct studies of and prepare and submit reports on aquifer storage and recovery, and HB 2264, relating to the priority applicable to certain inter-basin transfers of water.
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House Ways and Means - March 22, 2017

The House Committee on Ways and Means met on March 22 to take up legislation related to ad valorem taxation exemptions for veterans, senior citizens, schools, and destroyed property.

The report below details these discussions.
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Senate Education - March 21, 2017

The Senate Committee on Education met to take up SB 3 (Taylor) school voucher legislation. The committee substitute was laid and left pending after just over 9 hours of testimony and discussion.
The report below details these discussions.
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House Homeland Security & Public Safety - March 21, 2017

The House Committee on Homeland Security & Public Safety met to hear invited testimony about Cybersecurity and Gun Laws in Texas as well as address pending business. This report below covers only invited testimony on those topics.
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House Public Education - March 21, 2017

House Committee on Public Education met to take up legislation on the school accountability and assessment system and school finance. School finance bills HB 21 and HB 22 were left pending.
The report below details these discussions.
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House Public Health - March 21, 2017

The House Committee on Public Health met to take up legislation relating to HIV/AIDS quality-based outcome measures, telemonitoring services, Streptococcus pneumoniae, the Cancer Prevention and Reacher Institute of Texas, community mental health programs, and peer specialists and support services.
The report below details these discussions.
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Senate Agriculture, Water & Rural Affairs - March 20, 2017

The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Water, and Rural Development met on March 20 to take up legislation related to special utility districts, drinking water in SSLCs, water rights, and seed regulation.
The report below details these discussions.
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House Government Transparency & Operation - March 20, 2017

The House Committee on Government Transparency & Operations met on March 20 to take up pending business and bills on the agenda. This report focuses on bills taken up relating to cybersecurity.
The report below details these discussions.
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Senate State Affairs - March 20, 2017

The Senate Committee on State Affairs met on March 20 to take up legislation related to handgun license fees and regulation, public pension fund and retirement systems, and a constitutional amendment proposal related to pension funds.

The report below details these discussions.
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Senate Health & Human Services - March 20, 2017

The Senate Committee on Health and Human Services met on March 20 to take up pending business, several pieces of Sunset legislation, and legislation concerning prescriptions and the Prescription Monitoring Program.

The report below covers the discussion on SB 317, SB 316, SB 1412, and SB 1414.
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House Public Education S/C on Educator Quality - March 20, 2017

The House Subcommittee on Educator Quality met and took up several bills including bills relating to improper relationships between an educator and a student, assigning a mentor teacher, certain qualifications for certifications and awards to teachers who are under the Texas Advancement Placement Incentive Program.
The report below details these discussions.
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5th Circuit Decision Preserves Texas' Stay of EPA Regional Haze Rule

A decision on March 22 by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals leaves intact Texas’ stay of the EPA’s Regional Haze rule. Last July, the 5th Circuit granted Texas’ stay motion while rejecting the EPA’s motion to dismiss or transfer, explaining that Texas had shown enough evidence to support a case on the merits. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton commended the ruling.

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