Category Archives: Legislative Session Update

86th Legislative Session Update #13

“It is all right to be content with what you have, but never with what you are.”    -Unknown SENATE: The Senate was in session last Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Last Monday, the Senate passed 4 bills including SB 2 by Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston), the proposed Texas Property Tax Reform and Relief Act of 2019. Senator Bettencourt said, “This is the day that taxpayers in Texas have long waited for. Our people want real, meaningful property tax relief. That’s what I hear most from my constituents. The goal of SB 2 is to give relief not only to those Texans who own homes or operate businesses but to provide property tax relief for those Texans who have yet to own a home and have yet to start a business. It is for Texans and their businesses that have been feeling the squeeze of rising property taxes. Texas is number 3 in…

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86TH LEGISLATIVE SESSION UPDATE #12

     “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did.”    – Mark Twain Last week in the Texas Legislature. SENATE: The Senate was in session last Monday through Thursday. Last Thursday, they had their first Local & Uncontested calendar. Last Monday, the Senate gave preliminary approval to two bills and passed 9 bills including: SB 27 by Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola) allowing recovery of attorneys fees in frivolous regulatory proceedings. SB 244 by Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe) allowing school districts and charters to appoint school marshals. SB 254 by Jose Rodriguez (D-El Paso) allowing courts to appoint a receiver for a property in violation of a municipal ordinance. (additional information is in the Property section) SB 289 by Eddie Lucio, Jr. (D-Brownsville) requiring state and federal agencies to cooperate to secure reimbursement for housing needs in a disaster…

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86th Legislative Session Update #11

“Man has 12 billion brain cells, just to give you an idea of the unemployment situation.” STATEWIDE: Hurricane Harvey/Disaster Preparedness: Passed the Senate: SB 6 by Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham) would direct the Texas Department of Emergency Management at the Department of Public Safety to develop a model guide based on best practices to help local officials respond in the aftermath of a natural disaster. The committee substitute and two-floor amendments were adopted and it passed the Senate unanimously. SB 7 by Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe) would establish the Texas Infrastructure Resiliency Fund for flood mitigation projects identified by regional flood planning. The committee substitute and three-floor amendments were adopted and it passed the Senate unanimously. SB 8 by Charles Perry (R-Lubbock) would require the Water Development Board to facilitate creation of a statewide flood plan with local officials and stakeholders developing regional priorities. The committee substitute was adopted and it passed…

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86th Legislative Session Update #10

“There are always many choices, many paths to take, one is easy. And its only reward is that it’s easy.” Bill Filing Deadline – The deadline for legislators to file bills to be considered by the Texas Senate and House this session was 6:00 p.m. on Friday, March 8, 2019. The filing deadline does not apply to local bills, concurrent resolutions or simple resolutions. A total of 4,773 HB’s/HJR’s and 2,508 SB’s/SJR’s were filed for a total of 7,281 bills. 2,830 were filed in the last week. That compares to: 2019 bills filed by the deadline – 7,281 (up 627 over 2017) 2017 bills filed by the deadline – 6,654 2015 bills filed by the deadline – 6,107 2013 bills filed by the deadline – 5,665 2011 bills filed by the deadline – 5,672 2009 bills filed by the deadline – 7,136 This past Thursday, the Senate State Affairs Committee…

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86th Legislative Session Update #9

“Not the cry, but the flight of the wild duck leads the flock to follow.” Chinese Proverb The Texas Legislature was in session this past week. Here are some key happenings: Supplemental Appropriations – On Thursday, Governor Greg Abbott designated supplemental appropriations as an emergency item. His specific designation says, “Legislation relating to making supplemental appropriations and reductions in appropriations and giving direction including direction regarding reimbursement adjustment authority regarding appropriations.” SENATE: The Senate was in session this past Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. On Wednesday, they recessed until Thursday for first reading and referral of bills to committees. On Monday, the Senate unanimously approved SB 3 by Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound), which would provide a permanent $5,000 annual salary increase for classroom teachers. A Senate floor amendment added librarians. Senator Nelson said, “It has been a decade since teachers received a small raise from the state. It’s…

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86th Legislative Session Update #8

 “I dreamed a thousand new paths. I woke and walked my old one.” Chinese Proverb SENATE: The Senate was in session Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week conducting routine business. On Wednesday, they recessed until Friday for first reading and referral of bills to committees. On Wednesday, the Senate adopted SR 300, which increased the Senate Higher Education Committee from seven to nine members. Lt. Governor Dan Patrick named Senators Pete Flores (R-Pleasanton) and Jose Menendez (D-San Antonio) to the two new slots on the committee.   BUDGET: House Appropriations Committee: Subcommittee on Articles I, IV & V (General Government, Judiciary, and Public Safety & Criminal Justice) met on Monday to discuss budget recommendations for Article I and Article V agencies; and on Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss Article I, IV, and V agencies. Subcommittee on Article II (Health & Human Services) met on Tuesday to discuss budget items…

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86th Legislative Session Update #7

February 18, 2019 “One man with courage makes a majority.” Andrew Jackson Last week during the 86th Legislative Session, the following took place: BUDGET: Senate Finance Committee: This past Monday, the Senate Finance Committee took testimony on the following Article III Education Agencies: Texas Education Agency Teacher Retirement System Optional Retirement Program Higher Education Group Insurance Windham School District School for the Blind and Visually Impaired School for the Deaf This past Tuesday, the Senate Finance Committee took testimony on the following Article III Education Agencies: Texas A&M University System and Component Institutions Texas A&M University System Health Science Center and Agencies Texas State University System and Component Institutions University of North Texas System and Component Institutions University of North Texas Health Science Center This past Wednesday, the Senate Finance Committee took testimony on the following Article III Education Agencies: Texas Tech University System and Component Institutions Texas Tech University…

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86th Legislative Session Update #6

“Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.” GOVERNOR: State of the State Address – On Tuesday, Governor Greg Abbott delivered his State of the State address to a joint session of the Texas Legislature. He started out by saying, “I am honored to work with Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and Speaker Dennis Bonnen as we embark on this new session. On this very day, about 1,000 new residents will call Texas home. That happens almost every day. Whether you like that or not, we can never lose sight of the reason so many people make life altering decisions to uproot their families and businesses and chart new paths – paths that guided them to Texas. They were fed up with big government policies increasingly running their lives and imposing burdensome regulations. They were taxed out of their states that some of their families…

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86th Legislative Session Update #5

Thanks to McAllen Mayor Jim Darling for the city’s legislative update and agenda.   At our next Government Affairs Council Meeting, on Wednesday February 27, we’ll have County Judge Richard Cortez share the county’s legislative agenda and issues. STATEWIDE: Texas Property Tax Reform and Relief Act – On Thursday (last week), Governor Greg Abbott, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, and Speaker Dennis Bonnen held a joint press conference to announce their support for the Texas Property Tax Reform and Relief Act. They were joined at the press conference by Senator Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston), who filed SB 2, the Senate version of the bill; and Representative Dustin Burrows (R-Lubbock), who filed HB 2, the House version (the bills are identical). Governor Abbott said, “These two bills start the conversation for meaningful property tax reform and relief for all Texas taxpayers. As I said at the opening of the 86th Legislative session, we are going to solve school…

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86th Legislative Session Update #4

SENATE: The Senate was in session on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week conducting routine business. Senate Committees – Lt. Governor Dan Patrick announced Senate committee assignments last Friday. Senate Committees and Chairs: Agriculture – Bob Hall (R-Edgewood) Administration – Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola) Business & Commerce – Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills) Criminal Justice – John Whitmire (D-Houston) Education – Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood) Finance – Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound) Health & Human Services – Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham) Higher Education – Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe) Intergovernmental Relations – Eddie Lucio, Jr. (D-Brownsville) Natural Resources & Economic Development – Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury) Nominations – Dawn Buckingham (R-Lakeway) Property Tax – Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston) State Affairs – Joan Huffman (R-Houston) Transportation – Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville) Veteran Affairs & Border Security – Donna Campbell (R-San Antonio) Water & Rural Affairs – Charles Perry (R-Lubbock) Facts About Senate Committees: Number of Committees – The number of Senate committees increased from 14 to 16. Republican Committee Chairs – In 2017, Republicans chaired 12 of the…

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86th Legislative Session Update #3

The Texas Legislature is 90% about the budget/money and 10% poetry. This week’s legislative update looks at what is being proposed by the Senate and the House. House and Senate Budgets – On Tuesday night, the Legislative Budget Board released details of the House budget proposal. It has not been officially filed yet, but it will eventually be introduced as HB 1. On Wednesday, Senator Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound) filed SB 1, the Senate’s budget proposal. Here is a comparison: All Funds – The House budget has an all funds total of $247.227 billion. SB 1 has an all funds total of $242.867 billion, $4.36 billion less than the House proposal. General Government – The House budget proposal has a 10.3 percent decrease over the current biennium, or $773.8 million less. SB 1 has a 17.6 percent decrease, or $1.317 billion less. Health and Human Services – The House budget proposal has a 1.5…

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86th Legislative Session Update #2

The 86th session of the Texas Legislature was kicked off at noon on Tuesday, January 8, 2019. As prescribed by the Constitution, the regular session of the legislature will last for 140 days. The last day of the session will be May 27, 2019. Both the Senate and House were in session on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday this week. On Thursday, they held a joint session to officially canvas the votes for Governor and Lt. Governor, a formality that paved the way for next week’s inauguration. The Senate and House gave each other the required permission to adjourn for more than three days. They will take off Monday and will be back in session on Tuesday of next week. Welcoming Senate and House Members – Governor Greg Abbott made welcoming speeches in both the Senate and House chambers on Tuesday. He thanked the members for being willing to serve in the legislature,…

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86th Legislative Session Update

Here are the Interim report recommendations from the Senate Finance committee:   BUDGET: Senate Finance Committee – On November 30th, the Senate Finance Committee issued its interim report. Committee Chair Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound) said, “I appreciate the hard work of the Senate Finance Committee members over the interim to delve into key fiscal issues such as tax policy, fee structure, and the Economic Stabilization Fund. We took a closer look at funding priorities, including education, transportation and health-related services. Additionally, at every hearing we studied our costs associated with Hurricane Harvey, ensuring that communities have the resources they need to rebuild and that available federal funding is being maximized.” The committee’s charges, conclusions and recommendations are: Hurricane Harvey Impact – Monitor all funds currently being used to address Hurricane Harvey relief and recovery. Identify ways to maximize the use of federal funds and ensure the efficient use of state funds. Evaluate…

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