Category Archives: Legislative Session Update

86th Legislative Session – Bills that Passed

HB 1 by John Zerwas (R-Fulshear) and Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound) is the general appropriations bill. It provides: $250.652 billion in all funds; $118.859 billion in general revenue funds; $6.19 billion in general revenue dedicated funds; $86.439 billion in federal funds; and $39.165 in other funds All Funds Comparison to Previous Sessions: $250.652 billion for the 2020-2021 biennium, compares to: $216.758 billion in the 2018-2019 biennium; $216.399 in the 2016-2017 biennium and $196.9 billion in the 2014-2015 biennium. Budget Highlights: Article I, General Government: $10 million to provide grants to Cultural Arts Districts across the state; $1.9 million to expand the Elections Fraud Unit at the Office of the Attorney General; $3.5 million to expand the Human Trafficking Section at the Office of the Attorney General to handle additional prosecutions; $7.7 million increase in funding for rape crisis centers to expand capacity to every area of the state and handle…

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86th Legislative Session Update #17 – FINAL

The 86th Legislative Session is Over Major Issues – Almost all of the session’s important issues were addressed. Here is a run-down of the major priority issues for Governor Greg Abbott, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, and Speaker Dennis Bonnen taken up by the 86th Legislature: Governor Greg Abbott designated 5 issues as emergency items including: School finance reform and increasing teacher pay – passed as HB 3 Increased school safety – passed as SB 11 Greater access to mental health care services – Texas Mental Health Care Consortium passed in SB 11; HB 8 school mental health training and curriculum passed; and HB 19 mental health and substance abuse resources for school districts passed Property tax reform – passed as SB 2 Expanded disaster response and readiness programs – 28 disaster relief and recovery bills passed including HB 5, HB 6, HB 7, and SB 6 (others are listed at…

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86th Legislative Session Update #16

“The world is a stage, but the play is badly cast.”   Oscar Wilde  SENATE: The Senate was in session Monday through Friday of this past week. Last Monday, the Senate passed 6 bills including HB 638 by Representative Giovanni Capriglione (R-Keller) and Senator Beverly Powell (D-Burleson), which would allow high schools to give posthumous diplomas to parents of deceased students at the end of the school year in which a student was expected to graduate; HB 1483 by Representative James Frank (R-Wichita Falls) and Senator Charles Perry (R-Lubbock), which would require the Health & Human Services Commission to develop a self-sufficiency pilot program for assisting eligible families to gain permanent self-sufficiency and transition off of state assistance; and HB 2867 by Representative Will Metcalf (R-Conroe) and Senator Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe), which would establish the Sam Houston State University College of Osteopathic Medicine. Last Tuesday, the Senate passed 19 bills including…

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86th Legislative Session Update #15

“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face for the first time.”    Mike Tyson SENATE: The Senate was in session Monday through Friday this past week. On Monday, the Senate passed one bill, HB 3 by Dan Huberty (R-Humble) and Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood), the public school finance reform bill. Senator Taylor said, “Texas is way behind on school finance and if we want to continue to be the greatest state in the union, we must change. We’ve got to move our school finance system into the 21st century. The Texas Supreme Court ruled that although our system is constitutional, it’s messed up. We need to act now.” After more than one hundred proposed amendments, Senator Taylor closed the proceedings by thanking the Education committee members and the committee staff, and urging lawmakers to pass CSHB 3, “Let’s move Texas well into the 21st century with this vote.”…

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86th Legislative Session Update #14

“You must learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t possibly live long enough to make them all yourself.”   Mark Twain SENATE: The Senate was in session last Monday through Friday. Last Monday, the Senate gave preliminary approval to three bills and passed 37 bills. Last Tuesday, the Senate gave preliminary approval to two bills and passed 18 bills including SB 11 by Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood), the School Safety Act. Senator Taylor said, “We know that we cannot prevent every tragedy, and there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution for strengthening school security, but SB 11 provides the framework to empower school districts to do what’s best for them and their students.” SB 11 would: Require the Texas Education Agency to ensure that building standards provide a safe and secure environment. Offer loan repayment assistance to those who serve as school counselors and licensed specialists on school psychology. Offer…

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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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