April 14, 2017

This week's Capitol Roundup :

CLICK HERE to register for the 2017 AGC Convention June 18-21 at Coeur d'Alene Resort in Idaho. 
  • TUNE IN: House committees scheduled to debate six AGC-TBB priority bills next week
  • House set for vote on school finance bill

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Click here to access past editions of Capitol Roundup.

AGC Texas Chapters

Quote of the Week
"I used to enjoy Netflix. Now, watching old higher ed hearings is my Netflix."
-State Rep. J.M. Lozano

Lozano's (R-Kingsville) comment describes his efforts to familiarize himself with issues surrounding Hazelwood, a state program that offers free college tuition to veterans and their children. Lozano, who chairs the House Higher Education Committee, recently came under fire for filing a bill to limit those qualifying for the benefit.
Busy week ahead: Six AGC-TBB bills set for House committee debate

Six of AGC Texas Building Branch's top-priority bills have been referred to committees where they await debate and votes to move them to the floors of the House and Senate.

Now that budgets have passed on each side of the Capitol (though the House and Senate still need to reach an agreement), lawmakers are shifting their focus to other areas, including bills that will directly affect the commercial construction industry. 

Here's a brief look at what's ahead for AGC-TBB bills in House committees next week. Be sure to TUNE IN HERE next week, where you can click the committee where a bill is being debated and catch all the action. The hearings will happen no earlier than the posted time, but are likely to start later since they are scheduled once the House chamber is done voting on that day's bills. 

Monday, April 17th
House Business & Industry Committee

Lien law Modernization
HB 3065 by Rep. Deshotel - Relating to mechanic's, contractor's, or materialman's liens. 

Contract Labor on Public Projects 
  HB 3357 by Rep. Ramon Romero, Jr. -  Relating to the prevailing wage for work associated with public work contracts.

Tuesday, April 18th
House Public Education Committee

Uniform General Conditions for Schools 
  HB 3434 by Rep. Linda Koop - Relating to requirements for building construction contracts entered into by public school districts.

House Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence

State Breach of Contract Clean-up Legislation
by Rep. John Cyrier - 
Relating to damages in certain contract claims against the state.

--Change Orders
by Rep. John Cyrier
Relating to adjudication of claims arising from certain written contracts with state agencies

Thursday, April 20th
House Economic & Small Business Development

Local Government Contracting Compliance
HB 622   by Rep. Jeff Leach  - Relating to the applicability of project design and construction requirements to development corporations created by governmental entities subject to those requirements. 
House to vote on school finance bill

A plan to infuse $1.6 billion into Texas schools and raise per-pupil spending for nearly every school district is scheduled for a vote on the House floor. However, the House bill is at odds with senators' plan for schools. 

The measure - House Bill 21, sponsored by Rep. Dan Huberty (R-Houston) - passed the House Education Committee late last month 10-1 and has been scheduled for a vote by all House members on April 19. 

House Education Committee Chairman Dan Huberty (R-Houston)
Some school districts, in primarily smaller, rural areas, could see a slight loss in funding due to a provision in the bill that would let a 2006 school aid program expire. The 2006 measure, which aids 156 districts, is set to expire Sept. 1 in order to offset a tax cut. However, Huberty's bill also creates a "transitional grant" that would support districts losing money over the next two years, and would give more to areas with higher property tax rates. 

House Speaker Joe Straus 
(R-San Antonio) supports the school 
finance proposal and said the House budget provides adequate funding to make it a reality.
  "This bill will improve our schools - It puts more resources into the classroom...and begins fixing our school finance system," Straus said. "It also begins to reduce the pressure on local property taxes, which have been funding a greater and greater share of education." 

The school finance bill is a reflection of the House-Senate divide illustrated in their respective 2018-19 budgets, which butt heads over a funding source. While the House budget writers insist the time is ripe for tapping Rainy Day Funds, the Senate budget relies on moving around the influx of state highway dollars approved by voters in 2015. 

The Senate budget would strip $1.8 billion in state education funding and shift more costs to local governments during a time of rising property values. On the other hand, the House plan would add $1.6 billion in state funds in order to relieve pressure from property taxes. However, the House budget also shifts  the budget's final education aid payment onto the next state budget.

29 - Last Day of 85th Legislature

18-21 -  AGC TBB Annual Convention - Coueur d'Alene Resort, Idaho

10 -  AGC TBB Safety Committee Meeting - Austin

15 -  AGC TBB Board Meeting - Austin AGC Office

3 -  AGC TBB Safety Committee Meeting - TEXO
17 - AGC TBB Board Meeting - Austin AGC Office