What's happening at the Capitol.
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50 Days left in the Session

Fifty days to go in the 87th Legislative Session. 17 days left for House bills. Senate bills have a little more time.

Key TCA bills are still in play. Your hard work is paying off. With this momentum, we should be able to make some good things happen this session. Committees are ramping up. Expect long agendas. Bills are beginning to move to the House and Senate floors. That means – the vote of every Representative and Senator counts! Bookmark the contact information for your State Representative and Senator to make it easy to contact them. 

We know your time is precious and your schedules are out of control. We know asking you to add more calls is a tough ask. Thank you very much. 

Blocking 5 or 10 minutes to your schedule each week to promote YOU will make a huge difference in what we can get passed this session. Mondays and Tuesdays are good days to reach legislators and their staff. Ask them their position on upcoming bills and how they feel about bills they heard last week. 

TCA provides hotlinks to key bills, access to legislators, talking points and prompts. When you add a few sentences about how the bill or issue impacts you, your clients, or your students – SHAZAAM-- you have an effective message. Your Story is Your Power. 
ACTION ALERT
HB 980 (Fierro) to require reimbursement for telehealth and telemedicine services at the same rate as face to face. Call members of the House Insurance Committee. Insurance companies are opposing efforts to reimburse telehealth services at the same rates as face to face. The House Insurance Committee MUST hear from you and your clients. Your reimbursement rates for this essential modality could be cut in half! Call on Monday, 4/12 and on Tuesday, 4/13. Submit virtual testimony using the form below.  
WHAT HAPPENED
  • SB 1 passed the Senate, including BHEC’s exceptional items request in Article VIII. Debate now moves to the House. 
  • HB 3626 (Romero) was heard and favorably reported from House Human Services Committee. It now moves to the House floor.
  • SB 179 was reposted to the Senate Intent Calendar, making it eligible any day this week. Keep calling your senators.
  • TSBEPC Rules Committee met for 3 hours and are expected to bring a report on LPC Associate business opportunities to the full TSBEPC meeting on May 7, 2021. 
Find out who represents you. Add their information to your contacts. Always use your personal phone and email to contact your elected officials!
WHAT'S AHEAD
House Committees accept virtual testimony, in addition to face-to-face testimony, as long as the committee is in session. Virtual testimony links are listed below. It is quick and easy. Calls and emails to committee members are most effective the week of the hearing.

Senate Committees require face-to-face testimony during hearings. Virtual testimony must be sent to individual committee members. Calls and emails to committee members are most effective the week of the hearing.
Monday, 4/12

Senate State Affairs, 9 am, Senate Chamber
Committee will hear 11 bills, including:
  • SB 1646 (Perry) to change the definition of child abuse to include providing medical treatment to children for gender transitioning, reassignment or dysphoria. OPPOSE. 

Committee will meet in room E1.036, to hear 13 bills, including:
  • SB 678 (Alvarado) to create a small business disaster recovery loan program. SUPPORT. 

Committee will meet in room E1.030. to consider SB 1.
The Appropriations Committee will substitute its HB 1 for the CSSB1. The next opportunity to amend this bill is when it reaches the House floor. 

Tuesday, 4/13

TCA’s Virtual Advocacy Day, Noon to 1 pm
Pre-registration is required. Register now.

Committee will meet in room E1.004 to hear 31 bills, including:
  • HB 764 (Krause) a 25 page bill to modify procedures for academic assessment of public school students. READ. 
  • HB 1016 (Ordaz Perez) to establish notice and other procedures before a district can conduct an active shooter drill. SUPPORT. 

Committee will meet in room E1.028 to hear 9 bills, including:
  • SB 1590 (Bettencourt) to direct SBEC to allow field-based training and internships to occur in virtual settings. SUPPORT. 
  • SB 279 (Hinojosa), to require student ID cards for grades 7 and up as well as institutions of higher education to include suicide prevention hotline information

Committee to meet in room JHR 140 to hear 17 bills, including:
  • HCR 57 (Hunter) to create a joint interim committee to study human trafficking in Texas. SUPPORT.
  • HCR 58 (Hunter) to create a joint interim committee to study suicide prevention in Texas. SUPPORT.

Committee to meet in room E2.014 to hear 28 bills including:
  • HB 240 (Thompson, S) to require and study insurance coverage for serious emotional issues of children. SUPPORT.
  • HB 980 (Fierro) to require reimbursement for telehealth and telemedicine services at the same rate as face to face. SUPPORT. 
  • HB 2595 (Price) to establish October as Mental Health Condition and Substance Use Disorder Parity Awareness Month and to create a parity portal to file complaints. SUPPORT. 

Wednesday, 4/14

Committee to meet in room JHR 140 to hear 20 bills including:
  • HB 4074 (Hunter) directs the statewide behavioral health coordinating council to create a suicide prevention subcommittee to provide data and guidelines. SUPPORT. 
  • HB 1399 (Krause) prohibits medical professionals from providing treatments for gender transitioning, reassignment or dysphoria and prohibits professional liability coverage for providers who provide these treatments. OPPOSE. 
  • HB 1424 (Oliverson) prohibits hospitals or health facilities from discriminating against a professional who refuses to deliver services based on their religious beliefs. OPPOSE. 

Committee room meeting in room E1.030 to hear 29 bills including:
  • HB 2002 (Sanford) to prohibit adverse employment action against first responders who have a mental illness, except to protect the public. READ. 

Committee to meet in the Extension Auditorium to hear 6 bills including:
  • SB 1521 (Zaffirini) directs the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to conduct a study on the availability of mental health services, including student to counselor ratios, at institutions of higher education. At least one task force position is designated for an LPC. SUPPORT. 
TCA ADVOCACY DAYS
Join us Online - Learn & Ask Questions
April 13 & May 11, 2021 | 12 to 1 pm

Meet face-to-face with TCA Executive Director, Jan Friese as she reviews where we are in the state legislative session. Discuss the next steps regarding public policy that impacts your profession. The session will be interactive, with opportunities to ask questions and communicate with other attendees!
TEXAS COUNSELING ASSOCIATION