Affairs Committee
Steve Ahlenius
Vice-Chair Govt. Affairs
Eddie Brown
John Darby
Tony Felker
Mary Frazior
Jim Johnson 
Jamee Jolly
Eddie McBride
Wayne Mitchell
Jason Mock
San Marcos
Tony Moline
Cedar Park
Mitch Thames
Bay City


The session is in high gear and much of the work turns to committees and debate on the floor.  We are nearing the time when legislation moves or is essentially removed from consideration.  Following is a partial list of bills and the work being done on them in the legislature.   
In the SENATE:
The Senate was in session Monday through Thursday of this past week.
On Monday, the Senate passed 16 bills including:
(SB 260) abolishing the Office of Immigration and Refugee Affairs and the Governor's Advisory Committee on Immigration and Refugees,
(SB 975) requiring a high speed rail system operated by a private entity to pay government law enforcement officers who may be hired to ensure the safety of the rail lines,
(SB 1147) establishing the Texas State Music Museum and the Texas Music Foundation,
(SB 1187) prohibiting a peace officer from issuing a citation for operating a motor vehicle without financial responsibility unless the officer attempts to verify financial responsibility through the verification program.
Tuesday, the Senate passed 21 bills including:
(SB 295) exempt refunding bonds and capital appreciation bonds issued for transportation projects from restrictions on other capital appreciation bonds relating to the use of unspent proceeds and the percentage of overall debt,
(SB 524) increasing the punishment for the offense of abuse of a corpse,
(SB 617) clarifying statutes relating to trusts,
(SB 722) authorizing the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission to collect a fee for participation in the Managed Lands Deer Program,
(SB 1062) allowing Texas Department of Motor Vehicles to accept forms in connection with transfer of a motor vehicle in an electronic format,
(SB 1166) putting the Harris County Department of Education under sunset review,
(SB 1290) allowing 9-1-1 emergency communication districts to obtain criminal history record information of employees,
(SB 1501) applicants and volunteers eliminating state licensing for vehicle booting companies and operators,
(SB 1781) clarifying that the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board oversight of career colleges,
(HCR 33) urging Congress to consider the removal of trade, financial and travel restrictions relating to Cuba.
Wednesday, the Senate passed 66 bills on the Local and Uncontested Calendar and 14 bills from the Intent Calendar including:
(SB 693) requiring three-point seat belts on all new school buses purchased by a school district,
(SB 772) giving code enforcement officers the authority to carry an instrument used for deterring the bite of an animal,
(SB 966) protecting minors who report sexual assault to health care providers, law enforcement personnel, or Title IX coordinators from being prosecuted for underage possession or consumption of alcohol
(SB 1183) authorizing counties to implement a jail-based restoration of competency program,
(SB 1560) exempting vehicles without a dedicated license plate area on the front bumper from the two-license plate requirement.
Thursday , the Senate passed 25 bills including:
(HB 89) prohibiting governmental entities from entering into contracts for goods or services with companies that boycott Israel,
(SB 399) clarifying that frontage lanes do not satisfy the requirement that the number of non-tolled lanes is equal to or greater than the number in existence before the toll was constructed,
(SB 591) authorizing a community outreach campaign to provide information to and increase awareness of benefits and services available to veterans,
(SB 1622)  establishing a "Camo Alert" system for locating missing veterans and member of the military with a mental illness,
(SB 1698) requiring the Texas women veterans coordinator to work with the Governor's Commission for Women and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to develop an outreach campaign to improve benefits and services to women veterans,
(SB 1731) repealing boards, commissions and task forces within the Office of the Governor that are inactive.
SB 400 by Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham) would require the comptroller to verify information submitted in Chapter 313 reports using data from the Texas Workforce Commission, the chief appraiser, or other sources the Comptroller considers reliable. The committee substitute was adopted and it passed on Wednesday's Local and Uncontested Calendar.
Total number of bills reported out of Senate Committees this week: 183
Total number of bills passed by the Senate this week:                              128
Total passed on the Local and Uncontested calendar this week:        52
Here is a partial listing of the bills that passed the House this past week.
The House was in session on Monday through Friday this past week.
On Monday, the House gave preliminary approval to 16 bills including:
(HB 59) allowing lottery winners of a prize of $1 million or more to remain anonymous (HB 63) clarifying the duties and responsibilities of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, and
(HB 84) extending the CPRIT sunset date to August 31, 2022
(HB 92) providing an employment preference for spouses of totally disabled veterans (HB 865) requiring the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to establish a veterans service coordinator and a veterans reentry program for state-jail defendants who are veterans and,
(HB 1260) establishing a commercial gulf shrimp unloading license.
Tuesday, the House passed the Third Reading bills and gave preliminary approval to 24 other bills including:
(HB 51) establishing an oyster license buyback program,
(HB 223) allowing compensatory education funds to be used for child care expenses for at-risk students who are parents,
(HB 473) prohibiting a governmental entity from terminating employment of a peace officer or firefighter based on an inability to perform duties due to injury before the person is certified as having reached maximum medical improvement,
(HB 965) allowing a retail public utility to require correctional facilities to comply with the utility's water conservation measures,
(HB 1428) extending the out-of-network claim dispute resolution process to health benefit plans administered by the Teacher Retirement System of Texas,
(HB 1492) establishing the National Museum of the Pacific War fund,
(HB 1698) establishing requirements for applicants for a journeyman industrial electrician license,
(HB 2097) allowing brewpubs that self-distribute to sell wine on premises and
(HB 3042) designating July 7 as Fallen Law Enforcement Officer Day.
Wednesday, the House passed the Third Reading bills and gave preliminary approval to 4 bills. The House was in continuous session from 10:00 on Wednesday morning until almost 4:00 on Thursday morning most of that time was spent debating SB 4, which would eliminate "sanctuary cities." The House debated 74 amendments (11 were adopted). It passed to Third Reading by a vote of 93-54. On Thursday, it received final passage by a vote of 94-53.
House Republican Caucus Chairman Tan Parker commented on House passage of SB 4 saying, "House Republicans have proven time and time again that we are committed to protecting the rule of law and keeping our communities safe. We will continue to work tirelessly to pass legislation that ensures the safety of Texans, such as Senate Bill 4." Representative Charlie Geren, the House sponsor of SB 4 added, "The purpose of this legislation is to protect Texans from criminals who are here illegally. We are trying to make sure those bad actors are detained until we can determine their status. This bill will not affect law-abiding citizens, only those in trouble with the police. This legislation comes after governmental entities in Texas have adopted 'sanctuary city' policies that purposefully hinder or prohibit local law enforcement cooperation with U.S. Immigration and Customs and prohibit officers from inquiring about a person's immigration status."
Mexican American Legislative Caucus Chairman Rafael Anchia said, "It's a shameful day in Texas. Legislators debated for over 14 hours to pass, with little hesitation from the majority, a bill that was broadly opposed by law enforcement and faith leaders, including the Texas Conference of Catholic Bishops. If it was the goal of Governor Abbott and GOP legislative leaders to terrorize the Latino community, they have succeeded. This final vote comes on the same day MALC is back in a San Antonio federal court to fight for fair representation in our elections after six different court rulings have found intentional discrimination by the State of Texas. Texas has a long history of marginalizing Latinos and African-Americans, and this vote is no different. Representative Ana Hernandez detailed intimate memories of her upbringing as an undocumented child. Representative Wu drew parallels between SB 4 and past anti-immigrant legislation targeting Asians. Representative Mary Gonzalez attempted to carve out protections for our local law enforcement officers. Our MALC members fought hard for amendments that attempted to protect our local communities and ensure safe havens for victims of domestic violence, immigrants who have served our country, and the Latino community. We will continue to fight. We resist with the thousands of immigrants and advocates from all over the state who mobilized to protest this bill. Although we may have lost the vote, we won in energizing thousands of people who believe in equity, justice, and human decency."
Thursday, the House passed 68 bills on the Local and Consent Calendar and the four Third Reading bills that were debated on Wednesday. Some of the bills that passed include:
(HB 3722) providing additional funding for school districts that annex academically unacceptable districts,
(HB 279) continuing the Women's Health Advisory Committee until 2019,
(HB 1284) clarifying licensing requirements of a journeyman lineman,
(HB 2356) providing funding to offset property tax exemptions for disabled veterans in cities and counties adjacent to military installations,
(HB 1571) standardizing definitions of energy savings performance contracts,
(HB 2328) establishing expedited response procedures for public information requests, (HB 1934) providing temporary certification for educators whose spouses are active duty military,
(SB 1120) prohibiting local motor fuel taxes on compressed natural gas and liquefied natural gas,
(SB 301) sunset bill for the Employees Retirement System of Texas.
Total number of bills reported out of House Committees this week:   406
Total number of bills passed by the House this week:                               162
Total passed on the Local and Consent calendar this week:                        68
Appropriations Conference Committee - The conference committee on SB 1, the general appropriations bill held its first meeting on Monday of this week.

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