Here is a partial listing of some of the bills that have passed in the Senate this past week. Here are the highlights:
On Tuesday, the Senate passed 24 bills including:
the sunset bill for the Texas Board of Physical Therapy Examiners,
prohibiting local regulation of short-term rentals,
prohibiting state money from going toward construction or maintenance of the SB 979 proposed high speed rail line between Dallas and Houston, requiring any land taken through eminent domain by the railroad project be used for the purpose it was taken for, or be offered back to the original owner for repurchase,
requiring school advisory committees to recommend age appropriate curriculum on preventing the use of e-cigarettes,
requiring lobby expenditures by a political subdivision to be specifically authorized by the governing body of a subdivision in an open meeting,
allowing local Texas Department of Transportation district engineers to temporarily lower the speed limit on roadways subject to inclement weather, construction activities or other hazardous conditions. Details on other bills that passed the Senate on Tuesday are included in the issue categories below.
On Wednesday, the Senate passed 133 bills on the Local and Uncontested calendar and 23 bills including:
requiring state and local funds to divest investments in companies engaged in business in Iran and Sudan,
continuing the Employment-First Task Force,
allowing home school students to participate in UIL activities,
allowing insurers to provide disclosures regarding the insurance premium for a named driver insurance policy in written, oral, or electronic format,
and allowing a state senator or state representative to opt out of serving on the board of directors of a tax increment reinvestment zone). Some of the bills from the Local and Uncontested Calendar and others from the Intent calendar are summarized below in the issue categories.
On Thursday, the Senate passed 28 bills including:
offering protection from civil or criminal penalties to Good Samaritans who break into a car on a hot day to rescue a baby or an animal,
establishing a grant program to reduce recidivism, arrest, and incarceration of individuals with mental illness,
continuing the State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners,
allowing surviving spouses of disabled veterans to qualify for a Surviving Spouse of a Veteran License Plate,
amending piracy and unauthorized recording statutes,
allowing victims of human trafficking to petition a court to seal drug and theft convictions they received while being trafficked, and
by Van Taylor (R-Plano) would require state agencies to prepare a government growth impact statement on its proposed rules. It passed by a vote of 30-1.
by Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham) would require the State Auditor to compare the cost estimated in a bill's fiscal note prepared by the Legislative Budget Board with the actual cost to the state of the bill. It passed on Wednesday's Local and Uncontested Calendar.
proposing a constitutional amendment prohibiting the use of state funds to pay for the obligations of local public retirement systems.
Here is a partial listing of some of the bills that have passed in the House this past week. Here are some highlights:
On Monday, the House gave final approval to:
, which would prohibit the Department of Public Safety from participating in the driver record monitoring pilot program.
They also gave preliminary approval to nine additional bills including establishing a process for victims of human trafficking to have their prostitution convictions set-aside,
adding continuous human trafficking involving the sexual exploitation of children or prostitution to the list of offenses that require an individual to register as a sex offender,
imposing graduated penalties for misuse of official information,
making a student's visit to a military recruiter an excused absence,
providing state death benefits to survivors of peace officers employed by private institutions of higher education, and
requiring a study on lethal pesticides for feral hog control.
On Tuesday, the House passed the nine Third Reading bills and gave preliminary approval to ten other bills. Five of those are ethics reform bills -
revising requirements for identifying stock interests in personal financial statements,
repealing restrictions on activity by general-purpose political committees that have been ruled unconstitutional by a federal appeals court,
requiring out-of-state political committees to report direct campaign expenditures exceeding $100,
allowing electronic notices by the Texas Ethics Commission, and
removing financial restrictions on House speaker campaigns that have been held unconstitutional by a federal court.,
which revises and updates laws on human trafficking. And, they also passed to Third Reading
, which would exempt a commercial weighing or measuring device used exclusively to weigh food sold for immediate consumption from inspection and registration requirements with Texas Department of Agriculture,
which would define the events that begin the three-year period for presumption of abandonment for mutual funds.
On Wednesday, the House passed Third Reading bills and gave preliminary approval to ten bills.
by Chris Paddie (R-Marshall), which institutes state regulation and pre-empts local regulation of transportation network companies, passed to Third Reading by a vote of 110-37 after six floor amendments were adopted (it received final passage on Thursday by a vote of 110-35).
by Dan Huberty (R-Humble), a major public school finance reform bill, passed to Third Reading by a vote of 134-16 After several hours of debate and over 40 amendments considered (15 of which were adopted). It received final passage on Thursday by a vote of 132-5. Public school finance reform is a priority for Speaker Joe Straus, and after House passage of HB 21 the Speaker said, "When the Texas Supreme Court ruled our school finance system constitutional - but deeply flawed - we said that we would continue working to improve the system for students and taxpayers. Today we took a significant step in that direction with the passage of HB 21. I want to thank Chairman Huberty, the Committee on Public Education, and the members of the House for taking this step to improve public education in Texas. Texas public schools are doing a good job, and HB 21 will make them even better. This bill puts needed resources into Texas classrooms. It begins to bring long-overdue improvements to our school finance formulas. And it reduces the impact of Robin Hood by keeping more local dollars in local schools. Parents and taxpayers know that our school finance system needs reform. House Bill 21 begins to implement those reforms. If this type of legislation does not become law, property taxes will increase and more school districts will send their local dollars to other parts of the state. We cannot and should not continue to put more and more of the burden on property taxes. Fully reforming our school finance system may take several years and much more work, but now is the right time to start."
On Thursday, the House passed 73 bills on the Local and Consent Calendar and 25 other bills including the ten Third Reading bills that were passed to Third Reading on Wednesday. Some of the bills that passed include:
increasing the age of adult criminal responsibility from 17 to 18,
removing home addresses before Texas Ethics Commission reports are posted,
changing the categories of formula funding for public transportation funding, and
authorizing the commissioner of an emergency services district to receive the same compensation as directors of water districts.
Appropriations Conference Committee
- Senate and House conferees were appointed for the conference committee on SB 1, the general appropriations bill. Senate conferees are Senators Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound), Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa (D-McAllen), Joan Huffman (R-Houston), Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham), and Charles Schwertner (R-Georgetown). House conferees are Representatives John Zerwas (R-Fulshear), Oscar Longoria (D-Mission), Trent Ashby (R-Lufkin), Sarah Davis (R-Houston), and Larry Gonzales (R-Round Rock).
by Konni Burton (R-Colleyville) would repeal Chapter 313 of the Tax Code, the Texas Economic Development Act. In support were representatives of the Center for Public Policy Priorities, Texas Public Policy Foundation and City of Corpus Christi. In opposition were representatives of Sweetwater Economic Development Corporation, Texas Association of Manufacturers, The Wind Coalition, Texas Taxpayers and Research Association, Victoria Economic Development Corporation, Samsung Austin Semiconductor, Texas Association of Business, Texas Chemical Council, Texas Economic Development Council, Enbridge Energy, Greater Irving, Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce, BP America, Avangrid, CompTIA, Greater San Marcos Partnership, Association of Community Schools, Texas 2050 Group, Austin Chamber of Commerce, Texas Solar Power Association, Cypress Creek Renewables, Pattern Energy, Solar Energy Industries Association, Environmental Defense Fund, TechNet, Public Citizen Texas, Texas Healthcare and Bioscience Institute, Association of Electric Companies of Texas, Texas Oil and Gas Association, Dallas Regional Chamber, Longview Chamber of Commerce, BASF Corporation, Huntsman Corp., Texas Advanced Energy Business Alliance, Sierra Club-Lone Star Chapter, Texas School Coalition, Corpus Christi Regional Economic Development Council, ConocoPhillips, San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, Apex Clean Energy, Greater Houston Partnership, Dow Chemical, Freeport LNG, Lincoln Clean Energy, Metro 8 Chambers of Commerce, and Texas Economic Development Council. It was left pending.
As a reminder the next TAB Chamber Only conference call will take place May 5, 2017 at 10:00 a.m.