DON'T MISS IT
PUBLIC POLICY COMMITTEE
Join the Plano Chamber of Commerce for our monthly Public Policy Committee meeting. This committee discusses legislation and issues that affect the business community. Attended by business professionals, elected officials, and key community representatives, these meetings are open to all members in good standing.
for more details.
- Senate Business & Commerce Committee will meet April 18 to take up SB 895, SB 1301, SB 1639, SB 1642, SB 2064, SB 2127, and SB 2240.
- Senate Education Committee will meet April 18 to take up SB 419, SB 457, SB 1267, SB 1480, SB 1659, SB 2142, SB 2143, SB 2144, SB 2145, SB 2188.
- Senate Higher Education Committee will meet April 19 to take up SB 828, SB 1367, SB 1782, SB 1813, SB 2032, SB 2082, and SB 2118.
- Senate Natural Resources & Economic Development Committee will meet April 18 to take up SB 1137 and SB 2003.
- Senate Transportation Committee will meet April 19 to take up SB 2205.
- Senate Veteran Affairs & Border Security Committee will meet April 19 to take up SB 1845.
- House Agriculture & Livestock Committee will meet April 19 to take up HB 3717.
- House Appropriations Committee met April 17 to take up HB 40, HB 855, HB 935, HB 3026, HB 3529, HB 3537, HB 3765, and HB 3849.
- House Business & Industry Committee met April 17 to take up HB 2826 and HB 2856.
- House Energy Resources Committee met April 17 to take up HB 891, HB 1717, and HB 2688.
- House Environmental Regulation Committee will meet April 18 to take up HB 1979, HB 2568, HB 2569, HB 2682, HB 3393, and HB 3479.
- House Higher Education Committee will meet April 19 to take up HB 1472, HB 2705, HB 2937, HB 3512, HB 3808, HB 4106, HB 4220, and HB 4241.
- House Investments & Financial Services Committee will meet April 18 to take up HB 1217, HB 1760, HB 1767, HB 2001, HB 2831, and HB 3088.
- House Natural Resources Committee will meet April 19 to take up HB 2240, HB 3177, HB 3735, HB 4235, and HJR 36.
- House Public Education Committee will meet April 18 to take up HB 306, HB 310, HB 413, HB 884, HB 1451, HB 1857, HB 2014, HB 2767, HB 3434, HB 3548, HB 3706, and HB 4064.
- House State Affairs Committee will meet April 19 to take up HB 826 and HB 2576.
- House Ways & Means Committee will meet April 19 to take up HB 824, HB 1548/HJR 66, HB 2250, HB 2653, HB 2714, HB 3062, HB 3103, HB 3198, HB 3280, and HB 3366.
- House Ways & Means Committee will meet April 20 to take up unfinished business from Wednesday's hearings.
to view the full list of bills the Plano Chamber is tracking.
The Senate was in session Monday-Wednesday of last week.
The Senate will reconvene on Tuesday, April 18 at 12:00 PM. They will have a Local & Uncontested Calendar on April 19. CLICK HERE to view upcoming schedules.
The House was in session Monday-Thursday of last week. On April 10, they conducted routine business. T
he House will reconvene on April 17 at 2 PM.
to view upcoming schedules.
TEXAS TRANSITION ALLIANCE
On April 11, Gov. Abbott announced the Texas Transition Alliance aimed at expanding employment and training opportunities for military service members and their families. The new program is a partnership among Operation Welcome Home, the Governor's Tri-Agency Workforce Initiative in which he charged Texas Workforce Commission, Texas Education Agency and Higher Education Coordinating Board to identify gaps in employment and education services - including those for veterans, and a number of veteran- and employment-specific organizations. The program is designed to assist veterans and their families in the transition from active duty to civilian life. Gov. Abbott said, "This new program will provide the services and resources our veterans and their families deserve to complete a successful transition to civilian life. In order for Texas to compete in a 21st century economy, it is imperative we make investments in our workforce, and I can think of no better investment than our military service members. I thank the Tri-Agency Workforce Initiative for their work in developing this important program and look forward to building on its success in the coming years."
On April 10, the Senate passed 19 bills including:
- SB 264 by Charles Perry would allow jailers and correctional officers who can demonstrate they have completed firearm training to obtain a license to carry a handgun without going through additional firearm training. The committee substitute and one floor amendment were adopted and it passed unanimously.
- SB 293 by Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa would clarify the credible allegation of fraud standard for Medicaid fraud and would define "a significant financial risk to the state" as anything over $100,000. The committee substitute was adopted and it passed unanimously.
- SB 499 by Royce West would create the Uniform Partition of Heirs' Property Act in the Texas Property Code. It passed unanimously.
- SB 509 by Joan Huffman would require public retirement systems to have an independent firm evaluate the retirement system's investment practices and performance. The committee substitute was adopted and it passed unanimously.
- SB 564 by Donna Campbell would remove the Dept. of Information Resources from the statute allowing governmental bodies to conduct a closed door meeting to deliberate information technology security practices. It passed unanimously.
- SB 626 by Charles Schwertner would require a condemning authority to specify which parcel of a landowner's property is needed for a desired project and which is not subject to condemnation, and would require separate compensation offers for each parcel. The committee substitute was adopted and it passed unanimously.
- SB 628 by Charles Schwertner would strengthen existing "Landowner's Bill of Rights" protections, which allow landowners the right to repurchase property seized through eminent domain unless the condemning entity can demonstrate "actual progress" on the project within a defined period of time. It passed unanimously.
- SB 669 by Jane Nelson would reform property tax appraisal process. Sen. Nelson said, "Homeowners in Texas are shouldering a significant share of the tax burden. We need to reduce this burden and ensure that taxpayers are treated fairly in the appraisal process." The committee substitute was adopted and it passed unanimously.
- SB 750 by Brian Birdwell would repeal Sections 22.04 and 22.05 of Alcoholic Beverage Code, which prohibits a package store permit holder from having an interest in more than five package stores. It passed by a vote of 24-7.
- SB 944 by Bryan Hughes would be the Uniform Foreign-Country Money Judgments Recognition Act. It passed unanimously. (Note: the companion, HB 2122, was heard in the House Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence Committee on April 11 and left pending.)
- SB 951 by Kelly Hancock would authorize the holder of a winery permit to buy bulk wine from the holder of a grower's permit and store bulk wine on behalf of the holder of a grower's permit. It passed by a vote of 30-1.
- SB 968 by Kirk Watson would require post-secondary educational institutions to provide an option for a student or employee of the institution to electronically report an allegation of sexual assault, sexual harassment, dating violence or stalking committed against or witnessed by the student or employee, and must enable a student or employee to report the alleged offense anonymously. The committee substitute was adopted and it passed by a vote of 30-1.
- SB 969 by Kirk Watson would provide amnesty to students who commit a student conduct code violation ancillary to sexual assault incident if they are a victim of that sexual assault or reporting witness. The committee substitute was adopted and it passed by a vote of 30-1.
- SB 1081 by Konni Burton would specify that the prophylaxis to prevent ophthalmia neonatorum is not required to be administered at childbirth if the child's parent or guardian does not consent, and risk-screening is negative. Provisions providing Class B misdemeanor penalty for failing to administer the prophylaxis to prevent opthalmia neonatorum would be removed. The committee substitute was adopted and it passed unanimously.
- SB 1090 would revise tethering requirements to ensure that dog tethering is done in a humane manner. It passed by a vote of 29-2.
- SB 1176 by Donna Campbell would allow the holder of a wine and beer retailer's permit to transfer alcoholic beverages between permitted premises within the same county. The committee substitute was adopted and it passed by a vote of 30-1. (Note: the companion, HB 2344, was voted favorably as substituted from the House Licensing & Administrative Procedures on April 10.)
- SB 1390 by Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa would provide an excise tax exemption for cigarettes that are contained in a package labeled as "Experimental Use Only," "Reference Cigarettes," or other similar wording indicating that the manufacturer intends for the product to be used exclusively for experimental purposes. One floor amendment was adopted and it passed unanimously. (Note: The companion, HB 2692, was voted out favorably as substituted from the House Ways & Means Committee on April 12.)
by Robert Nichols would allow trucks carrying intermodal shipping containers traveling within 30 miles of a port of entry or an international bridge with approval of TxDOT to purchase an annual permit to carry cargo of up to 100,000 pounds in designated counties that is sealed with a U.S. customs seal. Sen. Nichols said, "This bill will allow Texas to maintain its competitive edge, as we compete with other states such as Louisiana, Florida and New York, who allow for increased weights on their roads. ... SB 1524 [creates] an annual permit, which would allow ocean going containers to travel within 30 miles of a port of entry or an international bridge, with an allowed increased weight limit, and are required to have extra axles. They would be limited to only TxDOT approved routes and the containers must be sealed with a U.S. customs seal." The committee substitute and four floor amendments were adopted and it passed by a vote of 27-4. (Note: the companion, HB 3854, was heard in the House Transportation Committee on April 12 and was left pending.)
The Senate also gave preliminary approval to two bills:
- SB 75 by Jane Nelson would require parental consent for a minor to join a union. Sen. Nelson said, "This legislation preserves the rights of parents - and protects minors from entering into a financial contract they may not fully understand. SB 75 provides an exemption for emancipated minors." It passed to Third Reading by vote of 20-11. It received final approval on April 11 by the same vote.
- SB 409 by Don Huffines changes the threshold for jurisdiction of justice courts from $10,000 to $20,000. It passed to Third Reading by a vote of 21-10. It received final approval on April 11 by a vote of 20-11.
On April 11, the Senate passed 10 bills. Two of those, SB 75 and SB 409, were on Third Reading. The others included:
- SB 313 by Charles Schwertner is the sunset bill for the State Board of Dental Examiners. The committee substitute and 3 floor amendments were adopted and it passed unanimously.
- SB 612 by Brian Birdwell would make it a defense to prosecution or to imposition of a civil penalty for a violation of an ethics law if the person requested a written advisory opinion from the Texas Ethics Commission and the commission did not issue the requested opinion. The committee substitute and 1 floor amendment were adopted and it passed unanimously.
- SB 822 by Craig Estes would direct the University of Texas at Austin to transfer the Lions Municipal Golf Course property to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. It passed by a vote of 21-10.
- SB 970 by Kirk Watson would require affirmative consent standard across all institutions of higher education. The committee substitute was adopted and it passed by a vote of 30-1.
- SB 1634 by Larry Taylor would provide that if the district anticipates providing less than 180 days of instruction for students during a school year, the district would be allowed to reduce the number of teacher in-service days proportionately; however, the district could not reduce an educator's salary. It passed unanimously. (Note: the companion, HB 1114, was heard in the House Public Education Committee on April 11 and left pending.)
- SB 1987 by Eddie Lucio, Jr. would require notices be given to landowners being included in a new municipal management district or being annexed into existing municipal management district. The committee substitute was adopted and it passed unanimously. (Note: the companion, HB 4051, was heard in the House Special Purpose Districts Committee on April 13 and left pending.)
They also gave preliminary approval to
by Brian Birdwell, which allows county clerks to recuse themselves from signing marriage licenses if doing so violates a sincerely-held religious belief and such notice has been provided to the local commissioners court.
- Sen. Birdwell said, "SB 522 creates a statutory balance between the religious liberties of marriage-certifying officials and the rights of all couples to marry. In instances where a county clerk recuses himself or herself, another 'certifying official' must be appointed by the commissioners court to perform the duties of the clerk. This bill also protects judges and magistrates by allowing them to perform or refuse to perform any marriage ceremony for any reason other than a prohibited reason, such as discrimination based on race." The committee substitute and one floor amendment were adopted and passed to Third Reading by a vote of 21-10. It received final approval on April 12 by the same vote. The floor amendment requires counties to "ensure that all eligible persons applying for a marriage license are given equal access to the process and are not subject to undue burden due to a county clerk's refusal to certify."
- Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller commented on SB 522 saying, "The Senate has clearly become the center of intolerance and discrimination in Texas government. That chamber has already passed SB 6, which would require discrimination against transgender people in public restrooms. Now the Senate has moved on to bills that would allow government officials, private individuals and businesses a license to use religion to discriminate. There are 17 such religious-refusal bills filed in the Legislature this year. The Texas Senate today said it has no problem with public officials picking and choosing which taxpayers they will serve. This bill opens the door to taxpayer-funded discrimination against virtually anyone who doesn't meet a public official's personal moral standards. That means same-sex couples, divorced people, women who have children outside of marriage and many others could be treated like second-class citizens by the very people whose salaries they pay with their tax dollars. That's discrimination, not religious freedom."
On April 12, in addition to giving final approval to SB 522, the Senate passed 11 bills including:
- SB 316 by Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa would implement a Sunset Advisory Commission recommendation regarding prescription of controlled substances by veterinarians. The committee substitute and 2 floor amendments were adopted and it passed by a vote of 24-7.
- SB 461 by Eddie Lucio, Jr. would standardize the information that a political subdivision must include in a ballot proposition for the issuance of bonds. The committee substitute was adopted and it passed unanimously. (Note: the companion, HB 3335, is set for a hearing in the House Elections Committee on April 17.)
- SB 627 by Charles Schwertner would provide landowners with increased disclosure of existing survey-related rights. The committee substitute was adopted and it passed unanimously.
by Kelly Hancock would repeal statutes allowing the
General Land Office
(GLO) to sell retail electric power to a state agency, institution of higher education, school district or political subdivision; however, it would allow the GLO to continue providing
retail electric service
under a contract entered into prior to repeal.
One Second Reading floor amendment was adopted and it passed to Third Reading by vote of 21-10. An additional floor amendment was adopted on Third Reading and it received final approval by a vote of 24-7. (Note: the companion, HB 1685, was heard in the House Land & Resource Management Committee on April 12 and left pending.)
by Bryan Hughes would authorize a claimant to bring an
action against a state agency
if the state agency takes a regulatory action against the claimant that is frivolous, unreasonable or without foundation.
It passed by a vote of 28-3.
by Charles Perry would add to the definition of
insurance services for sales tax purposes
a service performed by a certified public accountancy firm if less than 1% of the firm's revenue in the calendar year is from services that would otherwise constitute insurance services.
The committee substitute and one floor amendment were adopted and it passed unanimously.
by Dawn Buckingham would prohibit the appraisal review board from determining the
value of a property
to be greater than the value submitted by the chief appraiser unless agreed to by the parties to the protest.
The committee substitute was adopted and it passed unanimously.
The Senate also passed SCR 3 by Brandon Creighton, which would claim sovereignty for the State of Texas under the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution over all powers not otherwise enumerated and granted by the federal govt. It was adopted by a vote of 20-11.
Total number of bills reported out of Senate Committees last week: 140
Total number of bills passed by the Senate last week: 41
Total passed on the Local and Uncontested calendar last week: 0
On April 11, the House gave preliminary approval to 10 bills including:
On April 12, the House gave preliminary approval to 12 bills including:
- HB 257 by Ana Hernandez would require the Texas Workforce Commission in consultation with the Texas Coordinating Council for Veterans Services to submit an annual report to the governor and legislature identifying:
- The 5 most common military occupational specialties of service members who are transitioning from military service to employment;
- The 5 occupations for which the military occupational specialties identified best offer transferable skills that meet the needs of employers; and
- Any industry-based certifications that align with the military occupational specialties identified. It passed to Third Reading on a voice vote. It received final approval on April 12 by a vote of 130-16.
- HB 271 by Rick Millerwould establish the Veterans Recovery Pilot Program to provide treatment facilities reimbursement for services to eligible veterans who have post-traumatic stress disorder or a traumatic brain injury. The committee substitute was adopted and it passed to Third Reading on a voice vote. It received final approval on April 12 by a vote of 140-6. (Note: the companion, SB 1075, is set for a hearing in the Senate Health & Human Services Committee on April 19.)
- HB 280 by Donna Howard would create a grant program administered by the nursing resource section to prevent workplace violence against nurses. Rep. Howard said, "Today's passage of HB 280 will hopefully lead to statewide innovative violence prevention efforts, protecting nurses and other health care workers, as well as patients and their families. Nurses take care of us - now we're taking care of nurses." It passed to Third Reading by a vote of 122-21. It received final approval on April 12 by a vote of 110-35.
- HB 281 by Donna Howard would establish a statewide electronic tracking system for evidence in sex crimes. Rep. Howard said, "HB 281 would establish a secure, confidential tracking system for rape kits. ... It is not uncommon for survivors of sexual assault to feel as if they have lost control. This convenient online tracker stands to give them a small piece of control in at least knowing the status of their evidence, and will help foster trust between themselves and the systems involved." The committee substitute and one floor amendment were adopted and it passed to Third Reading on a voice vote, and unanimously passed on final approval April 12.
- HB 322 by Terry Canales would establish a process for the automatic expunction of arrest records for defendants who successfully complete a veterans treatment court program. One floor amendment was adopted and it passed to Third Reading on a voice vote and received final unanimous approval on April 12.
- HB 878 by Ken King would allow school districts to extend the district's depository bank contract for three (instead of two) additional years. It passed to Third Reading on a voice vote and received final unanimous approval on April 12.
- HB 1178 by John Kuempel would make theft of dangerous controlled drugs from Texas pharmacies, hospitals, clinics and nursing homes a third degree felony. It passed to Third Reading by a vote of 137-7. On April 12, it received final approval by a vote of 139-6.
- HB 1862 by Eddie Lucio, III would designate creeks in Presidio, Marion, Cass, Morris, Red River, Bowie, and Brewster counties as having unique ecological value. The committee substitute was adopted and it passed to Third Reading by a vote of 97-47. It was finally passed on April 12 by a vote of 91-55.
- HB 2005 by Lyle Larson would require the Texas Water Development Board, in consultation with groundwater conservation districts, regional water planning groups and potential sponsors of aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) projects to:
- Conduct studies of ASR projects identified in the state water plan or by interested persons; and
- Report the results of each study to regional water planning groups and interested persons. It passed to Third Reading by a vote of 142-3, and was finally passed on April 12 by a vote of 143-3.
- HB 2007 by Scott Cosper would authorize the Board of Dental Examiners to issue military limited volunteer license to practice dentistry or dental hygiene to a qualified dentist or hygienist if they only practice at a clinic that primarily treats indigent patients, and if they do not receive compensation for services rendered. It passed to Third Reading unanimously on April 11 and on final passage on April 12.
On April 13, the House passed 11 Third Reading bills on the General Calendar and 30 bills on its first Local and Consent Calendar of the Session. Some of the bills that passed on the Local and Consent Calendar are listed in the issue categories below.
- HB 9 by Giovanni Capriglione is a cybercrime bill that would make it a third degree felony for a person to intentionally interrupt or suspend access to a computer system or computer network without the effective consent of the owner. The committee substitute and one floor amendment were adopted and it passed to Third Reading on a voice vote. It received unanimous final passage on April 13.
- HB 13 by Four Price would establish a matching grant program to support community mental health programs for individuals experiencing mental illness. Three floor amendments were adopted and it passed to Third Reading on a voice vote. It received final passage on April 13 by a vote of 133-6.
- HB 66 by Ryan Guillen would provide that if a student appointed to receive a Texas Armed Services Scholarship fails to maintain eligibility, the elected official who appointed the student would be allowed to appoint another student. The committee substitute was adopted and it passed to third reading on a voice vote. It received unanimous final approval on April 13. (Note: the companion, SB 49, passed the Senate on March 6, 2017.)
- HB 394 by Donna Howard would designate theLady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at the University of Texas at Austin as the state botanical garden and arboretum. The committee substitute was adopted and it passed to Third Reading on a voice vote. It received final approval on April 13 by a vote of 130-6.
- HB 827 by Cesar Blanco would require the Workforce Commission to develop and maintain a searchable database through which prospective employers could qualify a veteran's military service experience and employment qualifications related to specific skills. The committee substitute was adopted and it passed to Third Reading on a voice vote. It received final passage on April 13 by a vote of 115-24.
- HB 915 by Ed Thompson would prohibit an insurer writing automobile insurance from delivering, issuing for delivery, or renewing a named driver policy unless the named driver policy is an operator's policy. It passed to Third Reading by a vote of 133-11 and received final approval on April 13 by a vote of 126-11.
- HB 970 by Philip Cortez would require the DSHS to establish a state plan for streptococcus pneumonia education and prevention. One floor amendment was adopted and it passed to Third Reading by a vote of 126-19. On April 13, it received final passage by a vote of 118-19.
- HB 1731 by Ken King would eliminate students receiving treatment in a residential facility from consideration in determining the drop-out rate for school accountability purposes. It passed to Third Reading on a voice vote and received unanimous final approval on April 13.
Total number of bills reported out of House Committees last week: 171
Total number of bills passed by the House last week: 51
Total passed on the Local and Consent Calendar last week: 30
SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE
On April 10, the
Senate Finance Committee
- SB 521 by Brandon Creighton would prohibit an appraisal district employee from testifying on the value of real property in an appeal unless the employee is authorized to perform an appraisal as a certified or licensed real estate appraiser. It was left pending.
- SB 1286 by Paul Bettencourt would require parties to a protest before an Appraisal Review Board (ARB) to provide a copy of their materials on a form prescribed by the comptroller; would allow the ARB to retain the material as part of the hearing record; would require audiovisual equipment for a property owner to use upon request; and would require removal of an arbitrator that has repeated bias or misconduct. It was reported favorably as substituted and recommended for the Local & Uncontested Calendar. It is on the Senate Intent Calendar for April 18 (first placement).
- SB 1360 by Kirk Watson would prescribe the methodology to compute taxes imposed on an owner's property by Chapter 41 school district for tax notice purposes. It was left pending.
- SB 1407 by Van Taylor would require a tax bill from a school district subject to recapture to list on the tax bill the percentage of taxes used to make recapture payments. It was left pending.
- SB 1713 by Carlos Uresti would define seller and retailer to include a person who is a marketplace provider or referrer. It would stipulate that a retailer is engaged in business in this state if the retailer engages in any part of a sale, lease, or rental of a taxable item to a purchaser in this state, regardless of whether the retailer contracts with a third party to perform all or any part of the transaction, or whether the retailer performs all or any part of the transaction through an entity in which the retailer holds a substantial ownership interest or that holds a substantial ownership interest in the retailer. The marketplace provider would not be required to collect a use tax that is due from a purchaser if the retailer for whom the marketplace provider facilitates the sale, lease, or rental collects the tax from the purchaser. CLICK HERE to read the list of those in support and opposition. It was left pending.
- SB 1847 by Paul Bettencourt would allow a taxpayer to file a motion for correction of the appraisal roll for the current year and preceding two years if the correction would correct an error or omission in a rendition report, but only if the rendition had been timely filed. It was reported out favorably and recommended for the Local & Uncontested Calendar. It is on the Senate Intent Calendar for April 18.
- SB 2061 by Lois Kolkhorst would change the limit on an ad valorem tax appraisal roll correction from one-third of the correct appraised value to the market value or median appraised value of a reasonable number of comparable properties. It was left pending.
- SB 2207 by Kelly Hancock would give a property owner a right to appeal an increase in the appraised value if the value was lowered in the preceding tax year, would limit the appeal to the issue of whether the chief appraiser met the substantial evidence burden of proof, and allow the court to award attorneys fees and court costs to a prevailing party. It was left pending.
SENATE BUSINESS & COMMERCE COMMITTEE
- SB 895 by Kel Seliger would clarify requirements for individual health benefit plans to make transparent prescription drug coverage formulary information. (Note: the companion, HB 1227, passed the House on April 6, but has not yet been referred to a Senate Committee.)
- SB 1301 by Brandon Creighton would allow the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission to require proof that a laboratory performing a test to verify alcohol content of malt beverages to be a certified lab. (Note: companion HB 2299 passed the House on April 13.)
- SB 1639 by Kirk Watson would authorize the holder of a wholesaler's permit to purchase ale and malt liquor from holders of a brewpub license.
- SB 1642 by Kirk Watson would allow the holder of a brewpub license to sell beer, ale, and malt liquor to qualified distributors outside the state. (Note: the companion, HB 3400, is set for a hearing in the House Licensing & Administrative Procedures Committee for April 17.)
- SB 2064 by Kelly Hancock would specify that it is an unlawful business practice for an emergency facility to charge an unconscionable price for or in connection with emergency or other care at the facility.
- SB 2127 by Larry Taylor would prohibit a consumer reporting agency from furnishing a consumer report containing information related to a collection account with a medical industry billing code when the consumer had health insurance at the time of the event and the collection relates to billing for an outstanding balance, after copayments, deductibles, and coinsurance, owed to an emergency care provider or a facility-based provider for an out-of-network benefit claim.
- SB 2240 by Larry Taylor would clarify health care information notification requirements for a free-standing emergency medical care facility that is not an urgent care center.
HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE
- HB 40 by Ron Simmons would require the comptroller to maintain money received from the federal government separately from general revenue fund money and ensure that the federal money is used for the purpose for which the federal money is received.
- HB 855 by Giovanni Capriglione would require the portion of the Rainy Day Fund that must be invested under the "prudent person" rule to be the amount that exceeds 30% of the fund's cap as defined under the Texas Constitution.
- HB 935 by John Zerwas would establish the emergency medical air transportation account as a dedicated account in the general revenue fund.
- HB 3026 by Dade Phelan would abolish the used oil recycling account and transfer the funds into the water resource management account.
- HB 3529 by Giovanni Capriglione would clarify the comptroller's authority to invest money held outside the state treasury.
- HB 3537 by Charlie Geren would clarify that interest earned on federal funds subject to the Federal Wildlife Restoration Act in the deferred maintenance fund account are subject to the same use restrictions as other funds in the account.
- HB 3765 by Oscar Longoria is a payment of claims and judgments against the state bill.
- HB 3849 by John Zerwas is the funds consolidation bill that dedicates and rededicates state funds and accounts.
HOUSE BUSINESS & INDUSTRY COMMITTEE
The House Business & Industry Committee will meet April 17 to take up:
- HB 2826 by Rene Oliveira would add to the definition of "person" under the Business Organizations Code a series of a domestic limited liability company or a foreign entity; and would establish procedures for service of process on series of limited liability companies or foreign entities. It also makes several changes to statutes related to limited liability companies. (Note: the companion, SB 1517, was reported favorably from Senate Business & Commerce Committee on April 10 and recommended for Local & Uncontested Calendar.)
- HB 2856 by Jason Villalba would allow the Secretary of State to only register or reserve a name requested by a foreign entity that is not a distinguishable name for another name already registered or reserved if the foreign entity delivers to the SOS a certified copy of a final judgment of a court that establishes the entity's right to the name in this state.
HOUSE INVESTMENTS & FINANCIAL SERVICES COMMITTEE
The House Investments & Financial Services Committee will meet April 18 to take up:
- HB 1217 by Tan Parker would require the Secretary of State to adopt standards for electronic notarization.
- HB 1760 by Pat Fallon would require a fee charged on a money transmission for an individual that originates in Texas and is transmitted to a destination outside the United States if the individual does not present proof that the individual is a U.S. citizen or is lawfully present in the U.S.
- HB 1767 by Nicole Collier would prohibit a debt buyer from contacting or attempting to contact a consumer for purposes of debt collection if the debt buyer knows or has reason to know that a cause of action for collection of the consumer debt is barred by a statute of limitations.
- HB 2001 by Eric Johnson would prohibit a consumer reporting agency from charging a fee for the placement or removal or a security freeze if the protected consumer's representative submits to the consumer reporting agency a copy of a notice from a user of a consumer report, including a credit card issuer, that the protected consumer's sensitive personal information has been disclosed as a result of a breach of system security.
- HB 2831 by Rene Oliveira would limit a bank's investment authority to 25% of the bank's unimpaired capital and surplus unless the bank receives prior written authorization by the banking commissioner.
- HB 3088 by Lina Ortega would eliminate a loophole that wrap lenders and servicers do not have to be licensed unless they make 5 or more loans annually.
HOUSE STATE AFFAIRS COMMITTEE
House State Affairs Committee
will meet April 19 to take up
by Cesar Blanco, which would require the comptroller to prepare an annual report containing a comprehensive financial analysis of the
impact of undocumented immigrants
on the state budget and economy.
SENATE NATURAL RESOURCES & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE
HOUSE GOVERNMENT TRANSPARENCY & OPERATION COMMITTEE
The House Government Transparency & Operation Committee met April 10 to take up HB 4038 by Dwayne Bohac, which would add to the definition of "qualifying job" for purposes of sales tax exemption for tangible personal property associated with a data center for a new employment position staffed by a third-party employer if a written contract exists between the third-party employer and qualifying owner, operator, or occupant that provides that the employment position is permanently assigned to an associated qualifying data center. It was initially left pending, but on April 12, it was reported out favorably and recommended for the Local & Consent Calendar.
HOUSE ECONOMIC & SMALL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE
On April 13, the House Economic & Small Business Development Committee took up:
- HB 2004 by Charles "Doc" Anderson would expand the Texas Dept. of Agriculture's Texas Economic Development Fund to allow it to be used for:
- Encouraging the export of Texas agriculture products or products manufactured in rural Texas; and
- An economic development program established through an agreement with a federal agency, foreign governmental entity, public university, or state governmental entity to encourage rural economic development. It was left pending.
by Angie Chen Button would require the Department of Information Resources to establish a common electronic application and reporting system for economic development incentives. It was left pending.
by Tan Parker would make two NASCAR races eligible for Major Events Reimbursement Program funding, the All-Star race, and the championship race. It was left pending.
by Angie Chen Button would require the Economic Incentive Oversight Board to evaluate the Texas Economic Development Act; to develop a performance matrix to facilitate evaluation of the program; and to develop a schedule to regularly review the program and make recommendations for improvement. It was left pending.
by Gina Hinojosa would authorize a for-profit corporation to elect to become a public benefit corporation. It was left pending.
by Angie Chen Button would establish the Texas Leverage Fund administered by the Texas Economic Development Bank to be used to make loans to economic development corporations for eligible projects; to pay administrative costs of the fund; and to pay the principal and interest on the bonds. It would authorize the Texas Economic Development Bank to issue bonds secured by local economic development sales and use tax revenue from economic development corporations. It was left pending.
House Economic & Small Business Development Committee
will meet April 20 to take up:
- HB 671 by Eric Johnson would require 10% of the unencumbered balance of the Texas Enterprise Fund to be transferred to the Capital Access Fund at the beginning of each fiscal biennium.
- HB 3160 by Angie Chen Button would allow the Texas Enterprise Fund to be used for commercialization of property derived from research developed through an institution of higher education that is also supported by one or more participating private entities.
- HB 3364 by Angie Chen Button would authorize the governor to use the Texas Enterprise Fund to reimburse a grant recipient for up to 15% of of expenses incurred for the purchase of goods or services from a business in Texas.
- HB 3740 by Ron Reynolds would require information about historically underutilized businesses and the expansion of the small business development center network to be added to the CTE curriculum.
PASSED THE HOUSE
- HB 217 by Terry Canales would add disabled veterans to the list of eligible homeowners who can defer the collection of property tax on their homestead. It passed on the Local & Consent Calendar on April 13.
- HB 455 by Will Metcalf would allow a property owner to appear by telephone at an appraisal review board hearing if evidence is submitted by affidavit prior to hearing. The committee substitute was adopted and passed on the April 13 Local & Consent Calendar.
- HB 457 by Justin Holland would maintain the confidentiality of the home address in ad valorem tax records of a spouse, surviving spouse, or adult child of a peace officer. The committee substitute was adopted and it passed on the April 13 Local & Consent Calendar.
HOUSE WAYS & MEANS COMMITTEE
On April 12, the
House Ways & Means Committee
- HB 643 by Larry Phillips would remove the requirement that land be appraised as qualified open-space land prior to qualifying for wildlife management land. It was left pending.
- HB 1211 by Larry Phillips would change the penalty for a change of use of open-space land from five years to three years imposed at market value plus an annual interest rate of 5% instead of 7%. It was left pending.
- HB 1621 by Dwayne Bohac would authorize a corporation that had unused franchise tax credits prior to January 1, 2008 under the old franchise tax to transfer the right to all or part of the expired credits to another taxpayer. Credits could not apply after August 31, 2019. It was left pending.
- HB 1626 by Roland Gutierrez would provide that a tax abatement agreement on real property in a tax increment financing reinvestment zone would not have to be approved by the board of directors of the reinvestment zone and the governing body of each taxing unit in the tax increment reinvestment zone if the agreement entered into by a taxing unit does not deposit any of its tax increment into the tax increment fund for the zone. It was left pending.
- HB 1833 by Harold Dutton would exempt property from ad valorem taxation during the period between the issuance of a judgment foreclosing a tax lien and the sale of the property at a tax sale. It was left pending.
- HB 2171 by Ryan Guillen would require the comptroller within 30 days of a refund claim or credit taken to notify a local taxing entity if its portion of the amount is five percent or more of the local taxes it received in the prior year. It was left pending.
- HB 2453 by Eddie Lucio, III would institute a premium tax credit if the entity holds a qualified equity investment in a community development entity. It was left pending.
- HB 2560 by Tracy King would delete references to leasing or renting heavy equipment for purposes of appraising dealer's inventory. It was left pending.
- HB 2654 by Lynn Stucky would clarify that a county tax assessor-collector who performs duties related to collection of assessments imposed by a local government related to Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) projects is not personally liable as a result of exercising those duties. It was left pending.
- HB 2756 by Byron Cook would change from 30 days to 90 days the deadline to file a petition for redetermination or a refund with the comptroller; and would authorize a taxpayer who is dissatisfied with the decision on a motion for redetermination to file a motion for rehearing. It was left pending.
- HB 2906 by Richard Raymond would allow a taxpayer to file a motion for correction of the appraisal roll for the current year and preceding two years if the correction would correct an error or omission in a rendition report, but only if the rendition had been timely filed. It was left pending.
- HB 3232 by Drew Darby would provide an exception to 5% penalty for delinquent payment of oil and gas severance taxes if the delinquency results from the filing of an amended report. It was left pending.
- HB 3345 by Drew Springer would include in the definition of "passive entity" interest income by a person in the business of making loans to the general public. It was left pending.
- HB 3466 by Tracy King would clarify provisions regarding ad valorem taxes on dealer's heavy equipment inventory. It was left pending.
- HB 3614 by Geanie Morrison would clarify the definition of new oil and gas property for county property tax purposes. It was left pending.
- HB 3714 by Gina Hinojosa would provide businesses with 500 employees or less a franchise tax credit for contributions made to the dependent care flexible spending account of each employee who receives an annual salary of $65,000 or less. It was left pending.
- HB 3908/HJR 115 by Dennis Bonnen would provide a property tax exemption for peace officers who purchase a home in a qualified high-crime area. They were left pending.
- HB 4002 by Dennis Bonnen would clarify that the word production for purposes of the cost of goods sold deduction would mean construction, manufacture, development, mining, extraction, improvement, creation, raising, or growth. It was left pending.
- HB 4052 by Jim Murphy would clarify that temporary employment services are exempt from the sales tax, and would establish that an employee of a temporary employment service is under the supervision of an employer if the employer has the sole right to direct and control the employee as necessary to conduct the employer's business or to comply with any licensing, statutory, or regulatory requirement applicable to the employer. It was left pending. (Note: the companion, SB 745, passed the Senate on April 4. It has not been referred to committee in the House.)
- HB 4054 by Jim Murphy would exempt baked goods from the sales tax. It was left pending.
- HB 4293 by Tom Craddick would allow the governing body of a taxing unit to waive penalties and interest on a delinquent tax if the taxpayer submits evidence showing that delinquency was not intentional or result of conscious indifference. It was left pending.
- HJR 113 by Giovanni Capriglione would propose a constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to exempt precious metals held by the Texas Bullion Depository from ad valorem taxes. It was left pending.
House Ways & Means Committee will meet April 19 to take up:
- HB 824 by Chris Turner would add LED light bulbs to the Memorial Day weekend sales tax holiday for energy efficiency products.
- HB 1548/HJR 66 by Harold Dutton would exempt improved and unimproved real property in a school district located within a one-mile radius of the center of a school campus for low-income housing.
- HB 2250 by Drew Darby would add to the definition of retail trade uniform rental activities for purposes of the franchise tax rate.
- HB 2653 by Charlie Geren would allow a property owner to appeal an order of an Appraisal Review Board to district court where ARB lacks jurisdiction to make final determination and would allow the court to remand the case to the ARB for determination instead of dismissing an appeal for lack of jurisdiction.
- HB 2714 by Dwayne Bohac would exempt from ad valorem taxes leased motor vehicles that are leased to the state, a political subdivision or a tax-exempt organization and used by the organization for religious, educational or charitable purposes.
- HB 3062 by Kyle Kacal would prescribe procedures for the sale of property for delinquent ad valorem taxes.
- HB 3103 by Drew Darby would establish tax liability in Texas for interstate trucks if the property is used in Texas three or more times on regular routes for three or more completed assignments occur in close succession throughout the year.
- HB 3198 by Drew Darby would eliminate additional taxes imposed when there is a change in use of open-space land if the change is a result of a lessee conducting oil and gas operations.
- HB 3280 by Gina Hinojosa would require municipalities that impose a hotel occupancy tax to annually report to the comptroller the tax rate and the amount of revenue received. (Note: the companion, SB 1221, is on the Senate Intent Calendar for April 18.)
- HB 3366 by Dwayne Bohac is the sales tax cleanup bill. (Note: the companion, SB 1539, passed the Senate on April 5 but has not yet been referred to committee in the House.)
House Ways & Means Committee
will meet April 20 to take up unfinished business from the hearings on April 19.
SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE
On April 11, the
Senate Education Committee
- SB 196 by Sylvia Garcia would require schools that do not have a full-time nurse, school counselor, or librarian to give written notice to the parents of each student enrolled in the school. It was left pending.
- SB 463 by Kel Seliger would remove the sunset date on individual graduate committees. It was left pending.
- SB 1220 by Borris Miles would require the TEA to develop procedures to ensure that a new school relies on decisions made by a previous school regarding placement of a homeless student and students in substitute care in comparable courses or educational programs if they are available; and would require Dept. of Family & Protective Services to assist foster care youth and former foster care youth in obtaining a high school diploma or high school equivalency certificate and industry certifications that are necessary for occupations in high demand fields. It was left pending.
- SB 1353 by Larry Taylor would provide additional state aid for facility renovation, repair, and replacement for 5 years after an academically unacceptable school district is annexed to another school district. It was left pending.
- SB 1404 by Bryan Hughes would require school districts to report the number and percentage of students enrolled at a campus in a voluntary after-school program and a voluntary summer program. It was left pending.
- SB 1481 by Larry Taylor would change the instructional materials allotment to instructional materials and technology allotment. It would prohibit school districts from using money in their instructional materials and technology account until the district has submitted and obtained peer review certification of district's technology plan. It would require the State Board of Education to limit adoption of instructional materials to provide sufficient resources to purchase technology resources, including digital curriculum. It was left pending.
- SB 1854 by Carlos Uresti would require campus-level committees to review every 6 months the paperwork requirements imposed on classroom teachers and recommend to the board of trustees paperwork responsibilities that can be transferred to non-instructional staff. It was left pending.
- SB 1903 by Royce West would require the TEA and Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to jointly develop statewide goals for dual credit programs, including early college high school programs, career and technical education dual credit programs, and joint high school and college credit programs to provide uniform standards for evaluation the programs. It was left pending. (Note: the companion, HB 1638, was heard in the House Public Education Committee on April 11 and left pending.)
Senate Education Committee
will meet April 18 to take up:
- SB 419 by Lois Kolkhorst would extend the expiration date for Additional State Aid for Tax Reduction (ASATR) from Sept. 1, 2017 to Sept. 1, 2023.
- SB 457 by Donna Campbell would provide charter school funding per student to be calculated based on the guaranteed level of state and local funds per students per cent of tax effort multiplied by the state average interest and sinking fund tax rate imposed by school districts for the current year.
- SB 1267 by Larry Taylor would allow a school district that held a successful tax ratification election (TRE) a 10-year window to lower its maintenance and operation (M&O) tax rate and then subsequently raise it back up without holding another TRE. (Note: the companion, HB 486, was on the House Calendar on April 12 but was knocked off of the calendar on a point of order. It has been re-committed to House Ways & Means Committee.)
- SB 1480 by Bryan Hughes would base the amount of charter school facility bonds guaranteed by the permanent school fund on the percentage of students in charter schools compared to the number of students enrolled in all public schools in the state. (Note: the companion, HB 467, was voted favorably as substituted from the House Public Education Committee on April 11.)
- SB 1659 by Larry Taylor would require the Commissioner of Education to establish a competitive grant program to assist school districts and open-enrollment charter schools in implementing high-quality educational programs; and would authorize the Commissioner of Education to accept gifts, grants, donations or other contributions on behalf of the public school system.
- SB 2142 by Larry Taylor would repeal the high school allotment under the Foundation School Program.
- SB 2143 by Larry Taylor would increase the basic allotment from $4,765 to $5,140.
- SB 2144 by Larry Taylor would establish the Texas Commission on Public School Finance to develop and make recommendations for improvements to the current public school finance system or for new methods of financing public schools.
- SB 2145 by Larry Taylor is a public school finance reform bill.
- SB 2188 by Larry Taylor would clarify that a student who is at least 18 years of age who has met graduation credit requirements and is in an off home campus instructional arrangement is considered a full-time equivalent of the student receives 20 hours of contact a week for purposes of the average daily attendance calculation.
HOUSE PUBLIC EDUCATION COMMITTEE'S SUBCOMMITTEE ON EDUCATOR QUALITY
On April 10, the
House Public Education Committee's Subcommittee on Educator Quality
- HB 1867 by Mary Gonzalez would require the local innovation plan of a school district of innovation to include educator certification requirements and federal law requirements regarding assignment of appropriately certified educators for bilingual education and special education. It was left pending.
- HB 2039 by Dan Huberty would require the State Board of Education to establish an early childhood certificate for teachers that receive special training in early childhood education focusing on prekindergarten through grade three. It was initially left pending, but on April 12, it was voted out of the Public Education Committee.
- HB 2775 by Dade Phelan would require educator preparation program support to allow required formal observation to occur on the candidate's site or through use of electronic transmission or other video-based or technology-based method. It was left pending.
- HB 2924 by Dwayne Bohac would provide that internships under the education preparation program require no more than 5 field supervisor visits and allow at least three of the field supervisor visits be provided by video, Internet or other remote technological method. It was left pending. (Note: the companion, SB 1278, was heard in the Senate Education Committee and left pending.)
- HB 2941 by Harold Dutton would allow school districts to adopt a plan to increase teacher quality and performance including teacher performance appraisals, professional development opportunities, peer mentoring opportunities, career advancement opportunities, and decisions relating to compensation. It was left pending.
- HB 3044 by Dan Huberty would allow the field-based experience required in a teacher preparation program to be obtained up to two years prior to admission in an educator preparation program. It was left pending.
- HB 3349 by Barbara Gervin-Hawkins would require the State Board for Educator Certification to establish an abbreviated educator preparation program for a person seeking certification in trade and industrial workforce training. It was left pending.
- HB 3563 by Linda Koop would conform parental notification requirements regarding teacher qualifications with the Every Student Succeeds Act. It was initially left pending, but was voted favorably out of the House Public Education Committee on April 12.
- HB 3692 by Joe Deshotel would prohibit teacher performance to be based in any part on student performance on assessment instruments. It was left pending.
HOUSE PUBLIC EDUCATION COMMITTEE
The House Public Education Committee will meet on April 18 to take up:
- HB 306 by Ina Minjarez would be David's Law. It prohibits cyberbullying, provides reporting procedures, requires Texas Supreme Court to adopt pre-trial discovery rules for cyberbullying cases involving injury or death of a minor; and establishes civil liability for cyberbullying cases.
- HB 310 by Jarvis Johnson would allow compensatory education allotment funding to be used for school guidance and counseling programs.
- HB 413 by Diego Bernal would allow the Instructional Materials Allotment to be used for salary and other expenses of an employee who is directly involved in student learning, staff involved in addressing the social-emotional health of students in addition to current law allowing its use for employees who provide technical support for the use of technological equipment directly involved in student learning.
- HB 884 by Ken King would require the State Board of Education to study Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) curriculum requirements and revise TEKS to narrow the number and scope of student expectations for each subject and grade level to make them narrower than Jan. 1, 2017 levels. SBOE would also be required to determine whether the college and career readiness standards have been appropriately integrated into TEKS. It would limit instructional materials proclamations issued by the SBOE to proclamations for instructional materials in which the total projected cost of instructional materials does not exceed 75% of the total amount of instructional materials funding.
- HB 1451 by Ryan Guillen would require the SBOE to allow successful completion of a dual language immersion program at an elementary school to count as one high school credit as a foreign language. (Note: the companion, SB 671, is on the Senate Intent Calendar for April 18.)
- HB 1857 by Ken King would require each instructional material on the instructional material list be suitable for the subject and grade level for which the instructional material was submitted. And, it would require supplemental instructional material to be suitable for the subject and grade level.
- HB 2014 by Tan Parker would authorize the Commissioner of Education to designate a campus as a mathematics innovation zone where the campus implements an innovative mathematics instructional program that addresses the essential knowledge and skills of the mathematics curriculum.
- HB 2767 by Barbara Gervin-Hawkins would require a two-year delay in adopting rules affecting public school accountability.
- HB 3434 by Linda Koop would require the TEA to adopt uniform general conditions to be incorporated in all construction contracts made by school districts.
- HB 3548 by Tan Parker would authorize the Texas Public Finance Authority to establish a nonprofit corporation to issue bonds for charter school facilities.
- HB 3706 by Eddie Lucio, III would add options for alternative education programs designed to address workforce development needs for at risk students.
- HB 4064 by Dwayne Bohac would require educator certification programs to include instruction in digital learning and include a digital literacy evaluation; and would require educator and principal continuing education requirements to include instruction regarding digital learning, digital teaching and integrating technology into the classroom.
PASSED THE HOUSE
HB 846 by John Raney would prohibit institutions of higher education from imposing additional obligations or burdens regarding payment or registration on Hazelwood students. The committee substitute was adopted and it passed on the Local & Consent Calendar on April 13.
SENATE HIGHER EDUCATION COMMITTEE
On April 12, the
Senate Higher Education Committee
- SB 803 by Kel Seliger would require the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to study the feasibility of requiring each researcher whose research is funded by state or federal money to submit to a state agency an electronic copy of each original research paper by the researcher that is accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. It was reported favorably and recommended for the Local and Uncontested Calendar.
- SB 1123 by Judith Zaffirini would clarify conditions for adopted and former foster care students to receive tuition and fee exemptions. It was reported favorably and recommended for the Local and Uncontested Calendar.
- SB 1225 by Borris Miles would include employment at a state supported living center, or at a state hospital, among the eligibility requirements for the repayment of physician education loans. It was left pending.
- SB 1781 by Royce West would increase regulation of degree-granting post-secondary career schools and colleges by Texas Higher Education Board. It was reported favorably as amended. (Note: the companion, HB 4220, is set for a hearing in the House Higher Education Committee on April 19.)
- SB 2048 by Paul Bettencourt would eliminate the Texas Opportunity Plan Fund and replace it with the student loan auxiliary fund. It was reported favorably and recommended for the Local & Uncontested Calendar.
Senate Higher Education Committee will meet April 19 to take up:
- SB 828 by Larry Taylor would provide that a degree or certificate program offered at an off-campus academic or research site is considered a new degree or certificate program if not previously offered at the off-campus academic or research site. And, it would require the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to approve or disapprove an action by the governing board of an institution of higher education or university system to purchase, lease or otherwise acquire property for use at a new or existing off-campus academic or research site or acquire or construct a building or facility for use at an off-campus site.
- SB 1367 by Jose Menendez would authorize the adoption and implementation of policies and training regarding the use of epinephrine auto-injectors by public institutions of higher education. A physician would be authorized to prescribe and a pharmacist to dispense an epinephrine auto-injector to an institution of higher education. (Note: the companion, HB 3851, is set for a hearing in the House Higher Education Committee on April 19.)
- SB 1782 by Royce West would require the Coordinating Board to include in formula funding the first 15 additional semester credit hours earned by a student who has re-enrolled at the institution following a break in enrollment covering the 24-month period preceding the first class day of the initial semester or other academic term of the student's enrollment; and successfully completed at least 50 semester credit hours of course work at the institution before that break in enrollment. It would also allow a student in those circumstances to drop one additional course.
- SB 1813 by Dawn Buckingham would require the common admission application forms to be used for all students (not just freshman student applicants).
- SB 2032 by Paul Bettencourt would allow the Texas State Technical College System to create a technical-vocational course of study, certificate or degree program without approval by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
- SB 2082 by Larry Taylor would allow participants in the Texas college work-study program to support student interventions at participating eligible institutions that are focused on increasing completion of degrees or certificates, such as interventions occurring through advising or supplemental instruction.
- SB 2118 by Kel Seliger would allow the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to authorize junior colleges to offer baccalaureate degree programs in nursing and applied science and technology with some provisions bracketed to the Lone Star College District.
HOUSE HIGHER EDUCATION COMMITTEE
On April 12, the
House Higher Education Committee
- HB 17 by J.M. Lozano would establish Texas Higher Education Innovation Accelerator to support and accelerate innovation in educational delivery at institutions of higher education and to advance state educational and workforce goals. It was left pending.
- HB 653 by Travis Clardy would expand the Texas Educational Opportunity Grant Program to all institutions of higher education (instead of two-year public institutions of higher education). It was left pending.
- HB 2155 by Donna Howard would require school districts to enter into a memorandum of understanding with at least one institution of higher education to coordinate efforts in ensuring students are prepared for post-secondary education opportunities. The memorandum of understanding would have to:
- Provide for joint professional development opportunities for school counselors and academic advisors to promote collaboration and support the creation of common practices and terminology relating to college readiness;
- Identify the pathways between the endorsements available to students in the district and degree programs and fields of study relating to those endorsements available at the institution;
- Develop tools based on the pathways identified for school counselors and academic advisors to assist students in selecting a suitable program of study; and identify opportunities to increase the cost efficiency and coordination of related programs in areas that include technology, facilities and equipment, dual credit course staffing and certification, and transportation. It was left pending.
- HB 2431 by Joe Deshotel would allow public state colleges to participate in the Jobs and Education for Texas (JET) Program. It was left pending.
- HB 2536 by Matt Schaefer would provide that the information maintained by the Texas Veterans Commission on Hazelwood tuition and fee exemptions at institutions of higher education to be maintained in a manner that does not identify the individual receiving the benefits. It was left pending.
- HB 3768 by Donna Howard would establish the Texas Guided Pathways Program to inform students by providing clear and efficient pathways to completion of undergraduate certificates and degrees, including transparent and easily-accessible recommended higher education course sequences and transfer compacts. It was left pending.
- HB 4089 by Rick Miller would increase the military service threshold to qualify for the Hazelwood exemption from 180 days service to two years of service. It was left pending.
- HCR 102 by J.M.Lozano would express legislative support for prioritizing a substantial increase in funding for graduate medical education before considering authorizing the creation and support of additional medical schools. It was left pending.
House Higher Education Committee will meet April 19 to take up:
- HB 1472 by Giovanni Capriglione would allow the governing board of junior colleges to invest funds received by the district from a lease or contract for the management and development of land owned by the district and leased for oil, gas, or other mineral development in any authorized investment.
- HB 2705 by J.M. Lozano would add refinancing to the definition of "alternative education loan;" would clarify that a qualified nonprofit corporation is authorized to make, purchase, or refinance guaranteed student loans or alternative education loans; and would authorize Higher Education Loan Authorities to refinance guaranteed student loans.
- HB 2937 by Terry Canales would require the TEA to implement a pilot program under which a licensed hospital can offer dual credit courses to high school students.
- HB 3512 by Wayne Faircloth would allow school district in which no junior college campus is located to establish a junior college if the proposed district has a taxable property value more than $5 billion and the total scholastic population over 5,0000.
- HB 3808 by Travis Clardy would add licensed marriage and family therapists to the student loan repayment program for mental health professionals.
- HB 4106 by Geanie Morrison would make changes to Texas Grant eligibility including:
- Limiting grants to 135 (instead of 150) semester credit hours or no more than 15 semester credit hours in excess of degree requirements;
- Requiring students to complete at least 30 semester credit hours per year to remain eligible;
- Requiring at least a 2.5 GPA to maintain eligibility; and
- Reducing the amount of the grant by the amount of federal grants.
- HB 4220 by Mary Gonzalez would increase regulation of degree-granting post-secondary career schools and colleges by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. (Note: the companion, SB 1781, was reported favorably as amended from the Senate Higher Education Committee on April 12.)
- HB 4241 by Richard Raymond would require applications for admission to institutions of higher education to include a request from the applicant for information necessary to determine whether the student would qualify for the tuition and fee exemption for adopted students formerly in foster care.
SENATE BUSINESS & COMMERCE COMMITTEE
On April 11, the
Senate Business & Commerce Committee
- SB 83 by Bob Hall would establish the electromagnetic threat preparedness task force to develop a comprehensive threat protection & recovery plan to protect critical infrastructure and vital utility facilities against electromagnetic, geomagnetic, terrorist, and cyber-attack threats. It was left pending.
- SB 1510 by Charles Perry would require transmission and distribution utilities that operate solely in ERCOT and provide service to fewer than 100,000 meters to provide service to nonprofit places of worship on a kilowatt hour basis. It was left pending.
- SB 1976 by John Whitmire would require the Dept. of Health & Human Services to assist in developing an automatic process to provide for identification of low-income customers to retail electric providers to enable them to offer customer service, discounts, bill payment assistance or other assistance to those customers. It was left pending.
HOUSE ENERGY RESOURCES COMMITTEE
On April 10, the
House Energy Resources Committee
- HB 1931 by Shawn Thierry would require major commercial contractors to submit an annual plan to the State Energy Conservation Office specifying efforts taken to increase Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) contract procurement. It was left pending.
- HB 2715 by Drew Darby would require administrative penalties assessed by the Railroad Commission to be deposited in the Oil & Gas Regulation and Cleanup Fund. It was left pending.
- HB 2813 by Drew Darby would repeal the Transportation Infrastructure Fund and repeals County Energy Transportation Reinvestment Zones (CETRZs). It was left pending. (Note: the companion, SB 1305, passed the Senate on April 11. It has been referred to the House Energy Resources Committee and is eligible to be substituted for HB 2813.)
- HB 3726 by Tony Dale would eliminate examination and continuing education requirements for holders of a liquefied petroleum gas license. It was left pending.
House Energy Resources Committee will meet April 17 to take up:
- HB 891 by Richard Raymond would make it an offense for a person to recklessly posses, remove, deliver, accept, purchase, sell, or physically move or transports oil, gas, or condensate as part of a transaction that requires a permit without a permit.
- HB 1717 by Roberto Alonzo would require an owner or operator of a wind energy conversion system or wind energy facility to, upon request from the landowner who entered into wind energy lease agreement, provide the landowner access to the records of the owner or operator relating to the system in order to confirm the accuracy of payments made to the landowner within a reasonable time and at a reasonable location.
- HB 2688 by Greg Bonnen would clarify that the Railroad Commission is not prohibited from imposing fieldwide unitization of a geologic formation of oil or gas of Cenozoic age for the purposes of a new or enhanced recovery project.
HOUSE STATE AFFAIRS COMMITTEE
On April 12, the House State Affairs Committee took up:
- HB 1458 by Paul Workman would allow the Austin city council to transfer management and control of the city's municipally-owned electric utility, Austin Energy, to an independent board of trustees appointed by the City Council. It was left pending.
- HB 1475 by Yvonne Davis would prohibit a person who is not a customer of a retail electric provider from discontinuing service provided at a specified address and initiate service with a different retail electric provider. It was left pending.
- HB 2114 by Mary Ann Perez would authorize the Health & Human Services Commission to provide the Public Utility Commission with a list of individuals receiving medical or nutrition assistance from the state; and would authorize the PUC to use that list to assist utilities to provide bill payment assistance to their customers who are on the list. It was left pending.
- HB 3379 by Chris Paddie would require the Dept. of Health & Human Services, upon request from the PUC to assist in developing an automatic process to help retail electric providers to identify low-income customers to offer assistance. It was left pending.
House State Affairs Committee
will meet on April 19 to take up
by Senfronia Thompson, which would repeal the requirements for the Public Utility Commission to study and file
reports on periodic rate adjustments
and alternative rate-making mechanisms.
HOUSE LAND & RESOURCE MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE
On April 12, the
House Land & Resource Management Committee
by Travis Clardy, which would repeal statutes allowing the
General Land Office
(GLO) to sell
retail electric power
to a state agency, institution of higher education, school district, or political subdivision; however, it would allow the GLO to continue providing retail electric service under a contract entered into prior to repeal.
It was left pending. (Note: the companion, SB 736, passed Senate on April 11).
SENATE AGRICULTURE, WATER, & RURAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE
On April 10, the
Senate Agriculture, Water, & Rural Affairs Committee
- SB 1392 by Charles Perry would add a definition of "common reservoir" to groundwater conservation district statutes and would require each groundwater owner overlying a common reservoir to be treated fairly. It was left pending.
- SB 1511 by Charles Perry would require the state water planning process to include consideration of implementation of projects included in the preceding state water plan that were given a high priority including an analysis of any impediments to the implementation of the projects. It was reported out favorably and recommended for the Local & Uncontested Calendar.
SENATE BUSINESS & COMMERCE COMMITTEE
On April 11, the
Senate Business & Commerce Committee
by Kelly Hancock would establish the same sanitation and safety requirements for artificial swimming lagoons that are required for swimming pools.
It was left pending. (Note: the companion, HB 1468, was voted favorably as substituted from the House Public Health Committee on April 11.)
SENATE NATURAL RESOURCES & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE
On April 11, the
Senate Natural Resources & Economic Development Committee
- SB 568 by Jose Rodriguez would require the Railroad Commission to post enforcement information related to inspection and enforcement activity, violations, and penalties assessed on the commission's website. It was left pending.
- SB 1000 by Larry Taylor would establish a joint interim committee to study the feasibility and desirability of creating and maintaining a coastal barrier system that includes a series of gates and barriers to prevent storm surge damage to gulf beaches or coastal ports, industry, or property. It was left pending. (Note: the companion, HB 2252, was voted favorably out of the House Land & Resource Management Committee on April 12, 2017.)
- SB 1064 by Robert Nichols would allow a volunteer firefighter acting in the scope of the person's volunteer duties to supervise outdoor burning of waste consisting of plant growth. It was left pending.
- SB 2027 by Jose Rodriguez would require HHSC in conjunction with the Texas Workforce Commission to conduct a regional study of occupational training programs available for individuals with an intellectual disability. It was left pending.
Senate Natural Resources & Economic Development Committee will meet on April 18 to take up:
- SB 1137 by Kel Seliger would increase the amount of radioactive waste that compact radioactive waste disposal facilities can dispose; and would grant the Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission the authority to grant exemptions to allow disposal above that limit.
- SB 2003 by Kirk Watson would increase the assistance amount by category for vehicles under the low-income vehicle repair assistance, retrofit, and accelerated vehicle retirement program (LIRAP).
HOUSE NATURAL RESOURCES COMMITTEE
On April 13, the
House Natural Resources Committee
- HB 352 by Andrew Murr would provide that prior to issuing an opinion that a watercourse or portion of watercourse is a navigable stream, the state agency must either perform or have performed by a licensed state land surveyor a gradient boundary survey or obtain from the GLO a written opinion that a gradient boundary survey is not required. It would require the agency seeking the opinion to provide written notice to adjacent property owners and conduct a public hearing. It was left pending.
- HB 2376 by Armando Walle would direct the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to award competitive grants to support research projects for wastewater reuse. It was left pending.
- HB 2476 by Sarah Davis would prohibit a public entity from entering into a contingency fee contract to bring suit under the Water Code against TCEQ without approval of the contract by the comptroller. It was left pending.
- HB 2533 by Charlie Geren would allow local governments to file civil suits for environmental violations after notifying the attorney general (AG) and TCEQ outlining the alleged violation, the facts that support the claim, and the specific relief sought. It would allow the suit to proceed 90 days after the notification unless the AG files the suit or the AG or TCEQ denies authorization to pursue the suit. It was left pending.
- HB 2777 by Dade Phelan would allow a Class A utility to apply to the Public Utility Commission for an amendment of municipal utility district's certificate of convenience & necessity to allow the utility to have the same rights and powers under the certificate as the municipal utility district. It was left pending. (Note: the companion, SB 1842, was voted favorably as substituted from Senate Intergovernmental Relations Committee on April 12.)
- HB 3417 by Tracy King would require consideration by a groundwater conservation district of registered wells that are exempt from permit requirements before granting or denying a permit. It was left pending.
- HB 3742 by Dade Phelan would require a contested case hearing for water rights permit applications. It was left pending.
- HB 3746 by Dade Phelanwould allow the floodplain management account to fund activities related to the collection and analysis of flood-related information; flood planning, protection, mitigation, or adaptation; or the provision of flood-related information to the public through educational or outreach programs. It was left pending.
- HB 3987 by Lyle Larson would authorize the Texas Water Development Board to use the state participation account of the water development fund to provide financial assistance for the development of desalination. It was left pending.
- HB 3991 by Lyle Larson would allow an aquifer storage and recovery project to involve use of water derived from multiple sources, including new appropriation of water. It was left pending.
House Natural Resources Committee will meet April 19 to take up:
- HB 2240 by Eddie Lucio, III would require a retail public entity or a public entity that receives more than $500,000 from Texas Water Development Board for a municipal water supply project to have a water conservation program in place that includes enforceable time-of-day limitations on outdoor watering by its customers.
- HB 3177 by Eddie Lucio, III would allow TCEQ's executive director to act on an application or request for authorization if it has become uncontested before parties are named.
- HB 3735 by James Frank would require a water rights application to be accompanied by a map or plat on a form prescribed by the TCEQ.
- HB 4235 by Lyle Larson would establish a schedule for sunset review of groundwater conservation districts.
- HJR 36 by Mary Gonzalez would propose a constitutional amendment authorizing the Water Development Board to issue up to $200 million in general obligation bonds for economically distressed areas program to provide financial assistance to economically distressed areas.
HOUSE AGRICULTURE & LIVESTOCK COMMITTEE
House Agriculture & Livestock Committee
will meet April 19 to take up
, which would require the Texas Dept. of Agriculture to establish, maintain, and publish a list of publicly funded programs that encourage the replacement of a lawn with landscaping that requires less water to maintain than the existing lawn.
HOUSE NATURAL RESOURCES COMMITTEE'S SUBCOMMITTEE ON SPECIAL WATER DISTRICTS
- HB 3028 by DeWayne Burns would afford a landowner the right to a fair share of groundwater when the right to drill a well and produce groundwater is regulated. It was left pending.
- HB 3031 by Tracy King would require the TCEQ to identify any proposed alternative source of water in the notice for a water rights permit. It was left pending.
- HB 3043 by Paul Workman would establish a groundwater management area planning group to conduct joint planning and to review management plans, accomplishments of the management area, and proposals to adopt new or amend existing desired future conditions. It was left pending.
- HB 3166 by Eddie Lucio, III would define modeled sustainable groundwater pumping as maximum amount of groundwater that Texas Water Development Board determines may be produced in perpetuity from an aquifer annually using best available science. It was left pending.
HOUSE ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATION COMMITTEE
- HB 2092 by Geanie Morrison would prohibit the TCEQ from issuing a permit, registration, or other authorization for land application of grit or grease trap waste. It was left pending.
- HB 2479 by Cecil Bell, Jr. would allow the TCEQ to return an incomplete or inaccurate application for a solid waste facility to the applicant for completion or correction. But the TCEQ would be required to deny a permit application that is incomplete or inaccurate if the applicant has had an opportunity to make the correction and would prohibit the TCEQ from approving a subsequent application for a solid waste facility at that site. It was left pending.
- HB 2582 by J. D. Sheffield would exempt an extraction area from which marble or granite material is extracted for decorative or artistic uses and the average amount of riprap removed per year is less than 1,500 tons from regulation as an aggregate production operation. It was voted out favorably as substituted.
- HB 2771 by Dade Phelan would eliminate the fee related to wastewater treatment permit applications. It was voted out favorably as substituted.
- HB 3058 by Jason Isaac would authorize TCEQ's technology implementation grant program to issue grants for installation of systems on upstream and midstream oil & gas infrastructure to reduce flaring emissions by capturing waste heat to generate electricity. It was left pending.
- HB 3175 by Ron Reynolds would authorize TCEQ to collect an annual greenhouse gas emissions fee of $5 per ton of carbon dioxide equivalent emitted from an electric generating facility that has a permit from TCEQ and is subject to federal greenhouse gas reporting requirements. It was left pending.
House Environmental Regulation Committee will meet April 18 to take up:
- HB 1979 by Brooks Landgraf would authorize portions of the Texas Emissions Reduction Program (TERP) fund to be used to convert state fleets to include vehicles with engines that run on natural gas-based fuels. (Note: the companion, SB 26, on March 14 but has not been referred to committee in the House.)
- HB 2568 by Joe Pickett would require the TCEQ to develop a plan to apply the motor vehicle inspection and maintenance program only to vehicles from model years TCEQ determines are likely to fail an emissions-related inspection at rate of 5% or more if TCEQ determines that the Federal Clean Air Act does not require the state to apply to program to all model years.
- HB 2569 by Joe Pickett would direct the TCEQ to determine whether the Federal Clean Air Act requires the state to apply the motor vehicle inspection and maintenance program to all the vehicle model years subject to the inspection and maintenance program, and it it is not required, the TCEQ would be required to develop a plan to end the program.
- HB 2682 by Ron Reynolds would make several changes to TERP including extending the scope of the new technology implementation grant program to allow grand funds to be used to fund electricity storage projects that improve grid reliability and air quality by reducing transmission congestion.
- HB 3393 by Joe Pickett would make several changes to TERP.
- HB 3479 by Joe Pickett would allow several TERP programs to expire when the state reaches attainment with the ozone standard.
PASSED THE HOUSE
PASSED THE HOUSE
- HB 1612 by Ramon Romero would prohibit the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) from offering a civil penalty in lieu of suspending a permit or license if the basis for teh suspension involves consumption of or the permitting of consumption of controlled substances or drugs. It passed on the Local & Consent Calendar on April 13.
- HB 2299 by Senfronia Thompson would allow the TABC to require proof that a laboratory performing a test to verify the alcohol content of malt beverages to be a certified laboratory. It passed on the Local & Consent Calendar on April 13. (Note: the companion, SB 1301, is set for a hearing in the Senate Business & Commerce Committee on April 18.)
HB 1508 by Helen Giddings would require entities that provide an educational program to prepare an individual for issuance of an initial occupational license to notify each applicant to and enrollee in the educational program of the potential ineligibility of an individual who has been convicted of an offense for issuance of an occupational license on completion of the educational program. It passed on the Local & Consent Calendar on April 13.
SENATE HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES COMMITTEE
On April 12, the
Senate Health & Human Services Committee
by Donna Campbell, which would require the Texas Workforce Commission's evaluation of the
subsidized child care program
to include the average price charged by child care providers for child care in local workforce development areas; the total number of child care providers participating in the Texas Rising Star Program in each workforce development area with 2-star, 3-star, and 4-star ratings.
It was left pending. (Note: the companion, HB 3323, was heard in the House Economic & Small Business Development Committee on April 13 and left pending.)
HOUSE CORRECTIONS COMMITTEE
On April 12, the
House Corrections Committee
by Tan Parker, which would establish the
Educational & Vocational Training Pilot Program
to provide educational and vocational training, employment, and reentry services to defendants placed on community supervision for a state jail felony.
It was left pending.
HOUSE DEFENSE & VETERANS' AFFAIRS COMMITTEE
On April 12, the
House Defense & Veterans' Affairs Committee
by Cesar Blanco, which would require school districts and open-enrollment charter schools to provide students in grades 10-12 an opportunity to take the
Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test
during normal school hours.
It was left pending.
SENATE VETERAN AFFAIRS & BORDER SECURITY COMMITTEE
Senate Veteran Affairs & Border Security Committee
will meet April 19 to take up
by Donna Campbell, which would require the Coordinating Board, in consultation with the Workforce Commission, the Veterans Commission, and institutions on higher education to develop
within degree and certificate programs commonly offered by institutions of higher education toward which qualified veterans or
military service members may be awarded appropriate academic credit
for experience, education, and training earned during military service; and require transferability between institutions of higher education of course credit for the curricula developed.
SENATE TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE
On April 12, the
Senate Transportation Committee
by Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, which would define property owned by navigation district as public property and exempt the district and district's property from state and local taxes and assessments.
It was voted out favorably.
Senate Transportation Committee
will meet April 19 to take up
by Kelly Hancock, which would prescribe the circumstances under which automated motor vehicles can be tested in Texas.
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