April 25, 2017
DON'T MISS IT

EARLY VOTING IS HERE! BE AN INFORMED VOTER. 
Early Voting will be held from Monday, April 24 - Tuesday, May 3. Election Day is Saturday, May 6. CLICK HERE to find polling locations near you or to view sample ballots. CLICK HERE to watch brief videos for Plano Mayor, Plano City Council, and Collin College Board of Trustees candidates.

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. CLICK HERE for more details.
NOTABLE MEETINGS
   CLICK HERE to view the full list of bills the Plano Chamber is tracking.
SENATE NEWS
The Senate was in session Tuesday-Thursday of last week.

The Senate will reconvene on Monday, April 24 at 12:00 PM. They will have a Local & Uncontested Calendar on April 19. CLICK HERE to view upcoming schedules. 
 
HOUSE NEWS 
The House was in session Monday-Thursday of last week. A Regular Calendar and bills on a Local & Consent Calendar were scheduled for March 21, but the rules were suspended to allow those calendars to be moved to April 20 so that the House could take Friday, April 21 off. Speaker Pro Tempore Dennis Bonnen announced that it would be the last Friday that the House would not be in session.

The House will reconvene on Monday, April 24 at 2 PM. CLICK HERE to view upcoming schedules.

STATE NEWS 
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."
SENATE NEWS  
On April 18, the Senate passed 24 bills, including the sunset bill for the Texas Board of Physical Therapy Examiners (SB 317), prohibiting local regulation of short-term rentals (SB 451), prohibiting state money from going toward construction or maintenance of the proposed high speed rail line between Dallas and Houston (SB 977), 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 (SB 979), requiring school advisory committees to recommend age appropriate curriculum on preventing the use of e-cigarettes (SB 489), requiring lobby expenditures by a political subdivision to be specifically authorized by the governing body of a subdivision in an open meeting (SB 445), allowing local TxDOT district engineers to temporarily lower the speed limit on roadways subject to inclement weather, construction activities or other hazardous conditions (SB 1327). Details on other bills that passed the Senate are included in the issue categories below.  

On April 19, the Senate passed 133 bills on Local & Uncontested calendar and 23 bills including requiring state and local funds to divest investments in companies engaged in business in Iran and Sudan (SB 253), continuing the Employment-First Task Force (SB 455), allowing home school students to participate in UIL activities (SB 640), allowing insurers to provide disclosures regarding the insurance premium for a named driver insurance policy in written, oral, or electronic format (SB 878), and allowing a state senator or state representative to opt out of serving on the board of directors of a tax increment reinvestment zone (SB 1465). Some bills from the Local & Uncontested Calendar and others from the Intent calendar are summarized below in the issue categories.
 
On April 20, 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 (SB 188), establishing grant program to reduce recidivism, arrest, and incarceration of individuals with mental illness (SB 292), continuing the State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners (SB 319), allowing surviving spouses of disabled veterans to qualify for a Surviving Spouse of a Veteran License Plate (SB 441), amending piracy and unauthorized recording statutes (SB 1343), allowing victims of human trafficking to petition a court to seal drug and theft convictions they received while being trafficked (SB 1504), and proposing a constitutional amendment prohibiting the use of state funds to pay for the obligations of local public retirement systems (SJR 43).
 
Total number of bills reported out of Senate Committees last week: 122
Total number of bills passed by the Senate last week: 208
Total passed on the Local and Uncontested calendar last week: 133  
HOUSE NEWS
On April 17, the House gave final approval to HB 1699, which would prohibit the Dept. of Public Safety from participating in the driver record monitoring pilot program. They also gave preliminary approval to 9 additional bills including establishing a process for victims of human trafficking to have their prostitution convictions set-aside (HB 269), 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 (HB 491), imposing graduated penalties for misuse of official information (HB 1090), making a student's visit to a military recruiter an excused absence (HB 1270), providing state death benefits to survivors of peace officers employed by private institutions of higher education (HB 1526), and requiring a study on lethal pesticides for feral hog control (HB 3451). Other bills that passed are included in the issue categories below.
 
On April 18, the House passed the 9 Third Reading bills and gave preliminary approval to 10 other bills. Five of those are ethics reform bills - revising requirements for identifying stock interests in personal financial statements (HB 1377), repealing restrictions on activity by general-purpose political committees that have been ruled unconstitutional by a federal appeals court (HB 1378), requiring out-of-state political committees to report direct campaign expenditures exceeding $100 (HB 1379), allowing electronic notices by the Texas Ethics Commission (HB 1381), and removing financial restrictions on House speaker campaigns that have been held unconstitutional by a federal court (HB 1384). They gave preliminary approval to HB 29, which revises and updates laws on human trafficking. And, they passed to Third Reading HB 2029, 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 Dept. of Agriculture; and HB 2964, which would define the events that begin the three-year period for presumption of abandonment for mutual funds. Details on HB 1600 and HB 2098 are in the issue categories below.
 
On April 19, the House passed Third Reading bills and gave preliminary approval to 10 bills. HB 100 by Chris Paddie, which institutes state regulation and preempts local regulation of transportation network companies, passed to Third Reading by a vote of 110-37 after 6 floor amendments were adopted (it received final passage on April 20 by a vote of 110-35). After several hours of debate and over 40 amendments considered (15 of which were adopted), HB 21 by Dan Huberty, a major public school finance reform bill, passed to Third Reading by a vote of 134-16. It received final passage on April 20 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. ... 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. ... 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." CLICK HERE to read the full statement. 
 
On April 20, the House passed 73 bills on the Local & Consent Calendar and 25 bills including the 10 Third Reading bills that were passed to Third Reading on April 19. Some of the bills that passed include increasing the age of adult criminal responsibility from 17 to 18 (HB 122), removing home addresses before Texas Ethics Commission reports are posted (HB 776), changing the categories of formula funding for public transportation funding (HB 1140), and authorizing the commissioner of an emergency services district to receive the same compensation as directors of water districts (HB 2504). Information on bills from the Local & Consent Calendar and significant bills that passed on the regular calendars are discussed in the issue categories below.
 
Total number of bills reported out of House Committees last week: 307 
Total number of bills passed by the House last week: 118
Total passed on the Local and Consent Calendar last week: 73 
BUDGET & FINANCES
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, Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, Joan Huffman, Lois Kolkhorst, and Charles Schwertner. House conferees are Representatives John Zerwas, Oscar Longoria, Trent Ashby, Sarah Davis, and Larry Gonzales.

PASSED THE SENATE
  • SB 289 by Van Taylor would require state agencies to prepare a government growth impact statement on its proposed rules. It passed by a vote of 30-1.
  • SB 398 by Lois Kolkhorst 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 the Local & Uncontested Calendar on April 19.
SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE
On April 24, the Senate Finance Committee will meet to take up:
  • SB 764 by Don Huffines would require the comptroller to prepare a report for the governor and legislature prior to each session that estimates the financial costs to the state from the presence of persons who are not lawfully present in the United States.
  • SB 1030/SJR 42 by Larry Taylor would grant a property tax exemption for real property that a person owns and leases to an open-enrollment charter school, if the property is used exclusively by the school for educational purposes. Note: companions, HB 382/HJR 34 were voted out favorably as substituted from the House Ways & Means Committee on April 19.
  • SB 1047 by Brandon Creighton would provide that the homeowners that qualify to pay property taxes in installment payments if they are over 65 years of age or disabled could pay in 4 equal installment payments if the first installment is paid before delinquency date.
  • SB 1095 by Larry Taylor would change from 30 days to 90 days the deadline to file a petition for redetermination of a tax deficiency determination made by the comptroller.
  • SB 1209 by Carlos Uresti would clarify the definition of wildlife management to include predator control for purposes of qualified open-space land.
  • SB 1426 by Kelly Hancock would require a taxing unit to calculate an adjusted effective tax rate and an adjusted rollback tax rate that includes new property valuations in the calculation and would require those adjusted rates to be included in the public notice of the taxing unit's proposed tax rates.
  • SB 1831 by Dawn Buckingham would require the comptroller to annually report to the legislature information for each state agency regarding each program or function the state agency is required by law or authorized to implement for which no appropriation was made for the preceding state fiscal year; and the amount and source of money the state agency spent, if any, to implement the program or function.
  • SB 1848 by Paul Bettencourt would increase the cap on attorney's fees that may be awarded to a prevailing property owner from $15,000 to $27,000 or 20% of amount by which the property owner's liability is reduced on appeal, whichever is greater; and would increase the maximum fee level to $253,000 or the amount produced by applying an annual increase or decrease in the CPI to the cap amount.
  • SB 1906 by Paul Bettencourt prohibits a taxing unit from challenging the level of appraisal of property by category.
  • SB 1979 by Charles Schwertner would require the condemning entity in eminent domain proceeding pay the change in use penalty if the taking of the property results in a change in use from open-spaced land.
  • SB 2239 by Paul Bettencourt would make several changes to property tax administration including:
    • Directing the comptroller to promulgate forms for the submission of truth-in-taxation worksheets to the comptroller;
    • Directing the comptroller to establish and maintain a statewide searchable database of ad valorem tax information and tax rates;
    • Changing the name of the effective tax rate to the "no new taxes rate;"
    • Lowering the rollback rate to 4%;
    • Requiring a taxing unit to submit the tax rate calculations to the chief appraiser and auditor of the taxing unit for verification;
    • Requiring a taxing unit to send a notice to each property owner that the owner's estimated taxes may be found on the comptroller's statewide database; and
    • Requiring each taxing unit to maintain a website and post current detailed budget and tax information.
SENATE BUSINESS & COMMERCE COMMITTEE
On April 18, the Senate Business & Commerce Committee took up:
  • 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. It was left pending.
  • 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. It was initially left pending, but on Thursday, it was voted out favorably as substituted.
HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE
On April 17, the House Appropriations Committee took up:
  • 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. It was left pending.
  • 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. It was initially left pending, but on April 18, it was voted out favorably as substituted.
  • HB 3529 by Giovanni Capriglione would clarify the comptroller's authority to invest money held outside the state treasury. It was initially left pending, but on April 18, it was voted out favorably.
  • HB 3849 by John Zerwas is the funds consolidation bill that dedicates & rededicates state funds and accounts. It was initially left pending, but on April 18, it was voted out favorably.
HOUSE BUSINESS & INDUSTRY COMMITTEE
On April 17, the House Business & Industry Committee took up HB 2829 by Rene Oliveira, which would authorize the comptroller, or the comptroller's designee, at reasonable times and on reasonable prior notice to take testimony, administer oaths, subpoena witnesses, and issue subpoenas or commissions to require any person to appear at the place and time stated in the subpoena or commission and give testimony under oath; or produce relevant books, records, documents, papers, accounts, or other data, in whatever form, for audit, inspection, and copying as may be relevant or material to the inquiry being made. It was initially left pending, but was voted out favorably on April 19.  
 
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
On April 19, the House State Affairs Committee took up HB 826 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. It was left pending.
 
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
PASSED THE HOUSE 
HB 4038 by Dwayne Bohac would add to the definition of "qualifying job" for purposes of the sales tax exemption for tangible personal property associated with a data center a new employment position staffed by a third-party employer if a written contract exists between third-party employer and qualifying owner, operator, or occupant that provides that the position is permanently assigned to an associated qualifying data center. It passed on the Local & Consent Calendar on April 20.

SENATE NATURAL RESOURCES & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE
On April 18, the Senate Natural Resources & Economic Development Committee took up SB 600 by Konni Burton, which would repeal Chapter 313 of the Tax Code, the Texas Economic Development Act. CLICK HERE to read the list of supporters and opposition. It was left pending.

HOUSE ECONOMIC & SMALL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE
On April 20, the House Economic & Small Business Development Committee took up:
to read the list of supporters and opposition. 
  • 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. It was left pending.
  • 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. It was left pending.
  • 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 expenses incurred for the purchase of goods or services from a business in Texas. It was left pending.
TAX ISSUES
PASSED THE SENATE 
  • SB 277 by Donna Campbell would be the Military Aviation Safety Act. It would prohibit the use Chapter 313 agreements for wind projects within 30 nautical miles of military installation. Three floor amendments were adopted and it passed by a vote of 23-8. Note: companion, HB 445, was heard in the House Ways & Means Committee on April 5 and 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. The committee substitute was adopted and it passed unanimously.
  • SB 1345 by Kirk Watson would exempt from ad valorem taxes property owned by charitable organizations that provide pro bono tax return preparation and assistance with other financial matters. It passed by a vote of 30-1.
  • 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 passed on the Local and Uncontested Calendar on April 19.
PASSED THE HOUSE
  • HB 518 by Drew Darby would allow a 501(c)(3) organization to retain 50% of the state portion of the sales taxes it collects (if it has sales of at least $1 million per year) to provide job training and placement services to persons with a disability or other barrier to employment, including low educational attainment, a criminal record, homelessness, and status as a veteran. The committee substitute was adopted and it passed by a vote of 124-15. Note: the companion, SB 275, is on the Senate Intent Calendar for April 24.
  • HB 777 by Trent Ashby would allow open-space land to continue its designation if owner is a deployed member of the armed services and intends to use the land for agricultural purposes upon returning to the state. It passed unanimously.
  • HB 2126 by Angie Chen Button would clarify that qualifying for the retail rate, eligibility is not affected by whether the business sells telephone prepaid calling cards. It passed unanimously.
  • HB 2253 by Drew Darby would provide that the court that makes the final determination of an appeal that decreases a property owner's liability would be required to determine the amount of interest; however, it could not be greater than the amount refunded and not less than the difference between the minimum amount the taxpayer was required to pay to preserve the right to appeal and the amount of taxes for which the property owner is liable. The committee substitute was adopted and it passed by a vote of 120-23.
  • HB 2989 by Dennis Bonnen would establish that when a correction is made to the property tax roll that decreases tax liability made after the owner has paid the tax, the taxing unit must make the refund to the property owner who paid the tax. It passed on the Local & Consent Calendar on April 20.
SENATE STATE AFFAIRS COMMITTEE 
On April 20, the Senate State Affairs Committee took up SB 1812 by Van Taylor, which would prohibit an appraisal district from using public money for directly or indirectly influencing the legislature regarding legislation. It was left pending.

HOUSE LICENSING & ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURES COMMITTEE
The House Licensing & Administrative Procedures Committee will meet on April 24 to take up HB 3261 by Charlie Geren would institute state registration and regulation of federally regulated appraisal management companies. Note: the companion, SB 1516, was reported favorably from the Senate Business & Commerce Committee on April 18 and recommended for the Local & Uncontested Calendar.
 
HOUSE WAYS & MEANS COMMITTEE 
On April 19, the House Ways & Means Committee took up:
  • HB 824 by Chris Turner would add LED light bulbs to the Memorial Day weekend sales tax holiday for energy efficiency products. It was left pending.
  • 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. They were left pending.
  • HB 2250 by Drew Darby would add to the definition of retail trade uniform rental activities for purposes of the franchise tax rate. It was left pending.
  • 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. It was left pending.
  • 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. It was left pending.
  • HB 3062 by Kyle Kacal would prescribe procedures for the sale of property for delinquent ad valorem taxes. It was left pending.
  • 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. It was left pending.
  • 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. It was left pending.
  • 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. It was left pending. (Note: the companion, SB 1221, passed the Senate on April 19.)
  • HB 3366 by Dwayne Bohac is the sales tax cleanup bill. It was left pending. (Note: the companion, SB 1539, passed the Senate on April 5 and was referred to the House Ways & Means Committee on April 19.)
PUBLIC EDUCATION
PASSED THE SENATE 
  • SB 587 by Donna Campbell would allow dependents of members of the U.S. military who have been deployed, transferred to or residing in Texas to enroll full time in courses provided through the virtual school network. The committee substitute was adopted and it passed unanimously. Note: the companion, HB 539, was heard in the House Public Education Committee on March 14 and left pending.
  • SB 671 by Donna Campbell would require the State Board of Education 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. It passed unanimously. Note: the companion, HB 1451, was voted favorably from the House Public Education Committee on April 20.
  • SB 725 by Borris Miles would allow a school district to donate food to a nonprofit organization to be distributed at the campus. It passed on the Local & Uncontested Calendar on April 19.
  • SB 1483 by Larry Taylor would establish the Technology Lending Program using up to $25 million from the instructional materials fund to provide grants to school districts to implement technology lending program to provide students access to equipment necessary to access and use electronic instructional materials. It passed by a vote of 30-1.
PASSED THE HOUSE 
  • HB 264 by Ana Hernandez would change the expiration date for Public Outreach Materials to Promote Curriculum Change Awareness provisions from September 1, 2018 to September 1, 2020. It passed unanimously.
  • HB 357 by Dan Huberty would provide free Pre-K for children of first responders who are peace officers, firefighters, or emergency medical service providers. It passed to Third Reading by a vote of 136-12. It was finally passed by a vote of 131-13.
  • HB 367 by Diego Bernal would allow campuses to donate surplus leftover food from breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner meals served on-campus to a nonprofit organization. The committee substitute and one floor amendment were adopted and it passed unanimously.
  • HB 728 by Bobby Guerra would allow students to substitute an advanced computer science course for the third math or science credit if Commissioner of Education certifies that it meets rigorous standards. The committee substitute and one floor amendment were adopted and it passed unanimously.
  • HB 1593 by Dwayne Bohac would require the engagement strategies included in a school district's family engagement plan to include programs and interventions that engage a family in supporting a student's learning at home. It passed on Local & Consent Calendar on April 20.
SENATE EDUCATION COMMITTEE
On April 18, the Senate Education Committee took 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. It was left pending.
  • 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. It was voted out favorably as substituted.
  • 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. It was initially left pending, but was voted out favorably on April 20. (Note: companion, HB 486, was voted out favorably from the House Ways & Means Committee on April 20.)
  • 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. It was voted out favorably as substituted. (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. It was left pending.
  • SB 2142 by Larry Taylor would repeal the high school allotment under the Foundation School Program. It was initially left pending, but was voted out favorably on April 20.
  • SB 2143 by Larry Taylor would increase the basic allotment from $4,765 to $5,140. It was initially left pending, but was voted out favorably on April 20.
  • SB 2144 by Larry Taylor would establish 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. It was left pending.
  • SB 2145 by Larry Taylor is a public school finance reform bill. In laying out the bill, Chair Taylor said, "SB 2145 establishes a fresh start for school finance by removing inefficiencies and creating a funding system based on actual costs and that takes taxpayer effort into consideration. It would repeal all or part of 49 separate sections of the education code,a nd put projected savings from efficiencies back into the system." CLICK HERE to read his full statement. It was left pending.
  • 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. It was initially left pending, but was voted out favorably as amended on April 20.
On April 20, the Senate Education Committee took up:
  • SB 529 by Eddie Lucio, Jr. would require State Board of Educator Certification to specify what each educator is expected to know and be able to do, particularly with regard to students with disabilities. It was left pending.
  • SB 825 by Larry Taylor would allow (instead of require) school districts to administer to students in the 10th grade an established, valid, reliable, and nationally norm-referenced preliminary college preparation assessment instrument for the purpose of measuring a student's progress toward college & career readiness. It was left pending. Note: companion, HB 2614, was voted favorably from the House Public Education Committee on April 18.
  • SB 1005 by Donna Campbell would require the Commissioner of Education to establish satisfactory performance levels for the SAT and the ACT that are equivalent in rigor to qualify a student to receive a high school diploma in lieu of other required assessments required for high school graduation. It was left pending.
  • SB 1786 by Bob Hall would provide that an open-enrollment charter school is a political subdivision and officers and members of the governing body of the open-enrollment charter school are considered to be officials of the political subdivision and employees of the charter school considered to be public employees. It was left pending.
  • SB 1839 by Bryan Hughes would require TEA to provide educator preparation programs with Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS) data that enables the program to assess the impact of the program and revise as needed to improve the design and effectiveness of the program. It would allow certification for an educator that performs satisfactorily on an examination that is similar to and at least as rigorous and the prescribed certification exam. It was left pending.
  • SB 1883 by Donna Campbell would establish a procedure for the open-enrollment charter application selection and appeal process and the process for challenging an academic performance rating. It was left pending.
  • SB 2130 by Royce West would provide that the Commissioner of Education shall approve or deny an application for an open-enrollment charter based on whether the geographical area to be served by proposed charter includes attendance zone of a school district campus that received an overall performance rating of B for the preceding school year; did not have significant student academic achievement differentials among students from different racial or ethnic groups and socioeconomic backgrounds for the preceding school year; and is not at full enrollment capacity or for which a charter has been granted to replicate successful educational programs within the preceding 5 years. It was left pending.
HOUSE PUBLIC EDUCATION COMMITTEE
On April 18, the House Public Education Committee took 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. It was left pending. Note: companion, SB 179, was voted favorably as substituted from the Senate State Affairs Committee on April 20.
  • HB 310 by Jarvis Johnson would allow compensatory education allotment funding to be used for school guidance and counseling programs. It was initially left pending, but was voted out favorably as substituted on April 20.
  • 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. It was left pending.
  • 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 number and scope of student expectations for each subject and grade level to make them narrower than Jan. 1, 2017 levels. The 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 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. It was left pending.
  • 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. It was initially left pending, but voted out favorably on April 20. (Note: the companion, SB 671, passed the Senate on April 18.)
  • 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. It was left pending. Note: companion, SB 1318, was heard and left pending in the Senate Education Committee on April 4.
  • HB 2767 by Barbara Gervin-Hawkins would require a two-year delay in adopting rules affecting public school accountability. It was left pending.
  • 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. It was left pending.
  • HB 3548 by Tan Parker would authorize the Texas Public Finance Authority to establish a nonprofit corporation to issue bonds for charter school facilities. It was initially left pending, but was voted out favorably on April 20.
  • HB 3706 by Eddie Lucio, III would add options for alternative education programs designed to address workforce development needs for at risk students. It was initially left pending, but voted out favorably on April 20.
  • 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. It was left pending.
The House Public Education Committee will meet on April 25 to take up:
  • HB 213 by Terry Canales would require publishers that provide written instructional materials to provide school districts with electronic access to textbooks at no additional cost.
  • HB 880 by Ken King would allow a school district to assign a teacher certified in English as second language as a bilingual education teacher if the Commissioner of Education has determined that there is a shortage of certified bilingual education teachers for school year and a teacher certified for bilingual education is not reasonably available for the district.
  • HB 1042 by Cesar Blanco would require school districts to provide instructional materials to a student in printed book format if student does not have reliable access to technology at the student's home.
  • HB 1180 by Craig Goldman would prohibit a school district from providing instruction after the Friday before Memorial Day, unless the district operates a year-round system.
  • HB 1181 by Craig Goldman would limit the maturity date of school district bonds used for construction, acquisition and equipment of school buildings to the lesser of 40 years or the expected useful life of the asset acquired with bond proceeds.
  • HB 1237 by Eddie Lucio, III would establish Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) program. Note: the companion, SB 22, is also on this hearing's agenda.
  • HB 1333 by Jason Isaac would prohibit teacher performance standards to consider student performance that is based in any part on student performance on assessment instruments. It would also prohibit the TEA from adopting end-of-course assessments for secondary-level courses in reading, mathematics, and science that are not required by federal law.
  • HB 1651 by Rene Oliveira would require school districts to reimburse each classroom teacher up to $200 per school year for cost of classroom supplies purchased by teacher.
  • HB 1857 by Ken King would require each instructional material on instructional material list be suitable for the subject and grade level for which instructional material was submitted. It would also require supplemental instructional material to be suitable for subject and grade level. Note: the companion, SB 801, was heard and left pending in the Senate Education Committee on April 20.
  • HB 1865 by Matt Krause would set the school start date as the Tuesday after Labor Day and the end date as the Friday preceding Memorial Day.
  • HB 2047 by Gary VanDeaver would create a new Section 13.0515 in the Education Code called Detachment & Annexation of Territory by Agreement and it would allow school districts to enter a boundary change agreement or transfer or exchange territory through detachment and annexation.
  • HB 2247 by Dawnna Dukes would authorize a caregiver who is a relative to enroll a child in school.
  • HB 2255 by Ken King would require school districts to offer a pre-k program to any child who is at least 3 years of age and would allow the pre-k classes to be operated on a half-day or full-day basis. If a school district contracts with private entity to provide the district's pre-k program, the private entity must be accredited by an accreditation system approved by the Commissioner of Education. It would authorize the governor to transfer money from Texas Enterprise Fund to the TEA to be used to finance high quality pre-k programs.
  • HB 2282 by Eric Johnson would require the Commissioner of Education to establish a gold standard pre-k program; and would allow school districts to operate a gold standard pre-k program on a full-day or half-day basis and would provide funding under the Foundation School Program for the program.
  • HB 2782 by Terry Wilson would provide that school district performance rating method used is not implemented in a manner that provides for a specific designated distribution of ratings to districts and campuses under which a percentage of districts or campuses receive an "A" rating or an "F" rating.
  • HB 2790 by James White would authorize independent apprenticeship committees to sponsor apprenticeship training programs administered by the Texas Workforce Commission.
  • HB 2806 by Trent Ashby 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. Note: the companion, SB 1404, was voted favorably from the Senate Education Committee on April 18.
  • HB 2997 by Justin Holland would eliminate the fourth domain for evaluating elementary and middle school campuses.
  • HB 3347 by Dan Huberty would allow school districts to establish before-school or after-school programs for students in elementary or middle school; and would allow districts to contract with a licensed child-care facility to provide the programs.
  • HB 3384 by Mike Schofield would allow a school board member to bring suit against a school district if the district fails to provide the board member with requested information within 10 days after a request for information.
  • HB 3487 by Dan Huberty would require the Commissioner of Education to develop a web portal to assist school districts in selecting instructional materials including general information such as price, computer system requirements, and other relevant specifications. The portal would also be required to include a repository of open educational resources and other electronic instructional materials that school districts may access at no cost, including state-developed open-source instructional materials.
  • HB 3526 by Donna Howard would rename the instructional materials allotment as the technology and instructional materials allotment.
  • HB 3635 by Matt Krause would require the Commissioner of Education to establish objective eligibility and performance standards including academic and financial accountability standards for districts of innovation.
  • HB 3759 by Kyle Biedermann would exempt school districts from new unfunded state mandates for the two school years in the upcoming biennium.
  • HB 4085 by Dustin Burrows would allow school districts to offer a course needed to obtain industry-recognized credential or certificate without SBOE approval if district partners with a public or private institution of higher education and a local business or with a local economic development corporation and local business to develop the coursework.
  • SB 22 by Larry Taylor would establish the Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) program. Note: the companion, HB 1237, is also on this hearing's agenda.
HIGHER EDUCATION
PASSED THE HOUSE
HB 1117
by John Wray would expand eligibility for the Texas Armed Services Scholarship Program to include a student enrolled in an undergraduate Officer commissioning program such as the U.S. Marine Corps Platoon Leaders Class (current law requires the student to be enrolled in a Reserve Officers' Training Corps program). It passed on the Local & Consent Calendar on April 20.

SENATE HIGHER EDUCATION COMMITTEE
On April 19, the Senate Higher Education Committee took up :
  • SB 1813 by Dawn Buckingham would require the common admission application forms to be used for all students (not just freshman student applicants). It was voted out favorably as substituted. Note: the companion, HB 3585, was heard and left pending in the House Higher Education Committee on April 19.
  • 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. It was reported favorably and recommended for the Local & Uncontested Calendar.
  • 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. It was voted out favorably as substituted.
HOUSE HIGHER EDUCATION COMMITTEE 
On April 19, the House Higher Education Committee took up:
  • HB 2937 by Terry Canales would require TEA to implement a pilot program under which a licensed hospital can offer dual credit courses to high school students. It was left pending.
  • HB 3808 by Travis Clardy would add licensed marriage and family therapists to the student loan repayment program for mental health professionals. It was left pending.
  • 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.) It was left pending.
  • 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. It was left pending.
ENVIRONMENT
PASSED THE SENATE
  • SB 226 by Van Taylor would prohibit Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) from referring an amendment to a water right application to the State Office of Administrative Hearings for a contested case hearing if the amendment adds a purpose of use that does not alter the nature of the right authorizing non-consumptive use to a right authorizing consumptive use or a pattern of use that is explicitly authorized by the original right; adds a place of use located in the same basin; or changes the point of diversion. The committee substitute was adopted and it passed by a vote of 25-6.
  • 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 passed on the Local & Uncontested Calendar on April 19.
  • SB 1525 by Charles Perry would require the Texas Water Development Board to study water needs and availability in the state and to use the results to produce a comprehensive water resources map. It passed on the Local and Uncontested Calendar on April 19.
  • SB 1538 by Kirk Watson would 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 passed on the Local & Uncontested Calendar on April 19. Note: the companion, HB 3746, was voted favorably from the House Natural Resources Committee on April 19.
  • SJR 36 by Charles Perry would propose a constitutional amendment prohibiting imposition of the sales tax on purchases of water at wholesale. It passed unanimously.
PASSED THE HOUSE 
  • HB 1083 by Mary Ann Perez would authorize water utilities to establish reduced rates for elderly customers. One floor amendment was adopted and it passed to Third Reading by a vote of 137-7. It received final approval by a vote of 130-12.
  • HB 4181 by Mary Ann Perez would authorize the TCEQ to provide renewal notice to a new source review air permit holder by electronic communication. It passed on the Local & Consent Calendar on April 20.
SENATE AGRICULTURE, WATER, & RURAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE
The Senate Agriculture, Water, & Rural Affairs Committee will meet April 24 to take up:
  • SB 696 by Charles Perry would require TCEQ to develop updated water availability models (WAMs) for the Brazos, Guadalupe, San Antonio, and Trinity River basins by Dec. 1, 2020.
  • SB 1587 by Sylvia Garcia would require public water systems to replace lead service lines in public schools, private schools, and child care facilities served by the public water system.
HOUSE NATURAL RESOURCES COMMITTEE
On April 19, the House Natural Resources Committee took 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. It was left pending.
  • 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. It was left pending.
  • 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. It was left pending.
  • HB 4235 by Lyle Larson would establish a schedule for sunset review of groundwater conservation districts. It was left pending.
HOUSE AGRICULTURE & LIVESTOCK COMMITTEE
On April 19, the House Agriculture & Livestock Committee took up HB 3717, 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. It was voted out favorably as substituted.

HOUSE ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATION COMMITTEE
On April 19, the House Environmental Regulation Committee took 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, has passed the Senate and referred to the House Environmental Regulation Committee on April 18.) It was left pending.
  • 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. It was left pending.
  • HB 2569 by Joe Pickett would direct the TCEQ to determine whether the Federal Clean Air Act requires the state to apply motor vehicle inspection and maintenance program to all vehicle model years subject to the inspection and maintenance program, and if it is not required, TCEQ would be required to develop a plan to end the program. It was left pending.
  • 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. It was left pending.
  • HB 3479 by Joe Pickett would allow several TERP programs to expire when the state reaches attainment with the ozone standard. It was left pending.
The House Environmental Regulation Committee will meet April 25 to take up HB 2753 by Ron Reynolds, which would require TCEQ to examine the rules and requirements governing inspection and maintenance programs and other sources of air emissions and make recommendations on options for improving air quality and safety. 

HEALTH
PASSED THE SENATE
  • SB 224 by Kirk Watson would extend the sunset review date for the Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) from 2021 to 2023, and extend time available for awarding cancer research and prevention grants from August 31, 2020 to 2022. It passed by a vote of 23-8. Note: the companion, HB 84, is set on the House Calendar for April 24.
  • SB 292 by Joan Huffman would create a grant program to reduce recidivism, arrest, and incarceration of individuals with mental illness. The committee substitute and one floor amendment were adopted and it passed unanimously.
  • SB 1076 by Charles Schwertner (would limit the amount that could be charged to an enrollee in a health benefit plan at the point of sale for prescription drugs covered by the plan. The committee substitute was adopted and it passed on the Local & Uncontested Calendar on April 19. Note: the companion, HB 2360, was heard and left pending in the House Insurance Committee on April 11.
  • SB 1406 by Brandon Creighton would authorize the Commissioner of Insurance to request a state innovation waiver for small employer health benefit plans of the actuarial value requirements and related levels of health plan coverage requirements set by U.S. secretary of health and human services. It passed on the Local & Uncontested Calendar on April 19. Note: the companion, HB 1635, is set on the House Calendar for April 25.
  • SB 1592 by Charles Schwertner would increase the amount of the administrative penalty assessed against freestanding emergency medical care facilities operating without a license. It passed on the Local & Uncontested Calendar on April 19.
  • SB 1923 by Charles Schwertner would create the state hospital fund to provide funding for infrastructure at state hospitals and other state facilities. It passed unanimously.
  • SB 1924 by Charles Schwertner would require CPRIT to develop a detailed plan for the institute to become financially self-sufficient and to continue operations without state funds. It passed on the Local & Uncontested Calendar on April 19.
PASSED THE HOUSE
HB 1600 by Senfronia Thompson would require Texas Health Steps program recipients between 12-19 years of age to receive a mental health screening as part of their annual exam. It passed by a vote of 119-29.  

SENATE BUSINESS & COMMERCE COMMITTEE 
On April 18, the Senate Business & Commerce Committee took up:
  • 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. It was left pending.
  • 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. It was initially left pending, but was voted out favorably as substituted on April 20.
SENATE HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES COMMITTEE 
On April 19, the Senate Health & Human Services Committee took up:
  • SB 1021 by Jane Nelson would re-enact the Texas system of care framework to develop local mental health systems of care for minors. The executive commissioner of the Health & Human Services Commission (HHSC) would be required to report to the Health & Human Services Transition Legislative Oversight Committee on the consolidation of the health and human services system, including advisory committees within the system, and the re-creation of the Texas system of care framework. It was left pending.
  • SB 1417 by Van Taylor would be the CARE Act and would provide caregiver training and information to Texans taking care of a loved one released from a hospital or rehabilitation facility. It was left pending.
  • HB 4 by Cindy Burkett would make the assistance provided to qualifying Kinship Care families (those under 300% of the Federal Poverty Level) a monthly stipend, and making the current assistance structure available to those families between 300% to 500% of the Federal Poverty Level. It was left pending.
  • HB 5 by James Frank would make the Dept. of Family & Protective Services (DFPS) a stand-alone agency under a commissioner appointed by the governor. Currently, DFPS is under the umbrella of HHSC. It was left pending.
HOUSE BUSINESS & INDUSTRY COMMITTEE 
The House Business & Industry Committee will meet on April 24 to take up HB 4011 by Dustin Burrows, which would prohibit a health care provider from providing a consumer reporting agency with information regarding an amount unpaid by a consumer for non-emergency medical care, without a medical charges disclosure statement signed by the patient.

HOUSE CRIMINAL JURISPRUDENCE COMMITTEE 
The House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee will meet on April 24 to take up HB 2200 by Gina Hinojosa, which would authorize the medical use of marijuana, and provide an affirmative defense to prosecution for the possession of marijuana for a medical use.  

HOUSE HUMAN SERVICES COMMITTEE 
On April 17, the House Human Services Committee took up:
  • HB 928 by James White would require the Texas DFPS to work with school districts to identify foster care students and assist them with completing financial aid applications. It was initially left pending, but was voted out favorably on April 18.
  • SB 11 by Charles Schwertner is the Child Protective Services reform bill. It was left pending.
HOUSE INSURANCE COMMITTEE 
On April 18, the House Insurance Committee took up:
  • HB 2942 by Sergio Munoz would require the Commissioner of Insurance to include discouragement of balance billing among the required network adequacy standards for preferred provider benefit plans. It was left pending.
  • HB 4213 by Larry Phillips would authorize a health carrier or a health maintenance organization to offer a catastrophic health benefit plan that does not include state-mandated health benefits. It was left pending.
The House Insurance Committee will meet April 25 to take up:
  • HB 307 by Dustin Burrows would require a health benefit plan to establish and operate a toll-free telephone number and website for an enrollee to obtain the average amount paid to an in-network provider for a particular health care service or supply in the preceding 12 months in the enrollee's geographic rating area. Unless the plan's saved cost is $50 or less, if an enrollee elects and receives a health care service or supply the total cost of which is less than the average amount quoted over the phone or on the website, a health benefit plan shall pay to the enrollee the lesser of: 50% of the difference between average amount and actual cost, minus any applicable deductible, copayment, or coinsurance; or $7,500. A health care provider or facility, before providing a non-emergency service, would be required to provide the patient with a price disclosure or estimate of the amount that will be charged for a non-emergency service, or the amount the patient's health benefit plan will be asked to reimburse for the service.
  • HB 336 by Nicole Collier would extend the authority of the office of public insurance counsel to compare and evaluate the adequacy of networks offered by managed care plans, and would authorize the office to intervene on behalf of consumers, and to file objections and written complaints against a managed care plan with the Texas Dept. of Insurance.
  • HB 1161 by Sarah Davis would require a health benefit plan that provides benefits for a prescription contraceptive drug to allow an enrollee to obtain up to a 12-month supply of the drug at one time.
  • HB 3755 by Rodney Anderson would establish payment standards for preferred provider benefit plans to reduce balance billing of enrollees for out-of-network health care services.
HOUSE PUBLIC HEALTH COMMITTEE 
On April 18, the House Public Health Committee took up:
  • HB 1616 by Senfronia Thompson would extend an exemption from civil liability for medical & mental health professionals who disclose patient's mental health information, if the professional determines that imminent injury to the patient or others is probable. It was left pending.
  • HB 3040 by Cindy Burkett is the sunset bill for Texas Medical Board. It was left pending.
  • HB 3634 by Greg Bonnen would repeal provisions authorizing a Medicaid reform waiver, and replace with an updated Texas Health Care Transformation & Quality Improvement Program waiver. It was left pending.
The House Public Health Committee will meet on April 25 to take up:
  • HB 1794 by Cecil Bell would require the Health & Human Services Commission to establish the Work Group on Mental Health Access for First Responders to develop and make recommendations for improving access to mental health care services for first responders.
  • HB 2603 by Jessica Farrar would include post-traumatic stress disorder in the definition of "serious mental illness" for the purposes of coverage under a group health benefit plan.
  • HB 3153 by J. D. Sheffield would prohibit a public water supply system that furnishes drinking water containing added fluoride from reducing the amount of the fluoride in the water unless written notice is provided to the customers and TCEQ at least 60 days prior to the reduction.

GENERAL BUSINESS
PASSED THE SENATE 
  • SB 560 by Kelly Hancock would transfer enforcement authority for credit card surcharge prohibition from the Office of Consumer Credit Commissioner to the Office of the Attorney General. It passed on the Local & Uncontested Calendar on April 19. Note: the companion, HB 2176, passed the House on the Local & Consent Calendar on April 20.
  • SB 588 by Eddie Lucio, Jr. would require the Texas Veterans Commission to make available on its website a list of each private employer that has adopted a veteran's employment preference policy. It passed unanimously. Note: the companion,  HB 1803, was voted favorably from the House Defense & Veteran's Affairs Committee on April 19.
  • SB 1381 by Bryan Hughes would allow a merchant to require an individual using a credit or debit card in a point of sale transaction to provide photo identification verifying the identity of cardholder. It passed on the Local & Uncontested Calendar on April 19. Note, companion, HB 2839, was voted favorably as substituted from the House Investments & Financial Services on April 20.
  • SB 1736 by Bryan Hughes would grant civil immunity to businesses that allow handguns on the premises with respect to a claim that is based on the owner's or operator's failure to exercise the option to forbid the carrying of handguns on the premises by customers or employees. One floor amendment was adopted and it passed by a vote of 22-8. Note: the companion, HB 1736, was heard in the House Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence Committee on March 28 and left pending.
PASSED THE HOUSE 
HB 2176 by Tan Parker would transfer enforcement authority for the credit card surcharge prohibition from the Office of Consumer Credit Commissioner to the Office of the Attorney General. It passed on the Local & Consent Calendar on April 20. The companion, SB 560, passed the Senate on April 19. 

HOUSE INVESTMENTS & FINANCIAL SERVICES COMMITTEE
The House Investments & Financial Services Committee will meet on April 25 to take up:
  • HB 741 by Diego Bernal would prohibit a credit services organization from assisting a consumer with obtaining an extension of consumer credit unless the organization finds, using independently verifiable documentation of income and obligations, that the consumer can reasonably repay the loan and all associated fees and costs.
  • HB 975 by Helen Giddings would prohibit a credit services organization from filing or threatening to file a criminal complaint against a consumer without having extrinsic evidence sufficient to prove that the consumer has committed an offense under the Penal Code.
  • HB 1134 by Tom Craddick would require credit access businesses to provide contracts and other documents in English or the language in which the contract is negotiated and read in that language to a consumer who cannot read. It makes other requirements on credit access businesses and credit services organizations but would specifically not pre-empt local ordinances regulating credit access businesses.
  • HB 3508 by Victoria Neave would prohibit governmental entity from entering into any contract or agreement with a credit access business; business that operates in the same retail space as a credit access business or other credit services organization; or business that is owned by a business entity that owns a credit access business or other credit services organization.
HOUSE STATE AFFAIRS COMMITTEE
On April 19, the House State Affairs Committee took up:
  • HB 2838 by Charlie Geren would prohibit a municipality from entering into an exclusive arrangement with a person for use of the public rights-of-way for the construction, operation, marketing, or maintenance of network nodes or node support poles. It was left pending. Note: the companion, SB 1004, passed the Senate on April 6, but has not yet been referred to a House committee.
  • HB 2899 by Ron Simmons, which prohibits a political subdivision, including school districts, from enforcing an order or ordinance to protect a class of persons from discrimination including an order or ordinance that regulates access to multiple-occupancy restrooms, showers, or changing facilities. After 7 hours of testimony that lasted until 4:30 AM on April 20, it was left pending.
TECHNOLOGY
PASSED THE SENATE 
  • SB 1193 by Van Taylor would be the Texas Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act. It passed on the Local & Uncontested Calendar on April 19. Note: companion, HB 2158, is set for hearing in House Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence Committee on April 25.
  • SB 1196 by Lois Kolkhorst would allow a suit to declare that a person operating a web address or computer network is maintaining a common nuisance to be brought by an individual, the attorney general, or by a district, county, or city attorney. It passed on the Local & Uncontested Calendar on April 19. The companion, HB 2770, is set on the House Calendar for April 27.
  • SB 1203 by Charles Perry changes "Internet" to "online" and adds a definition of "online service provider" to statutes relating to subpoenas or court orders in investigations or prosecution of criminal offenses. Online service provider would be defined as an Internet service provider, search engine, web hosting company, web browsing company, manufacturer of devices providing online application platforms, or company providing online social media platforms. It passed on the Local & Uncontested Calendar on April 19. Note: the companion, HB 2622, is set for a hearing in the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee for April 24.
SENATE STATE AFFAIRS COMMITTEE 
On April 20, the Senate State Affairs Committee took u p SB 1945 by Bryan Hughes, which would amend the Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act including updating the definition of trade secret to include all forms and types of information, including business, scientific, technical, economic, or engineering information and any formula, design, prototype, pattern, plan, compilation, program device, program, code, device, method, technique, process, procedure, financial data, or list of actual or potential customers or suppliers, whether tangible or intangible and whether or how stored, compiled, or memorialized physically, electronically, graphically, photographically, or in writing if the owner of the trade secret has taken reasonable measures to keep information secret. It was left pending. Note: the companion, HB 1995, was reported favorably from the House Government Transparency & Operation Committee on April 5 and recommended for the Local & Consent Calendar.

HOUSE CRIMINAL JURISPRUDENCE COMMITTEE 
The House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee will meet on April 24 to take up HB 2622 by Senfronia Thompson, which changes "Internet" to "online" and adds a definition of "online service provider" to statutes relating to subpoenas or court orders in investigations or prosecution of criminal offenses. Online service provider would be defined as an Internet service provider, search engine, web hosting company, web browsing company, manufacturer of devices providing online application platforms, or company providing online social media platforms. Note: the companion, SB 1203, passed the Senate on April 19.

HOUSE JUDICIARY & CIVIL JURISPRUDENCE COMMITTEE 
The House Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence Committee will meet on April 25 to take up HB 2158 by Tan Parker, which would be the Texas Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act. Note: the companion, SB 1193, passed the Senate on April 19.

TELECOMMUNICATIONS 
PASSED THE SENATE 
  • SB 1003 by Kelly Hancock would allow deregulated telecommunications companies to participate in the lifeline program. It passed on the Local & Uncontested Calendar on April 19. Note: the companion, HB 2370, was voted favorably from the House State Affairs Committee on April 5.
  • SB 1823 by Konni Burton would allow a warrant authorizing the search of a cellular telephone or other wireless communication device to be issued by a justice or other magistrate otherwise authorized to issue a search warrant; and would allow a law enforcement officer to request a search warrant if the officer reasonably believes that the device has been stolen and information on the device could only be used to identify the owner of the device. The committee substitute was adopted and it passed on the Local & Uncontested Calendar on April 19. Note: the companion, HB 2450, is set for a hearing in the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee on April 24.
HOUSE STATE AFFAIRS COMMITTEE 
On April 19, the House State Affairs Committee took up HB 2838 by Charlie Geren, which would prohibit a municipality from entering into an exclusive arrangement with a person for use of the public rights-of-way for the construction, operation, marketing, or maintenance of network nodes or node support poles. It was left pending. Note: the companion, SB 1004, passed the Senate on April 6, but has not yet been referred to a House committee.
 
HOUSE CRIMINAL JURISPRUDENCE COMMITTEE 
The House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee will meet on April 24 to take up HB 2450 by Linda Koop, which would allow a warrant authorizing the search of a cellular telephone or other wireless communication device to be issued by a justice or other magistrate otherwise authorized to issue search warrant; and would allow a law enforcement officer to request search warrant if the officer reasonably believes that the device has been stolen and information on the device could only be used to identify owner of the device. Note: companion, SB 1823, passed the Senate on April 19.
 
WORKFORCE
PASSED THE SENATE
SB 1494 by Judith Zaffirini would allow the Dept. of Workers' Compensation to exempt from pre-authorization and concurrent review work-hardening or work-conditioning services provided by a health care facility that is credentialed by an organization designated by commissioner rule. It passed unanimously. Note: the companion, HB 2058, was reported favorably from the House Business & Industry Committee on April 13 and recommended for the Local & Consent Calendar.
 
PASSED THE HOUSE 
  • HB 451 by Joe Moody would waive a governmental entity's immunity from retaliation lawsuits brought by first responders. (This would effectively overrule Texas Supreme Court's decision in Travis Central Appraisal District v Norman as it relates to first responders.) The committee substitute was adopted and it passed on Local & Consent Calendar on April 20.
  • HB 1456 by John Smithee would remove requirements to pay an administrative penalty to the Division of Workers' Compensation while the matter is on appeal to District Court. It passed on the Local & Consent Calendar on April 20.
  • HB 2053 by Rene Oliveira would reinforce the Division of Workers' Compensation (DWC) authority in handling fraud; and the DWC would maintain a fraud investigation unit with subpoena authority. It passed unanimously.
  • HB 2056 by Rene Oliveira would allow DWC to request and receive any contracts between a designated doctor and his/her agent. It passed on the Local & Consent Calendar. on April 20. Note: the companion, SB 1495, was reported favorably from Senate Business & Commerce Committee and recommended for the Local & Uncontested Calendar.
  • HB 2061 by Rene Oliveira would require the party appealing a workers' compensation decision to district court to file a copy of the petition with the DWC and would require the complete terms of any proposed settlement of a matter in District Court to be made known to the DWC. It passed on the Local & Consent Calendar on April 20. Note: the companion, SB 876, was reported favorably from the Senate Business & Commerce Committee on April 12 and recommended for the Local & Uncontested Calendar.
TRANSPARENCY
HOUSE GOVERNMENT TRANSPARENCY & OPERATION COMMITTEE
The House Government Transparency & Operation Committee will meet April 24 to take up:
  • HB 792 by Giovanni Capriglione would overturn the Texas Supreme Court case of Boeing v Paxton by providing that information withheld from disclosure under the public information law because a governmental body demonstrates that release of information would provide an advantage to a competitor or bidder in a competitive situation would no longer be exempted from disclosure after the governmental body executes or awards the contract to which the bid or proposal relates. Note: the companion, SB 407, has passed the Senate and was referred to the House Government Transparency & Operation Committee on April 18.
  • HB 793 by Giovanni Capriglione would overturn the Texas Supreme Court case of Greater Houston Partnership v Paxton by expanding the definition of "governmental body" for purposes of public information laws to include an entity that receives funds to perform services traditionally provided by a governmental body. Note: the companion, SB 407, has passed the Senate and was referred to the House Government Transparency & Operation Committee on April 18.
TRANSPORTATION
SENATE TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE
On April 19, the Senate Transportation Committee took up SB 2205 by Kelly Hancock, which would prescribe the circumstances under which automated motor vehicles can be tested in Texas. It was voted out favorably as substituted.
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