April 21, 2017

This week's Capitol Roundup :

CLICK HERE to register for the 2017 AGC Convention June 18-21 at Coeur d'Alene Resort in Idaho. 
  • Prevailing Wage Rate bill passes House committee on 6-0 vote
  • Conference Committee members appointed to finalize budget plan

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Click here to access past editions of Capitol Roundup.

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Quote of the Week
"Sometimes All You Need Is A Billion Dollars."
-House budget abacus

House Appropriations Committee Chairman John Zerwas (R-Richmond) used the abacus as a prop when he outlined the House's plan for the 2018-19 budget, which passed last week. The House and Senate will reconcile their differences to come up with a uniform budget in conference committee over the next several weeks.
Update: One AGC-TBB bill passes committee with five left pending after hearings

An AGC-TBB bill dealing with misclassification of prevailing wage employees (House Bill 3357) has passed the committee level by a unanimous vote and awaits a vote by the full House. 

Meanwhile, five other top AGC-TBB bills received hearings in House committees this week, and another bill was scheduled for committee debate next Monday.

TUNE IN HERE to catch next week's debate on House bills, where you can click the committee where a bill is being debated and hear testimony on the bill. 

Advanced from committee

Contract Labor on Public Projects
HB 3357 by Rep. Ramon Romero, Jr. -  Relating to the prevailing wage for work associated with public work contracts. 
  • Passed House Business & Industry on April 19 by 6-0 vote 

Heard in committee

Lien law Modernization
HB 3065  by Rep. Deshotel - Relating to mechanic's, contractor's, or materialman's liens. 
  • Heard in House Business & Industry on April 17
Uniform General Conditions for Schools 
HB 3434 by Rep. Linda Koop - Relating to requirements for building construction contracts entered into by public school districts.
  • Heard in House Public Education on April 18
State Breach of Contract Clean-up Legislation
by Rep. John Cyrier - 
Relating to damages in certain contract claims against the state.
  • Heard in House Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence on April 18
--Change Orders
by Rep. John Cyrier
Relating to adjudication of claims arising from certain written contracts with state agencies
  • Heard in House Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence on April 18
Local Government Contracting Compliance
HB 622   by Rep. Jeff Leach  - Relating to the applicability of project design and construction requirements to development corporations created by governmental entities subject to those requirements. 

Scheduled for committee hearing

Right to Repair Construction Defects
HB2343 by Rep. Paul Workman - Relating to prerequisites to asserting certain claims arising from certain construction defects.
  • Scheduled to be heard in House Business & Industry on April 24
Budget conference committee members appointed to hash out differences

The House and Senate have appointed five members from each chamber to work out differences between their opposing budget bills and come up with a uniform plan. 

The committee will be led by Senate Finance Committee Chairwoman Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound)
, who also led the budget negotiations in the Senate last session. House Appropriations Committee Chairman John Zerwas (R-Richmond) will chair the House conferees. 

Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound) leads the Senate budget conferees
"This is a strong team of conferees, and I am confident we will reach an agreement with the House to responsibly balance this budget and meet the essential needs of our state," Nelson said. "Despite our challenges, the Senate passed a smart budget that stays true to the principles of fiscal discipline that have served Texas well."

The House Conferees are: John Zerwas (R-Richmond), Oscar Longoria (D-Mission), Trent Ashby (R-Lufkin), Sarah Davis (R-West University Place), Larry Gonzales (R-Round Rock).

The Senate conferees are: Jane Nelson (R- Flower Mound) Chair, Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa (D- McAllen), Joan Huffman (R-Houston), Charles Schwertner (R- Georgetown), and Lois Kolkhorst (R- Brenham).
Rep. John Zerwas (R-Richmond) leads the House budget conferees

While it is not unusual for the House and Senate to use the conference committee to work out their differences on major bills such as the budget, this session presents a somewhat different situation. Whereas the two chambers typically disagree on the budget's dollar amount, this year the debate is more about the funding source.

The House budget plan would use $2.5 billion from the state's Rainy Day Fund, but the Senate budget relies on delaying a $2.5 billion payment to the highway fund that was approved by voters in 2015.  The House also freed up $1.9 billion for the next two-year budget by delaying a payment for public schools.  

House budget writers have argued that that the Senate plan is unconstitutional, and Nelson has asked the Attorney General's Office to clarify the issue. Meanwhile, Gov. Greg Abbott hasn't taken a strong position on the funding, however, he said earlier this year that he thought the budget could be executed without using the state's savings account.

Click here for a more detailed look at some of the major funding difference between the House and Senate plans. 

29 - Last Day of 85th Legislature

18-21 -  AGC TBB Annual Convention - Coueur d'Alene Resort, Idaho

10 -  AGC TBB Safety Committee Meeting - Austin

15 -  AGC TBB Board Meeting - Austin AGC Office

3 -  AGC TBB Safety Committee Meeting - TEXO
17 - AGC TBB Board Meeting - Austin AGC Office