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87th Texas Legislative Session | Interim Update

Today, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick announced that after reviewing nearly 600 recommendations from Texas Senators, he compiled a list of 84 Interim Charges. Many of the charges released include following up on legislation that was approved in the regular and special sessions as well as issues that lawmakers might act on next year.


Several charges fall under our regional legislative agenda, information on these is listed below. The NTC Team will be actively engaged in each of these and others as we prepare for the 88th Session.


Senate:

  • Business and Commerce

  • Broadband and Telecommunications: Study broadband and other telecommunications related issues impacting Texans, including:

  • Monitoring the implementation of House Bill 5 and House Bill 1505, 87th Legislature; discuss anticipated federal infrastructure funding dedicated to broadband initiatives; Electricity –

  • State Workforce: Study and evaluate effects on the state and its workforce in regards to remote work.


  • Education Committee

  • COVID-19 Pandemic Impact on Educator Talent Pipeline: Examine the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on the public school educator talent pipeline, staffing patterns and practices, and declining student enrollment and attendance.

  • Local Government Exclusion: Investigate how some cities and counties are prohibiting the expansion of charter schools through local ordinances. Make recommendations to ensure the fair and equitable treatment of charter schools and independent school districts.


  • Finance Committee

  • Federal Funds: Report on the state use of federal COVID-19 relief funds provided under the various federal relief bills. Examine local use of federal relief funding, including funding provided to school districts through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund. Identify barriers to the effective utilization of funds and make recommendations on the expenditure of unappropriated funds.

  • Medicaid: Monitor the financial impact of federal decision-making affecting supplemental Medicaid funding for Texas hospitals and health care systems, including negotiations between the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Texas Medicaid agency regarding the state's 1115 Medicaid waiver and other federal proposals reducing supplemental funding streams for Texas.


  • Higher Education Committee

  • Workforce Education: Evaluate state efforts to support access to work-based learning and microcredential opportunities.

  • Monitoring SB 1102 The Texas Reskilling and Upskilling through Education (TRUE) program and SB 1230 relating to the Commission on Community College Funding.


  • Local Government Committee

  • Bond Elections: Review and report on voter participation and bond election result differences between November and May elections. Make recommendations for improved voter turnout, increased election efficiencies, and better accountability of local debt.

  • Taxpayer Funded Lobbying: Study how governmental entities use public funds for political lobbying purposes. Examine what types of governmental entities use public funds for lobbying purposes and what level of transparency is available to the public. Make recommendations to protect taxpayers from paying for lobbyists who may not represent the taxpayers' interests.

  • Extraterritorial Jurisdictions: Study issues related to municipal extraterritorial jurisdictions and annexation powers, including examining possible disannexation authority. Determine whether extraterritorial jurisdictions continue to provide value to their residents and make recommendations on equitable methods for disannexation.


  • Natural Resources and Economic Development Committee

  • Economic Development Programs: Review the programs in Chapters 380 and 381 of the Local Government Code. Make recommendations for improvements to Chapters 380 and 381 to increase transparency and accountability and the effectiveness of the programs.


  • Water, Agriculture, & Rural Affairs

  • Water Utility Infrastructure: Evaluate the state's water infrastructure. Study and make recommendations on options to upgrade and update water infrastructure to address deferred maintenance, disasters, and water loss.

  • Water Supply: Review and make recommendations to complete specific projects identified in the 2022 State Water Plan. In light of recent changes to the global economy, consider the current regulatory process regarding innovative technology solutions to water supply needs, such as marine desalination, and make recommendations for their improvement.


In addition to issues that we have taken a stance on in the 87th legislative priorities, we are following additional issues as we plan for the 88th Session.

- The Committee on Criminal Justice has an interim charge on re-entry programs for inmates

- Blockchain and Virtual Currencies

- Higher Education – Faculty Tenure and Funding Permanent University Fund

- Transportation – Alternatively Fueled Vehicles, focusing on Federal funds for alternative vehicle infrastructure and vehicle registrations for alternatively fueled vehicles.


House:


On March 10th, Speaker Phelan released the House Interim Charges. In addition, the Speaker created interim committees on health care reform and on criminal justice. As we work to build our region’s legislative priorities for the 88th Session, the NTC is considering incorporating issues related to criminal justice reform and will be following this interim committee closely. You can find a complete list of House Interim Charges here.


Upcoming #txlege Hearings:

Now that interim charges are out, the legislature is getting busy again. We have plans to be in Austin and attended multiple hearings over the next few months as the Legislature works through the Interim. As of today, these are the following hearing in the Texas House:

- International Relations & Economic Development – April 20, 11:00 AM

- Ways & Means – April 21, 10:00 AM

- State Affairs – April 26, 9:00 AM

- Environmental Regulation – April 26, 10:00 AM

- Transportation – April 26, 12:30 AM

- Higher Education – May 5, 10:00 AM


R&D Tax Credit:

We are also engaged with Comptroller Hegar and his team as the state rolls outs significant changes to the research and development tax credit rule (amendments to Texas Admin Code Sec. 3.599) and how this impacts our stakeholders.

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