The 88th Legislative Session adjourned sine die on May 29th after taking up thousands of bills and issues over the last 140 days. During the 88th Session a total of 8,046 House and Senate bills were filed and 1,246 bills were finally passed (744 HBs & 502 SBs); over 60% of these bills were passed in the last week of session. This is more than the Senate and House chambers passed during the last regular session. 

Teacher pay, sports betting, and property taxes were a few of the larger topics anticipated to be addressed by the 88th Legislative Session but ultimately no significant legislation passed to address these issues. The House passed a bill authorizing mobile sports betting by a vote of 101-39 which was not taken up in the Senate. Casino legislation was not passed by either chamber. As spotlighted below there were several bills addressing teacher pay but ultimately not passed. However, bills addressing the energy market and school safety did finally get past the finish line for the 88th. 

Finally, even though there was $12 billion set aside to address property taxes, the 88th Legislative Session adjourned sine die without passing a bill or finding a compromise on the issue. The two chambers had different approaches in that the House was addressing relief in part through appraisal caps and the Senate was addressing relief in part through homestead exemptions. This dynamic has continued to play out in the First Called Special Session of the 88th as the Governor put on the call legislation that addresses property tax relief through compression only. 

Also of note, economic development was addressed in the passage of HB 5, the Texas Jobs, Technology, and Innovation Act. The bill as passed establishes a new, transparent and accountable state economic development incentive tool that provides temporary tax limitations for large capital investments, bringing jobs and long-term revenue to Texas communities. 

Below is a ‚ÄúBILL SPOTLIGHT‚ÄĚ on certain bills that passed out of the 88th Session broken out by issues. Notable bills that did not pass may also be spotlighted below.

*Please note when reviewing bill text to determine final language, technical corrections with substantive language changes were made to many bills after the CCRs were approved. For final copies of bills, including substantive corrections if they were made, please look at the enrolled bill text.

The final deadline of interest in the 88th Session is the last day the Governor can sign or veto bills passed during the regular session – June 18th.

Resources 

To search by sections of the statute that were affected by legislation, you can use this link. 

Budget

Comptroller Glenn Hegar released his initial Biennial Revenue Estimate (BRE) at the start of the legislative session with an estimated surplus of $32.69 billion. This amount was significantly more than the 87th BRE which estimated a surplus of $11.68 billion. 

For the 88th, HB 1, the General Appropriations Act, includes $144.1 billion in General Revenue and $321.3 billion in All Funds and was sent to the Comptroller. *These amounts include supplemental appropriations made in SB 30. 

The remaining spending authority in GR included $10.7 billion in the pay-as-you-go limit. The 87th legislature passed additional supplemental bills for the 2022-23 biennium and passed additional supplemental bills in subsequent special sessions – all were estimated to be within the pay-as-you-go limit by $6.0 billion.

During the 87th Session, subsequent to publication of the BRE, the Comptroller increased revenue estimates by $3.1 billion in May 2021 and again by $7.5 billion in July 2021. During the 88th, the estimates from the initial BRE remained. 

The 88th did not make any appropriations from the Rainy Day Fund (RDF) (also known as the Economic Stabilization Fund (ESF)) and according to the Comptroller, the RDF balance is expected to rise sharply to $27.1 billion by the end of fiscal 2025, up from $10.7 billion at the end of fiscal 2022

Highlights of the bill include: 

Public Education 

  • Fully funds the Foundation School Program (FSP) under current law, including increases of $3.2 billion to fund projected enrollment growth, $2.4 billion for increases in the golden penny yield, and $60.0 million for the New Instructional Facilities Allotment
  • HB 1 also increases funding to districts and charter schools for technology and instructional materials by $307.0 million
  • Increases funding for school safety measures by $1.4 billion ($300.0 million in HB 1 and $1.1 billion in SB 30), including grants to districts and charter schools and new statewide initiatives
  • Provides $588.5 million to the Teacher Retirement System (TRS) to maintain health insurance premium increases below 10 percent each year for TRS-Active Care participants

Higher Education 

  • HB 1 provides $9.9 billion, which is a $1.1 billion increase to the current biennium, to fund the formulas at our higher education institutions
  • Provides for long-term investments in higher education through the establishment of the Texas University Fund ($3.0 billion corpus in SB 30) and the Permanent Instruction in Manufacturing and Technical Workforce Operations Funds ($1.05 billion corpus in HB1)

Health Care 

  • $9.4 billion in All Funds in HB 1 for mental health services and $2.2 billion in All Funds in SB 30 for behavioral health
  • Includes $447.2 million in All Funds for women’s health programs, an increase of $160.1 million over current spending
  • Provides a total of $80.8 billion in All Funds across all three Health and Human Services agencies for Medicaid
    • $2.0 billion to support community attendant services and raise the base wage to $10.60 an hour; and¬†
    • $206.8 million to increase rates for pediatric services, women’s health related surgeries, private duty nursing, and ground ambulances

Other

  • 5% across-the-board pay raise for state employees (which starts July 1, 2023)
  • A newly required strategic plan for children’s behavioral and mental health
  • A $1 billion¬† increase for nursing home reimbursement
  • Provides the Parks and Texas Wildlife Department (TPWD) $1.0 billion in GR to capitalize the Centennial Parks Conservation Fund for the purpose of establishing state parks, contingent on enactment of legislation
  • Provides the General Land Office (GLO) $550.0 million in GR to provide funds to the Gulf Coast Protection District and $60.0 million in GR-D funding to administer the Coastal Erosion Planning and Response Act program to expand erosion response projects studies
  • Provides (in SB 30) to the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) $1.0 billion in GR to capitalize the Texas Water Fund, contingent on enactment of legislation, for financing water projects in the state and $625.0 million in General Revenue to be transferred to the Flood Infrastructure Fund to increase funding for flood control, drainage, and mitigation projects¬†
  • Contingent on enactment of legislation that establishes the Texas Energy Fund, appropriates $5.0 billion to support the construction, maintenance, and modernization of dispatchable electric generating facilities
  • Increases funding to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) for highway planning and design, right-of-way acquisition, and construction and maintenance by approximately $5.0 billion that includes $2.5 billion in Federal Funds and $2.5 billion in the State Highway Fund

Funded in the bill but NOT APPROPRIATED due to contingent legislation in the 88th not passing include: 

  • $12.3 billion above amounts required by current law for a total of $17.6 billion for property tax relief¬†
  • Includes $5.0 billion in additional funding for Public Education, contingent on enactment of legislation

Budget Items not separately highlighted above in Conference Committee Report (SB 30) highlights: 

  • The bill reduces General Revenue Fund appropriations to the Texas Education Agency from the Foundation School Fund No. 193 by $8.4 billion resulting from updated projections since the appropriations were passed by the Eighty-seventh Legislature, 2021. The net savings results primarily from increased District Property Value growth, lower-than-anticipated average daily attendance, and increased non-General Revenue Funds revenues
  • The bill transfers $200.0 million in General Revenue Funds to the Port Access Account Fund for appropriation to the Texas Department of Transportation for maritime port capital improvement projects
  • The bill provides $125.0 million in General Revenue Funds to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for acquisition of park property

HB 3461, the funds consolidation bill was sent to the Governor on 5/30. Since the 1990’s, the Legislature has enacted funds consolidation bills detailing which funds, accounts, and dedications were exempt from being abolsihed.¬†