Both the House and Senate will reconvene on Monday, March 18 at 3 p.m.

Rep. elect Christina Morales (D-Houston) for HD 145 will be sworn in on Monday, March 18.

Former San Antonio council member Ray Lopez won 58% of the vote over Fred Rangel in the HD 125 runoff to fill the unexpired term of Rep. Justin Rodriguez (D-San Antonio), the House will have its complete 150 members after Lopez is sworn in.

Budget

On Monday, March 18 , House Appropriations will take up the general appropriations bill, HB 1, and the Senate’s supplemental bill that came out of the Senate early this week, SB 500. If both bills come out of committee next week the bills will most likely be debated on the House floor before the end of the month.

The Senate passed the supplemental appropriations bill, SB 500, out of the Senate this week unanimously. The bill appropriates $6.1 billion dollars and includes $1.7 billion in general revenue and $4.4 billion from the economic stabilization fund (ESF), also referred to as the rainy day fund. The bill includes:

  • $2.1 billion in GR for Shortfall in Medicaid and entitlement programs
  • $160 million in GR to address shortfall in correctional managed care
  • $300 million from the ESF for state hospital improvements
  • $542 million from the ESF to address TRS pension liability and 13th check
  • $100 million from the ESF for school hardening
  • $211 million from the ESF to cover obligations for Texas Tomorrow Fund

The bill also was amended to include additional items that would qualify for school hardening funding.

As noted above the Senate bill has been referred to House committee and will be brought up for a public hearing on Monday, March 18.

Calendars

The House has set calendars for Tuesday, March 19 and Wednesday, March 20.

The Senate intent calendar is published for Monday, March 18.

Bills on the Move Spotlight

The Legislative Reference Library of Texas has published its bill filing statistics for the 86th Legislature. The final total on bills filed, along with graphic statistics to illustrate House and Senate bills filed are available. The 81st Session still holds the record for the most number of bills filed on the deadline as well as the total number of bills and join resolutions filed through the filing deadline.

HB 3 (Huberty), the School Finance bill was taken up in House Public Education on Tuesday, March 12 with almost 100 people registering culminating in nearly 12 hours of a public hearing. Testimony was in overwhelming support for the legislation but there were a few groups who had concerns such as: individuals from multiple ¬†teacher organizations who brought up concerns on ‚Äúmerit pay‚ÄĚ provisions, those concerned about the gifted and talented (GT) weight being moved into the basic allotment, and individuals who represented day care facilities concerned that expanding prekindergarten would cause a decrease in their enrollment. ¬†Huberty also noted he removed $400 million from the bill because he could not find consensus on outcome language for a literacy goal. During the hearing he indicated his desire to put some language and funding toward that goal in the bill depending on the response he received from the community.

HB 3 will be taken up again by the committee next week on March 19, with substitute language.

HB 71 (Martinez) relating to the creation of regional transit authorities was voted out of the House Transportation committee on 3/11.

HB 76 (Huberty) relating to cardiac assessments of high school participants in extracurricular athletic activities sponsored or sanctioned by the University Interscholastic League was voted out of House Pubic Education as substituted on 3/11.

HB 80 (Ortega) relating to a study and report regarding shortages in certain health professions was voted out of House Higher Education as substituted on 3/11.

HB 81 (Canales) relating to the disclosure under the public information law of certain information related to parades, concerts, or other entertainment events open to the general public that are paid for with public funds is on the House calendar for floor discussion on 3/20.

HB 440 (Murphy) relating to general obligation bonds issued by political subdivisions was voted out of House Pensions, Investments and Financials Services as substituted on 3/15.

SB 14 (Nichols) relating to use of an electric cooperative’s easements or property for broadband service was set for a hearing in Senate Business and Commerce on 3/19.

SB 65 (Nelson) relating to state contracting and procurement was voted out of Senate Finance as substituted on 3/14.

SB 421 (Kolkhorst) relating to the acquisition of real property by an entity with eminent domain authority was first placed on the Senate Intent calendar for 3/18.

Spotlight on Upcoming Legislative Hearings

For the latest updates on all legislative committee hearings, visit ‚ÄúLegislative News from Texas‚ÄĚ frequently to confirm hearings since dates and times can and do change. Standing committee hearings held at the Capitol, live and archived, can be listened to at the following links: House | Senate.