State Senator Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound) has filed Senate Bill 8, which allocates federal funds designated for Texas in the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). SB 8 is currently scheduled for a public hearing on Monday, October 4th.
SB 8 appropriates a total of $16.3 billion from ARPA — $15.8 billion from the Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund and another $500.5 million from the Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund, including:
- $7.2 billion to replenish the Unemployment Compensation Fund
- $3 billion to deploy hospital surge staffing, purchase therapeutic drugs, and support regional infusion centers
- $3.7 billion to cover salaries and benefits for state employees directly working on pandemic response
- $500.5 million for broadband expansion, with $75 million of those funds designated for a broadband pole replacement program (out of the Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund)
- $500 million for construction projects at institutions of higher education, contingent on the passage of legislation
- $300 million for a State Operations Center to aid the state in disaster response
- $200 million to bolster cybersecurity
- $160 million to shore up funding for organizations serving sexual assault survivors and other crime victims
- $286 million to the Teacher Retirement System to cover COVID-related health claims and avert premium increases
- $237.8 million to complete construction of a new state psychiatric hospital in Dallas
- $113 million to the Texas Child Mental Health Care Consortium
- $100 million to support Texas food banks
For more information, see the text of SB 8 here (PDF).