Senate Finance Committee Chair Jane Nelson said this week that the committee will start markups on SB 2 on Tuesday. The committee has targeted Friday, March 27 to be completed with markups.
House Appropriations has completed the markups on HB 1. The bill is scheduled to come up March 24 to be voted out of committee.
HB 2 (Otto) – the supplemental appropriations bill totaling $433 million in All Funds was taken up this week in House Appropriations and left pending. The bill is scheduled to come up March 24 to be voted out of committee.
HB 5 (Otto) relating to the state fiscal reviews of state agencies was reported favorably from House Appropriations unanimously and will now move to the full House for further consideration.
HB 8 (Otto) would separate the deposit of money received from the federal government out of General Revenue. As federal funds would not be deposited in GR, they no longer would be part of the Economic Stabilization Fund (ESF) cap calculation. The fund is also commonly referred to as the Rainy Day Fund. For the 2018-19 biennium, the ESF cap would decrease from an estimated $16.7 billion to an estimated $11.8 billion. The bill was reported favorably from House Appropriations unanimously and will now move to the full House for further consideration.
HJR 8 (Otto) states when the comptroller acts to prevent the amount of the ESF from exceeding the limit the funds will go into a dedicated account that will be spent only for the purpose of retiring state debt early. The bill was reported favorably from House Appropriations unanimously and will now move to the full House for further consideration.
SB 1 and SB 7 (Nelson) – The bill package will provide approximately $4 billion in tax relief – SB 1 provides for more than $2 billion in property tax relief by setting the homestead exemption to 25 percent of the state's home median market value. SB 7 provides $1.8 billion in business tax relief by reducing the business franchise tax rate, also known as the margins tax, by 15 percent. It would also increase the availability of the E-Z tax calculation to businesses with revenue of $20 million or less and decrease the E-Z tax rate. SB 1 and SB 7 were voted out of Senate Finance and will now move to the Senate Chamber for further consideration.
SB 8 (Schwertner) – Relating to the total revenue exemption for the franchise tax. The bill would exempt all businesses with $4 million or less in total annual revenue from the franchise tax. SB 8 was voted out of Senate Finance and is now on the Senate Intent Calendar.
SB 20 (Nelson) as substituted was reported favorably from Senate Finance this week and will now move to the Senate for further consideration. Several new provisions were included in the bill substitute including: Requiring agencies to participate in the Comptroller's Centralized Accounting and Personnel/Payments System (CAPPS) to begin centralized tracking of all contracts in lieu of agencies creating their own databases; requiring the Comptroller to study the feasibility and cost of centralizing contracting; and closes the revolving door between vendor and agency employees for two years.
The House General Investigating and Ethics met to hear invited testimony from several agencies regarding contracts including testimony from the Health and Human Services Commission and the Texas Department of Transportation.
The House Committee on Environmental Regulation met on March 17 and took up several bills including: HB 1146 (Kacal) which would allow public water utility systems to use volunteers, HB 1269 (Springer) which would allow for certain counties to ask TCEQ to apply certain fines towards community projects, and HB 1794 (Geren) which clarifies the process of local governments bringing lawsuits in conjunction with the TCEQ against polluters. All HillCo clients can access a hearing report covering the discussion on these bills in further detail as well as the other bills taken up during hearing by clicking on this link. If you are a HillCo client but have not yet set up your website access, please visit the following to do so: https://www.hillcopartners.com/user/register.
House and Senate Committee hearing will continue next week, the latest information can be found by visiting HillCo’s “Legislative News from Texas.” Please note that dates and times are subject to change and additional hearings dates may also be added at any time so you will want to re-visit the page frequently to confirm hearings.
The standing committee hearings as well as floor discussions, live and archived, can be listened to at the following links: House | Senate. Please note that formal hearings may not be broadcasted.
Spotlight on Bills on the Move:
SB 11/SB 17 (Birdwell/Estes) – SB 11 would allow the carrying of a concealed handgun on the campus and other locations associated with higher education and was passed out of the full Senate will 20 ayes and 11 nays. Private institutions have the option of allowing concealed handguns. SB 17 would permit a CHL holder to openly carry a holstered gun and was passed out of the Senate Chamber with 20 ayes and 10 nays. Both bills will now move to the House for further consideration.
SB 149 (Seliger) – Relating to the creation of individual graduation committees for certain high school students. SB 149 was passed out of the Senate Chamber on 3/17 with 28 ayes and 2 nays and will now move to the House for further consideration.
SB 133 (Schwertner) – Relating to mental health first aid training for school district employees and school resource officers was passed with 30 ayes and 0 nays on 3/17 out of the Senate Chamber and will now move to the House for further consideration.
SB 219 (Schwertner) – Relating to the provision of health and human services in this state, including the powers and duties of the Health and Human Services Commission and other state agencies, and the licensing of certain health professionals. SB 219 was passed with 31 ayes and 0 nays on 3/19 out of the full Senate and has now moved to the House where it was referred to the House Committee on Human Services.
SB 424 (Schwertner) – Relating to the licensing and regulation of hospitals in this state was passed out of the full Senate on 3/17 with 30 ayes and 0 nays and will now move to the House for further consideration.
The House will reconvene Monday, March 23 at 2pm. There is no calendar for Monday but there are calendars for days later in the week.
The Senate will reconvene Monday, March 23 at 2pm. There is a Senate Intent Calendar that has been posted.
Video Broadcasts: House | Senate
Friday, March 13 marked the bill filing deadline. The Legislative Reference Library has put together a graph of the previous session to compare bills and joint resolutions filed through the filing deadline. Out of the last fourteen regular sessions, the 84th Session has the second highest number of bills and joint resolutions filed by the filing deadline – 6,305. The highest was during the 81st Session with 7,324 bills and joint resolutions filed by the deadline.
Week in Review – March 20