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House Committee on Appropriations - 85th R.S. (2017)

Committee Members
John Zerwas, Chair
Oscar Longoria, Vice Chair
Trent Ashby
Greg Bonnen
Giovanni Capriglione
Scott Cosper
Sarah Davis
Jay Dean
Dawnna Dukes
Helen Giddings
Larry Gonzales
Mary E. González
Donna Howard
Linda Koop
Rick Miller
Sergio Muñoz, Jr.
Mary Ann Perez
Dade Phelan
John Raney
Kevin Roberts
Justin Rodriguez
Toni Rose
J.D. Sheffield
Ron Simmons
Gary VanDeaver
Armando Walle
Gene Wu
• Continue to study strategies to use the Economic Stabilization Fund (ESF) to generate additional revenue for state obligations without compromising the fund's intended purpose. Evaluate the current methodology used to set the ESF cap.
• Examine the use of federal funds by state agencies responding to the effects of Hurricane Harvey and identify opportunities to maximize the use of federal funds to reduce the impact of future natural disasters. Also, identify the need for state resources to respond to Harvey relief and recovery efforts, as well as opportunities for state investment in infrastructure projects that will reduce the impact of future natural disasters. (Issued on September 14, 2017)
• Examine the use of one-time funding and deferral measures employed by the Legislature in the state budget for the 2018-19 biennium, as well as any other factors that may contribute to a structural deficit. Explore strategies to ensure the state's ability to meet its ongoing fiscal obligations.
• Monitor the ongoing implementation of S.B. 20, 84 R.S., S.B. 533 85 5 R.S., and S.B. 255, 85 R.S., as well as Article IX, Sections 7.04, 7.10, and 7.12 of the General Appropriations Act. Study the processes by which state agencies award, execute, manage, and monitor state contracts, and make recommendations on whether any changes are necessary to safeguard the best interest of the public and state. Evaluate measures utilized to determine vendor performance, and make recommendations on how to improve vendor selection and performance. When reviewing the Health and Human Services Commission’s (HHSC) managed care contracts, determine if HHSC has adequate data, staff, and processes to provide appropriately rigorous contract oversight, including but not limited to the use of outcome metrics. Consider whether HHSC properly enforces contractual sanctions when managed care organizations (MCOs) are out of compliance, as well as how HHSC uses Medicaid participants' complaints regarding access to care to improve quality.
• Monitor the ongoing implementation of Article IX, Sec. 9.13 of the General Appropriations Act and determine if state agencies are realizing cost savings and/or security enhancements in state operations related to cybersecurity, information technology, and cloud computing. Study trends in cloud computing and IT delivery services, and identify whether additional cost efficiencies, economies of scale, or IT modernization could be achieved.
• Monitor the implementation of Employee Retirement System (ERS) Rider 18 of the General Appropriations Act. Evaluate the impact of obtaining savings through reduced contracted provider rates and innovative value-based plan design models with Health Related Institutions (HRIs). Examine the impact to HRIs of providing patient care at discounted rates, as well as potential free market implications, the methodology used to determine each HRI’s savings obligation, and progress on initiating innovative plan redesign based on HRI proposals.
• Continue to evaluate the effectiveness of state agencies' use of funds appropriated during the 85th Legislative Session for border security operations. Examine existing data and reporting on border security metrics. Monitor federal efforts to enhance security along the Texas-Mexico border to ensure that state resources are utilized optimally.
• Review state funding, including formula funds, for adult probation departments and the juvenile justice system. Consider recommendations to enhance equity, encourage the use of cost- effective practices, and meet the future needs of departments and counties throughout the state.
• Study the state crime lab operational structure and recommend strategies to increase efficiency, including the possibility of establishing a fee for certain services to minimize duplication and encourage timely processing.
• Examine the Early Childhood Intervention Program (ECI) in Texas, including a review of historical funding levels, programmatic changes, challenges providers face within the program, and utilization trends. Evaluate ECI's impact on reducing the long-term costs of public education and health care. Identify solutions to strengthen the program.
• Monitor Congressional action on federal healthcare reform and CHIP reauthorization. Identify potential impacts of any proposed federal changes. Identify short- and long-term benefits and challenges related to converting Texas Medicaid funding to a block grant or per capita cap methodology. Determine how Texas should best prepare for federal changes, including statutory and regulatory revisions, as well as any new administrative functions that may be needed. Explore opportunities to increase the state's flexibility in administering its Medicaid program, including but not limited to the use of 1115 and 1332 waivers.
• Review the state's readiness to care for aging Texans by reviewing the reimbursement methodologies for nursing homes and assisted living facilities, including supplemental payments, Medicaid add-on payments, and availability of alternative methods of finance. Identify methodologies to adequately finance Medicaid rates for long-term care facilities under managed care capitation, support high-quality care for Texas seniors, accommodate new models of care, and encourage care coordination to treat higher incidence of complex conditions.
• Study the sustainability of TRS-Care and consider options for funding retired teacher health care in Texas, especially as it pertains to contributions being based on active employee payroll rather than the cost of health care. Monitor the implementation of H.B. 3976 (85R) and H.B. 30 (85(1)).
• Review the appropriations made to the Texas Education Agency (TEA) for the E-rate Classroom Connectivity project. Ensure that these funds are drawing down a federal match and are supporting projects that build high-speed broadband and infrastructure to and within schools. Monitor the implementation of H.B. 3526 (85R), S.B. 810 (85R), and S.B. 1784 (85R) as they relate to set-asides from the instructional material allotment, and determine the impact on student achievement.
• Review the appropriations made to the Texas Emissions Reduction Program (TERP) as well as the TERP fund balance. Review the revenue sources that fund the TERP and determine if the funds collected support the funding entities. Consider if TERP funding sources should be modified. Determine ways to address the TERP fund balance.
• Study the allocation of the municipal solid waste disposal fee between Waste Management Account 0549 and Solid Waste Disposal Fee Account 5000. Determine whether changes should be made to support future program costs.
• Review the effectiveness of the cost-recovery model as a method of finance for programs and organizations across state government. Identify best practices and make recommendations for improvement.
• Monitor the agencies and programs under the Committee’s jurisdiction and oversee the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 85th Legislature. In conducting this oversight, the Committee will also specifically monitor:
a. All activities and expenditures related to Hurricane Harvey;
b. Planned expenditures of funds appropriated for deferred maintenance across agencies;
c. Any lapses in funding at the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) or the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) for prevention and early intervention, and/or behavioral health services;
d. Implementation of therapy rate increases and policy changes at HHSC;
e. HHSC's use of appropriated funds to expand Texas's inpatient psychiatric infrastructure;
f. Ongoing impact of critical-needs funding at DFPS;
g. Medicaid cost-containment efforts;
h. Impact of the Texas Education Agency's reinterpretation of regulations related to the local option homestead exemption;
i. Proposal by the University of Texas and Texas A&M systems to modernize the management of Permanent University Fund lands;
j. Implementation of a capitated correctional managed healthcare rate; and
k. The Department of Public Safety's efforts to eliminate the sexual assault kit backlog with funds appropriated for that purpose.

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