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350 charge(s) were found.   [ Legislature: 85 ]

85th Legislature
House Agriculture and Livestock
  • Review the Texas Department of Agriculture's and the Texas Animal Health Commission's role in the response to Hurricane Harvey. Examine the short-term and long-term economic and
    agricultural impacts to producers in the agriculture and livestock industries in Texas as a result of Harvey. Identify ways to mitigate the impact and prevent substantial losses from Harvey and future natural disasters.
  • Study the Texas olive and olive oil industry. Provide suggestions to improve, promote, and standardize the industry. Examine current policy related to the industry and examine factors such as research, marketing, labeling, standards, data collection, and the necessity of creating a commodity board or similar type of organization.
  • Review the Texas Department of Agriculture's Seed Certification Program and related areas. Consider any benefits or drawbacks to privatizing the program through a nonprofit crop improvement association.
  • Study the effects of declining migratory species, such as the monarch butterfly, as well as native and domesticated bee populations on agricultural production and its economic impact on the state. Identify possible causes of the population changes and monitor national trends. Make recommendations on how to improve and promote monarch butterfly and bee populations and habitats in the state. (Joint charge with the House Committee on Culture, Recreation & Tourism)
  • Identify methods for the early detection of exotic invasive organisms that could threaten the production of agricultural crops, such as cotton, in Texas.
  • Consider the feasibility of developing and implementing a central filing system to be used for the filing of all financing statements that cover farm products being sold and purchased in this state that are subject to an agricultural lien.
  • Evaluate the uses of industrial hemp and the economic feasibility of developing an industrial hemp market under existing or future state and federal regulations. Examine the processing and manufacturing process requirements of multiple bi-products, including feed, food, fiber, cosmetics, supplements, and building materials.
  • Monitor the agencies and programs under the Committee’s jurisdiction and oversee the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 85th Legislature.
House Appropriations
  • 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.
House Business and Industry
  • Evaluate the adequacy of the workforce currently available to the industries responsible for rebuilding the state’s key infrastructure as well as residential and commercial properties damaged by Hurricane Harvey. Specifically, examine the labor needs within the construction industry and skilled trades and determine if local or state licensing requirements and regulations are an unnecessary barrier to the ongoing success of post-Harvey recovery. (Joint charge with the House Committee on Licensing & Administrative Procedures)
  • Review all existing law concerning consumer rights and protections, including but not limited to statutes that address deceptive practices, landlord/tenant agreements, and homeowner/contractor disputes. Determine whether the provisions offer adequate guidance and protections in disaster and recovery situations.
  • Review the increased use of third party data gathering, particularly individual background information and history, by Texas employers and businesses. Examine the standards for accessing, providing, and updating accurate background information used for employment purposes.
  • Study the impact of data breaches or theft on Texas consumers and businesses. In particular, study the consequences of recent data breaches and subsequent mitigation efforts. Review the existing standards of risk as well as the current best practices in securing sensitive and personal information held or used by private industries. Determine if existing rules and regulations offer adequate consumer protection while allowing continued economic success for businesses in the state.
  • Monitor the status of the Texas workers' compensation system, including existing policies on compounded pharmaceuticals and designated doctor assessments. Review recent trends in employer participation in the system.
  • Monitor the agencies and programs under the Committee’s jurisdiction and oversee the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 85th Legislature.
House Corrections
  • Evaluate the Texas Department of Criminal Justice response to Hurricane Harvey. Recommend any changes that could improve the operational stability of state criminal justice institutions following a natural disaster and changes that would allow for a more effective response.
  • Examine the use of social workers and peer support specialists in the Texas criminal justice system to assist individuals on probation, on parole, or who have been discharged, in order to reduce recidivism and improve outcomes. Identify best practices and make recommendations for legislative action.
  • Examine the current Texas criminal justice system policies and practices regarding 17- to 25- year-olds, specific to probation, parole, state jail confinement, and discharge from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice or county jail. Review any gaps in services that may be causing this population to recidivate. Make recommendations to improve the state's response to the needs of this population in order to lower revocation, re-arrest, and re-incarceration rates.
  • Examine treatment options, services, and programs available to women in institutional settings, on community supervision, on parole, and in community-based programs. Make recommendations for best strategies to address the needs of women in the Texas criminal justice system.
  • Review the Texas state jail system. Examine its original intent, sentencing guidelines, effectiveness, and recidivism rates. Make recommendations for changes in the state jail system. (Joint charge with the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence)
  • Study policies and protocols within the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. Examine when protocols are implemented and their efficacy in protecting the health and safety of inmates and state employees.
  • Review assessments used by the Board of Pardons and Paroles and parole panels to determine an inmate's risk of recidivism for purposes of granting parole and the use of GPS technology to monitor offenders.
  • Monitor Texas prison system heat-related litigation currently making its way through the courts. Monitor Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) compliance within Texas state and county criminal justice facilities.
  • Monitor the agencies and programs under the Committee’s jurisdiction and oversee the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 85th Legislature.
House County Affairs
  • Examine how emergency response activities are organized, funded, and coordinated. Review the impact of natural disasters on county finances. Identify any deficiencies in authority for the most populous counties related to infrastructure planning, emergency response, and recovery. Explore ways to improve efficiencies and manage costs while protecting public safety. Additionally, study the relationship between the state, counties, non-governmental organizations, and churches in preparing for and responding to Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath, and determine if preparedness plans are adequate.
  • Evaluate whether counties have the necessary ordinance-making and enforcement authority to deal with flood risk in unincorporated rural and suburban areas of Texas. Additionally, examine whether counties have adequate resources and authority to ensure that new development in unincorporated areas is not susceptible to flooding.
  • Study how counties identify defendants' and inmates' behavioral health needs and deferral opportunities to appropriate rehabilitative and transition services. Consider models for ensuring defendants and inmates with mental illness receive appropriate services upon release from the criminal justice system.
  • Review the population limitations found in Local Government Code Section 154.041 and Local Government Code Section 113.047. Determine if counties with a population below 190,000 could benefit from the population limitations being removed.
  • Monitor the agencies and programs under the Committee’s jurisdiction and oversee the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 85th Legislature.
House Criminal Jurisprudence
  • Evaluate the impact of Hurricane Harvey on the Texas criminal justice system, including its effect on the speed of criminal trials and litigation, criminal courts, district attorneys' ability to prosecute, and attorneys' ability to provide proper defense. Recommend any changes that could improve operational stability of state criminal justice institutions following a natural disaster and changes that would allow for a more effective response.
  • Assess developments in medical science and legal standards related to the imposition of the death penalty on defendants with serious mental illness or intellectual and developmental disabilities. Review statutorily prescribed jury instructions used during capital sentencing.
  • Study current practices for the enforcement of criminal laws against low-level possession of marijuana. Examine the use of alternative punishments and improvements to criminal enforcement mechanisms and community supervision.
  • Examine instances of prosecutorial misconduct and ineffective assistance of defense counsel. Review systemic and structural issues affecting the resolution of criminal cases.
  • Examine the legal framework surrounding sexual assault prosecutions, including statutory definitions, certain age-based offenses, and ongoing developments in evidence collection and processing.
  • Review the Texas state jail system, including its original intent, sentencing guidelines, effectiveness, and recidivism rates. Make recommendations for changes in the state jail system that will improve outcomes. (Joint charge with the House Committee on Corrections)
  • Monitor the work of the Office of Court Administration on pre-trial risk assessment tools for the Texas Judiciary, and study the use of risk assessment tools at various stages in the criminal justice process. Monitor litigation on Harris County pretrial bond practices. Monitor the implementation of the legislation passed by the 85th Legislature regarding the imposition of fines, fees, and court costs in criminal courts.
  • Monitor the agencies and programs under the Committee’s jurisdiction and oversee the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 85th Legislature.
House Culture, Recreation, and Tourism
  • Review the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's and the Texas Historical Commission's roles in the response to Hurricane Harvey. Evaluate the economic, recreational, and biological impacts and needed repairs from Harvey as they relate to applicable state agencies and the following areas and industries under the purview of the Committee:
    a. State parks
    b. Wildlife and fish
    c. Historic sites and buildings
    d. Art and cultural resources
    e. Travel and tourism
    f. In addition, provide recommendations on how to allow for a timely recovery of these areas from Harvey, and how to mitigate the impact of, and adequately prepare for, future natural disasters.
  • Study the feasibility of establishing and mobilizing a volunteer contingency of private boat owners through the boat registration and license database administered by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to assist first responders in search and rescue efforts in natural disasters like Hurricane Harvey.
  • Study the effects of declining migratory species, such as the monarch butterfly, as well as native and domesticated bee populations on agricultural production and its economic impact on the state. Identify possible causes of the population changes and monitor national trends. Make recommendations on how to improve and promote monarch butterfly and bee populations and habitats in the state. (Joint charge with the House Committee on Agriculture & Livestock)
  • Monitor the agencies and programs under the Committee’s jurisdiction and oversee the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 85th Legislature.
House Defense and Veterans' Affairs
  • Evaluate the impact of Hurricane Harvey related to the Texas Military Department, Emergency Management Council, and the Texas Division of Emergency Management. Recommend any changes that could improve operational stability and the reaction of these agencies following a natural disaster and changes that would allow for a more effective response.
  • Assess ways the State of Texas can further aid federal military installations and their communities in order to minimize the negative consequences of a Base Realignment and Closure round by the federal government.
  • Examine best practices related to use of the Defense Economic Adjustment Assistance Grant program to maximize support for military installations, and how the state can better serve military installations in Texas. Also, evaluate changes that would increase utilization of the Texas Military Revolving Loan Fund.
  • Study the economic impact of the aviation, aerospace, & defense manufacturing industry in Texas and the state's ability to facilitate industry job growth and investment. Review the relationship between the economic vitality of industry and military veterans transitioning into the workforce. Determine existing and potential barriers to the retention and expansion of the manufacturing industry in the state and the broader economic implications it may have on workforce readiness, as well as veteran employment and support services. (Joint charge with the House Committee on Economic & Small Business Development)
  • Examine the needs of homeless veterans in Texas. Examine obstacles veterans may face finding housing across the state. Recommend measures to bolster the state's efforts to address veteran homelessness in Texas.
  • 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, review the implementation of S.B. 27 (85R) and the related Veterans Mental Health Program, as well as S.B. 578 (85R) and the development of the Veterans Suicide Prevention Action Plan.
House Economic and Small Business Development
  • Examine Hurricane Harvey’s economic and workforce impact on the state and private sector. Analyze the effects and efficiency of state resources available to assist in job training and the recovery of the state’s workforce.
  • Study the state's effectiveness in developing and growing high-growth, high-tech start-ups. Review current regulations and determine if barriers exist that potentially impede investment and growth. Evaluate the concept of a "sandbox" as a regulatory approach for enabling innovation and the feasibility of implementing such an approach in Texas.
  • Evaluate the ongoing and long-term workforce needs of the state’s businesses and industries. Determine whether state resources are adequate to address shortages and assist with closing existing or future gaps in workforce readiness and skills to ensure the continued economic security and success of the state.
  • Analyze current data on the distribution of state economic development incentives across the state. Identify advantages or qualities, if any, possessed by the regions frequently awarded state incentives. Accordingly, identify resources available to underserved regions to increase awareness or utilization of incentives.
  • Study the economic impact of the aviation, aerospace, & defense manufacturing industry in Texas and the state's ability to facilitate industry job growth and investment. Review the relationship between the economic vitality of industry and military veterans transitioning into the workforce. Determine existing and potential barriers to the retention and expansion of the manufacturing industry in the state and the broader economic implications it may have on workforce readiness, as well as veteran employment and support services. (Joint charge with the House Committee on Defense & Veterans’ Affairs)
  • Monitor the agencies and programs under the Committee’s jurisdiction and oversee the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 85th Legislature.
House Economic Competitiveness, Select
  • Study and highlight the most effective ways for Texas to compete for jobs, investments and highly skilled workers.*
House Elections
  • Study the potential impact of disaster events on election administration and security. Specifically, examine any effects or vulnerabilities identified during Hurricane Harvey and the subsequent recovery period.
  • Study the efficiency and security of the state’s existing election protocols and systems, including but not limited to registration and early voting procedures, ballot styles, and the rules regarding time and location of polls. Identify available processes and options which could lead to increased voter participation and election integrity.
  • Study the process for establishing onsite early voting for voters who reside at a residential care facility. Specifically, review the provisions signed into law by H.B. 658 (85R) and subsequently repealed with the passage of H.B. 184 (85(1)).
  • Monitor the agencies and programs under the Committee’s jurisdiction and oversee the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 85th Legislature.
House Energy Resources
  • Examine the Railroad Commission of Texas' (RRC) response to Hurricane Harvey. Study whether current state rules and regulations are sufficient to protect the public, natural resources, environment, infrastructure, and industrial facilities from damage caused by natural disasters. Evaluate options to ensure the availability of fuel reserves for first responders during natural disasters.
  • Study the Gas Reliability Infrastructure Program and its effect on gas utility ratemaking and ratepayers.
  • Examine whether current statutes are adequate to encourage reactivation of non-producing oil and gas wells. Consider the potential economic impact of programs designed to reactivate non- producing oil and gas wells.
  • Evaluate the evolution of frac sand mining in the Permian Basin and how it may impact county infrastructure and oil and gas development. Develop possible recommendations that could assist counties with frac sand mining to better prepare the area for the entrance of this new industry.
  • Examine how commercial wind energy facilities are decommissioned and whether current statutes adequately protect the rights of wind facility landowners.
  • Evaluate the impact energy exploration and production have on state and county roads and make recommendations on how to improve road quality in areas impacted by these activities. (Joint charge with the House Committee on Transportation)
  • Examine how state policies may facilitate investment in public infrastructure and workforce development in the Permian Basin region in order to support the anticipated growth in industry activity and related population, and capture the full economic potential of the region.
  • 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 consider:
    a. Long-term funding solutions for a stable regulatory structure;
    b. Adequacy of well-plugging processes and funds;
    c. Cleanup and removal of abandoned equipment; and
    d. Seismic research needs for the University of Texas Bureau of Economic Geology and any response to research findings by the RRC.
House Environmental Regulation
  • Examine the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality's (TCEQ) response and clean-up efforts related to Hurricane Harvey. Study whether current air, water, waste, and wastewater rules and regulations adequately protect the public, natural resources, environment, infrastructure, residential areas, and industrial facilities from damage caused by natural disasters. Evaluate the debris cleanup and removal process and whether current rules and regulations are effective in expediting cleanup efforts. Make recommendations on how natural disaster responses can be improved.
  • Examine how emergency alert systems related to hazardous and chemical releases are organized at the local, state, and federal level and explore ways to improve coordination and efficiencies. Develop recommendations to improve notifications to first responders and the public.
  • Study the permitting, siting, and regulatory processes for solid waste landfills, including municipal solid waste landfills, and whether current rules, regulations, and notice requirements adequately ensure compliance and maximize participation from the public and stakeholders.
  • Study the economic impact of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) and determine if new technologies can be utilized to meet attainment or make an attainment demonstration for all current standards.
  • Review the TCEQ's expedited air permitting program and examine whether the program is achieving the desired results.
  • Monitor the agencies and programs under the Committee’s jurisdiction and oversee the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 85th Legislature.
House General Investigating and Ethics
  • Maintain oversight of federal, state, local, and charitable funds spent in response to Hurricane Harvey. Investigate instances of waste, fraud, or abuse involving such funds. Ensure that the State of Texas is maximizing federal disaster aid.
  • Review conflict of interest laws governing public officers and employees to ensure that such laws are adequate to maintain the public’s confidence in government decision-making. Review personal financial statement requirements to ensure that the public has sufficient information on the private financial interests of public officers.
  • Review criminal penalties under Chapter 305, Government Code (registration of lobbyists) and recommend improvements to maintain the integrity of legislative and administrative processes.
  • Examine the Judicial Campaign Fairness Act and identify opportunities to improve the Act.
  • Review procedures and processes used at the Texas Ethics Commission. Identify ways to resolve complaints more efficiently.
  • Examine employment policies and practices at state agencies relating to the hiring of individuals who were terminated from employment with another state agency for misconduct.
  • Review the implementation of S.B. 73 (85R) relating to leave policies and procedures for state employees.
  • Examine laws and policies regulating travel by state agency officials to ensure that travel expenditures are in the best interest of the state.
  • Investigate the use of state agency resources to participate in trade associations and groups funded by industries regulated by the agency.
  • Monitor the agencies and programs under the Committee’s jurisdiction and oversee the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 85th Legislature.
House Government Transparency and Operation
  • Examine the role of technology in disaster preparedness and the response to Hurricane Harvey and future natural disasters. Review and make recommendations to drive innovation and efficiency and evaluate whether there are any regulatory impediments to collaboration between the public and private sectors.
  • Evaluate whether qualifying state agencies are appropriately utilizing available state disaster recovery services, including the statewide technology centers. Consider the costs and benefits of allowing other states to participate in Texas' statewide technology centers under Subchapter L, Chapter 2054, Texas Government Code for disaster recovery purposes.
  • Review Texas’ open meeting laws and related government decision-making policies. Determine if the formal processes prevented the efficient delivery of assistance during Hurricane Harvey. Make recommendations on maintaining the current standards of accountability without limiting government-provided aid during disaster events.
  • Evaluate whether, in light of recent Texas Supreme Court rulings, the provisions of the Public Information Act are adequate to support transparency and accountability in government, particularly as it relates to government contracting and procurement.
  • Study how state agencies can share knowledge and practices, reduce duplicative data gathering, and conduct business in a more efficient manner through interagency data sharing. Review best practices to provide the public with more transparency and access to government information.
  • 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 the implementation of H.B. 8 (85R).
House Higher Education
  • Determine, to the extent possible, the scope of financial losses to 2- and 4-year institutions, including facilities, that resulted from Hurricane Harvey. Recommend possible state actions to mitigate any negative impact on institutions and ensure governance structures and parameters allow for effective responses. Review the educational opportunities offered to students displaced by Harvey throughout the state. Recommend any changes that could improve the process and what additional services might be needed for these displaced students.
  • Determine the impact of any federal action pertaining to Title IX and the potential effects on current state laws and rules pertaining to sexual misconduct policies at institutions of higher education.
  • Examine the rapid growth of dual credit course offerings across the state, and evaluate whether dual credit is effectively reducing time-to-degree and improving affordability for students and the state. Evaluate institutions’ policies and processes for ensuring rigor and quality, and the adequacy of student advising regarding the potential applicability of dual credit courses to future academic program requirements. Review the current state funding methodology and costs of, and the share of state funding attributable to, dual credit programs.
  • Examine efforts of 2- and 4-year institutions to implement innovative and non-traditional models of education delivery to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse student body and the demands of a rapidly changing workforce. Identify any obstacles to institutional innovation. Make recommendations to scale innovative educational models to better serve students and employers.
  • Review current data available to the public about Educator Preparation Programs (EPPs) and make recommendations to ensure the data is transparent, user-friendly, and actionable. Review the current EPP accountability system and recommend any new indicators or changes,
    including evaluating the ability of programs to meet the workforce needs of school districts by preparing teachers for high-needs areas. Determine ways to measure the effectiveness of teachers prepared by individual programs. For traditional EPP programs, make recommendations on how to more fully involve boards of regents in an effort to elevate the importance of teacher preparation within our state institutions. Examine current joint partnerships between EPPs and public schools to meet regional workforce needs, and make recommendations on how to scale these partnerships. (Joint charge with the House Committee on Public Education S/C on Teacher Quality)
  • 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 include: S.B. 2118 (85R) and 60x30TX, the higher education strategic plan.
House Homeland Security and Public Safety
  • Evaluate the response of the Texas Department of Public Safety's (DPS) response to Hurricane Harvey. Review the actions of the Texas Division of Emergency Management and the state's natural disaster preparedness planning efforts to determine their effectiveness at addressing Harvey-related issues. Study coordination between municipalities, counties, and state agencies and how emergency response activities are organized and coordinated at the city, county, and regional level.
  • Review and evaluate the impact of DPS operations near the Texas-Mexico border on organized crime. Review organized crime convictions, including human trafficking convictions, collaboration with federal authorities, collaboration with federal and local prosecutors, and other relevant crime statistics and research related to organized crime intervention.
  • Study aggressive driving in Texas and review the causes and current mitigation efforts. Make recommendations for legislative action.
  • Monitor the implementation of gun legislation passed by the 85th Legislature.
  • Evaluate opportunities for DPS to expedite the driver license renewal process.
  • Monitor the agencies and programs under the Committee’s jurisdiction and oversee the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 85th Legislature.
House House Administration
  • Review internal policies and guidelines relating to expenditures from House funds for salaries, operations, and travel and per diem.
  • Monitor security operations for the Capitol and Capitol grounds and identify any needed improvements.
  • Monitor the agencies and programs under the Committee’s jurisdiction and oversee the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 85th Legislature.
House Human Services
  • Study the impact of Hurricane Harvey and the response to the storm on individuals living in long-term care facilities, assisted living facilities, state supported living centers, licensed community group homes, and children in the foster care system. Identify and recommend necessary solutions to ensure appropriate disaster-related protocols are in place to keep vulnerable Texans protected. Also, identify any challenges state agencies experienced in responding to the storm or during recovery efforts.
  • Review the history and any future roll-out of Medicaid Managed Care in Texas. Determine the impact managed care has had on the quality and cost of care. In the review, determine: initiatives that managed care organizations (MCOs) have implemented to improve quality of care; whether access to care and network adequacy contractual requirements are sufficient; and whether MCOs have improved the coordination of care. Also determine provider and Medicaid participants’ satisfaction within STAR, STAR Health, Star Kids, and STAR+Plus managed care programs. In addition, review the Health and Human Services Commission's (HHSC) oversight of managed care organizations, and make recommendations for any needed improvement.
  • Examine the survey process for nursing facilities to determine any duplication of government regulations. Consider recommendations to reduce duplication while ensuring patient safety is preserved.
  • Review the availability of prevention and early intervention programs and determine their effectiveness in reducing maltreatment of children. In addition, review services available to children emancipating out of foster care, as well as services available to families post-adoption. Determine if current services are adequately providing for children's needs and meeting the objectives of the programs. While reviewing possible system improvements for children, follow the work of the Supreme Court of Texas Children's Commissions' Statewide Collaborative of Trauma-Informed Care to determine how trauma-informed care impacts outcomes for children.
  • Analyze the prevalence of children involved with Child Protective Services (CPS) who have a mental illness and/or a substance use disorder. In addition, analyze the prevalence of children involved with CPS due to their guardian's substance abuse or because of an untreated mental illness. Identify methods to strengthen CPS processes and services, including efforts for family preservation; increasing the number of appropriate placements designed for children with high needs; and ensuring Texas Medicaid is providing access to appropriate and effective behavioral health services. (Joint charge with the House Committee on Public Health)
  • Monitor the HHSC's implementation of Rider 219 in Article II of the General Appropriations Act related to prescription drug benefit administration in Medicaid. Analyze the role of pharmacy benefit managers in Texas Medicaid.
  • 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 closely monitor the implementation of H.B. 4 (85R), H.B. 5 (85R), H.B. 7 (85R), and S.B. 11 (85R).
House Insurance
  • Examine the effect of Hurricane Harvey on the insurance market in Texas. Include an evaluation of the status of the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association and Texas FAIR Plan Association, and of the impact of Harvey on the ability of these residual markets to achieve their statutory goals and meet the needs of their policyholders. Examine possible gaps and vulnerabilities in insurance coverage brought to light by Harvey and recommend ways to address these issues.
  • Study the coverage provided by the most common homeowners’ insurance policy forms in Texas, and methods to provide more clarity to Texas consumers about this coverage and the possible need for endorsements or other types of insurance.
  • Study the use of appraisal processes under property insurance policies in Texas, including the effects of court decisions on the use of these processes and the impact of their use on insurers and policyholders.
  • Assess the status of the health insurance market in Texas and opportunities to improve this market through waivers of federal law or other mechanisms. Monitor any changes in federal law that may affect these options.
  • Evaluate recent efforts by the Legislature and the Texas Department of Insurance to minimize instances of surprise medical billing and to ensure the adequacy of health insurance networks. Identify instances in which surprise billing most often occurs and ways to decrease its frequency through enhanced transparency or other methods.
  • Examine the impacts of changes in prescription drug coverage and drug formularies on patients, particularly those with chronic conditions.
  • Evaluate recent efforts in Texas and in other states to enhance transparency regarding the practices of pharmacy benefit managers.
  • Review Texas’ financial responsibility laws for automobile insurance, including the minimum liability limits required by state law.
  • Monitor the agencies and programs under the Committee’s jurisdiction and oversee the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 85th Legislature.
House International Trade and Intergovernmental Affairs
  • Review the state's communications with the federal government in response to Hurricane Harvey. Identify best practices and make recommendations for improvements to ensure the state maximizes federal resources in future emergencies.
  • Review the current state of infrastructure at Texas' international shipping ports and border ports of entry in Texas. Identify transportation-related impediments to international trade and estimate the impact of those challenges, including border wait times, on the state's economy. Make recommendations for improvements to facilitate international trade and economic growth. (Joint charge with the House Committee on Transportation)
  • Monitor developments with international trade agreements, including NAFTA, and review the impact of proposed and enacted changes on the state's economy.
  • Review the current trade relationship between Texas and Cuba and evaluate the potential impact of opening the trade relationship. Make recommendations to facilitate an increase in trade in the event federal restrictions are loosened.
  • Monitor the agencies and programs under the Committee’s jurisdiction and oversee the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 85th Legislature.
House Investments and Financial Services
  • Review the impact of Hurricane Harvey on financial institutions in Texas and evaluate the response of the state's oversight agencies. Study how Harvey impacted consumers and lenders in the mortgage and home equity markets. Identify opportunities to improve the operational stability of financial institutions and to improve the state's responsiveness following a natural disaster.
  • Study the impact and risks that a large-scale security breach of a credit bureau has on Texans. Identify opportunities to protect Texas consumers and to mitigate the impact of such a breach.
  • Examine mortgage licensure requirements in Texas and identify opportunities to update statute to fit modern mortgage options.
  • Study policy challenges in the area of financial technology. Evaluate the concept of a "sandbox" as a regulatory approach for enabling innovation and the feasibility of implementing such in Texas. If appropriate, make recommendations for possible legislative action to foster innovation in the finance industry.
  • Monitor the agencies and programs under the Committee’s jurisdiction and oversee the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 85th Legislature.
House Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence
  • Study the effects of Hurricane Harvey on the courts and legal system. Examine whether existing statutes granting authority to the Texas Supreme Court and Texas Court of Criminal Appeals are adequate to address potential needs during emergencies. Study the effects of Harvey on civil legal aid programs in general, and specifically in regard to legal problems faced by those impacted.
  • Examine the increasing use of non-traditional methods of resolving legal disputes and interacting with the legal system, and the implications of this trend both for the parties involved and the legal system as a whole. Include an examination of the availability and use of self-help resources, recent efforts by the Legislature and courts to increase access to justice for unrepresented litigants, and the use of online dispute resolution.
  • Evaluate the statutes prescribing fees in civil and criminal matters, and examine opportunities to simplify and improve the fee structure. Identify fees that may be challenged on grounds similar to those raised in Salinas v. Texas (Tex. Court of Crim. Apps., March 8, 2017), and recommend any necessary changes.
  • Study the increased use of specialty courts across the state. Examine the role these courts play in the judicial system and recommend improvements to ensure they continue to be appropriately and successfully utilized.
  • Examine the jurisdictional thresholds of the justice, county, and district courts, including how these limits and other factors impact the caseload of the courts. Study possible improvements in the efficient organization and operation of the court system.
  • Monitor the ongoing efforts of the Office of Court Administration's guardianship compliance program, and consider additional methods to ensure that Texans placed under guardianship are protected from abuse.
  • Monitor the implementation of the statewide electronic database of court records ("re:SearchTX").
  • Monitor the agencies and programs under the Committee’s jurisdiction and oversee the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 85th Legislature.
House Juvenile Justice and Family Issues
  • Evaluate the impact of Hurricane Harvey on the Texas juvenile justice system, out-of-home placements, and care for youth involved with the juvenile justice and child welfare systems. Recommend any changes that could improve operational stability of state juvenile justice institutions following a natural disaster and changes that would allow for a more effective response.
  • Study the issue of adult criminal responsibility for 17-year-olds. Review juvenile justice penalties and sanctions determined by a juvenile's age. Identify best practices in other states relating to juvenile age. Make recommendations regarding penalties and sanctions in the juvenile age population.
  • Evaluate the use of telemedicine to improve behavioral health services in the juvenile justice system.
  • Monitor the agencies and programs under the Committee’s jurisdiction and oversee the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 85th Legislature.
House Land and Resource Management
  • Review the General Land Office's (GLO) role and efforts during the recovery period following Hurricane Harvey. Examine the state's readiness and protocols in response to storm-related natural disasters. Provide an assessment of public lands and make recommendations on future and ongoing mitigation strategies regarding state assets.
  • Review local and state zoning and land use regulations. Determine if current rules provide an adequate balance of disaster preparedness and deference to private property rights.
  • Examine Texas’ eminent domain statutes to ensure a balance between necessary infrastructure growth and fair compensation for landowners. Review available public information and data relating to the compensation provided to private property owners. Make recommendations to improve the accountability, as well as successful development, of the entities granted eminent domain authority.
  • Study the State Power Program operated by the GLO, and interlocal agreements authorized under Government Code Chapter 791, to ensure accountability and transparency in program administration. Evaluate program offerings to public customers as compared to those available in the retail electric market, as well as the State Power Program's contribution to other state programs. Make reform recommendations and analyze potential impacts to program beneficiaries.
  • 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 review the municipal practices developed as a result of the passage of S.B. 6 during the 85th First Called Session, as well as the ongoing effects on property owners.
House Licensing and Administrative Procedures
  • Evaluate the adequacy of the workforce currently available to the industries responsible for rebuilding the state’s key infrastructure, as well as residential and commercial properties damaged by Hurricane Harvey. Specifically, examine the labor needs within the construction industry and skilled trades and determine if local or state licensing requirements and regulations are an unnecessary barrier to the ongoing success of post-Harvey recovery. (Joint charge with the House Committee on Business & Industry)
  • Review local and state occupational licensing and regulations for redundancies. Determine the most effective balance of promoting the economic growth and development of Texas' businesses and workforce with government interests and public safety.
  • Study the recent advancements in technology-based alcohol and industry services. Determine if current regulations and permitting rules are able to respond to the ongoing shifts in the modern marketplace and continue to provide consumer and public protections without restricting innovation.
  • Monitor the statutory changes enacted through S.B. 951 (85R), the Committee's omnibus deregulation omnibus bill. In particular, monitor the effectiveness and efficiency of the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation's (TDLR) role in regulating the applicable occupations and activities including but not limited to Vehicle Protection Product businesses, Temporary Common Worker Employers, For-Profit Legal Service Contract Companies, Barbering and Cosmetology, and Vehicle Booting and Towing Operators. Review TDLR's current strategic planning efforts and the potential recommendations for occupations and activities which may undergo regulation changes in the future.
  • Monitor the agencies and programs under the Committee’s jurisdiction and oversee the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 85th Legislature.
House Natural Resources
  • In conjunction with Charge 1, study the following additional issues related to Hurricane Harvey and flooding in general:
    a. The development of the initial State Flood Plan by the Texas Water Development Board, and how the plan might be enhanced or focused in light of Harvey;
    b. Science and data availability and needs related to flood risk and to responding to flood events;
    c. The best methods of providing state financial assistance for flood infrastructure needs;
    d. Opportunities for improved collection and storage of flood flows for future supply needs; and
    e. The role of voluntary land conservation efforts, including conservation easements, in preventing and mitigating flooding.
  • Evaluate the status of groundwater policy in Texas, including the following issues:
    a. Progress and challenges in encouraging coordination and consistency in aquifer-wide management and permitting practices;
    b. Developments in case law regarding groundwater ownership and regulation;
    c. Potential improvements to the existing groundwater permitting process, including those contemplated in H.B. 31 (85R);
    d. The appropriate consideration of the service area of a water supplier when groundwater resources are allocated based on surface ownership;
    e. The designation of brackish groundwater production zones and related research;
    f. Groundwater data and science needs; and
    g. Emerging issues in groundwater and surface water interaction, in particular in areas of increasing competition for scarce resources.
  • Examine the status of water markets in Texas and the potential benefits of and challenges to expanded markets for water.
  • Examine the potential value, the necessary elements, and the implications of a broad-based information and awareness campaign regarding water issues in Texas. Consider input from water stakeholders, educators, and communications experts.
  • Evaluate the results of the expedited decertification process created under S.B. 573 (82R). Include an evaluation of the process for resolving disputes around this process and assessing compensation for utilities whose service areas are decertified.
  • Analyze the need to update Water Availability Models for the river basins in this state.
  • Study the hazards presented by abandoned and deteriorated groundwater wells, and make recommendations to address the contamination and other concerns these wells may represent.
  • Examine opportunities to enhance water development opportunities involving neighboring states and Mexico. Evaluate lessons from previous attempts to import new water supplies, as well as the impacts of noncompliance with the 1944 treaty with Mexico on the Rio Grande Valley region.
  • Monitor the agencies and programs under the Committee’s jurisdiction and oversee the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 85th Legislature.
  • Examine the following issues within the committee's jurisdiction regarding Harvey and flooding in general: the role of regional entities in developing projects to control flooding, both through new infrastructure and enhancing existing infrastructure; mitigation efforts that would reduce the impact of future flood events, and strategies to fund those efforts; and the response of public entities that own or operate dams to large-scale rain events, including how such entities make decisions regarding dam and reservoir operations during such events, coordinate with state and local emergency management officials, and communicate with the public.
House Opioids and Substance Abuse, Select
  • Study the prevalence and impact of substance use and substance use disorders in Texas, including co-occurring mental illness. Study the prevalence and impact of opioids and synthetic drugs in Texas. Review the history of overdoses and deaths due to overdoses. Also review other health-related impacts due to substance abuse. Identify substances that are contributing to overdoses, related deaths and health impacts, and compare the data to other states. During the review, identify effective and efficient prevention and treatment responses by health care systems, including hospital districts and coordination across state and local governments. Recommend solutions to prevent overdoses and related health impacts and deaths in Texas.
  • Review the prevalence of substance abuse and substance use disorders in pregnant women, veterans, homeless individuals, and people with co-occurring mental illness. In the review, study the impact of opioids and identify available programs specifically targeted to these populations and the number of people served. Consider whether the programs have the capacity to meet the needs of Texans. In addition, research innovative programs from other states that have reduced substance abuse and substance use disorders, and determine if these programs would meet the needs of Texans. Recommend strategies to increase the capacity to provide effective services.
  • Review policies and guidelines used by state agencies to monitor for and prevent abuse of prescription drugs in state-funded or state-administered programs. Include in this review policies implemented by the Texas Medicaid Program, the Division of Workers’ Compensation of the Texas Department of Insurance, the Teacher Retirement System, and the Employee Retirement System. Make recommendations regarding best practices.
  • Monitor and evaluate the implementation of legislation passed by the 85th Legislature regarding the Prescription Monitoring Program. In addition, review the prescribing of addictive drugs by physicians and other health care providers within various geographic regions of this state. Determine the role of health care professionals in preventing overutilization and diversion of addictive prescriptions. Provide recommendations that will improve efforts to prevent overutilization and diversion of addictive prescriptions.
  • Identify how opioids have impacted the normal scope of work for law enforcement, first responders, and hospital emergency department personnel.
  • Examine the impact of substance abuse and substance use disorders on Texans who are involved in the adult or juvenile criminal justice system and/or the Child Protective Services system. Identify barriers to treatment and the availability of treatment in various areas of the state. Recommend solutions to improve state and local policy, including alternatives to justice system involvement, and ways to increase access to effective treatment and recovery options.
  • Examine the impact of overdose reporting defense laws known as "Good Samaritan" laws.
  • Identify the specialty courts in Texas that specialize in substance use disorders. Determine the effectiveness of these courts and consider solutions to increase the number of courts in Texas.
House Pensions
  • Review the state's oversight of pension systems and study the effectiveness of corrective mechanisms, including the Funding Soundness Restoration Plan and Pension Review Board Funding Guidelines. Make recommendations to enhance state oversight and to maintain or achieve soundness among local pension systems.
  • Evaluate the governance structures, including investment oversight, of the Employee Retirement System (ERS), Teacher Retirement System (TRS), Texas Municipal Retirement System, Texas County and District Retirement System, and Texas Emergency Services Retirement System. Identify best practices and make recommendations to strengthen oversight within the systems.
  • Review and evaluate health incentive programs within the group benefit programs at ERS and TRS. Identify best practices among similar programs and barriers to implementation. Make recommendations for achieving further savings through existing and/or new programs.
  • Monitor the agencies and programs under the Committee’s jurisdiction and oversee the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 85th Legislature.
House Public Education
  • Review current state mechanisms for identifying and rewarding educators through state-level strategies. Examine how providing additional funding to enhance compensation in districts facing a shortage of experienced, highly rated teachers would affect retention and teacher quality, in addition to whether it would encourage teachers to provide additional services through extracurricular activities, tutoring, and mentoring.
  • Examine research-based options for evaluating student achievement beyond standardized test scores, including adaptive and portfolio assessments. Examine the scope of the current Texas essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) in grades with the state assessment, including the format, assessment calendar, and the limits of instructional days, if any. Determine if it is appropriate to limit TEKS to readiness standards that can be taught in less than the school year. Review current Student Success Initiative testing and make recommendations on its continuation or repeal. Review the ability of the state to waive standardized testing for students with significant cognitive disabilities.
  • Examine programs in public schools that have proven results meeting the needs of and improving student achievement for students with disabilities, with an emphasis on programs specializing in autism, dysgraphia, and dyslexia. Recommend ways to support and scale innovative programs for these students, including providing supplemental services, or incentivizing public-private partnerships or inter district and charter school collaborations. Monitor the implementation and funding for the pilot programs authorized in H.B. 21 (85R) and review the Texas Education Agency's compliance with S.B. 160 (85R), which prohibits special education student caps.
  • Review the charter school system in Texas. Determine if changes are needed in the granting, renewal, or revocation of charter schools, including the timeline for expansions and notification of expansions to surrounding districts. Review the educational outcomes of students in charter schools compared to those in traditional schools, and to what extent schools participate in the alternative accountability system. Monitor the implementation of facilities funding for charter schools. Consider differences in state funding for charter schools compared to their surrounding districts and the impact on the state budget. Consider admissions policies for charters, including
    appropriate data collection to assess demand for additional charter enrollment, compliance with access by students with disabilities and the effect of exclusions of students with criminal or disciplinary histories. Consider differences in charter and district contributions to the Teacher Retirement System on behalf of their employees and make appropriate recommendations to support the retirement benefits of all public school teachers.
  • 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 include: H.B. 21 (85R), H.B. 22 (85R), and S.B. 179 (85R).
  • Determine, to the extent possible, the scope of financial losses, including facilities, that resulted from Harvey. Recommend possible state actions, such as changes to student counts or property valuation, to mitigate any negative impact on districts and ensure governance structures and parameters allow for effective responses.
  • Recommend any measures needed at the state level to prevent unintended punitive consequences to both students and districts in the state accountability system as a result of Harvey and its aftermath.
  • Examine the educational opportunities offered to students displaced by Harvey throughout the state and the process by which districts enroll and serve those students. Recommend any changes that could improve the process for students or help districts serving a disproportionate number of displaced students.
House Public Health
  • Review state programs that provide women’s health services and recommend solutions to increase access to effective and timely care. During the review, identify services provided in each program, the number of providers and clients participating in the programs, and the enrollment and transition process between programs. Monitor the work of the Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force and recommend solutions to reduce maternal deaths and morbidity. In addition, review the correlation between pre-term and low birth weight births and the use of alcohol and tobacco. Consider options to increase treatment options and deter usage of these substances.
  • Study treatment of traumatic brain injury, Alzheimer's, and dementia, and recommend opportunities for advancing treatment and cures.
  • Study and make recommendations to improve services available for identifying and treating children with mental illness, including the application of trauma- and grief-informed practices. Identify strategies to assist in understanding the impact and recognizing the signs of trauma in children and providing school-based or community-based mental health services to children who need them. Analyze the role of the Texas Education Agency and of the regional Education Service Centers regarding mental health. In addition, review programs that treat early psychosis among youth and young adults.
  • Study the overlays among housing instability, homelessness, and mental illness. Review the availability of supportive housing opportunities for individuals with mental illness. Consider options to address housing stability and homelessness among people with mental illness. (Joint charge with the House Committee on Urban Affairs)
  • Review opportunities to improve population health and health care delivery in rural and urban medically underserved areas. Identify potential opportunities to improve access to care, including the role of telemedicine. In the review, identify the challenges facing rural hospitals and the impact of rural hospital closures.
  • Analyze the prevalence of children involved with Child Protective Services (CPS) who have a mental illness and/or a substance use disorder. In addition, analyze the prevalence of children involved with CPS due to their guardian's substance abuse or because of an untreated mental illness. Identify methods to strengthen CPS processes and services, including efforts for family preservation; increasing the number of appropriate placements designed for children with high needs; and ensuring Texas Medicaid is providing access to appropriate and effective behavioral health services. (Joint charge with the House Committee on Human Services)
  • Evaluate the process of organ and bone marrow donations. Consider opportunities to improve organ and bone marrow donation awareness in order to increase the number of willing donors.
  • 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 closely monitor the implementation of H.B. 10 (85R), H.B. 13 (85R), and S.B. 292 (85R).
House Special Purpose Districts
  • Evaluate the impact of Hurricane Harvey on residential communities within special purpose districts and districts' capacity to respond. Review the role and adequacy of the districts in emergency preparedness and response. Make recommendations for strengthening districts' emergency operations.
  • Review the statutes and procedures related to state approval and oversight of water district bonds that finance utility, infrastructure, and other projects. Identify opportunities for improving the state's oversight of bond issuance and make recommendations for statutory changes.
  • Investigate the feasibility of dissolving special purpose districts and determine if there are criteria that would make dissolution acceptable. Make recommendations for codifying the dissolution requirements and procedures.
    Investigate the feasibility of dissolving special purpose districts and determine if there are criteria that would make dissolution acceptable. Make recommendations for codifying the dissolution requirements and procedures.
  • Identify best practices in the creation of municipal management districts. Study the feasibility of and make recommendations for creating standard language for the creation of municipal management districts through special law.
  • Monitor the agencies and programs under the Committee’s jurisdiction and oversee the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 85th Legislature.
House State Affairs
  • Evaluate the response of the electric utility industry to Hurricane Harvey. Determine whether current rules and regulations hinder effective responses to natural disasters in areas within the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) and outside ERCOT. Evaluate policy initiatives, best practices, and the effects of expanding distributed generation in order to restore electrical power, critical services, and infrastructure in areas impacted by a natural disaster. Study the impact of expanded distributed generation and advanced technology deployment on wholesale electric power prices and their impact on ratepayers.
  • Evaluate the durability and reliability of energy efficient buildings and facilities during natural disasters.
  • Examine the use of television white space and other technologies to expand broadband access to areas with no access or limited access.
  • Examine the liability of certain electric utilities that allow the public recreational access to land they own, occupy, or lease.
  • Monitor the implementation and ongoing litigation of S.B. 4 (85R).
  • Monitor the agencies and programs under the Committee's jurisdiction and oversee the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 85th legislature.
House State and Federal Power and Responsibility, Select
  • Monitor actions of the federal government, including federal legislation and regulations that require or advise that states take certain actions or pass legislation or the actions of the federal government in providing or failing to provide services to this state.
  • Assess the economic impact on the state of the federal government actions or inactions.
  • Consider issues related to the federal budget and its impact on Texas.
  • Examine unfunded federal mandates and their impact on the state.
  • Consider proposals to amend the United States Constitution.
House Texas Ports, Innovation and Infrastructure, Select
  • Review Texas ports' infrastructure including inland borders and border ports of entry.
  • Analyze changes to the global trade landscape and the preparedness of Texas ports and border ports of entry to capitalize on those changes.
  • Identify the near- and long-term challenges facing Texas ports and border points of entry and propose solutions to address those needs.
House Transportation
  • Review the state's response to Hurricane Harvey and natural disaster preparedness with respect to the transportation system and transportation infrastructure. Make recommendations for improving agency operations related to emergency preparedness and response.
  • Study the ability of the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to deliver highway construction projects that reduce congestion and improve mobility, including the Department's options and limitations related to contracting. Make recommendations to improve the Department's ability to complete complex projects on time and under cost.
  • Study the efficacy of existing transportation finance mechanisms from state, regional, and local perspectives. Identify opportunities to improve existing transportation finance mechanisms and investigate the feasibility of developing new ones.
  • Study Texas' various toll authorities and evaluate their transparency and stakeholder responsiveness. Make recommendations to improve the state oversight of toll authorities.
  • Review the management of the oversize/overweight permitting system and ensure that the state is adequately protecting the driving public and road integrity. Make recommendations to improve operations.
  • Study emerging issues in transportation related to technology and evaluate the state's preparedness for addressing challenges and opportunities posed by technological advances. Review the implementation of state and federal programs and legislation related to intelligent transportation systems, autonomous vehicles, unmanned aircraft systems (i.e. drones), and other technological changes.
  • Review the current state of infrastructure at Texas' international shipping ports and border ports of entry in Texas. Identify transportation-related impediments to international trade and estimate the impact of those challenges, including border wait times, on the state's economy. Make recommendations for improvements to facilitate international trade and economic growth. (Joint charge with the House Committee on International Trade & Intergovernmental Affairs)
  • Evaluate the impact energy exploration and production have on state and county roads and make recommendations on how to improve road quality in areas impacted by these activities. (Joint charge with the House Committee on Energy Resources)
  • 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 the implementation of the TxDOT Sunset legislation and related management actions.
House Urban Affairs
  • Monitor housing needs in areas impacted by Hurricane Harvey and related flooding, including:
    a. The local, state, and federal governments' responses to short-term and long-term housing needs for those displaced by the storm; and
    b. Changes in affordable and low-income housing needs in affected areas.
  • 2. Make recommendations to improve and accelerate the response to existing and future housing needs related to Hurricane Harvey and future natural disasters, including:
    a. The viability of set-asides under current state and federal programs to address natural disaster-related contingencies; and
    b. How best to rebuild and revitalize impacted communities to mitigate future disaster-related damage.
  • Monitor and evaluate the need for affordable housing in urban and rural areas across the State of Texas. Examine whether existing housing programs are adequately addressing the needs for affordable housing. Identify prospective and innovative ideas and solutions to address affordable housing needs in Texas.
  • Evaluate the existing situation of and needs associated with migrant labor housing facilities.
  • Examine local government oversight of abandoned and substandard buildings, including buildings of historical significance. Identify ways to best address these issues in an efficient and effective manner.
  • Study the overlays among housing instability, homelessness, and mental illness. Review the availability of supportive housing opportunities for individuals with mental illness. Consider options to address housing stability and homelessness among people with mental illness. (Joint charge with the House Committee on Public Health)
  • Monitor the agencies and programs under the Committee’s jurisdiction and oversee the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 85th Legislature.
House Ways and Means
  • Review the impact of Hurricane Harvey on state and local taxes. Examine the need for and the feasibility of requiring reappraisal of all property affected by large-scale disasters such as Harvey. Identify improvements to the tax-rate-setting process following such disasters.
  • Review the property tax system and identify improvements relating to:
    a. Transparency and communications with taxpayers;
    b. The tax-rate-setting process;
    c. The training and expertise required of appraisal review board members;
    d. Appraisal review board composition, structure, and process; and
    e. Appeals of appraisal review board orders.
  • Review the franchise tax and identify any changes that would improve the state’s business climate.
  • Monitor litigation to overturn the Bellas Hess and Quill decisions, thereby granting states the authority to collect sales and use taxes from remote retailers.
  • Monitor the agencies and programs under the Committee’s jurisdiction and oversee the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 85th Legislature.
Senate Administration
  • Programmatic Budget Structure: Develop detailed programmatic budget structure for all legislative agencies for use in the General Appropriations Act.
  • Legislative Agency Report Review: Review and evaluate the fiscal note and government efficiency report process and make recommendations on potential improvements in timeliness and accuracy.
Senate Agriculture, Water, and Rural Affairs
  • Study and make recommendations on how to move forward with water infrastructure projects in the State Water Plan that will help mitigate floods through flood control, diversion, and storage projects. Evaluate plans for a possible third reservoir in addition to Addicks and Barker to control and alleviate additional flooding in the region. Additionally, review the current status of reservoir projects in Texas. Examine opportunities for coordination between federal and state agencies to develop flood mitigation infrastructure, and the ongoing maintenance and restoration of critical dam infrastructure.
  • Study and identify ways to improve the capacity and maintain the structure of the Addicks and Barker Reservoirs. Report on mechanisms that would ensure the public has access to timely and transparent release figures from reservoirs across the state.
  • Evaluate current state data-sharing standards for rainfall and stream gauges and whether regional flood management projects and flood warnings should be hosted in a centralized location, such as a state agency web page. Determine whether a statewide real-time flood warning system could be developed and coordinated through mobile devices, TxDOT electronic signage, communication devices and whether existing local and regional forecasting infrastructure could be integrated into a centralized inclement weather forecasting system.
  • Streamlining Water Permitting: Study and recommend changes that promote streamlining of water right permit issuance and the amendment process by the TCEQ for surface water, and that promote uniform and streamline permitting by groundwater conservation districts for groundwater. Evaluate more transparent process needs and proper valuation of water.
  • Regulatory Framework of Groundwater Conservation Districts and River Authorities: Study and make recommendations on the regulatory framework for managing groundwater in Texas to ensure that private property rights are being sufficiently protected. Study the role of river authorities and groundwater conservation districts including the state's oversight role of their operations and fees imposed.
  • Agricultural Fees: Review licensing, permitting, or registration requirements and fees imposed on the agriculture industry by licensing agencies within the committee's jurisdiction. Make recommendations for state licenses and fees that should be reduced, repealed or transitioned to private-sector enforcement.
  • Monitoring: Monitor the implementation of legislation addressed by the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Water & Rural Affairs during the 85th Legislature, Regular Session, including, but not limited to:
    SB 1511 (prioritization in the regional water plan);
    SB 1538 (Floodplain Management Account uses);
    SB 864 (GCD application of state water);
    HB 2004 (Texas economic development fund for TDA); and
    HB 3433 (adoption of rules affecting rural communities. Make recommendations for any legislative improvements needed to improve, enhance, or complete implementation including regional water planning, flood planning, and groundwater production.)
Senate Business and Commerce
  • Study infrastructure security and energy restoration post weather events. Identify ways state government entities can help utilities more effectively stage pre-hurricane mobilization crews for managing resources before an event.
  • Examine state mortgage requirements regarding the notification of homebuyers on their need for flood insurance in flood plains and flood pool areas and make recommendations on how to better inform consumers.
  • Examine local government regulations, including occupational licenses, as related to Hurricane Harvey and determine if any are a detriment to rebuilding efforts.
  • Examine and make recommendations on the need for changes to the Texas Constitution for home equity lenders to offer various forms of relief to Texas homeowners affected by natural disasters including, among others, the authority to enter into deferment agreements. This examination should include a study of home equity rules regarding negotiation, modification and refinancing and whether constitutionally established time periods can be waived in times of disasters.
  • Free Market Electricity: Examine the competitive nature of the Texas retail electric system and what government competitive intrusions in the free energy markets may have in distorting those markets. Review the impact of competitive versus noncompetitive retail electricity markets across the state in terms of price and reliability. Consider the projected impact of establishing competitive electric retail markets statewide.
  • Health Insurance Market Stability: Study the factors affecting health insurance markets in Texas, particularly the individual market, including federal and state law. Make recommendations that would result in increased stability in the markets and enhance value and affordability for individual consumers and businesses. Examine what steps the state needs to take to allow out-of-state health insurance sales. In developing its recommendations, the committee should consider the flexibility afforded to states by 1332 "state innovation" waivers, which allow states to modify or eliminate tax penalties associated with individual and employer coverage mandates; modify requirements for benefits and subsidies; and find alternative ways to provide benefit plan choices, determine eligibility for subsidies, and enroll consumers.
  • Licensing and Fees: Review licensing requirements and fees imposed on entities within the committee's jurisdiction. Make recommendations for state licenses and fees that should be reduced, repealed or transitioned to private-sector enforcement.
  • Social Media Access: Study access issues regarding digital assets of decedents. Study social media privacy laws and whether job applicants and students' privacy is jeopardized under current law.
  • Monitoring Charge: Monitor the implementation of legislation addressed by the Senate Committee on Business and Commerce during the 85th Legislature, Regular Session, including:
    • The implementation of legislation to deregulate occupational licensing;
    • The settlement of out-of-network health benefit claims involving balance billing and patient's explanation of benefits statements; and
    • Make recommendations regarding any additional legislation needed to improve, enhance, and/ or complete implementation.
Senate Criminal Justice
  • Identify Successful Re-Entry Programs: Study current reentry programs and procedures across Texas' adult criminal justice system and identify which are most effective. Review best practices and make recommendations to ensure that incarcerated individuals who are released from a county or city jail, state jail, or the Texas Department of Criminal Justice have adequate supervision and access to employment, housing, treatment, and other support programs to allow for successful reentry and integration into the community and to prevent recidivism.
  • State Jail Review to Improve Outcomes: Perform a comprehensive analysis and study of the Texas state jail system. Examine the access to and use of rehabilitation, vocation, and education programs. Determine whether current programs are effective and if there are efficiencies that can be found to reduce recidivism and improve outcomes.
  • Telemedicine in Correctional Facilities: Review current availability and best practices in the state regarding the use of telemedicine for inmates in city or county jail, state jail, or the Texas Department of Criminal
    Justice. Examine and make recommendations on whether access to care and outcomes can be improved through the expanded use of telemedicine for medical and mental health services, and whether expansion would create efficiencies. Examine barriers to implementation and expansion of telemedicine in correctional facilities.
  • Human Trafficking Awareness and Prevention: Study opportunities to increase awareness of human trafficking through public awareness campaigns, among local officials, and within public school districts including the identification of potential human trafficking and stash houses as well as how and where to report. Examine the Human Trafficking Prevention Business Partnership Program at the Office of the Secretary of State and provide recommendations for increasing participation of Texas businesses in the fight against human trafficking.
  • Monitoring: Monitor the implementation of legislation addressed by the Senate Criminal Justice Committee during the 85th Legislature and make recommendations for any legislation needed to improve, enhance, and/ or complete implementation of the following:
    • Senate Bill 12, Relating to the creation of a grant program to assist law enforcement agencies with the purchase of bulletproof vests and body armor;
    • Senate Bill 30, Relating to the inclusion of instruction regarding interaction with peace officers in the required curriculu m for certain public school students and in driver education courses and to civilian interaction training for peace officers; and
    • Senate Bill 1326, Relating to procedures regarding criminal defendants who are or may be persons with a mental illness or an intellectual disability and to certain duties of the Office of Court Administration of the Texas Judicial System related to persons with mental illness.
Senate Education
  • Assess and make recommendations for state and local K-12 hurricane recovery efforts. Examine the crisis management response of the Texas Education Agency and identify changes to the Education Code that would expedite the state response to school districts and public charter schools in the aftermath of any disaster.
  • Determine the impact on school finance of possible state actions such as, but not limited to, changes to student enrollment calculations or property valuation. Assess student displacement caused by Hurricane Harvey and consider actions the Commissioner of Education may take to adjust attendance levels or calculations in the wake of a disaster. Make recommendations for legislative action including potential changes to the process and timeliness of payments to districts by private insurers, FEMA, and the state.
  • Teacher Compensation: Study current local, state, and/or national compensation strategies for classroom teachers and make recommendations to elevate the teaching profession as well as comprehensive policies to attract, retain, and reward teachers.
  • Mandate Relief/Innovation: Review, modify, or abolish chapters of the education code. Specifically, study cost-drivers, unnecessary mandates, reduction/ elimination of inefficiencies, focus on policies or opportunities targeted to improving student outcomes, and better utilization of taxpayer resources.
  • Classroom Conduct and Teacher Support: Examine current student discipline mandates in code, study best practice models to reduce classroom discipline issues, and provide direct support for students and classroom teachers.
  • Expand High Quality Education Opportunities: Examine high­ quality campus/programs in Texas and other states and make recommendations on incentives to expand high-performing campuses and programs. Review should include but not be limited to: program and course variety, unique public school models, transfer or open-enrollment policies within a district, collaboration between districts or public charters, online learning, and whether children with special educational needs, children of military families, and student populations in chronically high poverty areas should have additional options to meet their unique educational needs.
  • Virtual Education in the 21st Century Classroom: Review the Texas Virtual School Network (TVSN) and recommend methods of updating and improving the system to boost online virtual education.
  • Dual Credit: Review dual credit opportunities throughout the state, examining the impact of HB 505 (84th Legislature) on students in particular. Look at the outcomes of statewide studies completed in Texas regarding dual credit, and examine the current rigor of dual credit courses, as well as how to improve advising for students in dual credit. (JOINT CHARGE with HIGHER EDUCATION)
  • Monitoring: Monitor the implementation of legislation addressed by the Senate Committee on Education passed by the 85th Legislature , relevant agencies, and programs under the committee's jurisdiction . Make recommendations for any legislation needed to improve, enhance, or complete implementation including:
    • State matching of the federal E-rate program (SB 1),
    • Improper relationships between educators and students and reporting of educator misconduct (SB 7), Establishment of a Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) and workforce pathways (SB 22),
    • A prohibition of a monitoring system performance indicator based solely on the number or percentage of students receiving special education service (SB 160),
    • A school district contracting to partner with an open-enrollment charter school to operate a district campus (SB 1882).
    Higher Education Committee
Senate Election Security, Select
  • In light of recent election irregularities in Texas, review voting security protocols as well as the responsibilities and duties of members of the Electoral
    College. Specifically, examine the use of electronic voting machines and paper ballots, voting fraud and disenfranchisement occurring inside nursing homes and assisted living facilities, outside interference and manipulation of elections, and the voting requirements of presidential electors. Make recommendations to safeguard the integrity of elections, ensure the confidentiality and security of voting records, and ensure the will of the people is reflected through their ballot and carried out through their presidential electors.
Senate Employment Practices, Select
  • Study whether Texas businesses are able to circumvent state and federal immigration law by hiring employees through temporary employment agencies rather than hiring employees directly. Explore whether businesses that enter into contracts with a state agency should participate in the E-verify program as part of the awards process of a state contract. Make recommendations on how to best guarantee the integrity of our state's workforce.
Senate Finance
  • Alamo Historical Site Renovation: Monitor the expenditures of state funds appropriated to the General Land Office for the preservation, maintenance, and operation of the Alamo historical site. Ensure the funds are spent to emphasize the architectural design and the historical impact the battle had on the development of Texas as a nation and as a state.
  • Monitor all funds currently being used to address Hurricane Harvey relief and recovery. Identify ways to maximize the use of federal funds and ensure the efficient use of state funds.
  • Economic Stabilization Fund: Examine options to increase investment earnings of the Economic Stabilization Fund in a manner that mini mizes overall risk to the fund balance. Investment options should ensure the liquidity of a sufficient portion of the balance so that the legislature has the resources necessary to address the needs of the state, including natural disasters. Evaluate how the Economic Stabilization Fund constitutional limit is calculated; consider alternative methods to calculate the limit, and alternative uses for funds above the limit.
  • Evaluate the long-term impact of Hurricane Harvey on the Texas economy and the gulf coast region.
  • Texas Emission Reduction Plan: Review the Texas Emission Reduction Plan (TERP) and its economic benefits to the state. Examine whether the state's investment in TERP, including transfers from the Department of Transportation, are being effectively utilized to comply with federal air quality standards, reduce pollution, and protect the public health of Texans.
  • Request to Exceed Review: Review all riders requiring interim action by the Legislative Budget Board to reduce the number of times interim budget modification is necessary.
  • Fee Structure Review: Review state General Revenue - Dedicated fees and make recommendations to reduce fees and lessen reliance on General Revenue - Dedicated fee balances to certify the budget.
  • Adult and Juvenile Corrections Funding: Examine the funding patterns used to fund the juvenile justice system and adult probation departments. Develop recommendations to ensure the Texas Juvenile Justice Department budget does not dis-incentivize the use of cost-effective best practices such as diverting youth from the juvenile justice system, providing services to youth in their community, and keeping youth closer to home. In addition, review funding to adult probation departments and ensure it provides for an equitable distribution to all Texas Probation Departments.
  • Trauma Funding: Review revenue sources currently funding the state's trauma system and the impact of declining revenues and balances in General Revenue - Dedicated accounts. Evaluate the impact of statutory changes affecting trauma system funding, including efforts to eliminate the Driver Responsibility Program. Examine ways to ensure sustainability of the trauma system in Texas.
  • Property Tax on Business Personal Property: Evaluate the property tax as it applies to business personal property and the current $5oo exemption. Quantify the economic effect of taxing business personal property and determine whether the tax places Texas at a competitive disadvantage relative to other states. Evaluate the burden on taxpayers and local governments of administering the property tax on business personal property and determine whether the current $soo exemption should be increased.
  • Interest Rate Disparity: Evaluate the rate of interest charged on delinquent property taxes and delinquent state taxes, compared to the rate of interest paid on property tax refunds and state tax refunds.
    • Evaluate the effect of interest rate disparity on the assessment decisions of governments and the payment decisions of taxpayers.
    • Quantify the amount by which state and local governments profit from interest rate disparity.
    • Identify best practices among other states regarding interest rates charged and paid.
    • Recommend a plan and timeline to reduce interest rate disparity.
  • Monitoring: Monitor the implementation of the following funding initiatives:
    • CPS Critical Needs - Monitor the impact of salary increases and additional caseworkers allocated to Child Protective Services last interim.
    • Health Care Costs Across State Agencies - Monitor coordination efforts among state agencies to improve health care and reduce costs pursuant to Article IX, Section 10.06 and Section 10.07.
    • Behavioral Health - Monitor the state's progress in coordinating behavioral health services and expenditures across state government, pursuant to Article IX section 10.04, including the impact of new local grant funding provided by the 85th Legislatu re.
    • Sporting Goods Sales Tax - Identify state and local park needs and determine whether the Sporting Goods Sales Tax is meeting those needs.
Senate Government Reform, Select
  • Evaluate how property tax law could better advance disaster recovery after Hurricane Harvey while ensuring that taxpayers are protected from excessive taxation and wasteful spending.
  • Study the statutory changes necessary, if any, for a municipality to be able to redirect revenue from Tax Increment Reinvestment Zones (TIRZ) for a set period of time to assist in paying the costs associated with recovery and rebuilding necessary infrastructure following a disaster declaration by the Governor or President.
Senate Health and Human Services
  • Review the state's response to Hurricane Harvey with a focus on public health efforts at the local and state level. The review should include an analysis of the state and local response related to vector control, immunization needs, utilization of health-related volunteers, adequacy of an emergency medical network, evacuation of vulnerable populations from state operated or regulated facilities, and coordination between all levels of government. Recommend any legislative changes necessary to improve public health response and coordination during and after a disaster.
  • Evaluate the impact of Hurricane Harvey on the capacity of out-of-home placements and care for youth involved with the juvenile justice and child welfare systems. Determine how the state can ensure support is available to provide appropriate care as close to home as possible as facilities and offices are rebuilt.
  • Child Welfare: Review the efficacy and quality of services offered to ensure family preservation while in the Family Based Social Services (FESS) stage of service at the Department of Family and Protective Services. Make recommendations to better track quality of services and link payments to providers of these services to outcomes for families and children. Analyze the Department of Family and Protective Services' progress in meeting statutory requirements related to timely visits to children involved in a reported case of abuse or neglect. Make recommendations to further improve the timeliness of these visits. Review services and supports provided to children in Permanent Managing Conservatorship of the state, and the level of preparedness given to youth aging out of state care. Examine the impact of recent legislation related to
    these populations, and make recommendations to ensure youth in care are ready for adulthood and to reduce the likelihood of intergenerational perpetuation of child maltreatment. Assess the effectiveness of public and private agency efforts to recruit and retain foster parents. Identify barriers to entry and obstacles that prevent interested families from continuing to provide foster care. Recommend solutions to increase foster recruitment and address non-renewals, especially in first-time foster parents.
  • Substance Abuse/Opioids: Review substance use prevention, intervention, and recovery programs operated or funded by the state and make recommendations to enhance services, outreach, and agency coordination. Examine the adequacy of substance use, services for pregnant and postpartum women enrolled in Medicaid or the Healthy Texas Women Program and recommend ways to improve substance use related health outcomes for these women and their newborns. Examine the impact of recent legislative efforts to curb overprescribing and doctor shopping via the prescription monitoring program and recommend ways to expand on current efforts.
  • Medicaid Managed Care Quality and Compliance: Review the Health and Human Services Commission's efforts to improve quality and efficiency in the Medicaid program, including pay-for-quality initiatives in Medicaid managed care. Compare alternative payment models and value-based payment arrangements with providers in Medicaid managed care, the Employees Retirement System, and the Teachers Retirement System, and identify areas for cross-collaboration and coordination among these entities. Evaluate the commission's efforts to ensure Medicaid managed care organizations' compliance with contractual obligations and the use of incentives and sanctions to enforce compliance. Assess the commission's progress in implementing competitive bidding practices for Medicaid managed care contracts and other initiatives to ensure the best value for taxpayer dollars used in Medicaid managed care contracts.
  • Health Care Cost Transparency: Study efforts by the Department of State Health Services and the Texas Department of Insurance to increase health care cost transparency, including a review of the Texas Health Care Information Collection (THCIC) system, and the Consumer Guide to Healthcare. Recommend ways to make provider and facility fees more accessible to consumers to improve health care cost transparency, increase quality of care, and create a more informed health care consumer base.
  • Monitoring Charge: Monitor the implementation of legislation addressed by the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services, 85th Legislature and make recommendations for any legislation needed to improve, enhance, and/or complete implementation, including but not limited to:
    • Initiatives to increase capacity and reduce waitlists in the mental health system, including the construction of state hospitals and new community grant programs;
    • Initiatives to better understand the causes of maternal mortality and morbidity, including the impact of legislation passed during the first special session of the 85th Legislature. Recommend ways to improve health outcomes for pregnant women and methods to better collect data related to maternal mortality and morbidity;
    • Initiatives intended to improve child safety, Child Protective Services workforce retention, and development of additional capacity in the foster care system. Make additional recommendations to ensure children with high levels of medical or mental health needs receive timely access to services in the least restrictive setting;
    • Efforts to transfer case management of foster children and families to Single Source Continuum Contractors (SSCCs). Monitor the progress of this transition and make recommendations to ensure the process provides continuity of services for children and families and ongoing community engagement;
    • Initiatives to strengthen oversight oflong-term care facilities to ensure safety and improve quality for residents and clients of these entities; and
    • Abortion complications and other reporting legislation that was passed by the 85th Legislatu re.
Senate Higher Education
  • Improving Transferability: Examine and make recommendations regarding policies that will help students make informed decisions regarding transferring credits among institutions and promote efficient completion of degrees and credentials. Study the adequacy of advising for transfer students in secondary and post-secondary settings. Focus on statewide solutions that will address transfer for all Texas students, including Fields of Study curricula, the role of the Core Curriculum and additional tools that will help students transfer credits efficiently toward a degree.
  • System/Campus Expansion: Consider what role the state should have in overseeing the approval and development of new higher education locations into geographical areas already served by existing institutions. Develop a long-term statewide strategy for authorizing new locations and programs which includes a plan to ensure adequate support for expansion. Explore where there are underserved areas of the state and what type of programs would best serve the population to fill regional workforce needs.
  • 6ox30 TX Statewide Plan Review: Examine progress in achieving goals within the 6ox30TX plan, and review efforts of higher education
    institutions to implement innovative and non-traditional models of education delivery to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse student body. Consider whether current state policies and regulations may support or hinder institutions' ability to innovate in educational delivery and access. Make recommendations to accelerate innovation in higher education, to better serve students through expanded access to high quality educational opportunities, improve quality in educational delivery, and achieve goals outlined in the 6ox30TX higher education strategic plan.
  • Funding Models: Examine different models of student-focused funding for general academic institutions, including competency-based and performance funding models, and make recommendations on whether a new funding model would produce greater efficiencies and student performance.
  • Mandate Reduction: Examine all current state and federal regulations on public higher education institutions and consider whether reductions of regulations could reduce fees, produce efficiencies and greater student academic performance. Make recommendations to reduce certain regulations for increased flexibility to provide better student outcomes.
  • Dual Credit: Review dual credit opportunities throughout the state, examining the impact of HB 505 (84th Legislature) on students in particular. Look at the outcomes of statewide studies completed in Texas regarding dual credit, and examine the current rigor of dual credit courses, as well as how to improve advising for students in dual credit. (JOINT CHARGE with EDUCATION)
  • Monitoring: Monitor the implementation of legislation addressed by the Senate Higher Education Committee and make recommendations for any legislation needed to improve, enhance and/ or complete implementation. Specifically, receive updates on construction of facilities as a result of tuition revenue bonds authorized during the 84th Legislative Session, as well as the development and implementation of the Texas OnCourse program, authorized during the 84th Legislative Session and monitor the following:
    SB 2118 (85th) relating to authorization by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board for certain public junior colleges to offer baccalaureate degree programs.
    HB 2205 (84th) relating to the State Board for Educator Certification, educator preparation programs, educator certification, issuance of certain teaching permits, and certain procedures for investigating educator misconduct.
    SB 887 (85th) relating to a requirement that certain participating institutions under the student loan program administered by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board provide loan debt information to certain students.
    SB 802 (85th) relating to a study and report regarding best practices in the transfer of course credit between public institutions of higher education.
    SB 810 (85th) relating to open educational resources.
    HB 2223 (85th) relating to developmental coursework offered by public institutions of higher education under the Texas Success Initiative.
Senate Intergovernmental Relations
  • Examine and report on ways to improve the coordination of rebuilding housing and infrastructure following a natural disaster, including evaluating additional cost effective options for FEMA to utilize in providing direct housing assistance immediately following a disaster, creation of comprehensive lists of housing opportunities or web portals to disseminate information to survivors, ways to automatically waive local government regulations to facilitate rebuilding, and additional local resources available for rebuilding efforts.
  • Monitor the distribution of federal disaster relief funds related to housing and infrastructure, including community development block grant (CDBG) funds, to ensure the timely dissemination of monies by state entities to local governments for reconstruction efforts. Develop recommendations for any statutory changes necessary to improve the efficiency of disaster recovery efforts, maximize housing and infrastructure funds, and ensure cooperation between private and government partners.
  • Review and recommend options to expedite debris removal, including cutting unnecessary regulation and streamlining the process.
  • Identify and report on existing disaster training opportunities available for local officials and make recommendations for training programs that equip them to efficiently interact with state and federal agencies during times of disaster.
  • ETJ Limitations and Notice: Review the existing regulatory authority granted to home-rule municipalities within the extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ), including practices used by cities to expand ETJ boundaries, and whether proper notification is provided to property owners added to a city's ETJ following an annexation proceeding. Determine the limitations that need to be placed on a city's authority within the ETJ to better protect the private property rights of individuals and landowners, and ways to notify individuals of the impact of being within a city's ETJ. Develop a statewide rule and minimum requirements for such notifications.
  • Housing Affordability: Examine issues that impact housing affordability, including the effect of local government taxes, fees, and mandates. Evaluate the cost of purchasing a single-family residence in different parts of the state, factoring in the impact of local rules and regulations, to identify matters of policy with the greatest influence, and identify ways to increase transparency and awareness prior to the adoption of costly local ordinances or orders.
  • Special Purpose Districts Bond Reform: Study the state agency review of tax exempt bonds issued by special purpose districts and public improvement districts used to finance water and sewer infrastructure in new residential and commercial developments. Examine the disparities that exist between the feasibility review of water and sewer bonds backed by property­ based assessments and those backed by ad valorem taxes, and make recommendations that ensure the continued stability of the Texas tax­ exempt bond market by requiring all districts to undergo appropriate
    reviews prior to issuance.
  • Municipal Management District Uniformity: In conjunction with the appropriate legislative departments, determine whether the development of a template or standardized language for the creation of municipal management districts would provide a more effective means for legislators to ensure new special purpose districts conform to accepted standards and contain appropriate taxpayer oversight.
Senate Natural Resources and Economic Development
  • Hotel Occupancy Taxes: Study and make recommendations regarding the collection and use of hotel occupancy taxes to increase transparency in the imposition, rate, and use of such taxes.
  • Regulatory Barriers: Identify options to maintain our state's competitive advantage and make recommendations to remove or reduce administrative or regulatory barriers hindering economic growth, including permitting or registration requirements and fees.
  • Environmental Safety: Study the strategies and best practices for ensuring environmental safety during maintenance, startup, and shutdown activities due to emergencies. Recommend actions to improve safety without compromising compliance or penalizing good actors.
  • Waste Disposal Regulation: Study the permitting and compliance processes for waste disposal and processing, including evaluating the criteria for approval, denial, and application return. Make recommendations for improving and streamlining the permitting and compliance processes while maximizing public participation for effective outreach and education. Review the allocation of the Municipal Solid Waste disposal fees and make recommendations regarding allocation methods to adequately support existing programs.
  • Monitoring: Conduct legislative oversight and monitoring of the agencies and programs under the committee's jurisdiction and the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 85th Legislature, including:
    • Texas Railroad Commission Sunset and funding;
    • Environmental Regulatory and Legal Primacy; and
    • The effectiveness of emission reductions recognized from the Texas Emissions Reduction Program (TERP) and grant flexibility.
Senate Property Tax Reform, Select
  • Voter Engagement: Study and recommend ways to enhance voter engagement in local government decisions around budgets and property tax rates through digital media and social media. Determine how budget and tax rate information should be formatted for effective communication through digital and social media. Identify the ways in which digital and social media present new opportunities for voters to give feedback to local governments. Identify best practices among local governments in Texas and in other states.
  • Tax Rate and Appraisal Reform: Evaluate the effective tax rate and rollback tax rate calculations and identify modifications that would yield a rollback process that is meaningful for local governments and for
    citizens. Evaluate whether the current rollback election trigger serves modern objectives. Evaluate the operations of appraisal review boards (ARBs), specifically the training and expertise of members concerning appraisal standards and law, ethics, and meeting procedures. Determine whether ARB operations are sufficiently independent of central appraisal districts and taxing units and whether ARBs and/or chief appraisers should be elected.
  • Property Tax Data: Evaluate whether existing libraries of property tax data and collection methods are adequate for studying local property tax outcomes and identifying drivers of growing property tax levies. Determine the scope of existing data, where it is stored, and how it is made available to the public. Determine whether existing, available data is adequate for the needs of the legislature and the public. Review existing procedures for the collection and verification of data. Receive recommendations from the comptroller regarding the collection, verification, and publication of property tax data.
  • Lowering Property Tax Burden: Study the feasibility of replacing the property tax with sales tax or other consumption tax revenue, with emphasis on school maintenance and operations tax. Evaluate whether some local property taxes lend themselves to a swap more than others. Quantify the short-term and long-term economic effects of a tax swap. Identify a target property tax rate and evaluate how to reach that target with a consumption tax swap.
Senate State Affairs
  • Review the interaction between federal, state, and local agencies in charge of responding to natural disasters. Examine emergency situation operations, including evacuation routes and procedures, and the efficient use of Disaster Recovery Centers. Make recommendations to ensure emergency management officials have the tools and authority necessary to promptly and appropriately respond to disaster areas and alert citizens to potential threats.
  • Study and make recommendations on the benefit of the state maintaining a single, web-based source of comprehensive information that outlines the State Emergency Operations during times of disaster.
  • Review the Attorney General's efforts related to price-gouging and identify existing issues with current law, if any, that could be remedied to further protect Texans during times of disaster.
  • Review laws related to looting crimes. Examine whether current penalties and enhancements are sufficient to deter looting crimes during a disaster.
  • Second Amendment: Review local ordinances imposed on sellers and venues that affect a person's rights under the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. Examine state and local regulations and restrictions regarding the carrying of weapons during a natural disaster. Make recommendations on whether any legislation is needed to address the regulatory barriers to the full exercise of the Second Amendment rights of citizens.
  • Pensions: Examine and assess public pension systems in Texas. Specifically, review and assess (1) the different types of retirement plans; (2) the actuarial assumptions used by retirement systems to value their liabilities and the consequences of amending those assumptions; (3) retirement systems' investment practices and performance; and (4) the adequacy of financial disclosures including asset returns and fees. Make recommendations to ensure public pension system retirees' benefits are preserved and protected.
  • Attorney General Jurisdiction: Examine the Attorney General's jurisdiction on issues of alleged violations of state laws regarding abortion and multi -jurisdictional human trafficking cases. Make recommendations to ensure uniform enforcement across the state.
  • Court Fees: Examine the structure of court fees and make recommendations to ensure statutory filing fees and court costs are appropriate and justified. Provide reeommendations for proper agency oversight of fee collection.
  • Campus Free Speech: Ascertain any restrictions on Freedom of Speech rights that Texas students face in expressing their views on campus along with freedoms of the press, religion, and assembly. Recommend policy changes that protect First Amendment rights and enhance the free speech environment on campus.
  • Religious Liberty: Monitor the implementation of legislation that protects citizens' religious freedoms, including Senate Bill 24 (sermon safeguard) and House Bill 555 (religious liberty of county clerks), and make recommendations for any legislation needed to ensure that citizens' religious freedoms are not eroded by local ordinances or state or federal law.
  • Monitoring: Monitor the implementation of legislation addressed by the Senate Committee on State Affairs, 85th Legislature, Regular Session, and make recommendations for any legislation needed to improve, enhance, and/ or complete implementation. Specifically, monitor the following:
    Implementation of Senate Bill 2190, relating to the public retirement systems of certain municipalities;
    • Implementation of House Bill 3158, relating to the retirement systems for and the provision of other benefits to police and firefighters in certain municipalities;
    • Implementation of House Bill 3976, relating to the administration of and benefits payable under the Texas Public School Retired Employees Group Benefits Act; and
    • Implementation of Senate Bill 16, relating to decreasing the fee for the issuance of a license to carry a handgun.
Senate Transportation
  • Study the impact of Hurricane Harvey on the state’s transportation infrastructure and make recommendations on how best to rebuild assets efficiently and effectively.
  • Funding Opportunities for Texas Ports: Review the state's appropriations for Texas' ports and the Ship Channel Improvement Revolving Fund and make recommendations for increased investment to meet future needs.
  • Project Acceleration: Study and make recommendations regarding segregating state and federal transportation funding to accelerate project delivery.
  • Toll Road Penalties: Review penalty practices employed by toll authorities throughout the state and make recommendations to improve customer service and eliminate unjustified penalties.
  • Human Smuggling: Examine the anti-smuggling efforts of governmental and non-governmental entities under the committee's jurisdiction. Compare the findings to best practices in other states and make recommendations to help advance efforts in the fight against human smuggling.
  • Highway Naming: Review the state's policy related to the naming of state highways for individuals and make recommendations to limit and reform
    the criteria of such designations.
  • Monitoring Charge: Monitor the implementation of legislation addressed by the Senate Committee on Transportation during the 85th Legislatu re, Regular Session and make recommendations for any legislation needed to improve, enhance, and/ or complete implementation. Specifically, monitor the following:
    • Implementation of statutory changes specified in the Texas Department of Transportation's (TxDOT) sunset legislation. 1) requiring toll road entities to use toll revenue to pay back TxDOT for grants used to construct toll roads. 2) prohibiting TxDOT from operating or transferring a HOV lane as a tolled lane. 3) authorizing TxDOT to convert non-tolled lanes as toll lanes - only if the number of non-tolled lanes is greater than or equal to the number in existence before the toll conversion project. 4) prohibiting TxDOT from awarding contracts unless the contractor participates in E-verify; and
    • Progress of the Texas Department of Transportation's (TxDOT) efforts to issue an annual permit for transporting overweight, sealed intermodal shipping containers on TxDOT approved routes within 30 miles of a port of entry or an international bridge.
Senate Veteran Affairs and Border Security
  • Border Security - Law Enforcement: Study and make recommendations on opportunities to create public safety partnerships. Consider the federal 287(g) program and any needs of a state or local jurisdiction when entering in a Memorandu m of Agreement for receiving delegated federal authority. Review cross training programs offered in other states that allow U.S. Border Patrol agents to be certified as state peace officers, and determine if Texas could create such a program.
  • Border - Invasive Species: Study and make recommendations on the impact to border security caused by invasive plant species, such as carrizo cane and salt cedar. Review proposals for eradication of invasive plant species that provide a natural shelter for human trafficking and/or smuggling arms and illicit substances.
  • Veterans Health: Study the effectiveness of veterans' health and mental health initiatives in Texas and recommend ways to improve access and delivery. Explore the state of the federal VA Choice Program, including potential expiration, continuation, or expansion of the program. Consider the impact of the VA Choice Program on improving the delivery of health care, and determine ways to raise awareness and increase participation among Texas veterans. Consider the potential connection between chronic pain and mental health and identify strategies to improve the prevention of veteran suicide.
  • State-Delivered Federal Services: Review the veteran services offered by the United States Department of Veteran Affairs and Veteran Benefits Administration. Study those services which are being delivered by the Texas Veterans Commission, including but not limited to the state strike force teams and health care advocacy program. Consider ways to increase utilization of automated services, such as the Texas Veterans App, to reduce the need for additional staff time and to create a resource for veterans to access services at all times of the day.
  • Military Installation: Identify opportunities to promote the strategic importance of military installations in Texas. Study the impact of the Aviation, Aerospace & Defense manufacturing industry on the economic vitality of military installations and communities. Identify potential strategic partnerships between this industry and military communities which would enhance key strategic assets.
  • Military Youth Readiness: Evaluate the current readiness and fitness of Texas youth for entering military service over the next 5-10 years. Identify any additional economic impact to the state should youth not meet physical requirements or required academic performance.
  • Monitoring: Monitor the implementation and impact of legislation passed by the Texas Legislature. Make recommendations for any needed improvements or steps to ensure completion.
    SB 27 by Campbell 85(R), relating to the mental health progra m for veterans;
    SB 277 by Campbell 85(R), relating to ad valorem tax incentives for wind-powered energy devices near military aviation facilities; and
    SB 389 by Rodriguez 84(R, relating to the addition of military occupational specialty codes on state agency employment listings.
* This represents an abstract of the report contents. Charge text is incomplete or unavailable.