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Interim Hearings - Week of August 29

Interim Hearings - Week of August 29
Today's Committee Meetings on the LRL website is a calendar of interim committee hearings with links to agendas. Below are resources related to upcoming Interim Hearings.
August 29 Top
House Committee on County Affairs 
Charge: County cybersecurity policies
Charge: Legislative oversight and monitoring of agencies, including Child Protective Services, 1115 Transformation Waiver, and criminal justice programs in Bexar County
August 30 Top
House Committee on Transportation
Topic: TxDOT Rail Division
Topic: TxDOT Rural Transit Division
Topic: TxDOT General Aviation Division
Topic: TxDOT HB 2612 report
Topic: TxDOT on utility relocation
Topic: Presentation from TTI on Transportation Network Companies
House Select Committee on Transportation Planning
Topic: Update from TxDOT working group on project selection criteria, rules and policies for project prioritization and selection, and funding categories
August 31 Top
House Committee on Urban Affairs
Charge 1: Demographic trends in Texas for affordable housing and senior housing 
Charge 2: Gentrification's effect on affordable housing 
Charge 3: Guidelines for the appraisal of Affordable Housing Properties financed with Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) 
Charge 4: Current Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs preservation programs for rural rental housing 

Dates of Interest for the 85th Regular Session

What are the key deadlines for the 85th Regular Session? Official deadlines will be set when the House and Senate adopt their rules, but until then, the Texas Legislative Council Drafting Manual provides a perpetual calendar (shown below) that can be useful. According to the Manual:
Bill pre-filing begins:  Nov 14, 2016
1st day of session:  Jan 10, 2017
60-day bill filing deadline:  Mar 10, 2017
Adjournment sine die:  May 29, 2017
Post-session 20-day deadline for governor to sign or veto:  June 18, 2017
Effective date (91st day after adjournment):  Aug 28, 2017
  Table can be viewed on pg. 135 of the Texas Legislative Council Drafting Manual

Week in Review, August 18

In this weekly post, we feature online articles and policy reports published recently, and other helpful research tools.
  • Explore economic policies in State of the State addresses from 44 state governors. (American Legislative Exchange Council, August 11, 2016)
  • Read the draft environmental impact statement for the Texas–Oklahoma passenger rail study. (Federal Railroad Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation, available for public review and comment through August 29, 2016)
  • See district profiles of Texas House and Senate districts. (Texas Legislative Council, accessed August 17, 2016)
  • Review the Texas Education Agency's 2016 accountability ratings. (Texas Education Agency, August 15, 2016)
  • Consider the state of transportation network companies in Texas. (Texas A&M Transportation Institute, July 2016)

Back to School: New Legislation Relating to Public Schools

With the beginning of school approaching, we thought it would be a good time to highlight public education bills passed by the 84th Legislature that apply in the 2016-2017 school year.
  • HB 4, Relating to prekindergarten, including a high quality prekindergarten grant program provided by public school districts.
Section 29.167(b), Education Code, requiring a prekindergarten teacher to have been awarded a Child Development Associate (CDA) credential, applies beginning in the 2016-2017 school year.
  • HB 2293, Relating to the certification by the comptroller to the commissioner of education of the taxable value of property in each school district.
"The changes in reporting will not affect reporting requirements until the 2016-17 school year." Briefing Book on Public Education Legislation, 84th Texas Legislative Session, Texas Education Agency, July 2015
  • HB 2610, Relating to the minimum number of minutes of instruction for students to be provided by public school districts and the scheduling of the last day of school for students by public school districts.
"Beginning in the 2016-2017 school year, school districts and charter schools will be required to submit calendars showing the amount of time that school was held each day, along with any waiver minutes granted by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) through the summer data submission." House Bill 2610: Frequently Asked Questions, Version 4, Texas Education Agency, February 9, 2016
  • HB 2804, Relating to evaluation of public school performance.
Section 39.054(a), Education Code, Methods and Standards for Evaluating Performance, text of subsection effective on September 1, 2016, relating to school district and campus performance ratings. 
  • SB 507, Relating to the placement and use of video cameras in self-contained classrooms or other settings providing special education services.
Section 29.022, Education Code, Video Surveillance of Special Education Settings, applies beginning with the 2016-2017 school year.
For a more comprehensive list of education bills, search for bills in the 84th Legislature under the subjects of Education--Primary & Secondary on Texas Legislature Online.
Additional resources on public education legislation and interim committee charges include:
Cover image by flickr user Province of British Columbia.

Interim Hearings - Week of August 22

Interim Hearings - Week of August 22 
Today's Committee Meetings on the LRL website is a calendar of interim committee hearings with links to agendas. Below are resources related to upcoming Interim Hearings.
Week of August 22
August 22 Top
House Committee on Land & Resource Management
Charge: Coastal erosion
Charge: Natural disaster preparedness and response 
August 23 Top
House Committee on Special Purpose Districts
Charge 1: Municipal Management Districts and/or Improvement Districts 
Charge 2: Legislative oversight and monitoring of agencies, including opportunities to streamline the purpose of multiple districts created within the same area, while maintaining the mission of special purpose districts
House Committee on Licensing & Administrative Procedures   
Charge: Occupational licensing
Charge: Regulatory functions across agencies and departments
Charge: Powdered alcohol and impact on underage drinking
Charge: Legislative oversight and monitoring of agencies
Senate Committee on Criminal Justice
Charge 7: Civil asset forfeiture laws
Topic: Bullying in Texas schools, cyberbullying in the digital age
Senate Committee on Higher Education
Charge: Tuition and fee waivers and exemptions, tuition set-asides, financial aid
August 24 Top
Charge 13: Review of current public education programs administered by the Texas Education Agency that are funded outside of the Foundation School Program
House Committee on Defense & Veterans' Affairs
Topic 1: Maintaining military value of defense installations and communities
House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence
Charge 1: GPS monitoring in protective orders, family violence prevention
August 25 Top
Joint Interim Committee to Study Development of a Cruise Industry
Topic: Development and potential economic impact of a cruise industry on the Texas coast between Calhoun and Cameron counties

Week in Review, August 11

In this weekly post, we feature online articles and policy reports published recently, and other helpful research tools.
  • Examine the state of national and domestic security. (The Atlantic, September 2016)
  • Consider the regulatory shortcomings related to raw materials that can be used to make a dirty bomb. (The Center for Public Integrity, August 4, 2016)
  • Review legal challenges from states related to federal immigration laws and enforcement. (Congressional Research Service, August 1, 2016)
  • Read about how immigrants have contributed to Texas' robust economy. (New American Economy, August 2016)
  • See the latest figures on household debt and credit. (Federal Reserve Bank of New York, August 2016)
  • Explore Shakespeare's references to the natural world. (OUP Blog, August 6, 2016)

Voter ID Court Rulings

In the past two weeks, voter ID laws (laws requiring voters to show some form of identification at the polls) have been the subject of five separate court rulings. One of the cases, Veasey v. Abbott, pertained to Texas' voter ID law, SB 14, 82nd R.S. (2011). For your convenience, we have listed the five opinions below.

August 1, 2016 - North Dakota
Richard Brakebill et al. vs. Alvin Jaeger; Order granting plaintiffs' motion for preliminary injunction (Case 1:16-cv-00008-DLH-CSM) [view document]
U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota
July 29, 2016 - Kansas
Court orders immediate halt to Kansas dual voter registration system. [view press release]
Marvin L. Brown, et al. v. Kris Kobach; Petition pursuant to K.S.A. chapter 60 for declaratory and injunctive relief  [view document]
Shawnee County District Court, Third Judicial District
July 29, 2016 - North Carolina
North Carolina State Conference of the NAAPC et al. v. Patrick L. McCrory; Opinion (Appeal No. 16-1468) [view document]
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
July 29, 2016 - Wisconsin
One Wisconsin Institute, Inc. et al. v. Mark L. Thomsen et al.; Findings of fact and conclusions of law (No. 15-cv-324-jdp) [view document]
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin
July 20, 2016 - Texas
Marc Veasey, et al. v. Greg Abbott; Opinion (No. 14-41127) [view document]
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

Interim Hearings - Week of August 15

Interim Hearings - Week of August 15 
Today's Committee Meetings on the LRL website is a calendar of interim committee hearings with links to agendas. Below are resources related to upcoming Interim Hearings.
August 15 Top
House Committee on State Affairs
Charge: Contracting monitoring, compliance, performance evaluation and notification requirements for contracting procedures
Charge: Administrative process used to determine utility rates
Charge: How Public Utility Commission of Texas and utility providers can ensure consumer protection regarding metering devices for water, gas, and electricity service
Senate Committee on Intergovernmental Relations
Charge 2: Home rule municipalities, adoption of ordinances
Charge 4: Municipal management districts (MMDs)
Charge 5: Statutes and Rules that govern Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs in light of the recent Supreme Court decision in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs et al. v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc., et al.
Charge 6: Government accountability in elections - improve transparency regarding public debt
August 16 Top
House Select Committee on Mental Health
Invited testimony on Mental/behavioral health care services in Texas, including, but not limited to substance abuse, homelessness,  veterans, gaps in programs, and improving delivery of services
Senate Committee on Education
Charge: School board governance policies and practices, school board training requirements, suggestions for better student outcomes, particularly within the framework set for low-performing schools in HB 1842, 84th Legislature, R.S.
Charge: Monitor implementation of legislation, specifically initiatives to build a high-quality pre-kindergarten grant program; and legislation to raise standards of teacher preparation programs and establish a more consistent, high-quality accountability system
August 17 Top
House Select Committee on Mental Health
Public testimony on mental health/behavioral health care services in Texas
August 18 Top
Joint Interim Committee on Advertising Public Notices
Topic: Rules and organizational business
Topic: Use of technology in posting and advertising to the public of legally required notices

Week in Review, August 4

In this weekly post, we feature online articles and policy reports published recently, and other helpful research tools.
  • Consider medical marijuana's effects on prescription medication use. (Health Affairs, July 2016)
  • Examine reports related to people who have died in custody in Texas between 2005 and 2015. (Texas Justice Initiative, ©2016)
  • Explore how the Affordable Care Act has affected high risk pools. (Kaiser Family Foundation, August 1, 2016)
  • Read about public pension funding practices. (The Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government, June 2016)

Senate Presidents Pro Tempore

A newly revised and expanded list of Senate Presidents Pro Tempore is now available on the library website. The page provides a list of legislators who have held this position, as well as a narrative history highlighting the changing nature of the position through the years.
As outlined in the Texas Constitution, the Senate President Pro Tem performs the duties of the Lieutenant Governor in his or her absence. Senate tradition also calls for the President Pro Tempore to be sworn in as "Governor for a Day", a 60+-year tradition that includes ceremonies and celebrations honoring the President Pro Tem and showcasing his or her district. 
During the 84th Texas Legislature in 2015, Sen. Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa served as  Senate President Pro Tem for the Regular Session, and Sen. Kevin Eltife was elected at the close of the Regular Session for the legislative interim.
Did you know?
Before 1876, there was no constitutional requirement for electing a Senate President Pro Tem at the beginning and close of each session. Instead, Art. V, Sec. 13 of the 1845 Texas Constitution provided that:
"Whenever the If the lieutenant governor shall...die, resign, or be absent from the State during the recess of the legislature, it shall be the duty of the secretary of State to convene the Senate for the purpose of choosing a president for the time being."
Sen. Robert Guinn, Senate President
Pro Tem for the 9th - 11th Legislatures
Sen. Judith Zaffirini. First Latina President
Pro Tempore and first Latina
Governor of the Day (75th Legislature, 1997).

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