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Speaker's Reunion Day 2013

Representative Joe StrausSpeaker's Reunion Day is coming up on April 12. In 2011, we wrote about the history of Speaker's Reunion Day, pointing out that it is the modern descendant of a long-standing tradition honoring the Speaker of the House for his service. In its current form, Speaker's Reunion Day is for former members of the Texas House of Representatives to gather and be honored for their service to the State of Texas.

Representative Joe Straus is the current Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives. First elected in 2005, he has served as Speaker of the House since the 81st Legislature in 2009. Representative Tom Craddick served as Speaker before Rep. Straus, and at 44 years of service, is the longest-serving member in the Texas Legislature. He is surpassed only by A.M. Aikin, Jr., who served from 1933 to 1979 (almost 46 years!) The library makes a complete list of Speakers of the Texas House available at: http://www.lrl.state.tx.us/legeLeaders/members/speakerbio.cfm


Cover of The House Will Come to OrderThis is also a good opportunity to highlight a book from our collection: The House Will Come to Order, How the Texas House Speaker Became a Power in State and National Politics (University of Texas Press, 2010). Drawing from an oral history project with former Texas House Speakers Tom Craddick, Ben Barnes, Gus Mutscher, Billy Clayton, Gibson D. "Gib" Lewis, Pete Laney and others, the book charts the evolution of the Speaker's role in the history of the Texas Legislature.

Medicaid Expansion in Texas: Legislation and Viewpoints

In February, we wrote about how states are considering Medicaid expansion under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  We continue this discussion by highlighting bills filed during the 83rd Regular Session that relate to Medicaid expansion, as well several reports published recently that argue for or against Medicaid expansion in Texas.
 
In addition to the bills listed below, the Senate's budget bill (SB 1), contains a rider regarding Medicaid expansion:
 
HB 59 by Rep. Lon Burnam
Relating to participation by political subdivisions in federal healthcare programs.
 
HB 593 by Reps. Elliott Naishtat & Garnet Coleman
Relating to the expansion of eligibility for medical assistance to certain persons under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
 
HB 999 by Rep. Eric Johnson
Relating to the expansion of eligibility for medical assistance to certain persons under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
 
HB 1001 by Rep. Eric Johnson
Relating to the expansion of eligibility for Medicaid in certain counties under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
 
HB 2950 by Rep. Justin Rodriguez
Relating to expanding eligibility for medical assistance to certain persons under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
 
HB 3122 by Rep. Eddie Lucio, III
Relating to expanding eligibility for medical assistance to certain persons under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and ensuring the provision of quality care under and the effectiveness of the medical assistance program.
 
HB 3266 by Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon
Relating to expanding eligibility for medical assistance to certain persons under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and ensuring the provision of quality care under and the effectiveness of the medical assistance program.
 
HB 3376 by Rep. Sylvester Turner
Relating to expanding eligibility for medical assistance to certain persons under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and ensuring the provision of quality care under and the effectiveness of the medical assistance program.
 
HB 3487 by  Rep. Mike Villarreal
Relating to expanding eligibility for medical assistance to certain persons under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and ensuring the provision of quality care under and the effectiveness of the medical assistance program.
 
HB 3700 by Rep. Marisa Márquez
Relating to expanding eligibility for medical assistance to certain persons under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and ensuring the provision of quality care under and the effectiveness of the medical assistance program.
 
HB 3722 by Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer
Relating to expanding eligibility for benefits under the Medicaid program and transitioning the delivery of benefits under the Medicaid program from delivery through a managed care model or arrangement to delivery through an integrated and coordinated health care delivery system.
 
HB 3791 by Reps. John Zerwas & J.D. Sheffield
Relating to the creation of a "Texas" solution to issues related to Medicaid, including flexibility in the administration of the Medicaid program, tailored to the needs of the state.
 
HB 3806 by Rep. Helen Giddings
Relating to expanding eligibility for medical assistance to certain persons under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and ensuring the provision of quality care under and the effectiveness of the medical assistance program.
 
HJR 91 by Rep. Garnet Coleman
Proposing a constitutional amendment requiring the state to expand eligibility for the Medicaid program to certain persons.
 
SB 455 by Sen. José R. Rodríguez
Relating to the expansion of eligibility for medical assistance to certain persons under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the application and eligibility determination processes for medical assistance and other programs.
 
SB 880 by Sen. Rodney Ellis
Relating to the expansion of eligibility for medical assistance to certain persons under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
 
SB 1232 by Sen. Royce West
Relating to expanding eligibility for medical assistance to certain persons under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and ensuring the provision of quality care under and the effectiveness of the medical assistance program.
 
SB 1477 by Sen. Bob Deuell
Relating to flexibility in the administration of the Medicaid program, a block grant funding approach to Medicaid expansion, and the establishment of a health benefit exchange tailored to the needs of the state.
 
SB 1808 by Sen. Charles Schwertner
Relating to the cost effects of expanding eligibility for medical assistance under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
 
SB 1816 by Sen. José R. Rodríguez
Relating to the expansion of eligibility for medical assistance to certain persons under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and funding of that expansion.
 
SJR 8 by Sen. Rodney Ellis
Proposing a constitutional amendment requiring the state to expand eligibility for the Medicaid program to certain persons.
 
SJR 61 by Sen. Charles Schwertner
Proposing a constitutional amendment requiring the reduction of amounts paid by Texans to provide health care to the uninsured if Medicaid eligibility is expanded in accordance with the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; requiring hospital district tax rate reductions.
 
Viewpoints on Medicaid expansion in Texas:
Over the summer, Governor Rick Perry expressed his opposition to Medicaid expansion in Texas. Local organizations and individuals have also published their viewpoints about this issue. Below you will find a selection of these reports, organized alphabetically by title.  Back to top
 
Alternative Medicaid Proposals. Legislative Budget Board, January 2013. 
 
 
The Case against Medicaid expansion. John Davidson / Texas Public Policy Foundation, March 13, 2013.
 
Expanding Medicaid in Texas: smart, affordable and fair. Billy Hamilton Consulting, January 2013.
 
Fix Medicaid before you expand it. Senator Tommy Williams, Austin American Statesman, February 28, 2013.
 
 
Letter to Governor Rick Perry regarding Medicaid expansion. Senator Bob Deuell, February 28, 2013.
 
The long road to reform (Medicaid expansion). Texas Hospital Association, January/February 2013.
 
Medicaid expansion plan bad for Texas. Senator Bob Deuell, Rep. Charles Schwertner, Rep. Mark Shelton, and Rep. John Zerwas, San Antonio Express News, July 18, 2012.
 
 
Texas physicians: expand coverage, and reform Medicaid. Texas Medical Association, February 2,
 
Texas should not expand Medicaid. Arlene Wohlgemuth / Texas Public Policy Foundation, February 26, 2013.
 
 

Lobbyists at the Texas Legislature

Session is in full throttle, and with it, a higher volume of visitors associated with the legislative community. Among these visitors are lobbyists for various industries and organizations. If you ever want to see a list of lobbyists currently registered with the state, the Texas Ethics Commission (TEC) is the place to go. Chapter 305 of the Texas Government Code requires lobbyists to register with the TEC and to file periodic reports of lobbying activity. On the TEC website, you can find a list of currently registered lobbyists and their contact information, as well as lobby activity reports.  If you're looking for past lists, you can find these on the same page, going back to 1998. The Library has lists in hard copy from 1995 to 1999. For assistance, please contact us at (512) 463-1252.

Comparing Bill Statistics to Last Session

The Austin-American Statesman recently reported "Legislators filing fewer bills this session." Here is a look at the numbers in comparison to a similar period last session, 45 days into session, or, 3/4 of the way to the 60-day bill filing deadline (Friday, March 8 for the 83rd R.S.)
 
Bills & Joint Resolutions
82nd Regular Session
(Nov. 8, 2010-Feb. 24, 2011)
83rd Regular Session
(Nov. 12, 2012-Feb. 21, 2013)*
% change
House filed 1,886 1,673 -11.29%
Senate filed 940 720 -23.40%
Total filed 2,826 2,393 -15.32%
House referred to committee 970 1,188 22.47%
Senate referred to committee 745 588 -21.07%
Total referred to committee 1,715 1,776 3.56%
House scheduled for hearing 19 78 310.5%
Senate scheduled for hearing 34 109 220.59%
Total scheduled for hearing 53 187 252.83%
House reported out of committee** 7 1 -85.71%
Senate reported out of committee 16 33 106.25%
Total reported out of committee 23 34 47.83%
* As of 2pm on Feb. 21, 2013.
**According to Texas Constitution, Article 3, Section 5, during the first 60 days of the legislative session, only emergency matters and emergency appropriations can be considered on the House floor. During the 82nd Regular Session in 2011, Governor Rick Perry designated six emergency matters; this session there have been no emergency matters and there has been one emergency supplemental appropriations bill (HB 10).

The Texas State Water Plan

Water issues are high priority as the 83rd Regular Session gets underway. Speaker of the House Joe Straus has called on the House of Representatives to address the state's water needs, and Lt. Governor David Dewhurst has voiced his support for using money from the Rainy Day Fund to spend on water projects. More recently, Governor Rick Perry discussed the State Water Plan in his State of the State speech
 
The following list of resources provides information on the State Water Plan and can assist you in tracking legislative activity on this issue.
 
State Water Plan:
The current State Water Plan was developed between 2006 and 2011 and is available online.
 
State water plans going back to 1961 are available on the Texas Water Development Board's website.
 
For a history of water funding in Texas, please visit the Library's Texas Water Law Timeline.
 
Legislation:
As of January 30, the following bills have been filed to address funding of the State Water Plan:
  • HB 4 by Representative Allan Ritter. Relating to the creation and funding of the state water implementation fund for Texas to assist the Texas Water Development Board in the funding of certain water-related projects.
  • HB 11 by Representative Allan Ritter. Relating to the appropriation of money from the economic stabilization fund to finance certain water-related projects.
  • HB 227 by Representatives Lyle Larson and Paul Workman. Relating to the appropriation of money from the economic stabilization fund to be used for the purposes of the water infrastructure fund during the next state fiscal biennium.
  • SB 4 by Senator Troy Fraser. Relating to the administration and functions of the Texas Water Development Board.
  • SB 22 by Senator Troy Fraser. Relating to the administration of the Texas Water Development Board; making an appropriation from the economic stabilization fund to finance certain water-related projects.
  • SB 224 by Senator Kel Seliger. Relating to the availability of money from the economic stabilization fund to be used for the purposes of projects in the state water plan.
  • SB 235 by Senator Troy Fraser. Relating to the creation of regional authorities for water infrastructure projects.
 
Committees:
Water bills may be heard by the Senate Natural Resources Committee and/or the House Natural Resources Committee. A list of members of the House Natural Resources Committee can be found here and a list of members of the Senate Natural Resources Committee can be found here.
 
Interim reports:
The House Natural Resources Committee studied water issues during the interim and recently released a set of recommendations: Report to the 83rd Texas Legislature
 
The Senate Natural Resources Committee also examined water issues during the interim; video of their  interim hearings can be viewed at: http://www.senate.state.tx.us/avarchive/
 
Earlier interim reports about the State Water Plan are available, as well as interim reports about water planning in general.
 
 
Additional sources of information:
 
Texas drought information Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
 
Drinking water, water quality, and other water-related topics Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
 
Texas Water Development Board Find resources on water planning, groundwater, water innovation, and more.
 
News and other state legislation
 
Energy and environment legislation tracking database National Conference of State Legislatures
 
State rainwater harvesting statutes, programs and legislation National Conference of State Legislatures
 
 
Water supply news Texas Tribune
 

Prefiling Statistics, 83rd Regular Session

In Texas, the Rules and Precedents of the Texas House (Rule 8, Section 7) and Senate Rules (Rule 7.04) allow legislators to prefile bills "beginning the first Monday after the general election preceding the next regular legislative session."
 
Prefiling for the 83rd Texas Legislature began on Monday, November 12, the first Monday after the general election on November 6. Following are the number of prefiled bills and joint resolutions as of Monday, January 7:
 
                83R Prefiled Bills and Joint Resolutions
                (11/12/12–1/7/13)
 
                HB/HJR                 385
                SB/SJR                  149
 
                Total                      534
 
How do these numbers compare to previous sessions? Following are the number of bills and joint resolution prefiled during the last two regular sessions:
 
                82R Prefiled Bills and Joint Resolutions
                (11/8/10–1/10/11)
 
                HB/HJR                 575
                SB/SJR                  312
 
                Total                      887
 
                81R Prefiled Bills and Joint Resolutions
                (11/10/08–1/12/09)
 
                HB/HJR                 603
                SB/SJR                  455
 
                Total                      1,058
 
The total number of bills and joint resolutions prefiled for the 83rd regular session is 60.2% of those prefiled during the 82nd regular session, and 50.5% of those prefiled during the 81st regular session.

Schools and Guns: Laws and Related Resources

In light of recent events and the emerging debate about guns in schools, the library has pulled together the following collection of resources.  
 
Texas laws:
Multiple laws govern the use of handguns by Texas residents. The Texas Department of Public Safety has a helpful publication that highlights these laws: 
 
There has been a growing debate over whether the state should allow individuals with concealed handgun licenses to legally carry in Texas primary and secondary schools. Texas Penal Code Sec. 46.03 and Sec. 46.035  currently ban handguns on school grounds as well as at school sporting events.
 
The library did not locate any past Texas legislation that attempted to allow teachers and administrators to carry handguns in primary and secondary schools. In the most recent session, SB 354 attempted to allow individuals who were licensed to carry concealed weapons to do so on higher education campuses. The bill did not pass. 
 
School Safety resources:
Information about state-required school safety standards can be found on the Texas School Safety Center website. Created in 2001 by SB 430, the Texas School Safety Center  is a good starting point for safety and security information pertaining to all independent school districts and junior college districts in Texas.  The site makes available the Texas Unified School Safety Standards as well as the latest survey of safety and security audits completed by Texas schools. 
 
Federal laws:
Two major federal statutes regulate the commerce in and possession of firearms: the National Firearms Act of 1934 (26 U.S.C. §5801 et seq.) and the Gun Control Act of 1968, as amended (18 U.S.C. Chapter 44, §921 et seq.).
 
A recent publication by the Congressional Research Service, Gun Control Legislation, discusses both of these acts, as well as the gun control debate in the context of recent mass shootings. In addition, the publication also provides a set of helpful data sources for firearm-related statistics.

New: State Symbols on Pinterest

In 1901, Texas legislators designated the Bluebonnet (Lupinus Subcarnosus) the Official State Flower. Shortly after that, in 1919, they named the Pecan Tree the State Tree of Texas. Since then, more than 60 state symbols have been designated, ranging from Official State Footwear (cowboy boot) to Official State Cooking Implement (cast iron Dutch oven).
 
See the entire collection of state symbols on our new Pinterest page, "State Symbols of Texas." For each symbol we included an image and linked to the resolution or bill that designated it.
 
Screenshot of State Symbols Pinterest board
 

School Finance Lawsuits - 2011/2012

Since October 2011, six lawsuits have been filed against the State of Texas regarding the system of school finance in Texas. The cases have been consolidated and are scheduled to go to trial in the Travis County District Court on October 22, 2012. Judge John K. Dietz will preside.
 
If you are following the school finance lawsuits, the following resources may be helpful.
Here are the six cases scheduled for Oct. 22 trial (as Cause No. D-1-GN-11-003130) :
  1. Texas Taxpayer & Student Fairness Coalition, et al. v. Robert Scott, Commissioner of Education, et al.; Plaintiffs' original petition and request for declaratory judgment, list of school districts (Cause No. D-1-GN-11-003130). (Filed October 10, 2011) [View ] [View Texas' answer]
  2. Texas School Coalition v. Robert Scott, Commissioner of Education, et al.; Plaintiff's original petition, list of school districts (Cause No. D-1-GV-11-001917). (Filed December 9, 2011) [ View ]
  3. MALDEF - Edgewood Independent School District, et al. v. Robert Scott, Commissioner of Education, et al.; Plaintiff's original petition, press release (Cause No. D-1-GV-11-001972). (Filed December 13, 2011) [ View ]
  4. Fort Bend Independent School District, et al. (63 school districts including Austin, Houston, Dallas, Ft. Worth) v. Robert Scott, Commissioner of Education, et al.; Plaintiff's original petition, press release, and list of school districts (Cause No. D-1-GV-11-002028). (Filed December 22, 2011) [ View ]
  5. (Petition to intervene ) Texans for Real Efficiency and Equity in Education  - Fort Bend Independent School District, et al. v. Robert Scott, Commissioner of Education, et al.; (Cause No. D-1-GV-11-002028). (Filed February 22, 2012) [ View ]
  6. Texas Charter School Association, et al., v. Robert Scott, Texas Education Agency Commissioner, et al.; Plaintiffs' original petition (Cause No. D-1-GN-12-001923, charter school limit unconstitutional) (Filed June 26, 2012)  [ View ]
 
The Texas Tribune offers a good infographic summarizing the legal arguments made in each of the six cases. They also offer a longer analysis of the cases.
To see a list of Texas school districts participating in the litigation as of May 9, 2012, please go here.  (Provided by the Red Apple Project)
 
 
 
 
 
 

LRL Now on Pinterest

It's official, the Legislative Reference Library is now on Pinterest! You can view our page at http://pinterest.com/texaslrl/
 
Pinterest is a new social media site that allows you to collect and share interesting things you find on the web. Users set up "boards" on a theme of their choice and then "pin" web-based items they find on that topic. Browsing other users' Pinterest boards is a fun and visual way to discover new information.
 
The library's three initial pinboards highlight art in the library, books by or about Texas legislators, and links for the library's most popular online resources. We'll be pinning new items on an ongoing basis, so check back often!

Texas LRL on Pinterest

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