Senate Committee on Business and Commerce - 82nd R.S. (2011)
- Study the impact of drought, regulatory changes proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency, and changing market conditions on Texas' electrical market. Make recommendations, if needed to ensure continued access to reliable and affordable electricity.*
- Assess the impact of extreme drought conditions on electric generation capacity.
- Identify those regions of Texas that will be most affected by a lack of capacity.
- Analyze response plans and make recommendations to improve and expedite those plans.
- Study and make recommendations for workforce training programs in Texas to ensure that such programs meet business and worker needs. Specifically, study whether such programs target economic growth areas and future workforce needs of the health care, skilled trades, construction, manufacturing, aerospace, and information technology industries and help retain workers in those trades and fields.
- Study the state's approach to licensing and regulation of occupations to ensure protection of public welfare, trust, health, and safety and eliminate unnecessary, overly restrictive, or anti-competitive regulation. Review guidelines and other states' approaches for determining when regulation is necessary and make recommendations for improving Texas' regulatory system.
Conduct a broad review of the Texas homeowners insurance market and make recommendations to improve transparency and consumer education, ensure fair practices, and lower rates. Specifically, consider the following:
- Compare Texas' homeowners insurance premiums with those of other states and identify the factors underlying Texas' premium levels and recommend steps that the Legislature may take to reduce homeowners' rates, if appropriate;
- Study strategies that increase awareness of state insurance resources to help consumers compare rates and coverage among various insurance providers
- Study the relationship between insurance premiums and construction costs, especially as associated with recovery from natural disasters, to ensure that consumers are treated fairly;
- Review the use by insurers, in rating and underwriting decisions, of customer inquiries regarding the general terms or conditions of, or coverage offered under, an insurance policy.
- Study the relationship between city governments and municipally-owned utilities, including any duplicative or redundant functions, the amounts and justifications required for transfer payments between the entities, and the benefits and disadvantages of alternative governance structures.
- Analyze the state of the telecommunications market in Texas, including the costs and benefits of full deregulation of the market; the impact and viability of the Texas Universal Service Fund and Provider of Last Resort requirements; the impact of SB 980, Regular Session, 82nd Legislature, relating to telecommunications regulation and rulemaking; the availability of broadband; telecommunications service discounts; and rights-of-way charges. Make recommendations to enhance services, support the industry, and ensure adequate and affordable access for consumers.
- Study the costs and benefits of implementing a redeemable deposit program for beverage containers. Analyze the impact on Texas manufacturing of additional supplies of raw materials generated and any reduction of litter and landfill waste.
- Review current and pending ERCOT protocols as they apply to all generation technology, and identify those protocols that may provide operational, administrative, or competitive advantages to any specific generation by fuel type. Consider the impact any revisions to the protocols may have on grid reliability and electricity rates. Make recommendations for revisions or statutory changes to limit distortions in the Texas electrical market.
- Monitor the implementation of legislation addressed by the Senate Committee on Business & Commerce, 82nd Legislature, Regular and Called Sessions, and make recommendations for any legislation needed to improve, enhance, and/or complete implementation. Specifically, review the implementation of HB 2592 and HB 2594 relating to payday lending, and make recommendations relating to consistency and coordination with local ordinances and federal law.
- Study whether advanced meters, or smart meters, that have been, and will be, installed in Texas have harmful effects on health. Report findings on whether an independent testing company perform an analysis on the safety of advanced meters should be commissioned and the appropriate organization to conduct such a study.
* This represents an abstract of the report contents. Charge text is incomplete or unavailable.
Abstract of charge is from a letter from Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst to John Carona and Troy Fraser, dated August 1, 2011.
The charges related to drought and wildfire preparedness were issued by the Lt. Governor on October 18, 2011.
Information on this website is provided as a public service by the Legislative Reference Library. The Legislative Reference Library makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy and makes no warranty in regard to its use. Users assume all risk of reliance on the information included on this site.