Legislative Session Update

There are 80 days left in the 86th Legislative Session. Bill filing deadline is today, and we can expect more than 5,000 bills filed by the House and nearly 2,300 bills by the Senate.

The Senate Nominations Committee met last week and finally took action on Secretary of State David Whitley, recommending him to the full Senate by a vote of 4-3 along party lines. Even though his nomination moves forward, the 2/3-vote (21 out of 31 Senators) threshold needed for confirmation is still out of reach if all Democrats remain opposed.

Senate Bill 2 by Senator Paul Bettencourt, relating to ad valorem taxation, remains unable to receive the necessary 3/5 (19 out of 31 Senators) support to bring the measure to the full Senate, picking up more opposition since its passage from the Property Tax Committee. Senate Bill 2 concerns every taxing authority and seeks to change the rollback rate from the current 8% to 2.5%. More opposition to its passage continues to surfaces each week. However, its companion bill, House Bill 2 by Representative Dustin Burrows was heard in the House Ways and Means Committee last Wednesday with over 12 1/2 hours of public testimony. Chairman Burrows and every member of the committee listened respectfully and were extremely attentive until well past midnight to those who traveled from all over the state to testify.

On Tuesday, Chairman Dan Huberty (R-Kingwood) released House Bill 3, the House’s school finance bill that updates how Texas funds public schools and provides meaningful property tax relief.  Click HERE for the official statement from the Chamber on Texas House Bill 3.

Highlights of House Bill 3:

  • Adds $9 billion in funding above enrollment growth & current law entitlement over the next two years;
  • Quadruples the allocation for new instructional facilities;
  • Creates allotments for blended learning teacher training programs, dual language, dyslexia, and teacher quality;
  • And creates an extended year program allowing districts to provide instruction into the summer;
  • Provides property tax reform by lowering school property tax rates by 4 cents statewide

Senate Bill 15 by Senator Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe) was heard in the State Affairs Committee last Thursday and prohibits cities and counties from mandating private employer compensation benefits such as Sick Leave or Predictive Scheduling. It passed out of Committee with one dissenting vote. President and CEO Richard Perez was present to show support for one of our small business owners who testified before the committee in support of the bill.

With today being the bill filing deadline, and with deadlines rapidly approaching for budget items to be included for deliberation, most staff and members will work late all next week. Count on your Chamber team to keep you updated on the latest happening at the State Capitol.

Click here for a copy of the Chamber’s State Legislative Agenda

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