News

Legislative Update

There are 73 days remaining in the 86th Legislative Session. Senators authored more than 2,200 bills, and members of the House filed more than 5,000 bills. The deadline to file was last Friday, March 8, and now bills will begin making their way through the legislative process.

Last week, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick announced his top 30 priorities for the Senate, setting the tone for the remaining days of session. Committees are getting busier by the day, hearing testimony and actively voting on bills. SB10 by Nelson (TX-12), creating the Texas Mental Health Consortium, passed the Senate and is now in the House and is the first bill designated by Governor Abbott as an Emergency Item to pass one Chamber. SB2 by Bettencourt (TX-7), relating to ad valorem taxation, still does not have the votes for Senate passage, due to significant opposition from local elected officials.

SB15 by Creighton (TX-4), relating to a prohibition against local regulation of private employers, passed the Senate State Affairs Committee and is set for a full vote next week. The bill was introduced in response to cities passing local ordinances on mandatory Paid Sick Leave. (San Antonio adoped an ordinance in August of last year.) The bill that passed out of committee was the committee substitute and did not include language to preempt the City of San Antonio’s nondiscrimination ordinance. There was a push from some advocacy groups to include language to preempt any nondiscrimination ordinance a municipality had already adopted.

Three major bills dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey were heard in Committee this week. SB6 by Kolkorst (TX-18), SB7 by Creighton (TX-4) and SB8 by Perry (TX-28) relate to:

  1. Emergency and disaster management, response and recovery,
  2. Flood control planning, mitigation and infrastructure projects, and
  3. State and regional flood planning respectively.

The total cost for these three measures is $1.8 billion, and Hurricane Harvey response is an emergency item for the Governor.

Lt Governor Dan Patrick also added Senators José Menéndez (TX-26) and Pete Flores (TX-19) to the Higher Education Committee. These two appointments are a big win for San Antonio universities and colleges.

There were 12 straight hours of testimony on Tuesday for HB 3 by Huberty (TX-127). The bill is a School Finance Reform Plan that will spend $9 billion more on public schools in Texas. The bill also will help fund full-day pre-K for students who qualify and increase funding for school districts with higher concentrations of disadvantaged students.

Your chamber has been actively monitoring legislation and dropping cards in support or in opposition of legislation. Below is a list of bills the Chamber has registered a position for:

  • Card in Opposition to SB 421Relating to the acquisition of real property by an entity with eminent domain authority.
  • Card in Support of HB 478Relating to the funding of flood planning, mitigation, and infrastructure projects.
  • Card in Support of HJR 81Proposing a constitutional amendment providing for the creation of the flood infrastructure fund to assist in the financing of drainage, flood mitigation, and flood control projects.
  • Card in support of HB 1066Relating to extensions of an expired permit for the transfer of groundwater from a groundwater conservation district.
  • Testimony opposing SB 15Relating to a prohibition against certain local regulation of private employers.
  • Card in Support of SB 6Relating to emergency and disaster management, response, and recovery.
  • Card in Support of SB 7Relating to flood control planning and the funding of flood planning, mitigation, and infrastructure projects.
  • Card in Support of SB 8Relating to state and regional flood planning.
  • Card in Support of HB 271Relating to student access of career school and college transcripts and certificates of completion of training.
  • Card in Opposition of HB 742Relating to railroad crew size requirements; imposing a civil penalty.

A full list of upcoming house committee meetings can be found here. For a full list of upcoming senate committee meetings, click here.

For any questions about the Chamber’s State Legislative Agenda please contact Stephanie Reyes, VP of Public Policy by email at sreyes@sachamber.org or by phone 2102292162.

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