84th Texas Legislature Began January 13, 2015
The Texas Legislature meets in a regular session every two years, convening on the second Tuesday in January of every odd-numbered year. These biennial sessions are limited to 140 days. The governor can also call additional special sessions as necessary, which cannot exceed 30 days. The 84th Legislative Session is January 13, through June 1, 2015.
Health and Human Services Budget
Prior to the start of each legislative session, the Legislative Budget Board and the Governor’s Office of Budget, Policy and Planning jointly issue instructions to each Texas state agency regarding how to develop their Legislative Appropriations Request (LAR) which is their request for money to operate their programs over the next two-year biennium — Fiscal Years 2016–17. Appropriations requests for state general revenue funds may not exceed the sum of those amounts expended in Fiscal Year 2014 and budgeted in Fiscal Year 2015. At the beginning of the legislative session, the House and Senate propose budgets for Texas state agencies. Agencies may submit Exceptional Item requests for priorities that the agency considers of great importance in addition to the base budget.
House Appropriations Committee
Thursday, March 5, 2015, the House Appropriations Committee adopted recommendations on Article II, the health and human services portion of the state’s budget. The items below represent the committee’s decisions regarding the DADS and DARS exceptional items requests.
Note that there are a few additional items of interest in the DADS summary including how the committee handled community attendant wages, the Children with Special Health Care Needs waiting list, and selected provider rates.
- TCDD Summary of House Appropriations Committee Decisions on DADS Exceptional Items
- TCDD Summary of House Appropriations Committee Decisions on DARS Exceptional Items
Senate Finance Committee
Wednesday, March 4, 2015, the Senate Finance Committee appointed workgroups to address various Articles of the budget. The following members have been assigned to a workgroup to make funding recommendations on Article II, the health and human services portion of the state’s budget:
- Senator Charles Schwertner (Chair)
- Senator Paul Bettencourt
- Senator Lois Kolkhorst
- Senator Larry Taylor
- Senator Carlos Uresti
State agencies are usually reviewed once every 12 years, but TCDD and the health and human service agencies were last reviewed 16 years ago, in 1998-1999, because the Legislature postponed their review twice. The review process began summer 2013 and continues through the 84th Texas Legislative Session.
Some of the agencies under Sunset review now are:
- Health and Human Services Commission
- Department of Aging and Disability Services
- Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services
- Department of State Health Services
- Department of Family and Protective Services
- Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities
- Governorís Committee on People with Disabilities
- Texas Council on Purchasing from People with Disabilities
- Texas Workforce Commission
The public can participate in the legislative process on Sunset bills in the same way as any other legislation, through hearings in the Senate and House and contacting legislators who vote on the bills. To see current Sunset Commission legislation, see the 84th Legislature Sunset Bill Filings Chart.
More information at:
- Sunset Staff Recommends Continuation of TCDD
- Sunset Review of TCDD (PDF, 1 page, 63 KB)
- TCDD, Health and Human Service Agencies Begin Sunset Review
- TCDD Summarizes Sunset Commission Reports on State Health and Human Services Agencies
Input to Committees About Developmental Disabilities
The interim period is a good time to get to know your legislators and educate them on disability issues. Individuals who wish to provide input can submit written comments directly to a committee or attend committee hearings.
- House Committee schedules
(Texas House of Representatives website)
- Senate Committee hearing schedules
(Texas Senate website)
83rd Texas Legislature Held in 2013
The 83rd Session of the Texas Legislature ended May 27, 2013.
TCDD priorities during the 83rd session included appropriations, long term services and supports, education and employment. TCDD policy recommendations included prohibiting organ transplant discrimination and Employment First, and legislation was passed on Employment First.
Final Health and Human Service Budget Decisions
- Read the SB1 document prepared by TCDD (PDF, 3 pages, 70KB)
Includes a comparison of funding levels for selected health and human service programs important for people with developmental disabilities.
Final Bill Tracking Report
- Read Bill Tracking Report prepared by TCDD — Includes information regarding the outcome of select long-term services and support, education, State Supported Living Center and mental health legislation.
Senate Bill 7
TCDD is closely following Senate Bill 7. Information about the bill is regularly being shared with our e-news subscribers, in the News & Features section of this website, and on our Twitter and Facebook pages.
Interim Committees and Charges
Between each legislative session, the Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the House appoint interim committees to study key issues and research information that will help guide future legislative decisions. Interim committees, which are usually appointed in the fall, hold hearings to obtain public input.
- See 83rd Legislature Interim Committee Charges PDF on the Texas House of Representatives Speaker of the House web page for a complete list of interim charges.
Texas Legislative Appropriations Requests
- TCDD Summary of DADS, DARS, SDHS, HHSC, TCHCA and TEA Fiscal Years 2014-15 Legislative Appropriations Requests
82nd Texas Legislature
Texas Legislature Resources
- Who Represents Me?
Current districts and members of the Texas Senate, Texas House of Representatives, State Board of Education and Texas delegation to the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.
- Contacting Your Legislator (Texas Reference Library)
How to find, contact and address your legislator.