85th Texas Legislature
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 85th Legislative Session is January 10 through May 29, 2017.
House and Senate Budget Comparison
The House and the Senate each approved their versions of the 2018-2019 biennial budget. At six percent below 2016-2017 spending levels adjusted for population growth and inflation, neither budget adequately addresses the health and human services needs of Texans with disabilities. Check out TCDD’s House and Senate Budget Comparison.
Health and Human Services Budget
Prior to the start of each legislative session, the Legislative Budget Board (LBB) 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). An LAR is the agency’s budget request for money to operate their programs over the next two-year biennium — Fiscal Years (FY) 2018–2019. An LAR usually includes exceptional item requests for priorities that the agency considers of great importance in addition to the base budget. At the beginning of the legislative session, the House and Senate propose budgets for Texas state agencies that may include exceptional item requests as part of the base budget.
The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) released its FY 2018–2019 LAR to the public on Friday, September 16, 2016. Go to the links below to learn about HHSC’s LAR.
At a Senate Finance Committee (SFC) hearing on January 30, HHSC submitted an LAR with just 22 exceptional items. Funding for interest list reduction, community attendant wages, and Intensive Behavioral Intervention for children with autism were among the original exceptional items that were not included in HHSC’s LAR submitted on January 30. Read more in the HHSC Submits Exceptional Items to Senate Finance Committee blog post.
On February 20, HHSC submitted its exceptional items request to the House Appropriations Committee’s (HAC) Subcommittee on Article II. There were differences between the exceptional items submitted to the HAC Subcommittee on Article II and the exceptional items submitted to SFC in January. Read more in the HHSC Submits Exceptional Items to House Appropriations Committee blog post.
Legislative Bill Tracking Reports
TCDD tracks bills that could impact people with disabilities and their families in Texas. For full bill tracking reports, including descriptions and remarks, select one of the categories below.
- Americans with Disabilities Act
- Community Living
- Education – Assessment and Accountability
- Education – General
- Guardianship and Alternatives
- Mental Health
- Service Animals
- State Supported Living Centers
84th Texas Legislature Interim Committee Charges
During the interim between each legislative session, the Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the House issue charges to committees to study key issues and research information that will help guide future legislative decisions. Interim committees also hold hearings to obtain public input. The Senate and House interim committee charges were released in October and November 2015, respectively. Go to the links below to learn about key interim charges that could impact people with disabilities in Texas.
The link below provides details about interim committee hearings that will address key interim charges.
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.
Committee Decisions on DADS & DARS
The House Appropriations Committee (HAC) and the Senate Finance Committee (SFC) have each adopted their first draft of the 2016-2017 appropriations bill, HB 1 and SB 2 respectively. The items below represent the committees’ decisions regarding the DADS and DARS exceptional items requests.
Note that there are a few additional items of interest in the DADS summary, including community attendant wages, enhanced managed care ombudsman, enhancements to Community First Choice, the Children with Special Health Care Needs waiting list, and selected provider rates.
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 continued through the 84th Texas Legislative Session.
Some of the agencies under the Sunset review were:
- 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
- Governor’s 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 — for more information on participating in the Sunset legislative process, see the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission’s webpage How to Participate.
More information on TCDD’s Sunset Review:
Sunset Review of TCDD (PDF, 1 page, 63 KB)
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.
- Texas House of Representatives Committee Schedules webpage
- Texas Senate Committee Hearings and Events webpage
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
- 83rd Texas Legislature Final Bill Tracking Report (PDF, 5 pages, 181 KB) — 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 TCDD News subscribers (subscribe here), in the News and Information Texas Legislature category 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
- 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.