End of Session Wrap-Up
End of Session Wrap-Up
For this weekly feature, we profile a noteworthy bill that is going through the legislative process. The bill may relate directly to TCDD’s Public Policy Priorities or another disability-related issue.
The 88th regular session of the Texas Legislature finally adjourned Monday, May 29. Over the course of the session’s 20 weeks, the TCDD Bill of the Week featured 18 separate pieces of legislation. Here is a final update on where each bill ended up once lawmakers concluded their business.
Bills Signed into Law
The following bills were passed by the Legislature and have been signed into law by the governor. They each go into effect on Sept. 1, 2023.
- House Bill (HB) 109 by Rep. Julie Johnson will require health plans to approve claims for hearing aids that cost more than the allowable benefit if patients pay for the cost difference.
- HB 446 by Rep. Tom Craddick, which will update the terminology used in law to refer to intellectual disabilities.
Bills Sent to the Governor
The following bills have been passed by the Legislature and sent to the governor. He has until Sunday, June 18, to take action on each bill by signing them into law, letting them pass into law without his signature, or preventing them from taking effect by issuing a veto.
- HB 54 by Rep. Senfronia Thompson would increase the personal needs allowance for residents of long-term care facilities. As passed out of the House, this bill would have increased the allowance from $60 to $85 per month. It would have also required the executive commissioner of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to review the allowance every two years and increase it further if necessary due to inflation. As passed out of the Senate and sent to the governor, the bill will increase the allowance to $75 per month and does not include the inflation provision.
- HB 199 by Rep. Donna Howard would establish a sales tax exemption for child and adult diapers. This bill was not heard in committee, but its provisions eventually appeared in Rep. Howard’s HB 300, a bill providing sales tax exemptions for a broad range of family care items. HB 300 passed out of the Texas House. The text of that bill was then added to Senate Bill (SB) 379 by Sen. Joan Huffman, which was passed by lawmakers and sent to the governor.
- HB 459 by Rep. Lacey Hull would prohibit the use of physical restraint and chemical irritants on public school students age 10 or younger. The bill’s Senate companion, SB 133 by Sen. Royce West, has been sent to the governor. Instead of applying to students age 10 or younger, the bill’s final version applies to students in fifth grade or below. It also adds Tasers to the list of items prohibited against the indicated student population.
- HB 5206 by Rep. Vikki Goodwin related to penalties for falsely representing animals as service animals. The bill failed to be scheduled for consideration by the full Texas House. However, a provision in the bill to increase the fine for intentionally misrepresenting an animal as a service or assistance animal was included in HB 4164 by Rep. Philip Cortez, which has been sent to the governor.
- SB 477 by Sen. Judith Zaffirini would improve accessibility for voters with disabilities and give voters with mobility-related disabilities priority access to vote at polling locations. The Senate passed the bill with a provision that would have required two parking spaces to be dedicated to people unable to enter a polling location. The House reduced that to a single parking space but added new signage requirements. This version passed in the House and was sent to the governor.
- SB 904 by Sen. Drew Springer would clarify enforcement of the unauthorized use of parking spaces designated for people with disabilities.
- SB 1606 by Sen. Judith Zaffirini relates to guardianship proceedings for people with intellectual disabilities.
House Bills Held Up in the Senate
The following bills passed out of the Texas House, but they were not brought up for consideration by the full Texas Senate.
- HB 140 by Rep. Mary González would have required the implementation of a statewide program to provide certain co-navigation services to deaf-blind individuals. It was not given a hearing by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.
- HB 195 by Rep. Mary González would have ensured a safety plan for people with disabilities in a disaster or emergency on a school campus. The bill was not given a hearing by the Senate Education Committee.
- HB 272 by Rep. Julie Johnson would have updated state terminology referring to individualized education program teams. It failed to receive a hearing by the Senate Education Committee.
- HB 381 by Rep. Senfronia Thompson would have prohibited the death penalty from being applied to a person with an intellectual disability. It did not receive a hearing in the Senate State Affairs Committee.
- HB 1781 by Rep. Gina Hinojosa would have established accountability guidelines for specialized support campuses with consultation from educators, parents, and other stakeholders. This bill failed to receive a hearing in the House Public Education Committee. However, many of its provisions were included in HB 579 by Rep. DeWayne Burns, which passed out of the House but was left pending after a hearing in the Senate Education Committee.
- HB 4702 by Rep. Liz Campos would have established peer supports for individuals with DD as a billable service under Medicaid. It failed to receive a hearing by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.
- HB 5146 by Rep. John Raney would have established the Building Better Futures Program for students with DD. It was reported out of the Senate Education Committee’s Subcommittee on Higher Education, but no action was taken on the bill by the full committee.
Bills Held Up in the House
The following bills failed to pass out of the Texas House and had no Senate companions.
- HB 773 by Rep. Alma Allen would have prohibited the practice of school-initiated undocumented early pickups. It was placed on the schedule for consideration by the House but did not come up prior to a major deadline.
- HB 788 by Rep. Terry Meza would have established a task force to study access to legal services for people with disabilities. It did not receive a hearing by the House Human Services Committee.
Disability Policy Academy
For a broader rundown of the legislative session, join TCDD on Wednesday, June 14, for a Disability Policy Academy titled, “A Capitol Recap: Disability Policy in the 88th Legislature.” The event will be held via Zoom, is open to the public, and is free to attend. Participants must register online ahead of time.
Date: Wednesday, June 14
Time: 1-2:30 p.m. CT
Register to attend (The registration period has ended.)
Communication Access Real-time Translation (CART) service will be provided. If you need other accommodations to participate, please contact Koren Vogel at firstname.lastname@example.org or 512-948-2035.
If you would like more information on these or other bills, you can visit the Texas Legislature Online. To receive future legislative updates from TCDD follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.