Texas Legislative News: April 26, 2021

legislative news

On Thursday, April 22, the Texas House considered its version of Senate Bill (SB) 1, the legislation that would fund the state government for the next two years. Over the course of an 11-hour debate, the lawmakers considered about 140 amendments, with many of them being adopted and placed into Article XI of the bill, a section that is often referred to as a “wish list.” About 35 additional amendments were placed in Article XI with no discussion. For those amendments, House members were asked to record objections with the journal clerk in the days following the floor debate.

Now that the House and the Senate have both passed iterations of SB 1, the bill is expected to go to a conference committee. This committee will be comprised of five members of the House and five members of the Senate, and it will spend the next few weeks working out the differences between the two versions of the bill.

A conference committee generally considers only the areas where there is a discrepancy between the House and Senate versions of the bill. If an expenditure or a rider appears in both versions, it is likely to remain in the final version. If something appears in one chamber’s version but not the other, then the committee decides whether to keep it or leave it out. The legislation typically goes through additional changes based on new funding that becomes available or additional legislation that needs to be worked into the bill. Advocates, stakeholders, and even other lawmakers will spend this period communicating with the conference committee in the hopes of retaining their priority items in the budget or moving items from the wish list into the formal portions of the bill.

The conference committee will eventually sign off on a final version of SB 1, which will then be presented for a vote in each legislative chamber. No additional changes will be allowed at that time, which is typically just days before the end of the regular session on May 31.

Legislative Deadlines

With the regular session entering its final five weeks, lawmakers will soon be faced with a number of bill deadlines. For instance, May 10 is the final date for House committees to report House bills out for referral to the Calendars Committee. May 13 is the last day for the full House to consider bills on second reading, with the exception of local and consent bills that have separate cutoffs. As these deadlines approach, the focus of the session will tend to shift away from committee hearings and more toward debates on the House and Senate floors.

The deadline calendar, prepared by the Texas Legislative Council, can be found here.

Hearings To Watch

The following section includes a sample of the hearings that we are monitoring this week. During these hearings, legislative committees may consider important disability-related bills. To receive notifications about new hearings that are scheduled with short notice, follow us on Twitter. You can find live and archived broadcasts of committee hearings on the House and Senate websites.

The House Public Education Committee will hold a hearing on Tuesday morning, April 27, to discuss House Bill (HB) 3880 by Rep. Harold Dutton, which relates to a student’s eligibility for special education services provided by a school district.

The House Human Services Committee will hold a hearing on Tuesday morning, April 27, on the following notable bills:

  • HB 4194 by Rep. Richard Peña Raymond, relating to the provision of home health care services under the Medicaid-managed care program
  • HB 4216 by Rep. Richard Peña Raymond, relating to Medicaid-managed care accreditation
  • HB 4252 by Rep. Tom Oliverson, relating to the award of health plan provider contracts under Medicaid-managed care

The House Administration Committee will hold a hearing on Tuesday morning, April 27, to discuss House Resolution (HR) 333 by Rep. Tom Oliverson, which would repeal the House rules requiring face masks in committee hearings and on the House floor.

The Senate Education Committee will hold a hearing on Tuesday morning, April 27, to discuss SB 180 by Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., relating to improving training and staff development for primary and secondary educators to enable them to more effectively serve all students.

The House Public Health Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday morning, April 28, on the following notable bills:

  • HB 3711 by Rep. John Bucy III, which would establish a registry of medically fragile individuals for wellness checks during certain emergencies
  • HB 3740 by Rep. Ryan Guillen, which relates to home telemonitoring services under Medicaid

The Senate Higher Education Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday morning, April 28, to discuss SB 54 by Sen. Judith Zaffirini, relating to a study and report by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board regarding best practices for assisting students with autism.

The House Elections Committee will hold a hearing on Thursday morning, April 29, to discuss the following notable bills:

  • HB 32 by Rep. Art Fierro, relating to voting outside a polling place
  • HB 3200 by Rep. Jacey Jetton, relating to the procedures following the rejection of a ballot voted by mail

Stay Informed

To stay up to date regarding how disability-related issues are being addressed by the Legislature, subscribe to TCDD eNews. On our website, you can find legislative resources and video updates from TCDD Policy Director Scott Daigle on what’s happening at the Capitol. To receive additional notifications, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.




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