Texas Legislative News: Dec. 5, 2022

TX Legislative News
TX Legislative NEWS FEAT

Welcome to another edition of Texas Legislative News for the 88th Texas Legislature. In this weekly feature, we’ll provide information on disability-related issues that are being considered at the Texas State Capitol. We’ll also include overviews of how business is conducted by lawmakers and details on upcoming TCDD events.

Bill Filing Continues

With just over a month until the Legislature convenes, Texas lawmakers continue to pre-file bills. As of Dec. 5, nearly 1,200 proposals have been submitted for consideration in the upcoming session.

Though a sizeable batch of legislation relating to disability issues appeared when pre-filing first began on Nov. 14, only a few more disability-related bills have turned up since then. Those filed in the past two weeks include the following:

  • House Bill (HB) 720 by Rep. Carl Sherman, Sr., relating to allowing therapy or facility dogs to accompany a child or a person with a disability during testimony in certain criminal cases. An identical bill—Senate Bill (SB) 139 by Sen. Royce West—was mentioned in our previous update.
  • HB 729 by Rep. Toni Rose, relating to the statewide intellectual and developmental disability coordinating council.
  • HB 788 by Rep. Terry Meza, relating to a task force to study access to legal services for persons with disabilities.
  • HB 795 by Rep. Ed Thompson, relating to emergency generators or other power sources for nursing facilities and assisted living facilities.

TCDD staff will review all the bills under consideration by lawmakers, and we will highlight some of them in future updates. Please stay tuned!

Lt. Governor’s Session Priorities

In Texas, the lieutenant governor presides over the state’s Senate. That power has led many observers to proclaim that the office holds even more power than the governor’s. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has served in that role since 2015 and was recently reelected for another four-year term. Over the course of his tenure, he has consistently exercised enormous control over the passage or failure of legislation.

Patrick recently released his list of 21 priorities for the 88th Texas Legislature. They include property tax relief, electric grid reliability, border security and law enforcement, education and school security, investment in mental health, and election integrity. Disability issues did not appear to be notably represented in the list. Additionally, with lawmakers expecting to have a budget surplus of $27 billion, Patrick indicated a preference for putting the extra funds toward one-time expenditures, rather than ongoing costs. Such a preference might present a barrier to investments that are prioritized by disability advocates, such as an increase in community attendant rates or funding for additional Medicaid waiver slots.

TCDD will continue to monitor the lieutenant governor’s priorities and those of other state leaders.

TCDD Informational Videos

In preparation for the upcoming session, TCDD will post a series of informational videos to help members of the public be more engaged with the activity at the Texas State Capitol. The first video is now available. It provides a brief overview of the Capitol website, Texas Legislature Online. You can find the video here, and be on the lookout for future recordings on the TCDD YouTube page.

Stay Informed

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