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Committee on State Affairs - 84th R.S. (2015)
Religious Liberty: Examine measures to affirm 1st Amendment religious liberty protections in Texas, along with the relationship between local ordinances and state and federal law. Make recommendations to ensure that the government does not force individuals, organizations or businesses to violate their sincerely held religious beliefs.
Union Dues: Examine the practice of using public funds and employees for the payment processing of union dues. Make recommendations on whether Texas should end this practice.
Chief Law Enforcement Officers: Examine whether there are chief law enforcement officers within the state who deny NFA applications without any cause. Examine the application and certification process and recommend ways to eliminate no-cause denials.
Judicial Matters: Examine the need to adjust Texas judicial salaries to attract, maintain, and support a qualified judiciary capable of meeting the current and future needs of Texas and its citizens. Study and recommend whether Texas should delink legislators' standard service retirement annuities from district judge salaries. Examine the effect of eliminating straight-party voting for candidates for judicial office and make recommendations to ensure candidates are given individual consideration by voters.
Eminent Domain: Gather and review data on the compensation provided to private property owners for property purchased or taken by entities with eminent domain authority. Examine the variance, if any, between the offers and the fair market values of properties taken through eminent domain. Make recommendations to ensure property owners are fairly compensated.
Ethics: Review current ethics laws governing public officials and employees and recommend changes necessary to inspire the public’s confidence in a transparent and ethically principled government. Review public officials’ reporting requirements to the Texas Ethics Commission. Examine the categorization of ethics reporting violations and make recommendations to encourage accurate reporting and timely correction to inadvertent clerical errors.
Monitoring Charge: Monitor the implementation of legislation addressed by the Senate Committee on State Affairs during the 84th R.S. and make recommendations for any legislation needed to improve, enhance, and/or complete implementation. Specifically, monitor the following: 1) Implementation of open and campus carry legislation and determine if the current laws regulating the places that handguns can be carried are easily understood or if clarification is needed to ensure the average citizen understands when, where, and under what circumstances it is lawful to carry a weapon, versus when it is a criminal offense for which there may be a defense; 2) Requirements for guardianships; 3) The electronic voting program for certain military members serving overseas; 4) Changes made to the Employment Retirement System regarding member contributions and proposed reforms to the Teacher Retirement System of Texas; and 5) The establishment of a public integrity unit under the authority of Texas Rangers.
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