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House Committee on Appropriations - 80th R.S. (2007)

Committee Members
Warren Chisum, Chair
Ryan Guillen, Vice Chair
Alma Allen
Dan Branch
Betty Brown
Fred Brown
Norma Chavez
Myra Crownover
Drew Darby
John Davis
Dawnna Dukes
Kirk England
Dan Gattis
Linda Harper-Brown
Chuck Hopson
Carl Isett
Jim Jackson
Lois W. Kolkhorst
Eddie Lucio, III
Ruth Jones McClendon
Jim McReynolds
José Menéndez
Rick Noriega
John Otto
Debbie Riddle
Larry Taylor
Sylvester Turner
Corbin Van Arsdale
John Zerwas
Charges
• As an oversight of all state agencies, assess all performance measures, operating budgets, budget transfers, and changes in full-time equivalents, major contracts, litigation, and debt financing, including assessing all rider provisions and evaluating budget structure effectiveness.
• Examine alternative spending limit methodologies found among the various states as they impact state and local spending and recommend potential changes to the Texas budget process to bring long-term, innovative strategies to control costs of major governmental programs.
• Evaluate the process by which costs of statutory changes are determined and formalize a process by which contingency appropriations are provided and enhance the communication between standing committees and the appropriations committee.
• Study state employee compensation and benefit packages and recommend alternatives designed to attract and retain superior management personnel and other areas of potential professional shortages. Review executive director salaries, classification schedules, merit and bonus pay, pay ranges and agency flexibility.
• With regard to the state's health-related institutions, research deficiencies with disproportionate share and upper payment limit methodologies; research collaboration with general academic institutions and between health-related institutions; review funding streams for University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), focusing on the issue of the need for reimbursement by counties using UTMB for higher levels of indigent care; and study the methodology used to fund the state's two mission specific institutions.
• Comprehensively review Medicaid provider reimbursement rate methodologies, including the impact of factors such as infrastructure concerns, federal minimum wage changes, and cost reports. The review should also address health care concerns such as access to care, quality of care, and value. Any recommendations should take into account current rate increases impacting the next fiscal year.
• Research strategies to ensure that the state will meet more stringent federal work requirements to avoid the loss of critical federal funds. Include a comparison of exemptions from work requirements provided by Texas as opposed to other states.
• Examine settlement of federal and state lawsuits against Harris County Hospital District for false claims in the state Medicaid program. Recommend any measures needed to ensure compliance of similar entities with rules and regulations of taxpayer-funded programs.
• Assess the potential for clinical and economic benefits of the use of state funds for current and increased adult stem cell research. Report on the collection and availability of cord blood stem cells for treatments and research in Texas. Review the current state of basic and clinical research using available types of adult stem cells.
• Review the Existing Debt Allotment and the Instructional Facilities Allotment to determine whether there is an ongoing need for two distinct programs.
• Study the funding needs for Adult Basic Education and the Texas Education Agency's effectiveness in running this program.
• Explore the spreading of "smoothing" of state payments to school districts throughout the year to better manage the state's cash flow.
• Monitor and examine the implementation of funding appropriated during the 80th Legislature to the Texas Youth Commission, Juvenile Probation Commission, Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ), and Correctional Managed Health Care Committee.
• Examine regulatory agencies and programs to consider aspects such as call center consolidation, strategies to allow access to greater revenue generated, and communication of best practice alternatives across agency lines.
• Analyze the current financial condition of the Texas Department of Transportation including but not limited to cash in the bank, encumbered funds, use of bond capacity and projected needs for various funds allocated to the Texas Department of Transportation and their appropriation for major projects over the last five years. This analysis should include a review of revenues diverted from the State Highway Fund for non-transportation applications. Examine alternative sources of revenue to sustain future transportation needs.
• Study the state's current and long-range need for physicians, dentists, nurses, allied health and long-term care professionals. Make recommendations regarding strategies related to both geographic distribution and barriers to recruitment of high-needs professions, especially for primary care providers and long-term care professionals. (Joint Interim Charge with the House Committees on Border and International Affairs and Public Health.)
• Examine the activities at the Texas Medical Board as they relate to the protection of public health and the practice of medicine, and the status of implementation requirements established by HB 1973, 80th Legislature, Regular Session. The committees should consider any findings by the Texas Sunset Commission. (Joint Interim Charge with the House Committee on Public Health.)
• Assess the relationship between mental illness and criminal behavior and offer reforms needed to address the proliferation of mental illness in the adult and juvenile criminal justice systems. This review should include an examination of data sharing between criminal justice and health and human services agencies, proper screening, assessments, treatment, discharge planning, post-release supervision, and community services. (Joint Interim Charge with the House Committee on Corrections.)
• Review and research the availability, coordination, efficiency, and allocation of substance abuse treatment resources for probationers, pretrial defendants, people in the custody of the TDCJ, and parolees. This review should include methods to reduce and improve current assessments, training and referring protocols and the identification of any barriers that may be impeding all of the above. (Joint Interim Charge with the House Committee on Corrections.)

Note:
Charges issued by the Speaker November 28, 2007.

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