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18 Document(s) [ Subject: Hurricane Harvey ]

Committee: House Agriculture and Livestock
Title: Interim Report
Subjects: Agriculture | Agriculture, Texas Department of | Animal Health Commission, Texas | Bees | Disaster relief | Economic impact | Exotic species | Hemp | Hurricane Harvey | Invasive species | Liens | Monarch butterflies | Natural disasters | Rural economic development | Tropical storms |
Library Call Number: L1836.85 Ag86
Session: 85th R.S. (2017)
Online version: View report [49 pages]
Charges: This report should address the charges below.
1. Review the Texas Department of Agriculture's and the Texas Animal Health Commission's role in the response to Hurricane Harvey. Examine the short-term and long-term economic and agricultural impacts to producers in the agriculture and livestock industries in Texas as a result of Harvey. Identify ways to mitigate the impact and prevent substantial losses from Harvey and future natural disasters.
2. Study the Texas olive and olive oil industry. Provide suggestions to improve, promote, and standardize the industry. Examine current policy related to the industry and examine factors such as research, marketing, labeling, standards, data collection, and the necessity of creating a commodity board or similar type of organization.
3. Review the Texas Department of Agriculture's Seed Certification Program and related areas. Consider any benefits or drawbacks to privatizing the program through a nonprofit crop improvement association.
4. Study the effects of declining migratory species, such as the monarch butterfly, as well as native and domesticated bee populations on agricultural production and its economic impact on the state. Identify possible causes of the population changes and monitor national trends. Make recommendations on how to improve and promote monarch butterfly and bee populations and habitats in the state. (Joint charge with the House Committee on Culture, Recreation & Tourism)
5. Identify methods for the early detection of exotic invasive organisms that could threaten the production of agricultural crops, such as cotton, in Texas.
6. Consider the feasibility of developing and implementing a central filing system to be used for the filing of all financing statements that cover farm products being sold and purchased in this state that are subject to an agricultural lien.
7. Evaluate the uses of industrial hemp and the economic feasibility of developing an industrial hemp market under existing or future state and federal regulations. Examine the processing and manufacturing process requirements of multiple bi-products, including feed, food, fiber, cosmetics, supplements, and building materials.
8. Monitor the agencies and programs under the Committee’s jurisdiction and oversee the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 85th Legislature.
Committee: Senate Business and Commerce
Title: Interim Report
Subjects: Electric utilities | Electric utility deregulation | Electric utility rates and charges | Emergency management | Flood insurance | Flood plains | Health insurance | Health insurance exchanges | Home equity lines of credit | Home equity loans | Hurricane Harvey | Mortgages | Natural disasters | Occupational licenses | Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act | Privacy | Social networking websites | Texas Constitution | Wills and estates |
Library Call Number: L1836.85 B963
Session: 85th R.S. (2017)
Online version: View report [133 pages]
Charges: This report should address the charges below.
1. Study infrastructure security and energy restoration post weather events. Identify ways state government entities can help utilities more effectively stage pre-hurricane mobilization crews for managing resources before an event.
2. Examine state mortgage requirements regarding the notification of homebuyers on their need for flood insurance in flood plains and flood pool areas and make recommendations on how to better inform consumers.
3. Examine local government regulations, including occupational licenses, as related to Hurricane Harvey and determine if any are a detriment to rebuilding efforts.
4. Examine and make recommendations on the need for changes to the Texas Constitution for home equity lenders to offer various forms of relief to Texas homeowners affected by natural disasters including, among others, the authority to enter into deferment agreements. This examination should include a study of home equity rules regarding negotiation, modification and refinancing and whether constitutionally established time periods can be waived in times of disasters.
5. Free Market Electricity: Examine the competitive nature of the Texas retail electric system and what government competitive intrusions in the free energy markets may have in distorting those markets. Review the impact of competitive versus noncompetitive retail electricity markets across the state in terms of price and reliability. Consider the projected impact of establishing competitive electric retail markets statewide.
6. Health Insurance Market Stability: Study the factors affecting health insurance markets in Texas, particularly the individual market, including federal and state law. Make recommendations that would result in increased stability in the markets and enhance value and affordability for individual consumers and businesses. Examine what steps the state needs to take to allow out-of-state health insurance sales. In developing its recommendations, the committee should consider the flexibility afforded to states by 1332 "state innovation" waivers, which allow states to modify or eliminate tax penalties associated with individual and employer coverage mandates; modify requirements for benefits and subsidies; and find alternative ways to provide benefit plan choices, determine eligibility for subsidies, and enroll consumers.
7. Licensing and Fees: Review licensing requirements and fees imposed on entities within the committee's jurisdiction. Make recommendations for state licenses and fees that should be reduced, repealed or transitioned to private-sector enforcement.
8. Social Media Access: Study access issues regarding digital assets of decedents. Study social media privacy laws and whether job applicants and students' privacy is jeopardized under current law.
9. Examine the 2018 electric reliability forecasts announced by ERCOT and review how expected diminished reserve markets will impact the rates of residential and business consumers. Monitor current mechanisms available to ERCOT to ensure grid reliability, identify trends in the wholesale electric market, and make recommendations to maintain grid reliability moving forward.
10. Monitoring Charge: Monitor the implementation of legislation addressed by the Senate Committee on Business and Commerce during the 85th Legislature, Regular Session, including: • The implementation of legislation to deregulate occupational licensing; • The settlement of out-of-network health benefit claims involving balance billing and patient's explanation of benefits statements; and • Make recommendations regarding any additional legislation needed to improve, enhance, and/ or complete implementation.
Committee: House Corrections
Title: Interim Report
Subjects: Alternatives to incarceration | Communicable diseases | Criminal justice | Criminal Justice, Texas Department of | Disease management | Disease preparedness | Disease prevention | Emergency management | Ex-offenders | Hot weather | Hurricane Harvey | Inmate lawsuits | Inmate sexual assaults | Natural disasters | Pardons and Paroles, Texas Board of | Parole | Prison Rape Elimination Act | Probation | Recidivism | Social workers | State jail system | Women | Women inmates | Youthful offenders |
Library Call Number: L1836.85 C817
Session: 85th R.S. (2017)
Online version: View report [75 pages]
Charges: This report should address the charges below.
1. Evaluate the Texas Department of Criminal Justice response to Hurricane Harvey. Recommend any changes that could improve the operational stability of state criminal justice institutions following a natural disaster and changes that would allow for a more effective response.
2. Examine the use of social workers and peer support specialists in the Texas criminal justice system to assist individuals on probation, on parole, or who have been discharged, in order to reduce recidivism and improve outcomes. Identify best practices and make recommendations for legislative action.
3. Examine the current Texas criminal justice system policies and practices regarding 17- to 25- year-olds, specific to probation, parole, state jail confinement, and discharge from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice or county jail. Review any gaps in services that may be causing this population to recidivate. Make recommendations to improve the state's response to the needs of this population in order to lower revocation, re-arrest, and re-incarceration rates.
4. Examine treatment options, services, and programs available to women in institutional settings, on community supervision, on parole, and in community-based programs. Make recommendations for best strategies to address the needs of women in the Texas criminal justice system.
5. Review the Texas state jail system. Examine its original intent, sentencing guidelines, effectiveness, and recidivism rates. Make recommendations for changes in the state jail system. (Joint charge with the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence)
6. Study policies and protocols within the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. Examine when protocols are implemented and their efficacy in protecting the health and safety of inmates and state employees.
7. Review assessments used by the Board of Pardons and Paroles and parole panels to determine an inmate's risk of recidivism for purposes of granting parole and the use of GPS technology to monitor offenders.
8. Monitor Texas prison system heat-related litigation currently making its way through the courts. Monitor Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) compliance within Texas state and county criminal justice facilities.
9. Monitor the agencies and programs under the Committee’s jurisdiction and oversee the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 85th Legislature.
Committee: House County Affairs
Title: Interim Report
Subjects: Alternatives to incarceration | Counties | County budgets | County employees | Criminal justice | Emergency management | Flood control | Flooding | Hurricane Harvey | Infrastructure | Land use regulations | Mentally ill inmates | Natural disasters | Salaries |
Library Call Number: L1836.85 C832
Session: 85th R.S. (2017)
Online version: View report [75 pages]
Charges: This report should address the charges below.
1. Examine how emergency response activities are organized, funded, and coordinated. Review the impact of natural disasters on county finances. Identify any deficiencies in authority for the most populous counties related to infrastructure planning, emergency response, and recovery. Explore ways to improve efficiencies and manage costs while protecting public safety. Additionally, study the relationship between the state, counties, non-governmental organizations, and churches in preparing for and responding to Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath, and determine if preparedness plans are adequate.
2. Evaluate whether counties have the necessary ordinance-making and enforcement authority to deal with flood risk in unincorporated rural and suburban areas of Texas. Additionally, examine whether counties have adequate resources and authority to ensure that new development in unincorporated areas is not susceptible to flooding.
3. Study how counties identify defendants' and inmates' behavioral health needs and deferral opportunities to appropriate rehabilitative and transition services. Consider models for ensuring defendants and inmates with mental illness receive appropriate services upon release from the criminal justice system.
4. Review the population limitations found in Local Government Code Section 154.041 and Local Government Code Section 113.047. Determine if counties with a population below 190,000 could benefit from the population limitations being removed.
5. Monitor the agencies and programs under the Committee’s jurisdiction and oversee the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 85th Legislature.
Committee: House Culture, Recreation, and Tourism
Title: Interim Report
Subjects: Bees | Boating | Economic impact | Emergency management | Historic preservation | Historical Commission, Texas | Hurricane Harvey | Monarch butterflies | Natural disasters | Parks and Wildlife, Texas Department of | State parks | Tourism |
Library Call Number: L1836.85 R245
Session: 85th R.S. (2017)
Online version: View report [63 pages]
Charges: This report should address the charges below.
1. Review the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's and the Texas Historical Commission's roles in the response to Hurricane Harvey. Evaluate the economic, recreational, and biological impacts and needed repairs from Harvey as they relate to applicable state agencies and the following areas and industries under the purview of the Committee: a. State parks b. Wildlife and fish c. Historic sites and buildings d. Art and cultural resources e. Travel and tourism f. In addition, provide recommendations on how to allow for a timely recovery of these areas from Harvey, and how to mitigate the impact of, and adequately prepare for, future natural disasters.
2. Study the feasibility of establishing and mobilizing a volunteer contingency of private boat owners through the boat registration and license database administered by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to assist first responders in search and rescue efforts in natural disasters like Hurricane Harvey.
3. Study the effects of declining migratory species, such as the monarch butterfly, as well as native and domesticated bee populations on agricultural production and its economic impact on the state. Identify possible causes of the population changes and monitor national trends. Make recommendations on how to improve and promote monarch butterfly and bee populations and habitats in the state. (Joint charge with the House Committee on Agriculture & Livestock)
4. Monitor the agencies and programs under the Committee’s jurisdiction and oversee the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 85th Legislature.
Committee: House Defense and Veterans' Affairs
Title: Interim Report
Subjects: Aerospace industry | Base realignment and closure | Defense Economic Adjustment Assistant Grants | Emergency management | Homelessness | Hurricane Harvey | Mental health services | Military bases | Veterans | Veterans' health care |
Library Call Number: L1836.85 D361
Session: 85th R.S. (2017)
Online version: View report [36 pages]
Charges: This report should address the charges below.
1. Evaluate the impact of Hurricane Harvey related to the Texas Military Department, Emergency Management Council, and the Texas Division of Emergency Management. Recommend any changes that could improve operational stability and the reaction of these agencies following a natural disaster and changes that would allow for a more effective response.
2. Assess ways the State of Texas can further aid federal military installations and their communities in order to minimize the negative consequences of a Base Realignment and Closure round by the federal government.
3. Examine best practices related to use of the Defense Economic Adjustment Assistance Grant program to maximize support for military installations, and how the state can better serve military installations in Texas. Also, evaluate changes that would increase utilization of the Texas Military Revolving Loan Fund.
4. Study the economic impact of the aviation, aerospace, & defense manufacturing industry in Texas and the state's ability to facilitate industry job growth and investment. Review the relationship between the economic vitality of industry and military veterans transitioning into the workforce. Determine existing and potential barriers to the retention and expansion of the manufacturing industry in the state and the broader economic implications it may have on workforce readiness, as well as veteran employment and support services. (Joint charge with the House Committee on Economic & Small Business Development)
5. Examine the needs of homeless veterans in Texas. Examine obstacles veterans may face finding housing across the state. Recommend measures to bolster the state's efforts to address veteran homelessness in Texas.
6. Monitor the agencies and programs under the Committee’s jurisdiction and oversee the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 85th Legislature. In conducting this oversight, review the implementation of S.B. 27 (85R) and the related Veterans Mental Health Program, as well as S.B. 578 (85R) and the development of the Veterans Suicide Prevention Action Plan.
Committee: House Economic and Small Business Development
Title: Interim Report
Subjects: Aerospace industry | Economic development | Economic development incentives | High tech employment | High tech industry | Hurricane Harvey | Occupational licenses | Workforce |
Library Call Number: L1836.85 Ec74h
Session: 85th R.S. (2017)
Online version: View report [37 pages]
Charges: This report should address the charges below.
1. Examine Hurricane Harvey’s economic and workforce impact on the state and private sector. Analyze the effects and efficiency of state resources available to assist in job training and the recovery of the state’s workforce.
2. Study the state's effectiveness in developing and growing high-growth, high-tech start-ups. Review current regulations and determine if barriers exist that potentially impede investment and growth. Evaluate the concept of a "sandbox" as a regulatory approach for enabling innovation and the feasibility of implementing such an approach in Texas.
3. Evaluate the ongoing and long-term workforce needs of the state’s businesses and industries. Determine whether state resources are adequate to address shortages and assist with closing existing or future gaps in workforce readiness and skills to ensure the continued economic security and success of the state.
4. Analyze current data on the distribution of state economic development incentives across the state. Identify advantages or qualities, if any, possessed by the regions frequently awarded state incentives. Accordingly, identify resources available to underserved regions to increase awareness or utilization of incentives.
5. Study the economic impact of the aviation, aerospace, & defense manufacturing industry in Texas and the state's ability to facilitate industry job growth and investment. Review the relationship between the economic vitality of industry and military veterans transitioning into the workforce. Determine existing and potential barriers to the retention and expansion of the manufacturing industry in the state and the broader economic implications it may have on workforce readiness, as well as veteran employment and support services. (Joint charge with the House Committee on Defense & Veterans’ Affairs)
6. Monitor the agencies and programs under the Committee’s jurisdiction and oversee the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 85th Legislature.
Committee: Senate Finance
Title: Interim Report
Subjects: Alamo | Alternatives to incarceration | Appropriations bill riders | Business taxes | Criminal justice | Delinquent taxes | Disaster relief | Driver Responsibility Program | Economy | Emergency medical services | Federal aid | Federal funds | Fees | General Land Office | Hurricane Harvey | Interest rates | Juvenile justice system | Legislative Budget Board, Texas | Natural disasters | Personal property taxes | Probation | Rainy Day Fund | State budget certification | State budgets | Tax refunds | Texas Emissions Reduction Plan |
Library Call Number: L1836.85 F49
Session: 85th R.S. (2017)
Online version: View report [64 pages]
Charges: This report should address the charges below.
1. Monitor all funds currently being used to address Hurricane Harvey relief and recovery. Identify ways to maximize the use of federal funds and ensure the efficient use of state funds.
2. Evaluate the long-term impact of Hurricane Harvey on the Texas economy and the gulf coast region.
3. Alamo Historical Site Renovation: Monitor the expenditures of state funds appropriated to the General Land Office for the preservation, maintenance, and operation of the Alamo historical site. Ensure the funds are spent to emphasize the architectural design and the historical impact the battle had on the development of Texas as a nation and as a state.
4. Economic Stabilization Fund: Examine options to increase investment earnings of the Economic Stabilization Fund in a manner that mini mizes overall risk to the fund balance. Investment options should ensure the liquidity of a sufficient portion of the balance so that the legislature has the resources necessary to address the needs of the state, including natural disasters. Evaluate how the Economic Stabilization Fund constitutional limit is calculated; consider alternative methods to calculate the limit, and alternative uses for funds above the limit.
5. Texas Emission Reduction Plan: Review the Texas Emission Reduction Plan (TERP) and its economic benefits to the state. Examine whether the state's investment in TERP, including transfers from the Department of Transportation, are being effectively utilized to comply with federal air quality standards, reduce pollution, and protect the public health of Texans.
6. Request to Exceed Review: Review all riders requiring interim action by the Legislative Budget Board to reduce the number of times interim budget modification is necessary.
7. Fee Structure Review: Review state General Revenue - Dedicated fees and make recommendations to reduce fees and lessen reliance on General Revenue - Dedicated fee balances to certify the budget.
8. Adult and Juvenile Corrections Funding: Examine the funding patterns used to fund the juvenile justice system and adult probation departments. Develop recommendations to ensure the Texas Juvenile Justice Department budget does not dis-incentivize the use of cost-effective best practices such as diverting youth from the juvenile justice system, providing services to youth in their community, and keeping youth closer to home. In addition, review funding to adult probation departments and ensure it provides for an equitable distribution to all Texas Probation Departments.
9. Trauma Funding: Review revenue sources currently funding the state's trauma system and the impact of declining revenues and balances in General Revenue - Dedicated accounts. Evaluate the impact of statutory changes affecting trauma system funding, including efforts to eliminate the Driver Responsibility Program. Examine ways to ensure sustainability of the trauma system in Texas.
10. Property Tax on Business Personal Property: Evaluate the property tax as it applies to business personal property and the current $5oo exemption. Quantify the economic effect of taxing business personal property and determine whether the tax places Texas at a competitive disadvantage relative to other states. Evaluate the burden on taxpayers and local governments of administering the property tax on business personal property and determine whether the current $soo exemption should be increased.
11. Interest Rate Disparity: Evaluate the rate of interest charged on delinquent property taxes and delinquent state taxes, compared to the rate of interest paid on property tax refunds and state tax refunds. • Evaluate the effect of interest rate disparity on the assessment decisions of governments and the payment decisions of taxpayers. • Quantify the amount by which state and local governments profit from interest rate disparity. • Identify best practices among other states regarding interest rates charged and paid. • Recommend a plan and timeline to reduce interest rate disparity.
12. Monitoring: Monitor the implementation of the following funding initiatives: • CPS Critical Needs - Monitor the impact of salary increases and additional caseworkers allocated to Child Protective Services last interim. • Health Care Costs Across State Agencies - Monitor coordination efforts among state agencies to improve health care and reduce costs pursuant to Article IX, Section 10.06 and Section 10.07. • Behavioral Health - Monitor the state's progress in coordinating behavioral health services and expenditures across state government, pursuant to Article IX section 10.04, including the impact of new local grant funding provided by the 85th Legislatu re. • Sporting Goods Sales Tax - Identify state and local park needs and determine whether the Sporting Goods Sales Tax is meeting those needs.
Committee: House General Investigating and Ethics
Title: Interim Report
Subjects: Campaign finance and expenditure reports | Charities | Conflicts of interest | Disaster relief | Employee benefits | Ethics Commission, Texas | Federal funds | Financial disclosures | Gifts and donations | Government ethics | Government travel | Hurricane Harvey | Judicial campaigns | Lobbyists | Penalties and sentences (Criminal justice) | State agencies | State employee benefits | State employees |
Library Call Number: L1836.85 G286
Session: 85th R.S. (2017)
Online version: View report [64 pages]
Charges: This report should address the charges below.
1. Maintain oversight of federal, state, local, and charitable funds spent in response to Hurricane Harvey. Investigate instances of waste, fraud, or abuse involving such funds. Ensure that the State of Texas is maximizing federal disaster aid.
2. Review conflict of interest laws governing public officers and employees to ensure that such laws are adequate to maintain the public’s confidence in government decision-making. Review personal financial statement requirements to ensure that the public has sufficient information on the private financial interests of public officers.
3. Review criminal penalties under Chapter 305, Government Code (registration of lobbyists) and recommend improvements to maintain the integrity of legislative and administrative processes.
4. Examine the Judicial Campaign Fairness Act and identify opportunities to improve the Act.
5. Review procedures and processes used at the Texas Ethics Commission. Identify ways to resolve complaints more efficiently.
6. Examine employment policies and practices at state agencies relating to the hiring of individuals who were terminated from employment with another state agency for misconduct.
7. Review the implementation of S.B. 73 (85R) relating to leave policies and procedures for state employees.
8. Examine laws and policies regulating travel by state agency officials to ensure that travel expenditures are in the best interest of the state.
9. Investigate the use of state agency resources to participate in trade associations and groups funded by industries regulated by the agency.
10. Monitor the agencies and programs under the Committee’s jurisdiction and oversee the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 85th Legislature.
Committee: House Government Transparency and Operation
Title: Interim Report
Subjects: Emergency management | Hurricane Harvey | Natural disasters | Open government | Public Information Act, Texas | State agencies | State government contracts | State purchasing |
Library Call Number: L1836.85 G747t
Session: 85th R.S. (2017)
Online version: View report [86 pages]
Charges: This report should address the charges below.
1. Examine the role of technology in disaster preparedness and the response to Hurricane Harvey and future natural disasters. Review and make recommendations to drive innovation and efficiency and evaluate whether there are any regulatory impediments to collaboration between the public and private sectors.
2. Evaluate whether qualifying state agencies are appropriately utilizing available state disaster recovery services, including the statewide technology centers. Consider the costs and benefits of allowing other states to participate in Texas' statewide technology centers under Subchapter L, Chapter 2054, Texas Government Code for disaster recovery purposes.
3. Review Texas’ open meeting laws and related government decision-making policies. Determine if the formal processes prevented the efficient delivery of assistance during Hurricane Harvey. Make recommendations on maintaining the current standards of accountability without limiting government-provided aid during disaster events.
4. Evaluate whether, in light of recent Texas Supreme Court rulings, the provisions of the Public Information Act are adequate to support transparency and accountability in government, particularly as it relates to government contracting and procurement.
5. Study how state agencies can share knowledge and practices, reduce duplicative data gathering, and conduct business in a more efficient manner through interagency data sharing. Review best practices to provide the public with more transparency and access to government information.
6. Monitor the agencies and programs under the Committee’s jurisdiction and oversee the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 85th Legislature. In conducting this oversight, the committee will also specifically monitor the implementation of H.B. 8 (85R).
Committee: Senate Health and Human Services
Title: Interim Report
Subjects: Child abuse | Child Protective Services | Emergency management | Employees Retirement System of Texas | Family and Protective Services, Texas Department of | Foster care | Health and Human Services Commission, Texas | Health care costs | Healthy Texas Women | Hurricane Harvey | Insurance, Texas Department of | Juvenile justice system | Managed care | Medicaid | Natural disasters | Opioids | Prescription drugs | Public health | State Health Services, Texas Department of | Substance abuse | Teacher Retirement System of Texas |
Library Call Number: L1836.85 H349
Session: 85th R.S. (2017)
Online version: View report [98 pages]
Charges: This report should address the charges below.
1. Review the state's response to Hurricane Harvey with a focus on public health efforts at the local and state level. The review should include an analysis of the state and local response related to vector control, immunization needs, utilization of health-related volunteers, adequacy of an emergency medical network, evacuation of vulnerable populations from state operated or regulated facilities, and coordination between all levels of government. Recommend any legislative changes necessary to improve public health response and coordination during and after a disaster.
2. Evaluate the impact of Hurricane Harvey on the capacity of out-of-home placements and care for youth involved with the juvenile justice and child welfare systems. Determine how the state can ensure support is available to provide appropriate care as close to home as possible as facilities and offices are rebuilt.
3. Child Welfare: Review the efficacy and quality of services offered to ensure family preservation while in the Family Based Social Services (FESS) stage of service at the Department of Family and Protective Services. Make recommendations to better track quality of services and link payments to providers of these services to outcomes for families and children. Analyze the Department of Family and Protective Services' progress in meeting statutory requirements related to timely visits to children involved in a reported case of abuse or neglect. Make recommendations to further improve the timeliness of these visits. Review services and supports provided to children in Permanent Managing Conservatorship of the state, and the level of preparedness given to youth aging out of state care. Examine the impact of recent legislation related to these populations, and make recommendations to ensure youth in care are ready for adulthood and to reduce the likelihood of intergenerational perpetuation of child maltreatment. Assess the effectiveness of public and private agency efforts to recruit and retain foster parents. Identify barriers to entry and obstacles that prevent interested families from continuing to provide foster care. Recommend solutions to increase foster recruitment and address non-renewals, especially in first-time foster parents.
4. Substance Abuse/Opioids: Review substance use prevention, intervention, and recovery programs operated or funded by the state and make recommendations to enhance services, outreach, and agency coordination. Examine the adequacy of substance use, services for pregnant and postpartum women enrolled in Medicaid or the Healthy Texas Women Program and recommend ways to improve substance use related health outcomes for these women and their newborns. Examine the impact of recent legislative efforts to curb overprescribing and doctor shopping via the prescription monitoring program and recommend ways to expand on current efforts.
5. Medicaid Managed Care Quality and Compliance: Review the Health and Human Services Commission's efforts to improve quality and efficiency in the Medicaid program, including pay-for-quality initiatives in Medicaid managed care. Compare alternative payment models and value-based payment arrangements with providers in Medicaid managed care, the Employees Retirement System, and the Teachers Retirement System, and identify areas for cross-collaboration and coordination among these entities. Evaluate the commission's efforts to ensure Medicaid managed care organizations' compliance with contractual obligations and the use of incentives and sanctions to enforce compliance. Assess the commission's progress in implementing competitive bidding practices for Medicaid managed care contracts and other initiatives to ensure the best value for taxpayer dollars used in Medicaid managed care contracts.
6. Health Care Cost Transparency: Study efforts by the Department of State Health Services and the Texas Department of Insurance to increase health care cost transparency, including a review of the Texas Health Care Information Collection (THCIC) system, and the Consumer Guide to Healthcare. Recommend ways to make provider and facility fees more accessible to consumers to improve health care cost transparency, increase quality of care, and create a more informed health care consumer base.
7. Monitoring Charge: Monitor the implementation of legislation addressed by the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services, 85th Legislature and make recommendations for any legislation needed to improve, enhance, and/or complete implementation, including but not limited to: • Initiatives to increase capacity and reduce waitlists in the mental health system, including the construction of state hospitals and new community grant programs; • Initiatives to better understand the causes of maternal mortality and morbidity, including the impact of legislation passed during the first special session of the 85th Legislature. Recommend ways to improve health outcomes for pregnant women and methods to better collect data related to maternal mortality and morbidity; • Initiatives intended to improve child safety, Child Protective Services workforce retention, and development of additional capacity in the foster care system. Make additional recommendations to ensure children with high levels of medical or mental health needs receive timely access to services in the least restrictive setting; • Efforts to transfer case management of foster children and families to Single Source Continuum Contractors (SSCCs). Monitor the progress of this transition and make recommendations to ensure the process provides continuity of services for children and families and ongoing community engagement; • Initiatives to strengthen oversight oflong-term care facilities to ensure safety and improve quality for residents and clients of these entities; and • Abortion complications and other reporting legislation that was passed by the 85th Legislatu re.
Committee: House Higher Education
Title: Interim Report
Subjects: Dual credit high school programs | Higher education | Higher education affordability | Hurricane Harvey | Nontraditional students | Sex crimes | Sexual harassment | Teacher training |
Library Call Number: L1836.85 Ed84hh
Session: 85th R.S. (2017)
Online version: View report [23 pages]
Charges: This report should address the charges below.
1. Determine, to the extent possible, the scope of financial losses to 2- and 4-year institutions, including facilities, that resulted from Hurricane Harvey. Recommend possible state actions to mitigate any negative impact on institutions and ensure governance structures and parameters allow for effective responses. Review the educational opportunities offered to students displaced by Harvey throughout the state. Recommend any changes that could improve the process and what additional services might be needed for these displaced students.
2. Determine the impact of any federal action pertaining to Title IX and the potential effects on current state laws and rules pertaining to sexual misconduct policies at institutions of higher education.
3. Examine the rapid growth of dual credit course offerings across the state, and evaluate whether dual credit is effectively reducing time-to-degree and improving affordability for students and the state. Evaluate institutions’ policies and processes for ensuring rigor and quality, and the adequacy of student advising regarding the potential applicability of dual credit courses to future academic program requirements. Review the current state funding methodology and costs of, and the share of state funding attributable to, dual credit programs.
4. Examine efforts of 2- and 4-year institutions to implement innovative and non-traditional models of education delivery to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse student body and the demands of a rapidly changing workforce. Identify any obstacles to institutional innovation. Make recommendations to scale innovative educational models to better serve students and employers.
5. Review current data available to the public about Educator Preparation Programs (EPPs) and make recommendations to ensure the data is transparent, user-friendly, and actionable. Review the current EPP accountability system and recommend any new indicators or changes, including evaluating the ability of programs to meet the workforce needs of school districts by preparing teachers for high-needs areas. Determine ways to measure the effectiveness of teachers prepared by individual programs. For traditional EPP programs, make recommendations on how to more fully involve boards of regents in an effort to elevate the importance of teacher preparation within our state institutions. Examine current joint partnerships between EPPs and public schools to meet regional workforce needs, and make recommendations on how to scale these partnerships. (Joint charge with the House Committee on Public Education S/C on Teacher Quality)
6. Monitor the agencies and programs under the Committee’s jurisdiction and oversee the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 85th Legislature. In conducting this oversight, the Committee will also specifically include: S.B. 2118 (85R) and 60x30TX, the higher education strategic plan.
Committee: House Human Services
Title: Interim Report
Subjects: Adoption | Assisted living facilities | Child abuse | Child abuse prevention | Child Protective Services | Early childhood intervention | Emergency management | Family preservation | Foster care | Hurricane Harvey | Long-term care | Managed care | Medicaid | Medicaid program management | Mentally ill persons | Natural disasters | Nursing homes | Pharmaceutical industry | Prescription drugs | State supported living centers | Substance abuse | Tropical storms |
Library Call Number: L1836.85 H88
Session: 85th R.S. (2017)
Online version: View report [50 pages]
Charges: This report should address the charges below.
1. Study the impact of Hurricane Harvey and the response to the storm on individuals living in long-term care facilities, assisted living facilities, state supported living centers, licensed community group homes, and children in the foster care system. Identify and recommend necessary solutions to ensure appropriate disaster-related protocols are in place to keep vulnerable Texans protected. Also, identify any challenges state agencies experienced in responding to the storm or during recovery efforts.
2. Review the history and any future roll-out of Medicaid Managed Care in Texas. Determine the impact managed care has had on the quality and cost of care. In the review, determine: initiatives that managed care organizations (MCOs) have implemented to improve quality of care; whether access to care and network adequacy contractual requirements are sufficient; and whether MCOs have improved the coordination of care. Also determine provider and Medicaid participants’ satisfaction within STAR, STAR Health, Star Kids, and STAR+Plus managed care programs. In addition, review the Health and Human Services Commission's (HHSC) oversight of managed care organizations, and make recommendations for any needed improvement.
3. Examine the survey process for nursing facilities to determine any duplication of government regulations. Consider recommendations to reduce duplication while ensuring patient safety is preserved.
4. Review the availability of prevention and early intervention programs and determine their effectiveness in reducing maltreatment of children. In addition, review services available to children emancipating out of foster care, as well as services available to families post-adoption. Determine if current services are adequately providing for children's needs and meeting the objectives of the programs. While reviewing possible system improvements for children, follow the work of the Supreme Court of Texas Children's Commissions' Statewide Collaborative of Trauma-Informed Care to determine how trauma-informed care impacts outcomes for children.
5. Analyze the prevalence of children involved with Child Protective Services (CPS) who have a mental illness and/or a substance use disorder. In addition, analyze the prevalence of children involved with CPS due to their guardian's substance abuse or because of an untreated mental illness. Identify methods to strengthen CPS processes and services, including efforts for family preservation; increasing the number of appropriate placements designed for children with high needs; and ensuring Texas Medicaid is providing access to appropriate and effective behavioral health services. (Joint charge with the House Committee on Public Health)
6. Monitor the HHSC's implementation of Rider 219 in Article II of the General Appropriations Act related to prescription drug benefit administration in Medicaid. Analyze the role of pharmacy benefit managers in Texas Medicaid.
7. Monitor the agencies and programs under the Committee’s jurisdiction and oversee the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 85th Legislature. In conducting this oversight, the committee will also closely monitor the implementation of H.B. 4 (85R), H.B. 5 (85R), H.B. 7 (85R), and S.B. 11 (85R).
Committee: House Investments and Financial Services
Title: Interim Report
Subjects: Banks and banking | Consumer credit | Credit reports | Credit scoring | Electronic security | Emergency management | Home equity loans | Hurricane Harvey | Mortgage brokers | Mortgages | Natural disasters |
Library Call Number: L1836.85 In9
Session: 85th R.S. (2017)
Online version: View report [42 pages]
Charges: This report should address the charges below.
1. Review the impact of Hurricane Harvey on financial institutions in Texas and evaluate the response of the state's oversight agencies. Study how Harvey impacted consumers and lenders in the mortgage and home equity markets. Identify opportunities to improve the operational stability of financial institutions and to improve the state's responsiveness following a natural disaster.
2. Study the impact and risks that a large-scale security breach of a credit bureau has on Texans. Identify opportunities to protect Texas consumers and to mitigate the impact of such a breach.
3. Examine mortgage licensure requirements in Texas and identify opportunities to update statute to fit modern mortgage options.
4. Study policy challenges in the area of financial technology. Evaluate the concept of a "sandbox" as a regulatory approach for enabling innovation and the feasibility of implementing such in Texas. If appropriate, make recommendations for possible legislative action to foster innovation in the finance industry.
5. Monitor the agencies and programs under the Committee’s jurisdiction and oversee the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 85th Legislature.
Committee: House Public Education
Title: Interim Report
Subjects: Academic performance | Charter schools | Dyslexia | Educational accountability | Hurricane Harvey | Learning disabilities | Natural disasters | Public schools | School finance | Special education | Student Success Initiative | Teacher incentive plans | Teacher retention | Teacher salaries | Teacher shortages | Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills |
Library Call Number: L1836.85 Ed84h
Session: 85th R.S. (2017)
Online version: View report [90 pages]
Charges: This report should address the charges below.
1. Determine, to the extent possible, the scope of financial losses, including facilities, that resulted from Harvey. Recommend possible state actions, such as changes to student counts or property valuation, to mitigate any negative impact on districts and ensure governance structures and parameters allow for effective responses.
2. Recommend any measures needed at the state level to prevent unintended punitive consequences to both students and districts in the state accountability system as a result of Harvey and its aftermath.
3. Examine the educational opportunities offered to students displaced by Harvey throughout the state and the process by which districts enroll and serve those students. Recommend any changes that could improve the process for students or help districts serving a disproportionate number of displaced students.
4. Review current state mechanisms for identifying and rewarding educators through state-level strategies. Examine how providing additional funding to enhance compensation in districts facing a shortage of experienced, highly rated teachers would affect retention and teacher quality, in addition to whether it would encourage teachers to provide additional services through extracurricular activities, tutoring, and mentoring.
5. Examine research-based options for evaluating student achievement beyond standardized test scores, including adaptive and portfolio assessments. Examine the scope of the current Texas essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) in grades with the state assessment, including the format, assessment calendar, and the limits of instructional days, if any. Determine if it is appropriate to limit TEKS to readiness standards that can be taught in less than the school year. Review current Student Success Initiative testing and make recommendations on its continuation or repeal. Review the ability of the state to waive standardized testing for students with significant cognitive disabilities.
6. Examine programs in public schools that have proven results meeting the needs of and improving student achievement for students with disabilities, with an emphasis on programs specializing in autism, dysgraphia, and dyslexia. Recommend ways to support and scale innovative programs for these students, including providing supplemental services, or incentivizing public-private partnerships or inter district and charter school collaborations. Monitor the implementation and funding for the pilot programs authorized in H.B. 21 (85R) and review the Texas Education Agency's compliance with S.B. 160 (85R), which prohibits special education student caps.
7. Review the charter school system in Texas. Determine if changes are needed in the granting, renewal, or revocation of charter schools, including the timeline for expansions and notification of expansions to surrounding districts. Review the educational outcomes of students in charter schools compared to those in traditional schools, and to what extent schools participate in the alternative accountability system. Monitor the implementation of facilities funding for charter schools. Consider differences in state funding for charter schools compared to their surrounding districts and the impact on the state budget. Consider admissions policies for charters, including appropriate data collection to assess demand for additional charter enrollment, compliance with access by students with disabilities and the effect of exclusions of students with criminal or disciplinary histories. Consider differences in charter and district contributions to the Teacher Retirement System on behalf of their employees and make appropriate recommendations to support the retirement benefits of all public school teachers.
8. Monitor the agencies and programs under the Committee’s jurisdiction and oversee the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 85th Legislature. In conducting this oversight, the committee will also specifically include: H.B. 21 (85R), H.B. 22 (85R), and S.B. 179 (85R).
Committee: House Special Purpose Districts
Title: Interim Report
Subjects: Bond issues | Emergency management | Hurricane Harvey | Private activity bonds | Public improvement districts | Special taxing districts | Water districts |
Library Call Number: L1836.85 Sp31
Session: 85th R.S. (2017)
Online version: View report [75 pages]
Charges: This report should address the charges below.
1. Evaluate the impact of Hurricane Harvey on residential communities within special purpose districts and districts' capacity to respond. Review the role and adequacy of the districts in emergency preparedness and response. Make recommendations for strengthening districts' emergency operations.
2. Review the statutes and procedures related to state approval and oversight of water district bonds that finance utility, infrastructure, and other projects. Identify opportunities for improving the state's oversight of bond issuance and make recommendations for statutory changes.
3. Investigate the feasibility of dissolving special purpose districts and determine if there are criteria that would make dissolution acceptable. Make recommendations for codifying the dissolution requirements and procedures.
4. Identify best practices in the creation of municipal management districts. Study the feasibility of and make recommendations for creating standard language for the creation of municipal management districts through special law.
5. Monitor the agencies and programs under the Committee’s jurisdiction and oversee the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 85th Legislature.
Committee: House Transportation
Title: Interim Report
Subjects: County roads | Emergency management | Highway construction | Highway finance | Hurricane Harvey | Infrastructure | International trade | Natural disasters | Natural gas industry | Oil industry | Ports | Self-driving automobiles | Semi-trailer trucks | Toll roads | Traffic | Transportation | Transportation planning | Transportation, Texas Department of | Unmanned aircraft |
Library Call Number: L1836.85 T687
Session: 85th R.S. (2017)
Online version: View report [67 pages]
Charges: This report should address the charges below.
1. Review the state's response to Hurricane Harvey and natural disaster preparedness with respect to the transportation system and transportation infrastructure. Make recommendations for improving agency operations related to emergency preparedness and response.
2. Study the ability of the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) to deliver highway construction projects that reduce congestion and improve mobility, including the Department's options and limitations related to contracting. Make recommendations to improve the Department's ability to complete complex projects on time and under cost.
3. Study the efficacy of existing transportation finance mechanisms from state, regional, and local perspectives. Identify opportunities to improve existing transportation finance mechanisms and investigate the feasibility of developing new ones.
4. Study Texas' various toll authorities and evaluate their transparency and stakeholder responsiveness. Make recommendations to improve the state oversight of toll authorities.
5. Review the management of the oversize/overweight permitting system and ensure that the state is adequately protecting the driving public and road integrity. Make recommendations to improve operations.
6. Study emerging issues in transportation related to technology and evaluate the state's preparedness for addressing challenges and opportunities posed by technological advances. Review the implementation of state and federal programs and legislation related to intelligent transportation systems, autonomous vehicles, unmanned aircraft systems (i.e. drones), and other technological changes.
7. Review the current state of infrastructure at Texas' international shipping ports and border ports of entry in Texas. Identify transportation-related impediments to international trade and estimate the impact of those challenges, including border wait times, on the state's economy. Make recommendations for improvements to facilitate international trade and economic growth. (Joint charge with the House Committee on International Trade & Intergovernmental Affairs)
8. Evaluate the impact energy exploration and production have on state and county roads and make recommendations on how to improve road quality in areas impacted by these activities. (Joint charge with the House Committee on Energy Resources)
9. Monitor the agencies and programs under the Committee’s jurisdiction and oversee the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 85th Legislature. In conducting this oversight, the committee will also specifically monitor the implementation of the TxDOT Sunset legislation and related management actions.
Committee: Senate Transportation
Title: Interim Report
Subjects: Federal funds | Fines | Highway finance | Highways | Houston Ship Channel | Human trafficking | Hurricane Harvey | Ports | Toll roads | Traffic violations | Transportation planning |
Library Call Number: L1836.85 T685
Session: 85th R.S. (2017)
Online version: View report [70 pages]
Charges: This report should address the charges below.
1. Study the impact of Hurricane Harvey on the state’s transportation infrastructure and make recommendations on how best to rebuild assets efficiently and effectively.
2. Funding Opportunities for Texas Ports: Review the state's appropriations for Texas' ports and the Ship Channel Improvement Revolving Fund and make recommendations for increased investment to meet future needs.
3. Project Acceleration: Study and make recommendations regarding segregating state and federal transportation funding to accelerate project delivery.
4. Toll Road Penalties: Review penalty practices employed by toll authorities throughout the state and make recommendations to improve customer service and eliminate unjustified penalties.
5. Human Smuggling: Examine the anti-smuggling efforts of governmental and non-governmental entities under the committee's jurisdiction. Compare the findings to best practices in other states and make recommendations to help advance efforts in the fight against human smuggling.
6. Highway Naming: Review the state's policy related to the naming of state highways for individuals and make recommendations to limit and reform the criteria of such designations.
7. Monitoring Charge: Monitor the implementation of legislation addressed by the Senate Committee on Transportation during the 85th Legislatu re, Regular Session and make recommendations for any legislation needed to improve, enhance, and/ or complete implementation. Specifically, monitor the following: • Implementation of statutory changes specified in the Texas Department of Transportation's (TxDOT) sunset legislation. 1) requiring toll road entities to use toll revenue to pay back TxDOT for grants used to construct toll roads. 2) prohibiting TxDOT from operating or transferring a HOV lane as a tolled lane. 3) authorizing TxDOT to convert non-tolled lanes as toll lanes - only if the number of non-tolled lanes is greater than or equal to the number in existence before the toll conversion project. 4) prohibiting TxDOT from awarding contracts unless the contractor participates in E-verify; and • Progress of the Texas Department of Transportation's (TxDOT) efforts to issue an annual permit for transporting overweight, sealed intermodal shipping containers on TxDOT approved routes within 30 miles of a port of entry or an international bridge.

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