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6 Document(s) [ Subject: ]

Committee: House Economic and Small Business Development
Title: Interim Report
Subjects: Career preparedness | Career schools | e-commerce | Economic development | Economic development incentives | Economy | Energy industry employment | High tech employment | High tech industry | Natural gas industry | Office of Economic Development and Tourism | Oil industry | Rural economic development | Short-term rentals | Small businesses | State budgets | Transportation network companies | Workforce | Workforce Commission, Texas |
Library Call Number: L1836.84 Ec74h
Session: 84th R.S. (2015)
Online version: View report [31 pages]
Charges: This report should address the charges below.
1. Study the impacts of the declining price of oil and the continuously depressed price of natural gas on the Texas economy and the fiscal implications for the Texas budget. Consider impacts on local communities most dependent on oil and gas activity, including impacts on supporting economies such as retail, manufacturing, housing industries, etc. Recommend strategies for sustained energy development and workforce growth during times of depressed energy prices. (Joint charge with the House Committee on Energy Resources)
2. Evaluate what local governments are doing to attract businesses to their communities and examine ways the state can leverage these practices and provide support. Include ways to improve local economic development programs to ensure a continued return on investment for taxpayers. In addition, study the authority, financial accountability, and types of statutorily allowed expenditures of economic development corporations. Provide analysis of 4A and 4B sales tax programs and determine if they are still meeting their intended purpose effectively.
3. Study opportunities and financial incentives for expansion and growth of small businesses in Texas. Examine if adequate resources and capital exist for small businesses. Include analysis of any regulatory or tax hurdles and provide recommendations to alleviate these burdens. Furthermore, review programs available to provide training and support to develop business management and finance skills. Consider financial incentives that would incentivize expansion of existing small businesses and growth for new small businesses.
4. Oversee implementation of HB 26 (84R). Review best practices for measuring success of economic development incentives. Consider general metrics or principles to aid the Legislature in determining viable and sustainable incentive programs that provide a "Return on Investment" for taxpayers.
5. Evaluate Texas's competitiveness with other states in recruiting and cultivating high-growth, high-tech industries, fostering economic development, and creating new jobs. Examine if current incentives and regulations assist or hinder the state's ability to compete with other states for economic growth and sustainability.
6. Examine if the state has an adequately diversified economic foundation and make recommendations on how to better achieve diversification. Look at ways to achieve balance between rural and urban economic development. Consider methods to improve workforce development initiatives and incentives that will improve re-employment after layoffs and release from incarceration as well as methods to improve employment rates for recent graduates.
7. Evaluate how Texas can support shared economy growth in the state and include implications of such growth on existing, traditional businesses. Develop characteristics by which to classify "shared economy" business and determine how the state can ensure customer security and satisfaction as well as public health without enacting burdensome regulations.
8. Examine partnerships between higher education institutions, public school districts, and workforce that promote postsecondary readiness. Provide coordination recommendations to ensure vocational, career, and technical education programs are more accessible. Determine the most effective ways to invest in these partnerships and programs to direct at-risk students to stable career paths. Examine current rules and laws limiting employers from providing meaningful internships, apprenticeships, and other opportunities. Consider new methods to finance workforce training programs and associated assets in high schools and postsecondary schools, including ways to reduce or eliminate these costs and options to incentivize businesses to invest in training equipment for schools. (Joint charge with the House Committee on Public Education)
9. Conduct legislative oversight and monitoring of the agencies and programs under the committee’s jurisdiction and the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 84th Legislature. In conducting this oversight, the committee should: a. consider any reforms to state agencies to make them more responsive to Texas taxpayers and citizens; b. identify issues regarding the agency or its governance that may be appropriate to investigate, improve, remedy, or eliminate; c. determine whether an agency is operating in a transparent and efficient manner; and d. identify opportunities to streamline programs and services while maintaining the mission of the agency and its programs. e. monitor the impact of major economic development legislation passed by the 84th Legislature. f. include updates regarding transfer of duties and services from health and human services agencies to the Texas Workforce Commission, including implementation of SB 208 and SB 212. Coordinate with the Legislative Oversight Committee constituted by SB 208, when necessary. g. evaluate the impact of incentive reform legislation, including the elimination of the Emerging Technology Fund and the transition of contracts to the Comptroller's office.
Committee: Senate Higher Education
Title: Interim Report
Subjects: Bachelor's degrees | Career preparedness | College preparatory curriculum | Community college finance | Community colleges | Curriculum | Dual credit high school programs | Early college high schools | English as second language | Higher education affordability | Medical education | Nursing education | Student aid | Student loans | Teacher quality | Teacher retention | Teacher shortages | Teacher training | Tuition | Tuition deregulation | University finance |
Library Call Number: L1836.84 Ed83h
Session: 84th R.S. (2015)
Online version: View report [93 pages]
Charges: This report should address the charges below.
1. HB 5 Implementation, 60x30TX/Higher Education Alignment: Monitor the ongoing implementation of HB 5 (83R), and examine current projections for preparation of Texas high school students for postsecondary education and workforce training. Examine best practices and recommend strategies to align the implementation with the 60x30TX higher education plan, including, but not limited to, dual credit, credit transferability, and fields of study. (Joint Charge with Senate Education)
2. Performance Funding for GAIs and Community Colleges: Study current funding methods for both general academic institutions and community colleges, examining current performance-based methods of funding for community colleges. Review funding methods used in other states and make recommendations on how to incorporate and/or change student outcome measures in institutional funding to benefit students and promote the education needs of a rapidly growing and changing workforce.
3. Tuition Deregulation and Student Debt: Examine and make recommendations regarding tuition and student debt at public institutions of higher education in Texas. Specifically, study how Texas compares to peer states, variance between institutions, how accountability measures can be used to impact tuition, and increases in tuition since 2003.
4. Tuition/Fee Waivers, Tuition Set-Asides, Financial Aid: Conduct a review of all tuition and fee waivers and exemptions, as well as tuition set-asides currently in law, and examine how students who do not receive the benefits of either bear these resulting costs. Study how other states treat similar populations, whether federal benefits are available, and make recommendations to ensure the efficacy of waivers and exemptions, and tuition set-asides. Examine current financial aid programs, studying their efficacy, and make recommendations on how to provide programs to meet the needs of all students in light of the recent repeal of the state's Top 10% Scholarship program and B-On-Time program.
5. General Academic Institution(GAI)/Health Related Institution(HRI) Funding: Conduct a comprehensive review of funding for GAIs and HRIs, examining whether the methodology for funding the same courses is equitable and productive. Make recommendations on how to update and streamline the current funding methods, to provide a consistent methodology that focuses on student success and innovative strategies. Include in the review a focus on tuition-revenue generating special items and formula and research funding for new medical schools.
6. Baccalaureate Degrees at Community Colleges: Study regional workforce needs in the state and make recommendations on whether metrics should be applied to authorize public community colleges to offer certain baccalaureate degrees in order to meet the regional workforce needs.
7. Monitoring Charge: Monitor the implementation of legislation addressed by the Senate Committee on Higher Education and make recommendations for any legislation needed to improve, enhance, and/or complete implementation. Specifically, monitor the following: 1) Initiatives designed to create effective, clear transfer pathways for students, including the newly enacted multidisciplinary studies associate degree; 2) Implementation and progress of the Math and Science Scholars Loan Repayment Program; and 3) The progress of the pilot program enacted by the 83rd legislature relating to improving student loan default rates and financial aid literacy among postsecondary students.
8. Teacher Preparation, Retention, Shortages: Study teacher shortage and retention issues in Texas and evaluate educator preparation programs to determine if these programs are preparing educators for the rigors of the 21st century classroom. In particular, examine the shortages of ELL, special education, and STEM educators across the state and identify the issues creating a shortage. Make recommendations to improve educator preparation throughout the state and increase certification rates. (Joint Charge with Senate Education)
Committee: House Public Education
Title: Interim Report
Subjects: Broadband technology | Career preparedness | Educational accountability | Educational technology | Gifted and talented programs | Middle school students | Middle schools | Teacher-student relationships |
Library Call Number: L1836.84 Ed84h
Session: 84th R.S. (2015)
Online version: View report [18 pages]
Charges: This report should address the charges below.
1. Examine the accessibility to broadband services for schools, libraries, and institutions of higher education. Study the feasibility and affordability of providing scalable broadband to schools and other public institutions. Research federal and state funding opportunities to support increased access to broadband. Review innovative efforts by school districts to integrate technology in the classroom. Explore ways to enhance high-tech digital learning opportunities in the classroom to improve student achievement and fulfill future workforce demands.
2. Review current policies and rules to protect students from inappropriate teacher-student relationships. Examine efforts by the Texas Education Agency, school districts, law enforcement and the courts to investigate and prosecute educators for criminal conduct. Recommend needed improvements to promote student safety, including examining current criminal penalties, superintendent reporting requirements, teacher certification sanctions and the documentation provided in school district separation agreements. Review school employee training and educational efforts to promote student safety.
3. Examine partnerships between higher education institutions, public school districts, and workforce that promote postsecondary readiness. Provide coordination recommendations to ensure vocational, career, and technical education programs are more accessible. Determine the most effective ways to invest in these partnerships and programs to direct at-risk students to stable career paths. Examine current rules and laws limiting employers from providing meaningful internships, apprenticeships, and other opportunities. Consider new methods to finance workforce training programs and associated assets in high schools and postsecondary schools, including ways to reduce or eliminate these costs and options to incentivize businesses to invest in training equipment for schools. (Joint charge with the House Committee on Economic & Small Business Development)
4. Review the state's current education policies and initiatives regarding middle grades. Make recommendations to ensure a comprehensive, research-based state strategy for preparing students at the middle grades for high school retention, success, and postsecondary readiness. This review should include an examination of school-based strategies and best practices that encourage at-risk youth to finish school.
5. Review current public education programs that address the needs of high performing students. Identify the adequacy of these programs statewide in meeting the needs of this specific student group and explore additional means to promote high quality programs designed to meet the educational needs of these students. Study ways to increase the recognition of the performance of higher performing students on test-based and non-test based measures. Examine whether the current and proposed state accountability systems adequately promote districts’ addressing the needs of students across the performance spectrum, including those students significantly outperforming their peers. Recommend whether the academic performance of high achieving students should be specifically addressed as a separate indicator in the accountability system.
6. Conduct legislative oversight and monitoring of the agencies and programs under the committee's jurisdiction and the implementing of relevant legislation passed by the 84th Legislature, specifically including HB 4, HB 743, HB 2205, and SB 149. In conducting this oversight, the committee should: a. consider any reforms to state agencies to make them more responsive to Texas taxpayers and citizens; b. identify issues regarding the agency or its governance that may be appropriate to investigate, improve, remedy, or eliminate; c. determine whether an agency is operating in a transparent and efficient manner; and d. identify opportunities to streamline programs and services while maintaining the mission of the agency and its programs.
Committee: Senate Education
Title: Interim Report
Subjects: Career preparedness | Charter schools | College preparedness | Distance education | Education Service Centers | School choice | School discipline | School districts | School principals | Teacher training | Virtual schools |
Library Call Number: L1836.82 Ed83
Session: 82nd R.S. (2011)
Online version: View report [22 pages]
Charges: This report should address the charges below.
1. Study public school management practices, including the use and options for shared services for both academics and operations. Examine the role of Regional Education Service Centers. Specifically, review the types of services being provided and their ability to assist school districts with improving efficiencies.
2. Study educator and principal preparation programs through colleges of education and alternative certification. Make recommendations to improve these programs. Examine strategies to improve recruitment of high-quality teachers. Examine alternative approaches to improving teacher retention. Study the benefits of comprehensive induction and mentoring programs.
3. Study the growing demand for virtual schools in Texas. Review the benefits of virtual schools, related successes in other states, and needed changes to remove barriers to virtual schools.
4. Study the impact of extended learning time on school success. Evaluate the different programs offered, best practices, school implementation, and incentives for building community partnerships that allow a variety of academic and career-related learning opportunities. Examine the effect of after-school programs on academic performance, school attendance, behavior, and promotion to the next grade level, and the relationship between the availability of after-school programs in an area and the high school dropout rate.
5. Study the performance and accountability of charter schools, best practices of high-performing charter schools, and barriers to replication. Review policies and practices for authorizing high-quality charters and closing poor-performing charters. Study the benefits of and costs related to increasing the number of charters, as well as establishing additional authorization boards to grant new charters
6. Study the impact of school choice programs in other states on students, parents, and teachers. Explore the use of education tax credits and taxpayer savings grants, and examine potential impacts on state funding.
7. Conduct a comprehensive review of school discipline practices. Specifically, review and make recommendations on:
  • The effectiveness of Disciplinary Alternative Education Programs (DAEP) and Juvenile Justice Alternative Education Programs (JJAEP) in reducing student involvement in further disciplinary infractions and in promoting positive educational achievement;
  • Disproportionate school discipline referrals, including suspension, expulsion, and Class C misdemeanor citations;
  • The issue of "Zero Tolerance" in secondary education school discipline, the use of alternative education campuses, and the barriers to graduation. Also include the role that specialized school police departments play in these systems. Consider the impact on the juvenile justice system and the adult prison system;
  • The number of students in the conservatorship of the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) referred to juvenile or municipal courts, suspended, expelled, and placed in Disciplinary Alternative Education Programs (DAEP). Examine data-sharing practices between DFPS, TEA, and local education agencies, and make recommendations to increase communication between schools and DFPS to increase educational outcomes for children in foster care;
  • Evidence based models used for addressing juvenile delinquency prevention that is targeted to non-adjudicated, but at-risk youth, in the school disciplinary system. (Joint Charge with Senate Committee on Criminal Justice)
8. Monitor the implementation of legislation addressed by the Senate Committee on Education, 82nd Legislature, Regular and Called Sessions, and make recommendations for any legislation needed to improve, enhance, and/or complete implementation. Specifically, monitor the following:
  • SB 6, 82nd Legislature, Regular Session, relating to the establishment of the instructional materials allotment;
  • SB 8, 82nd Legislature, Regular Session, relating to the flexibility of the board of trustees of a school district in the management and operation of public schools;
  • HB 1942, 82nd Legislature, Regular Session, relating to bullying in public schools;
  • The implementation of legislation related to the state's accountability system and other reforms enacted by HB 3, 81st Legislature, Regular Session, and SB 1031, 80th Legislature, Regular Session.
Committee: Senate Business and Commerce
Title: Interim Report
Library Catalog Title: Report to the 82nd Legislature
Subjects: Alternative energy | Career preparedness | Electric Reliability Council of Texas | Electric utilities | Electric utility rates and charges | Electricity transmission and distribution | Energy conservation | Homeowners insurance | Job training programs | Liens | Mortgages | Municipally-owned utilities | Natural disasters | Texas Windstorm Insurance Association | Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund | Unemployment insurance | Wind power | Workforce |
Library Call Number: L1836.81 B963
Session: 81st R.S. (2009)
Online version: View report [84 pages  File size: 2,897 kb]
Charges: This report should address the charges below.
1. Study the implementation of H.B. 4409 enacted by the 81st Legislature pertaining to the financing of insured losses in excess of premium and other revenue of the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA). Assess the coverage and affordability of TWIA policies. Review the claims and payments processes and make recommendations to improve the stability of TWIA while enhancing services to clients.
2. Study options for reducing demand for electricity, including innovative pricing options relating to the use of smart meters, programmable thermostats, and other demand side management and behavioral response strategies. Review current consumer education programs to reduce demand, decrease energy prices, and improve air quality. Consider benefits and costs of alternative energy sources such as geothermal and solar, and current incentives for electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. The study should include recommendations on improving consumer knowledge and usage of these strategies in lowering overall electric usage, promoting energy efficiency, and improving the reliability of the ERCOT grid.
3. Study and make recommendations relating to the development and implementation of wind energy. Assess the total impact of wind energy, including additional costs to consumers, if any, buy-back provisions and pricing, the need for alternative energy sources at times when wind does not generate electricity, impact on the ERCOT grid, development of battery storage and other storage methods, and economic development impacts.
4. Study the generation costs of municipally owned electric utilities' planned generation portfolios. Consider the impact of planned generation costs on electric rates for residential and commercial customers. Solicit input on the impact of future electric rates on charitable and non-profit organizations, and the impact on such organizations' cash assistance programs to indigent customers. Consider the merits of a justifiable planned generation cost standard, and whether a deviation above the standard should be subject to approval by a vote of all customers of a municipally owned utility's service area.
5. Study and make recommendations relating to the Texas Unemployment Compensation Insurance system, including, but not limited to, the following:
  • The capacity and efficiency of the claims filing and benefits delivery system as well as the ability of the agency to meet the needs of the clients it serves given the transition to call centers and web based filing;
  • The current financing scheme for the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund, and any options to improve the long term financial health and stability of the Fund;
  • The use of debit cards for delivery of UI benefits, including ways to limit user fees to access payments; and
  • Improving public access to local and statewide data on current and historical UI claims.
6. Study and make recommendations regarding career-focused education and workforce training programs in Texas to insure that such programs meet business and worker needs. Specifically, study whether such programs: meet the current and future workforce needs of health care, skilled trades, construction, manufacturing, aerospace, information technology and green jobs; help retain workers in such trades and fields; retrain and update the skills and education of workers in such trades and fields; and foster and encourage collaboration between the State, education, labor and business to provide education and training.
7. Study the effectiveness of Chapter 557 of the Insurance Code, relating to insured property subject to a security interest, in setting forth the obligations of a lender and a residential real property insured resulting from an insurer's payment of a claim for damage to the residential real property caused by a natural disaster. Consider the legislation's requirements for release of the insurance proceeds, lienholder's approval of payment of the insurance proceeds, accrual and payment of interest on such proceeds and penalties provided by the statute. Make recommendations for any needed refinements of the legislation.
8. Monitor the implementation of legislation addressed by the Senate Committee on Business & Commerce, 81st Legislature, Regular and Called Sessions, and make recommendations for any legislation needed to improve, enhance, and/or complete implementation.
Committee: Senate Education
Title: Interim Report
Library Catalog Title: Report to the 81st Legislature
Subjects: Adult education | Autism | Career preparedness | College preparedness | Educational accountability | Limited English speakers | Literacy | Property taxes | School dropouts | School finance | Special education | Textbooks | Vocational education | Workforce |
Library Call Number: L1836.80 Ed83
Session: 80th R.S. (2007)
Online version: View report [37 pages  File size: 660 kb]
Charges: This report should address the charges below.
1. Study the effectiveness of public school programs serving special education students, including autistic students. Specifically, consider whether special education services are adequately preparing students for post-secondary opportunities. The review should also include the availability and quality of the supports and services provided by adult services agencies for individuals with disabilities. Make recommendations for improving public school special education programs and the coordination of adult education services among state agencies.
2. Conduct a comprehensive review of the public school accountability system and make recommendations for improvements. The review shall include indicators in the current system, measures of district and campus performance, public expectations, individual student achievement and measures of teacher, program and financial effectiveness.
3. Review and make recommendations to improve the state's Adult Basic Education program. Emphasis should be placed on ways to advance literacy in Texas in order to promote economic and individual development. The review should also include a study of the coordination of adult education services among state agencies and the availability and accessibility of state and federal funding.
4. Review and make recommendations regarding best practices for programs targeted to improve the academic success of limited English-proficient students.
5. Review the access and quality of career and technical education programs in the state and make recommendations to improve these programs to address the economic and workforce needs of this state.
6. Make recommendations for controlling the costs of textbooks from kindergarten through higher education, and monitor the implementation of HB 188, 80th Legislature, Regular Session, relating to instructional materials.
7. Review current property tax rates at school districts. Explore what mechanisms may exist to prevent any future constitutional funding challenges. Review any funding issues that are particular to certain types of school districts, such as fast growth districts. (Joint charge with Senate Finance Committee)
8. Monitor the implementation of legislation addressed by the Education Committee, 80th Legislature, Regular Session, and make recommendations for any legislation needed to improve, enhance and/or complete implementation. Specifically, monitor the implementation of HB 2237, 80th Legislature, Regular Session, relating to grants and programs for dropout prevention, high school success and college and workforce readiness in public schools. Include a review of the revised methodology the Texas Education Agency uses to calculate the dropout rate. Report on the implementation of education reforms in HB 1, 79th Legislature, 3rd Called Session. The review should include: the implementation of the high school allotment, the development of the best practices clearinghouse and the electronic student records system, the alignment of curriculum to attain college readiness, student improvement/growth models and access to college credit in high school. The committee should also study and make recommendations on how to continue strengthening the P-16 Initiative to promote college attendance in this state.

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