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Current Articles & Research Resources, September 24

In this weekly post, we feature helpful research tools and recent articles of interest to the legislative community.

  • Read about the role of the President and the Senate Judiciary Committee in the appointment process of a U.S. Supreme Court justice. (Congressional Report Service, updated September 21 & 22, 2020)
  • Review the latest version of the Texas Legislative Council's Drafting Manual. (Texas Legislative Council, September 2020)
  • Register to vote before the October 5 voter registration deadline. (Texas Secretary of State, September 22, 2020)
  • Find information about the flu vaccine and vaccination during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, updated September 21, 2020)

 

Librarians review and select articles from more than 1,000 print and onlines sources to compile a weekly annotated list of Current Articles of interest to the legislative community. View this week's Current Articles.

 

Members of the Texas legislative community may request articles by using our online form or by calling 512-463-1252.

 

House Committee Resources: Driver's License Issuance and Renewal

Committee Resources

The committee has requested written submissions on the following topics. Below are resources related to those topics.

 

House Select Committee on Driver's License Issuance & Renewal  

Charge 1: Examining opportunities to expedite the driver's license renewal processes, with a focus on long wait times, physician waivers for eye exams, redundant fingerprinting, and opportunities to complete the renewal online; Reviewing the feasibility of permanently transferring the licensing program from the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) over to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

 

Charge 2: Monitoring the use of additional funds that were devoted to the Department of Public Safety in the 86th Legislature for the purposes of improving the driver's license renewal process, along with the construction of new driver's license service centers.

 

Charge 3: Monitoring the implementation of House Bill 1078 -- which waives driver's license and handgun license fees for individuals with certificates in cardiopulmonary resuscitation -- and determining whether the legislation is being implemented as intended.

 

Charge 4: Monitoring the implementation of Senate Bill 616 -- the DPS sunset bill -- which provides for the conditional transfer of licensing programs from DPS to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and reviewing the new workgroup's adoption of an implementation plan for the orderly transfer of programs.

 

** UPDATED ** COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Texas Informational Resources

This post is an update of blog posts dated March 17, 2020, and April 7, 2020.

 

Below is an updated list of resources from Texas leadership and Texas state agencies on the response to COVID-19 (coronavirus). Please use contact information on the respective agencies' websites for any questions specific to their purposes.

 

From Texas leadership:

 

Texas state agency resources:

 

Information on this page is provided as a public service by the Legislative Reference Library. The Legislative Reference Library makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy and makes no warranty in regard to its use. Users assume all risk of reliance on the information included on this site.

 

Current Articles & Research Resources, September 17

In this weekly post, we feature helpful research tools and recent articles of interest to the legislative community.

  • Read about how diet can affect hearing ability. (Consumer Reports, September 14, 2020)
  • Consider the current climate related to state legislation about internet gambling. (National Conference of State Legislatures, September 2020)
  • Review some of the federal and state responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Law Library of Congress, September 2020)
  • Track wildfires and how far wildfire smoke travels. (AirNow.gov, home of the U.S. Air Quality Index, accessed September 16, 2020)

 

Librarians review and select articles from more than 1,000 print and onlines sources to compile a weekly annotated list of Current Articles of interest to the legislative community. View this week's Current Articles.

 

Members of the Texas legislative community may request articles by using our online form or by calling 512-463-1252.

 

Sunset Commission Meeting, September 23

 

Contact Tracing

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes contact tracing as "an effective disease control strategy that involves identifying cases and their contacts then working with them to interrupt disease transmission." In the public health world, contact tracing has long been used in response to infectious diseases. Currently the strategy includes interviewing affected individuals, monitoring cases, providing instructions on isolation and quarantine, and assisting in crisis management. Below are background resources on the principles and concepts involved in contact tracing and state implementation of contact tracing programs.

 

Tile image, "Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2," by NIAID is licensed under CC BY 2.0 / Cropped and resized from original.

House Committee Resources: Licensing & Administrative Procedures

Committee Resources

The committee has requested written submissions on the following topics. Below are resources related to those topics.

 

 

House Committee on Licensing & Administrative Procedures                     

Charge 1: Monitor the agencies and programs under the Committee's jurisdiction and oversee the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 86th Legislature. Conduct active oversight of all associated rulemaking and other governmental actions taken to ensure intended legislative outcome of all legislation, including the following:  

  • HB 892, which relates to county regulation of game rooms. Monitor the status of counties statewide who have chosen to regulate game rooms and implement their own regulatory structure to combat illegal gambling activity via registration and permitting requirements, fees, disclosure of ownership, inspection schemes, and civil and criminal penalties.

  • HB 1545, which is the sunset legislation for the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC). Monitor the implementation of the legislation and the agency's progress in the consolidation, repeal, and creation of certain licenses and permits and the adoption of new fees.
  • HB 2847, which is the omnibus occupational licensing legislation. Monitor the implementation of revisions relating to the licensing and regulation of certain occupations by the Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation, including the length of a license term, a fee for the issuance or renewal of a license, and any continuing education required to renew a license.
  • SB 1450, which authorizes alcohol delivery to consumers. Monitor the implementation and permitting process by TABC for consumer delivery of alcohol.

 

Charge 2: Study efforts by the TABC to combat human trafficking at all licensed locations. Make recommendations to increase the TABC's ability to rescue victims and successfully prosecute permit holders that have been identified as participating in human trafficking, and to make regulatory or statutory changes needed to prevent human trafficking in this state. 

 

Charge 3: Examine "control label" products and their impact on the three-tier system and alcoholic beverage industry in the state. Make recommendations to regulate control label products in a way that promotes economic growth, benefits the consumer, and stabilizes the three-tier system. 

 

Charge 4: Evaluate the Texas wine industry and the current labeling requirements associated with the use of "Texas" as an appellation. Determine if current regulations and permitting rules are adequate to support the industry's development. 

 

Current Articles & Research Resources, September 10

In this weekly post, we feature helpful research tools and recent articles of interest to the legislative community.

  • Read about the use of face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19. (Consumer Reports, September 4, 2020)
  • See when and were to view fall foliage. (smokymountains.com, ©2020)
  • Track statistics related to e-cigarette sales over the last six years. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, September 9, 2020)
  • View the progress of the sunset review schedule through late August of this year. (Sunset Advisory Commission, August 26, 2020)

 

Librarians review and select articles from more than 1,000 print and online sources to compile a weekly annotated list of Current Articles of interest to the legislative community. View this week's Current Articles.

 

Members of the Texas legislative community may request articles by using our online form or by calling 512-463-1252.

House Committee Resources: Public Education

Committee Resources

The committee has requested written submissions on the following topics. Below are resources related to those topics.

 

 

House Committee on Public Education

Charge 1: Monitor the agencies and programs under the Committee's jurisdiction and oversee the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 86th Legislature. Conduct active oversight of all associated rulemaking and other governmental actions taken to ensure intended legislative outcome of all legislation, including the following:

 

Related to Behavioral Health (Joint charge with Committee on Public Health):

  • HB 18, which enhances school safety and mental health resources for students and school personnel and works to reduce the stigma around mental health conditions. Monitor the process by which state agencies coordinate to implement the legislation and their compliance with various requirements, including providing required guidelines and resources to schools.
  • HB 19, which places non-physician mental health professionals at education service centers to provide resources for educators and administrators in school districts and charter schools. 
  • HB 906, which creates the Collaborative Task Force on Public School Mental Health Services.
  • SB 11, which creates the Texas Child Mental Health Care Consortium to facilitate access to mental health care services through telehealth and expands the mental health workforce through training and funding opportunities. Monitor the creation of the consortium and agencies' rulemaking processes. Review how school districts are spending their school safety allotment.

 

 

House Committee on Public Education

Charge 2: Determine if any barriers exist in providing a digital learning environment for all children, including an evaluation of the competitive marketplace for blended learning products and services. Evaluate the effectiveness of the Technology and Instructional Materials Allotment (TIMA) in providing districts the resources necessary to equip students with instructional materials and technology, including in the review all programs and initiatives funded by set asides from the TIMA.

 

House Committee on Public Education

Charge 3: Monitor the progress of the TEA's compliance with the Corrective Action Response required by the United States Department of Education, the implementation of the state's Special Education Strategic Plan, and the state’s compliance with other federal requirements regarding special education, including maintenance of state financial support for special education. Recommend solutions to barriers the agency, school districts, students with disabilities, and parents face in accessing a free and appropriate public education and in meeting the milestones of the plan and any measures needed at the state level to ensure that students with disabilities are being located, fully evaluated, and appropriately identified for special education instruction and services. 

 

House Committee on Public Education  

Charge 4: Monitor the State Auditor's review of agencies and programs under the Committee's jurisdiction. The Chair shall seek input and periodic briefings on completed audits for the 2019 and 2020 fiscal years and bring forth pertinent issues for full committee consideration.

 

House Committee on Public Education

Survey questions for the public; public school districts; and relevant associations such as those representing independent and private schools, faculty associations, parent associations, and teacher associations

 

House Committee Resources: Statewide Health Care Costs and Human Services

Committee Resources

The committee has requested written submissions on the following topics. Below are resources related to those topics.

 

House Select Committee on Statewide Health Care Costs

Charge 1: Examine the primary drivers of increased health care costs in Texas. This examination should include a review of:

  • Current health care financing strategies;
  • fragmentation of the care delivery administrative burden;
  • population, health, and social factors that contribute to rising rates of chronic disease and poor health;
  • insurance coverage and benefit design;
  • lack of transparency in the cost of health care services;
  • regional variations in the cost of care;
  • consolidation and lack of competition in the provider and insurance markets;
  • health care workforce capacity distribution; and 
  • fraud, abuse, and wasteful spending.

 

Charge 2: Study the opportunities to better coordinate how public dollars are spent on health care.

 

Charge 3: Identify emerging and proven delivery system improvements and sustainable financing models that could reduce the cost of health care.

 

House Committee on Human Services

Topics:

Health Care Access and Medicaid: Examine innovative approaches and delivery models to reduce health care costs for both patients and taxpayers, including policies that other states have implemented. Consider recommendations to implement such models. Study the impact that "direct care" health care models may have on Medicaid beneficiaries for acute care and mental health services, including potential cost savings and improvement in quality metrics. Examine efforts other states have made seeking to implement direct care models, particularly in Medicaid or in charitable health care delivery.

 

Impacts of COVID-19 on Long-Term Care Facilities: Consider the following issues in light of the COVID-19 pandemic: 

     1) Review the state's response to the pandemic, specifically as it relates to emergency regulations that prohibited visitation of 
         residents of long-term care facilities by family members. Examine the physical and mental health impacts of the visitation policy on
         long-term care residents.

 

     2) Review emergency waivers of regulations of long-term care facilities during the pandemic and make recommendations on whether regulations should be permanently waived or removed.

 

Charge 2.2 - 2.5: Review how Texas is preparing for state and federal budgetary changes that impact the state's health programs, including: 

 

Charge 4: Examine the long-term services and support system of care in Texas. Study workforce challenges for both institutional and community services, with a focus on home- and community-based services in the state's STAR+PLUS program. Review what impact funding provided by the 86th Legislature to increase the base wage for community attendant services and the increased funding for rate enhancements have on workforce retention and quality. Consider options to both stabilize and expand the workforce. Review the long-term care programs and services available to Texas' seniors, including community alternatives to institutional care available through programs like the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly. Examine the adequacy of current funding mechanisms, including Medicaid reimbursement rates and supplemental or add-on payments, to incentivize high-quality care. Consider mechanisms to promote a stable, sustainable and quality-based long-term care system to address current and future needs of the state. 

 

Charge 5: Examine the adequacy of Medicaid reimbursements for nursing facilities, including existing incentive-based payment models and the Quality Incentive Payment Program. Consider and make recommendations to incentivize innovative models of care delivery in nursing home facilities. Study the impact of the STAR+PLUS managed care program on nursing facility care, operations and patient health outcomes, and consider recommendations to improve administrative processes between facilities and managed care organizations. 

 

House Committee on Human Services

Charge 2.1: Review how Texas is preparing for state and federal budgetary changes that impact the state's health programs, including: 

     2.1) The Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA).

 

In particular,

  • Identify and make recommendations to ensure compliance with the requirements of the FFPSA; and
  • Identify and make recommendations related to efficient implementation of the optional portions of FFPSA in concert with Community-Based Care.

Charge 3: Monitor the implementation and expansion of Community-Based Care by the Department of Family and Protective Services. Specifically: 

  • Identify and make recommendations to remove barriers to successful implementation of Community-Based Care.

 

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