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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.

 

Current Articles & Research Resources, September 3

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

  • Consider how a felony conviction can affect a person's right to vote. (Stateline, August 31, 2020)
  • Read about how American restaurants are doing during the pandemic, city by city. (Wolf Street, August 29, 2020)
  • Explore how the Main Street Lending Program works. (Congressional Research Service, August 27, 2020)
  • Get ready for fall hunting and fishing by purchasing licenses online. (Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, accessed September 3, 2020)

Members of the Texas legislative community may request the articles below here or by calling 512-463-1252.

  • 20.09.01 / "How states can use early care and education provider surveys to develop COVID-19 response strategies." By Mallory Warner-Richter. Child Trends, August 2020, pp. 1-12.
    Details the important role states play in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic by providing access to child care for essential workers and issuing guidance for early care and education [ECE]. Presents strategies for state leaders to help child care systems stabilize, rebuild, and strengthen, while protecting racial and ethnic equity in child care.
  • 20.09.02 / "How do you 'defund the police' in Texas? Very carefully." By Henry Gass. Christian Science Monitor, August 21, 2020, pp. 1-4.
    Highlights the discussions in Texas cities about changes in police funding, including the redistribution of funds among the police, social and mental health services, and other city departments. Suggests potential savings could come from improved hiring and firing practices in police departments as a strategy to decrease expensive lawsuits.
  • 20.09.03 / "Budget crunch: North Texas cities grapple with COVID-19's financial bite." By Bill Hethcock. Dallas Business Journal, August 28, 2020, pp. 8-11.
    Explores the COVID-19 pandemic's financial impact on local governments and the cost-saving measures these local governments plan to take.
  • 20.09.04 / "Back to school: Learning and COVID." Economist, August 29th-September 4th, 2020, pp. 1-3.
    Reports continued school disruptions due to COVID-19 will widen educational inequality, disproportionately hurting poorer pupils.
  • 20.09.05 / "Teachers with COVID-19 health risks: Who gets to stay home?" By Madeline Will. Education Week, August 18, 2020, pp. 1-4.
    Considers the return of teachers to school campuses and the challenges some face when seeking health accommodations due to being at higher risk for COVID-19 complications. Addresses medical exemptions and the few options offered when the exemptions are denied.
  • 20.09.06 / "Who will pay for the roads?" By Ulrik Boesen. Fiscal Fact (Tax Foundation), August 2020, pp. 1-20.
    Discusses the evolution of the motor fuel tax and the discrepancy in state and federal tax revenues compared with highway finance expenditures. Outlines the possible solution of taxing vehicle miles traveled [VMT], including GPS monitoring and privacy concerns.
  • 20.09.07 / "Texas' electricity resources: Where power comes from — and how it gets to you." By Lisa Minton. Fiscal Notes, August 2020, pp. 1, 3-6.
    Details the electricity resources of Texas, the only state in the 48 contiguous United States with its own stand-alone electricity grid, managed by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas [ERCOT]. Describes ERCOT's responsibilities in ensuring a competitive electricity market and sufficient generating capacity. Addresses Texas' "fuel mix" of natural gas, coal, and wind energy and the impact of COVID-19 on power demand.
  • 20.09.08 / "Fewer youth in foster care, but family reunifications hit record low." By John Kelly. Imprint, August 24, 2020, pp. 1-2.
    Presents recent federal child welfare data on foster care, family reunifications, and adoptions, according to the latest annual report of the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System [AFCARS], published by the Children's Bureau, an office of the Administration for Children and Families. Includes state-level statistics found within state data tables in the Children's Bureau's related report and data visualization.
  • 20.09.09 / "Attacks on public health officials during COVID-19." By Michelle M. Mello, Jeremy A. Greene, and Joshua M. Sharfstein. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), August 25, 2020, pp. 471-472.
    Highlights the increased harassment of public health officials during the COVID-19 pandemic, including discussion of how the decline in civility in political discourse has contributed. Argues elected leaders should provide public health officials protection from illegal harassment.
  • 20.09.10 / "The 7,383-seat strategy is working." By Joan Walsh. Nation, September 7/14, 2020, pp. 12-17, 26.
    Discusses recent trends in the political affiliation of state legislatures and speculates on the possibility Democrats will regain control of state legislatures in the 2020 election. Includes maps comparing the party control of state legislatures in 2009 and 2019.
  • 20.09.11 / "Fundraising & gender parity in state legislatures remains elusive." National Institute on Money in Politics, August 17, 2020, pp. 1-8.
    Analyzes median campaign contributions to state legislators by gender from 2016 to 2019, including Texas.
  • 20.09.12 / "In policing, race matters." By James R. Copland. National Review, September 7, 2020, pp. 27-29.
    Explains that African-American men are the principal beneficiaries of good policing, but also disproportionately bear a cost of that same proactive policing due to their higher percentage of interactions with police. Considers police reform proposals represented by two bills before Congress: Just and Unifying Solutions to Invigorate Communities Everywhere [JUSTICE] Act of 2020 and the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020.
  • 20.09.13 / "Health care workforce reform: COVID-19 spotlights need for changes to clinician licensing." By Shirley V. Svorny and Michael F. Cannon. Policy Brief (CATO Institute), August 4, 2020, pp. 1-24.
    Suggests third-party certification as an alternative to direct government licensing of health care professionals.
  • 20.09.14 / "Preparing for the post-pandemic: Repurposing tools." By David Boonin. Public Utilties Fortnightly, July 2020, pp. 1-5.
    Considers how existing tools can be adapted to address post-pandemic circumstances applicable to electric utilities. Focuses on cash flow and system hardening and effectiveness.
  • 20.09.15 / "Black history instruction gets new emphasis in many states." By Marsha Mercer. Stateline (Pew Charitable Trusts), August 20, 2020, pp. 1-4.
    Reports on efforts by states and school districts to incorporate the African American experience into the broader social studies curriculum.
  • 20.09.16 / "Parental rights in Texas public schools: Does in loco parentis still have meaning?" By Miles T. Bradshaw. Texas Bar Journal, September 2020, pp. 542-543.
    Explains the basic framework of parental rights available by law in a school setting, including part of the school reform movement that culminated in the passage of SB1, 74th Legislature.
  • 20.09.17 / "The statues are coming down. Maybe that's a missed opportunity." By Stephen Harrigan. Texas Monthly, September 2020, pp. 1-10.
    Examines recent efforts to remove public monuments to slaveholders, Confederate soldiers, and Texas Rangers. Discusses the author's involvement in erecting Texas-related monuments through the organization Capital Area Statues, Inc. [CAST]. Mentions monuments on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol.
  • 20.09.18 / "It's a trap!: Responsible enforcement of Texas disaster evacuation orders." By William S. Gribble. Texas Tech Law Review, Summer 2020, pp. 725-742.
    Examines the legal basis for mandatory evacuation orders related to a disaster, the civil and criminal enforcement mechanisms in Texas, and the need for a statutory exception.

 

The Legislative Reference Library compiles this weekly annotated list of Current Articles of interest to the legislative community. Professional librarians review and select articles from more than 300 periodicals, including public policy journals, specialized industry periodicals, news magazines, and state agency publications. Members of the Texas legislative community may request articles using our online form.

Bills Effective, September 2020

On September 1, 2020, eight bills that passed during the 86th Legislature take effect. 

 

To keep up with new laws throughout the year, check the Library's list of bill effective dates.

 

 

House Committee Resources: Transportation

Monday, August 31

 

Committee Resources

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

 

House Committee on Transportation     

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:

 

Charge 2: Study the state's transportation and road safety efforts in support of the Texas Transportation Commission's goal of ending traffic deaths in the state by 2050. Identify the most dangerous roads and transportation corridors in the state and determine opportunities to reduce high rates of traffic accidents and fatalities in these areas. Make recommendations to improve policies, funding strategies, program development, and agency coordination to ensure continuous improvements to road safety.

 

Charge 3: Study the technology and safety aspects of autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles, including predictive capabilities and the potential for dedicated freeway and surface lanes for public   transportation, autonomous vehicles, and semi-autonomous vehicles. Make recommendations for optimizing state policy to prepare for varying vehicle technologies to ensure safety and traffic reliability on Texas roadways.

 

Charge 4: Study the state's seaport infrastructure and the infrastructure at land ports of entry to facilitate international trade and economic growth. Examine seaport infrastructure and the auxiliary rail and roadway needs connected to each port as well as the port's ability to keep pace with oil and gas production. Make recommendations to maximize the economic flow of goods and products to and from seaports and study the feasibility and economic impact of dredging and widening Texas ports in order to remain competitive in international trade. Examine the infrastructure at international border ports of entry in Texas and identify transportation-related impediments to international trade that negatively impact the state. Make recommendations to reduce border wait times, facilitate economic growth, and expedite trade. (Joint charge with the House Committee on International Relations & Economic Development)

 

Charge 5: 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 Resources: Appropriations

Friday, August 28

 

Committee Resources

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

House Committee on Appropriations

Charge 1: Monitor and oversee the implementation of appropriations bills and other relevant legislation passed by the 86th Legislature. In conducting this oversight, the Committee will also specifically monitor implementation of appropriations for:

  • Human and sex trafficking legislation;
  • Revenue projections for the Crime Victims' Compensation Fund; and
  • Implementation of procurement and contracting reforms at state agencies.

 

Charge 2: Review and evaluate the actuarial soundness of the Employees Retirement System and Teacher Retirement System pension funds. Examine the cost of and potential strategies for achieving and maintaining the actuarial soundness of the funds. Examine the effect the unfunded liabilities could have on the state's credit rating. Examine the state's investment policies and practices, including investment objectives, targets, disclosure policies, and transparency. (Joint charge with the House Committee on Pensions, Investments & Financial Services)

 

Charge 3: Examine the cost of state employee turnover on the state budget and review the impact of recent targeted salary increases, including those at the Health and Human Services Commission and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

 

Charge 4: Evaluate the volume and efficacy of reporting requirements required in the General Appropriations Act and identify opportunities to streamline and consolidate agency reporting requirements.

 

Charge 5: Monitor the implementation of SB 68, providing for expanded implementation of the Strategic Fiscal Review process.

 

Charge 6: Examine the number, type, and estimated value of accounts maintained outside of the State Treasury, and the potential impact to state budget certification made by moving additional funds outside the Treasury.

 

Charge 7: Identify structural changes that can be made to the Economic Stabilization Fund (ESF) in order to maximize investments and establish a source of funding for long-term liabilities. Examine the potential of using the fund for long-term infrastructure projects and the impact of the constitutional cap on the ESF balance.

 

Charge 8: Monitor the State Auditor's review of agencies and programs. The Chair shall seek input and periodic briefings on completed audits for the 2019 and 2020 fiscal years with potential impact on the appropriations process and bring forth pertinent issues for full committee consideration.

 

 

House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Infrastructure, Resiliency, & Investments

Charge 1: Monitor the implementation of disaster-related legislation from the 86th Legislature, including but not limited to SB 7, SB 8, and SB 500. Identify any issues and corresponding remedies for those issues in drawing down any federal funds related to the purposes of carrying out the intent of the newly enacted legislation.

 

Charge 2: Review the funding appropriated to state agencies for information technology (IT) and cybersecurity improvements and modernization. Evaluate the cost of ongoing IT and cybersecurity upgrades and the methodology for prioritizing projects.

 

Charge 3: Monitor the implementation of SB 69 and the impact to investment returns made from the Economic Stabilization Fund.

 

House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Articles I, IV & V

Charge 1: Monitor the agencies and programs under Articles I, IV, and V, and oversee the implementation of relevant legislation and riders passed by the 86th Legislature.

 

Charge 2: Monitor the use of additional funds provided to the Department of Public Safety for driver license services improvements and construction of new driver license service centers. Evaluate the progress being made to reduce wait times at service centers throughout the state.

 

Charge 3: Monitor use of state funding to increase forensic testing and reduce the sexual assault kit backlog.

 

Charge 4: Evaluate funding provided to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) for the repair, maintenance, and upgrade of prison facilities. Determine areas of the facilities that are in most need of repair, maintenance, or upgrade and examine the costs associated with such repairs, maintenance, or upgrades. Examine the Correctional Managed Health Care Committee's administration of Hepatitis C treatment and procedures. Review the Community Justice Assistance Division's current compliance practices and examine current funding formulas for adult probation departments. Study the TDCJ's ownership of real property not being used for prison facilities, including the amount of property owned and its highest and best use. (Joint charge with the House Committee on Corrections)

 

Charge 5: Monitor efforts by the Office of the Attorney General to redevelop the Texas Child Support Enforcement System.

 

Charge 6: Examine the major cost drivers within and the impact of funding provided to the Correctional Managed Health Care program.

 

House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Article III

Charge 1: Monitor the agencies and programs under Article III and oversee the implementation of relevant legislation and riders passed by the 86th Legislature.

 

Charge 2: Evaluate ongoing costs associated with implementing the provisions of HB 3.

 

Charge 3: Review formula funding for higher education institutions in Texas. Examine the general efficiency and equity of formula funding for these higher education institutions. Monitor the implementation of mission-specific pilot formulas at the state's health-related institutions.

 

Charge 4: Examine the state higher education institutions' resources and research into the causes and cures for degenerative and debilitating brain and nervous conditions and the projected costs to the state for the treatment of those conditions.

 

House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Articles VI, VII & VIII

Charge 1: Monitor the agencies and programs under Articles VI, VII, and VIII, and oversee the implementation of relevant legislation and riders passed by the 86th Legislature.

 

Charge 2: Monitor the status of the operation, maintenance, and structural repairs of low hazard and high hazard dams throughout the state, as well as implementation of funds appropriated to the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board's Flood Control Program during the 86th Legislature. (Joint charge with the House Committee on Agriculture & Livestock)

 

Charge 3: Monitor the use of additional funds provided to the Texas Department of Transportation in SB 500 for the Transportation Infrastructure Fund. Examine existing fund balances and determine if the funds should be held in a more efficient manner.

 

Charge 4: Evaluate funding provided to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for the repair, maintenance, and upgrade of state park facilities. Determine the facilities that are in most need of repair, maintenance, or upgrade and examine the costs associated with such repairs, maintenance, or upgrades.

 

 

Current Articles & Research Resources, August 27

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

  • Find resources for disaster relief and assistance in Texas. (Texas Department of Housing and Community Development, accessed August 26, 2020)
  • Discover how the United States Postal Service got started. (Smithsonian Magazine, August 21, 2020)
  • Explore data related to immigrants in the United States. (Pew Research Center, August 20, 2020)
  • Consider how upcoming elections might be conducted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Cato Institute, August 26, 2020)
  • Read about a potential coronavirus vaccine. (Politico, August 26, 2020)

Members of the Texas legislative community may request the articles below here or by calling 512-463-1252.

  • 20.08.44 / "A road map to reemployment in the COVID-19 economy: Empowering workers, employers, and states." By Brent Orrell, Mason M. Bishop, and John Hawkins. American Enterprise Institute, July 2020, pp. 1-18.
    Discusses reforming the workforce system to support the needs of newly unemployed workers in the competitive job market and uncertain economy that have resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic. Argues for shifting away from federal policies and focusing on flexible state, regional, and local approaches to making decisions and allocating resources.
  • 20.08.45 / "State legislation to declare racism a public health crisis and address institutional racism." Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, August 12, 2020, pp. 1-3.
    Presents an overview of state-level efforts to declare racism a public health issue, establish political bodies and procedures to assess the disparate impact of current policies on populations of color, and implement policy changes to ensure that future policies are enacted with a racial equity lens.
  • 20.08.46 / "Close the door behind you: How the Texas Supreme Court left the constitutionality of Section 5.014(b) open in In re Geomet Recycling." By Tyler Ray Hannusch. Baylor Law Review, Spring 2020, pp. 355-369.
    Discusses the legislative history and recent case law related to Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, Section 51.014(b), Appeal from Interlocutory Order, in light of the Texas Supreme Court opinion in In re Geomet Recycling, LLC. Highlights the implications of the ruling, and argues a future Texas Supreme Court may find Section 51.014(b) unconstitutional.
  • 20.08.47 / "The status of local government pension plans in the midst of COVID-19." By Jean-Pierre Aubry and Kevin Wandrei. Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, August 2020, pp. 1-8.
    Describes the status of local government pension plans as of fiscal year 2020 and projections of financial metrics to 2025. Discusses strains on state and local government revenue due to COVID-19 and the potential impact on public pension obligations.
  • 20.08.48 / "How Texas policymakers understand and support early childhood brain development: Learnings from a recent survey." By April Wilson, et al. Child Trends, August 2020, pp. 1-2.
    Highlights a recent survey by Episcopal Health Foundation, partnered with TexProtects and Child Trends, to evaluate Texas state and local policymakers' knowledge of early childhood brain development [ECBD] and which programs policymakers believe have the highest return on investment and the greatest benefits for young children.
  • 20.08.49 / "Supporting families and child care providers during the pandemic with a focus on equity." By Sarah Daily and Asiya Kazi. Child Trends, August 2020, pp. 1-9.
    Explores challenges for families and child care providers during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially those disproportionately affected, including young children in low-income households or rural areas and child care providers who have permanently closed. Offers strategies for state and local policymakers to support the accessibility and affordability of child care.
  • 20.08.50 / "America's State Department: The dereliction of diplomacy." Economist, August 15th-21st, 2020, pp. 52-54.
    Discusses the state of American diplomacy. Recommends reforms to the United States Department of State's career structure and the training of foreign service officers.
  • 20.08.51 / "Most states require some youth to be on sex offender registries." Imprint (Formerly Chronicle of Social Change), August 16, 2020, p. 1.
    Describes a new Juvenile Law Center survey that finds 42 states require youth to register as sex offenders.
  • 20.08.52 / "Universal masking to prevent SARS-CoV-2 transmission—The time is now." By John T. Brooks, Jay C. Butler, and Robert R. Redfield. JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), August 18, 2020, pp. 635-637.
    Examines the community use of face coverings during the COVID-19 pandemic, including new data emphasizing that masking helps prevent transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Argues public health officials and leaders need to ensure that the public understands clearly when and how to wear cloth face coverings.
  • 20.08.53 / "Mental health, substance use, and suicidal ideation during the COVID-19 pandemic — United States, June 24–30, 2020." By Mark É Czeisler, et al. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), August 14, 2020, pp. 1-9.
    Notes considerably elevated adverse mental health conditions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, especially among younger adults, racial/ethnic minorities, essential workers, and unpaid adult caregivers. Argues the public health response to the pandemic should increase intervention and prevention efforts to address these associated conditions.
  • 20.08.54 / "The color of contagion." By Patricia J. Williams. Nation, September 7/14, 2020, pp. 22-25.
    Describes the racial disparities in COVID-19 mortality rates, prioritization of a national vaccine for certain racial groups and vulnerable populations, and the role of race in previous disease outbreaks. Notes a complaint filed on July 22 by Disability Rights Texas against the North Central Texas Trauma Regional Advisory Council, challenging the exclusion of individuals with preexisting conditions and disabilities from intensive care admission.
  • 20.08.55 / "In-person and online learning go together." By John B. Taylor and Jack Mallery. Policy Brief (Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research), August 2020, pp. 1-6.
    Offers solutions to bridging the digital divide in education. Points out the benefits of getting students acclimated to working online.
  • 20.08.56 / "The most powerful instrument: Voting by mail in Texas." By Joshua Houston and Audrey Balliette. Texas Interfaith Center for Public Policy, August 2020, pp. 1-24.
    Presents a brief history of voting by mail and details the legislative history of absentee balloting and voting by mail in Texas. Discusses the advantages and disadvantages of voting by mail and the challenges caused by COVID-19.
  • 20.08.57 / "From boom to bloodbath." By Justin Miller. Texas Observer, July 27, 2020, pp. 1-9.
    Examines the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the oil and gas industry and the renewable energy sector in Texas and discusses related legislation. Mentions Representatives Rafael Anchia, Terry Canales, Brooks Landgraf, and Erin Zwiener.
  • 20.08.58 / "When COVID-19 doesn't go away." By Jaime Ducharme. Time, August 31, 2020, pp. 1-4.
    Describes the devastating health and economic consequences "long-haul" COVID-19 patients face. Addresses the challenges of treating patients with long-term symptoms.

 

The Legislative Reference Library compiles this weekly annotated list of Current Articles of interest to the legislative community. Professional librarians review and select articles from more than 300 periodicals, including public policy journals, specialized industry periodicals, news magazines, and state agency publications. Members of the Texas legislative community may request articles using our online form.

 

REPOST: Hurricane Season 2020

Hurricane Harvey on the verge of making landfall on the Texas coast on August 25, 2017, (flickr.com/photos/noaasatellites/36816394625: accessed July 16, 2020), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, crediting Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA).

Below is a repost of the Hurricane Season 2020 blog post originally posted on August 6, 2020. We've added the latest Hurricane Laura disaster proclamations to our Texas Governors database.
 

 

Hurricane season for the Atlantic basin, which includes the Gulf of Mexico, runs from July 1st through November 31st each year.  Preparing for the 2020 hurricane season may require additional planning due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Below we've listed state and federal resources related to hurricane preparedness, emergency planning and management, and disaster assistance. Several include information that addresses the additional challenges to emergency management created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Please use the contact information on the respective organizations' websites for any questions specific to their purposes.

 

Looking for historical gubernatorial disaster declarations or legislative reports? Our Texas Governors database includes past gubernatorial proclamations, including disaster declarations related to hurricanes. The database contains a link to the popular search Disaster declarations and related materials, 2001-present. Our Legislative reports database also contains committee reports related to tropical storms, Hurricane Harvey, and emergency management

 

Texas Resources

 

Office of the Texas Governor

  • Texas Hurricane Center
    Provides guidance and resources on how to prepare for a hurricane. Updated to include timely information related to evacuations and open emergency shelters.

Public Utility Commission of Texas

  • Storm Resources
    Provides information on road closures, utility contacts, and an electic outage map.

  • Texas Emergency Portal
    Provides access to critical information during emergencies. Includes information related to the hurricane season: preparing for a storm, evacuating to safety, accessing government resources, dealing with emergencies, and avoiding scams and frauds.

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

  • Hurricanes
    Lists links to resources related to hurricane preparation as well as recovery after a disaster, including animal issues.

Texas Department of Insurance

  • Disasters: How to Prepare and Recover
    Includes links to resources related to home, property, and auto insurance coverage for disasters, including reviewing policies and filling claims.

Texas Department of Transportation

  • Hurricane Information
    Includes maps of evacuation routes from the Texas coast and a link to guides for traveling major highways in the region during an evacuation.

Texas Division of Emergency Management

  • Local Emergency Management Planning Guide, January 2008
    Provides recommendations to local officials on how to prepare and keep current a local or inter-jurisdictional emergency management plan. Outlines local, state, and federal government emergency management responsibilities.
     
  • State of Texas Emergency Management Plan
    Includes links to the basic emergency management plan for the state and plans for more in-depth emergency support functions.

 

Federal and National Resources

 

American Flood Coalition

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), United States Department of Health and Human Services

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), United States Department of Homeland Security

  • DisasterAssistance.gov
    Allows users to find and apply for disaster assistance. Includes an interactive map of current federally-declared disasters.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), United States Department of Commerce

  • National Hurricane Center
    Provides up-to-date forecasts and warnings of hazardous tropical weather, including tropical storms and hurricanes.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA), United States Department of Labor

  • Hurricane Preparedness and Response
    Documents employer responsibilities and workers' rights associated with response and recovery operations after a hurricane. Includes links to fact sheets for related worker safety and health 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.

 

House Committee Resources: Insurance, Elections

Monday, August 24                                       

 

Committee Resources

The committees have requested written submissions on the following topics. Below are resources related to those topics.

 

House Committee on Insurance

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 259, which prohibits certain practices related to the delivery, issuing of delivery, or renewing of named driver policies. Determine if there are any changes regarding policy affordability or the uninsured motorist population.

    • Commissioner’s Bulletin # B-0010-19, Re: FAQ about House Bill 259, 86th Legislature, Regular Session (2019) (named driver policy prohibition), Texas Department of Insurance, September 16, 2019
  • HB 1900, which amends the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) operations and funding practices. Review the rulemaking process by the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) and the adoption of an updated plan of operation by TWIA. Monitor whether the purchase of reinsurance has increased or declined and determine whether this provision of the legislation has had any impact on premium rates. Monitor the appointment and work of the Legislative Funding and Funding Structure Oversight board.
  • HB 2536, which requires certain reporting requirements for drug manufacturers, pharmacy benefit managers, and health insurers on certain pharmaceutical practices, including the pricing and availability of insulin. Examine its effect on drug pricing in the market and how to increase transparency in pricing associated with delivery of drugs, such as insulin, to the end user patient.
  • SB 442, which requires insurers that do not provide flood coverage in their policy to disclose that the policy does not cover flood events. Determine whether consumers are being properly informed of whether they have flood coverage. Examine the development of standardized disclosure forms for all insurance policies in Texas (health, homeowners, and personal auto) to provide more clarity to consumers about what the policy covers and any exclusions.
  • SB 1264, which prohibits balance billing (surprise billing) and creates an arbitration system to settle balance bills. Monitor the implementation of the mediation and arbitration programs, including the establishment of a portal on the TDI website through which requests for mediation and arbitration may be submitted. Determine whether the appropriate state agencies are enforcing the prohibition on balance billing. Review the Department's rules implementing the legislation's exception for non-emergency "elective" services to determine whether the rules limit the exception to out-of-network services that a patient has actively elected after receiving a complete written disclosure. Monitor or follow up on TDI's process for selecting the benchmarking database and determine whether the database chosen provides the most accurate available data and its sources are transparent. Evaluate the fiscal impact of the legislation on the Employees Retirement System of Texas and the Teacher Retirement System of Texas. Review costs to the systems and savings to employees and teachers.
  • SB 1852, which requires certain disclosures for insurers that offer short-term limited duration plans. Study whether similar consumer disclosures and other safeguards are needed for non-traditional health coverage products marketed to individuals or small 28 employers in Texas. Identify any gaps that leave consumers without needed information or consumer protections, including network adequacy and protections from surprise medical bills.
  • SB 1940, which extends to August 31, 2021, TDI's authority to revise and administer the temporary health insurance risk pool to the extent federal funds are available. Study ways to foster a competitive market and reduce the uninsured rate, including by exploring flexibility available through federal waivers. Study the impact to health care systems if the Affordable Care Act is ruled unconstitutional, including identifying which mandates, consumer protections, and subsidies will be lost and which have equivalents in state law.

 

Charge 2: Study the adequacy of the state’s insurance laws on regulating the introduction of insurtech products into the Texas insurance market. Include in the study the impact of big data, blockchain, internet of things, and artificial intelligence technologies on industry practices such as claims handling, underwriting, and policy writing. Study whether these technologies present challenges for any of the state’s insurance laws, including the state’s antidiscrimination, data privacy, anti-rebate, and licensing laws and regulations. Additionally, examine the pros and cons of adopting a regulatory sandbox and consider sandbox programs that are implemented in other states.

 

Charge 3: 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 Elections

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 933, which requires election information to be posted on the Secretary of State's (SOS) and each county's internet website. Monitor the costs associated with implementing the legislation. Work with the SOS to determine which office elections should be included in the website postings based on costs and popularity of the office.

    • Election Advisory No. 2019-19, RE: NEW LAW: Web Posting Requirements for Political Subdivisions – House Bill 305, House Bill 440, Senate Bill 902, House Bill 933, House Bill 1850, and House Bill 2640, Texas Secretary of State, October 4, 2019
  • HB 1421, which strengthens the cybersecurity of the state's election infrastructure. Review the program required under the bill to train county election officers in the best practices for identifying and reducing cybersecurity threats.
  • HB 2504, which modifies ballot access requirements for non-major party nominees. Review the provision requiring the SOS to establish rules implementing the fees and petitions.
    • Election Advisory No. 2019-13, RE: House Bill 2504 – New Rules for Parties Nominating by Convention Process, Texas Secretary of State, August 31, 2019
  • HB 4130, which requires the SOS to develop procedures for adequately certifying electronic poll books. Review the provision requiring the secretary of state to adopt rules mandating real-time updates for electronic poll book use during the early voting period or under the countywide polling place program. Monitor and report on countywide polling. Examine the number and location of polling places, polling booths, and wait times for voting.

 

Charge 2: Make recommendations for establishing best practices for conducting an election during a declared disaster. Examine model legislation and statutes from other states pertaining to voting during a declared disaster when polls are inaccessible.

 

Charge 3: Evaluate election laws with the purpose of strengthening voter integrity and fair elections. Perform an in-depth study of the voter registration processes and explore whether centralizing voter registration would be more effective than today's processes. Consider ways to improve voter list maintenance and study the volunteer deputy registrar process and voter registration procedures in other states. Include in the evaluation a review of the state's curbside voting protocols and identify processes to improve the efficiency, privacy, and security of curbside voting.

 

House Committee Resources: Pensions, Investments & Financial Services, Mass Violence Prevention & Community Safety

Friday, August 21

 

Committee Resources

The committees have requested written submissions on the following topics. Below are resources related to those topics.

 

Charge 2: Monitor the Teacher Retirement System's (TRS) actions in implementing high deductible regional plans for certain school districts interested in providing alternatives to the current TRS-ActiveCare options

 

Charge 4: Review and evaluate the actuarial soundness of the Employees Retirement System and TRS pension funds. Examine the cost of and potential strategies for achieving and maintaining the actuarial soundness of the funds. Examine the effect the unfunded liabilities could have on the state's credit.  Examine the state's investment policies and practices, including investment objectives, targets, disclosure policies, and transparency.

 

Charge 5: Monitor the State Auditor's review of agencies and programs under the Committee's jurisdiction.

 

Topics:

  • Effects of COVID-19 on industry or business operations
  • Existing statutory and regulatory barriers in responding to COVID-19

Duty (1): Examine options for strengthening enforcement measures for current laws that prevent the transfer of firearms to felons and other persons prohibited by current law from possessing firearms.

 

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