The next Texas Legislative session will begin January 12, 2021. You may believe it is too early to think about what we want to accomplish next session. However, it is the perfect time to make your voice heard with your State legislative representatives. They are starting to formulate their plans and are relatively more accessible now.
Ten Texas State Senate committees will begin studying and hearing testimony on issues important to business and the decisions made will impact the Greater Arlington business community. One or more of the State Senators representing Arlington serves on each of those committees.
BUSINESS AND COMMERCE – Senator Kelly Hancock is chair of the Business and Commerce Committee, which will be considering the regulation of unmanned aerial vehicles. This committee will also be looking at potential technology changes in the supply of electricity, including energy storage. They will also study how to increase access to affordable, quality healthcare in Texas. Chairman Hancock also serves on the Finance, Transportation, Property Tax and Natural Resources and Economic Development Committees.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT – Senator Brian Birdwell chairs the Natural Resources and Economic Development Committee, which will be considering reauthorizing the ability of school districts to offer property tax abatements to companies making major capital investments in their districts. They have also been assigned to examine changes needed to current eminent domain statutes. Both are important to Economic Development in Texas. Senators Hancock and Powell also are members of this committee.
EDUCATION & HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES – Senator Beverly Powell is a member of the Higher Education Committee, the Education Committee and the Health and Human Services Committee (HHS), all of which will be considering issues relevant to the business community. Education will be evaluating the implementation of HB3, which is the sweeping education finance reform bill passed this year. HHS will be looking at the delivery of healthcare in rural Texas, which is an impending crisis if nothing is done. They will also consider healthcare costs. Higher Ed will be looking at facility needs and formula funding, both critical issues to UT Arlington.
Lt. Governor Dan Patrick released the Senate Interim Legislative Charges for 2019 at the end of October. He issued charges for 13 committees, three of which are not looking at business community issues. No Interim Charges have been issued yet by Speaker Dennis Bonnen for the Texas House.