Speaker Joe Straus has issued 180 interim charges to the 31 standing committees of the House of Representatives. The committees will study these issues and make recommendations to the next legislative sessions. Many of these charges involve issues affecting county government. Some important county matters were assigned to the following committees for analysis:
House Committee on Agriculture and Livestock
2. Review efforts to manage feral hog populations and mitigate damage to agricultural and livestock operations.
3. Study the safety and efficiency of the existing agriculture-related transportation infrastructure. Consider the air, ground, and rail transportation needs of rural Texas and analyze the effect on economic development. Joint Interim Charge with House Committee on Transportation
4. Survey rural economic development programs. Analyze the economic relationship between rural communities and the agriculture industry and their combined impact on the state's economy. Joint Interim Charge with House Committee on County Affairs
House Committee on Appropriations
11. Examine implementation of the diversion pilot programs, juvenile case management system, and other policy and funding initiatives to determine whether the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission and the Texas Youth Commission have adhered to legislative directive in implementing these programs, and the impact of these programs on commitments at the Texas Youth Commission. Joint Interim Charge with House Committee on Corrections
House Committee on Border and Intergovernmental Affairs
4. Analyze state laws and regulations and the efforts of the multiple state entities responsible for addressing the needs of Texas residents in colonias. Determine the effectiveness of such programs and suggest improvements.
House Committee on Corrections
1. Examine implementation of the diversion pilot programs, juvenile case management system, and other policy and funding initiatives to determine whether the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission and the Texas Youth Commission have adhered to legislative directive in implementing these programs, and the impact of these programs on commitments at the Texas Youth Commission. Joint Interim Charge with House Committee on Appropriations
2. Study and evaluate the availability and efficiency of community-based corrections supervision and treatment programs and their impact on prison capacity and recidivism rates. Determine whether the supervision and treatment programs have been designed in accordance with evidence-based practices and whether adequate evaluation methods have been incorporated.
4. Examine policies and programs designed to identify, divert and enhance the supervision and treatment of special needs offenders within local jails and state correctional facilities. Recommend changes to address appropriate alternatives to incarceration or institutionalization.
5. Review the range of services provided to females in the juvenile and adult criminal justice systems and recommend changes to ensure responsiveness to gender-specific issues. Review should include institutional and community supervision programs and utilization of correctional facilities that house nonadjudicated populations.
House Committee on County Affairs
1. Study the current practices and tools available to counties to manage growth and development. Consider incompatible land uses and county rulemaking authority, including rulemaking authority bracketed to counties of a certain population.
2. Study county-level health care delivery models for indigent health care that emphasize community-based care to improve the continuity and quality of care. Compare urban and rural health care delivery models and make necessary legislative recommendations.
3. Study county oversight related to pretrial release on bond in criminal cases.
4. Examine how local governments can better inform the public about local government debts.
5. Survey rural economic development programs. Analyze the economic relationship between rural communities and the agriculture industry and their combined impact on the state's economy. Joint Interim Charge with House Committee on Agriculture and Livestock
6. Monitor the agencies and programs under the committee's jurisdiction.
House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence
1. Examine the deferred adjudication system in Texas and recommend legislative changes.
2. Study how the state presently supports the establishment and maintenance of public defender offices.
House Committee on Defense and Veterans' Affairs
1. Investigate strategies to address incompatible land use surrounding Texas military installations. Study approaches that minimize conflict with neighboring landowners.
House Committee on Elections
2. Examine the use of central polling places and compare voter turnout and the number of rejected provisional ballots in counties that use central polling places with similar counties that do not.
3. Examine the prevalence of fraud in Texas elections. Study new laws in other states regarding voter identification and recommend statutory changes necessary to ensure that only eligible voters can vote in Texas elections.
House Committee on General Investigating and Ethics
1. Review state law in light of the effects of Texas Ethics Commission Advisory Opinion No. 484 relating to acceptance of benefits provided to officeholders. Recommend any necessary legislative changes.
House Committee on Natural Resources
1. Evaluate groundwater regulations and permitting processes throughout the state, including the role of state agencies in groundwater management, the development of desired future conditions, and the adoption of groundwater management plans in relation to regional and state water planning.
House Committee on Pensions, Investments, and Financial Services
4. Examine the performance and accountability of the Texas public pension funds and make recommendations as needed.
House Committee on Public Safety
3. Monitor the Driver Responsibility Program and consider methods for overall improvement of the program.
House Committee on Redistricting
1. Conduct public hearings in appropriate locations to obtain public input on all issues relating to the redistricting of legislative, congressional, and State Board of Education districts following the release of the federal census in 2011.
House Committee on State Affairs
1. Review state compliance with federal law regarding undocumented immigrants. Evaluate the costs of services and benefits provided to undocumented immigrants by state agencies and local governments.
House Committee on Transportation
3. Study the practices and procedures used in the development of toll roads and make recommendations as necessary.
House Committee on Ways and Means
2. Examine the state's major tax exemptions to determine how the current costs and benefits compare with the original legislative objectives. Make recommendations for adjustments as needed.
3. Study methods for improving the quality and uniformity of, and communications to taxpayers about, property tax appraisals.
6. Monitor the implementation of property tax appraisal and alternative valuation appeal reforms enacted by the 81st Legislature.
For more information, please call me at 1-800-733-0699.