The House of Representatives and the Senate have introduced more than 6,000 bills and proposed constitutional amendments during the current session. As these bills work through the process, they are subject to committee amendments, committee substitutes, floor amendments, and conference committee reports. The entire meaning and effect of a bill can change at any point. No wonder that the legislators and the public are often confused about the impact of bills. Fortunately, most of these bills will die from lack of action before the May 28 final adjournment.
In the meantime, we must be constantly vigilant and especially involved in the 25 percent of the bills that affect counties. Education of the members on these bills is a full-time task.
It is difficult to understand why some legislators would discourage communication between county officials and legislators, but it is true. H.B. 1517 by Rep. Paxton would require county officials to file a report of each communication with a legislator, including a statement of each position asserted. S.B. 1944 by Sen. Patrick and H.B. 1753 by Rep. Corte would prohibit county official organizations, such as the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas, from asserting a position for or against legislation. It appears that some legislators would prefer to legislate in ignorance. Counties cannot afford that policy. Please continue to communicate vigorously with your members.
For more information, please call me at 1-800-733-0699.