Texas House Speaker unveils interim work for lawmakers

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AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan announced Wednesday the priorities he wants lawmakers to work on during the off-legislative session season.

The Republican speaker’s list of interim charges includes dozens of assignments for House committees to work on before legislators return to Austin for the 89th session in January. Much of their charges include tracking new laws to “ensure the intended legislative outcome” of the bills.

It comes after Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick made his list for senators in early April.

Similarly to Patrick’s list, Phelan also is tasking the House with looking into ways to expand Republicans’ priority of property tax relief. The speaker is asking the House to further evaluate its appraisal caps both on the homestead exemption and the trial run on certain non-homestead property.

Some of the House charges include the following:

  • State Affairs Committee: reviewing border security operations of state agencies carrying out Gov. Greg Abbott’s “Operation Lone Star;” evaluating findings and recommendations from an investigative committee that looked into the Panhandle wildfires; examining economic challenges from “escalating cost of insurance premiums.”

  • Public Education Committee: consider issues to increase education opportunities to more “high-quality” options for students “regardless of circumstance;” examine opportunities to improve students’ early literacy and numeracy outcomes, examine outcomes of hiring teachers who are not certified.

  • Youth Health and Safety Committee: monitoring implementation of HB 3, which required school districts to implement more security and safety measures on campuses; evaluate behavioral health services for at-risk youth.

  • Business & Industry Committee: evaluating housing affordability and the impact on renters and buyers from “institutional buyers;” examining the proliferation of fraudulent deeds.

  • Homeland Security & Public Safety Committee: study the use of less-lethal devices in law enforcement encounters; study communication challenges of first responders and emergency personnel.

  • Natural Resources Committee: examine opportunities to expand the reuse of waters in Texas; evaluate boil water notices and identify solutions; examine Texas groundwater infrastructure.

  • Pensions, Investments & Financial Service Committee: examine the ways in which environmental, social and governance (ESG) policies “are contradictory to fiduciary duties.”

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