Stalwart Strategies is pleased to offer you an easy-to-navigate brief of the week’s activity inside state government, noteworthy items for the upcoming week, and other important news.
News In State Government
Governor Abbott Appoints Conley to Jobs and Education for Texans Grant Program Advisory Board: Governor Greg Abbott has appointed Will Conley to the Jobs and Education for Texans Grant Program Advisory Board for a term set to expire on June 19, 2019. Click here to read more about this and other gubernatorial-appointments made this week.
6 Gas Stations Agree to Refund Customers for Hurricane Harvey Price Gouging: Attorney General Ken Paxton announced that his Consumer Protection Division settled lawsuits against two Texas gas stations accused of price gouging during the declared disaster for Hurricane Harvey. Click here to read the full release and the settlement details.
Secretary of State:
Secretary Whitley Convenes First Border Trade Advisory Committee Meeting Of 2019: Texas Secretary of State David Whitley Tuesday convened the first Border Trade Advisory Committee (BTAC) meeting of 2019, bringing together stakeholders from throughout the Texas-Mexico border region to advance initiatives to address challenges related to international trade with Mexico. Click here to read the full news release.
2019 Trade Fair by the Numbers: The two-day Environmental Trade Fair and Conference featured over 102 classes on air and water permitting, oil and gas, industrial and solid waste management, compliance and enforcement, and remediation programs. Click here to read the full news release.
Health and Human Safety:
HHS Names New Chief Operating Officer, Deputy Executive Commissioner: HHS Executive Commissioner Dr. Courtney N. Phillips named two veterans in the human services field to executive leadership positions. Click here to read the full news release.
Watch Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Speaker Dennis Bonnen Announce School Finance Deal: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen spoke to news outlets as the Texas legislative session neared its end. Click here to read the full Texas Tribune article and watch the press conference.
Here’s How Some of the Texas Legislature’s Most Important Bills are Faring in the 2019 Session: Lawmakers filed thousands of bills during the 2019 legislative session, ranging from a major overhaul of the school finance system to legislation declaring Space Day at the Texas Capitol. Click here to view the steps of the legislative process that Texas Tribune is tracking.
Texas Senate Adopts Income Tax Prohibition: Texas House had approved House Joint Resolution 38, which prohibits the imposition of an individual income tax, earlier this month. Click here to read the full Statesman article.
Save Chick-fil-A’ Bill Advances in Texas Legislature: Proponents say the bill is about “religious freedom,” but critics say it would lead to LGBTQ discrimination in the state. Click here to read the full NBC article.
Rplate, World’s First Digital License Plate and Winner of Best New Product Award, Featured at CONNECTIONS Conference May 21 - 23: Reviver demonstrates its award winning Rplate at Connected Car Corner, by InstallerNet, in San Francisco. Reviver also announced that the Rplate is the winner of a Best New Product Award from the 2019 American Business Awards. Click here to read the full article.
How Would a Second Trump Term Impact US Gambling Laws?: Around the globe, the international online gambling industry is waiting with bated breath as the US, by far the biggest potential market, openly flirts with legalized i-gaming. Click here to read the full article.
Feds Urge Texas to Help fund Census 2020 Outreach: The State of California has allotted $100 million to help get an accurate count in next year’s census. This is in sharp contrast to the State of Texas, which has so far committed zero dollars. Click here to read the full Guardian article.
Amid Opioid Crisis, Texas Becomes First State Where Life-Saving Drug is Sold Online: With opioid-related deaths on the rise each year in the U.S., Texas has become the first state to offer a life-saving overdose drug online, freeing users of the stigma associated with drug use. Subscribers can click here to read the full Dallas Morning News article.
Texas Legislature Grants Big Win to Small Farmers: In hopes of alleviating some of that tension, the Texas House pushed through Senate Bill 932 on May 14. The bill will cap health permit fees imposed on farmers and other farmers’ market vendors at $100 per year, per jurisdiction. Click here to read the full Austin Chronicle article.
Mitchell Schnurman: Don’t Just Blame Hospitals and Docs for High Health Spending. Texas Keeps Dropping the Ball: Health care prices are high in Dallas, and utilization is even higher. But don’t just blame hospitals, doctors and other providers. Many factors contribute to rising health costs, from government policies to obesity rates to the number of physicians per person. Not surprisingly, Texas ranks low on many such measures. Click here to read the full article.
Texas Lawmakers Pass Transparency bill to Disclose Government Contract Records: A bill that would bring records disclosing how government agencies spend taxpayer money back into public view is likely headed to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk. Click here to read the full Houston Chronicle article.
Study: Texas coastal Barrier Would Prevent Major Economic Losses: The joint study by Texas A&M University at Galveston and the Texas General Land Office assesses the storm surge impacts on the three counties along Galveston Bay — Galveston, Harris, and Chambers — and explores how flooding from a severe storm would impact different sectors of the local and national economies. Click here to read the full Houston Chronicle article.
Beer-to-go Sales Pass Crucial Texas Senate Vote: It has been a long, bumpy road for Texas brewers seeking to sell beer to go from their taprooms, but they are finally nearing their goal after a crucial eleventh-hour vote. Click here to read the full Statesman article.
Texas Senate Approves Expansion of Medical Marijuana Program: Patients with terminal cancer, autism and multiple sclerosis could get access to therapeutic cannabis under a bill passed Wednesday by the state Senate. Click here to read the full San Antonio Express News article.
Drug-price Transparency Bill Likely Headed to Gov. Abbott’s Desk, Stronger than Many Predicted: Texas is poised to unveil some of the country’s most aggressive drug-price transparency measures after a bill that consumer advocates had once considered powerless took on new life in the House and passed out of the Senate on Wednesday, with only small concessions made to the pharmaceutical industry. Click here to read the full Houston Chronicle article.
Bill to Better Protect Landowners During Land Condemnations Passes Texas House: Although it cut some provisions from the Senate version, the House committee substitute to Senate Bill 421 keeps public meeting requirements and protects against low-ball offers for landowners facing eminent domain actions. Click here to read the full Texas Tribune article.
How a Sleepy Texas Trust Turned into Permian Oil Proxy War: The Texas Pacific Land Trust was formed in the late 19th century to hold and manage millions of acres left after a cross-country railroad went bust. A large amount of that land, it turned out, was in the heart of what we now know as the Permian Basin. Subscribers can click here to read the full Houston Chronicle article.
This Session’s Biggest Mental Health Bill Got Killed on a Technicality — Then Resurrected: Senate Bill 10, focused on connecting children to mental health services, was knocked out of contention with a parliamentary maneuver Tuesday night but was revived as an amendment to another bill hours later. Click here to read the full Texas Tribune article.
The Trade War Could be Losing its Power to Frighten this Battle-Tested Stock Market: The stock market has so far withstood its ongoing “gut check,” with a three-day bounce after last Monday’s mini-tariff-panic sell-off, preserving its longer-term uptrend and leaving the S&P 500 about 3% from its recent record highs. Click here to read the full CNBC article.
Oil Dips as Trade Standoff Muddies Outlook for Economic Growth: Oil closed lower amid warnings that the U.S.-China trade dispute may take an increasing toll on the economy. Subscribers can click here to read the full Houston Chronicle article.
Trump Campaign Views Healthcare as a 2020 Campaign Weapon: Trump’s campaign believes he can turn Republicans’ biggest liability from last year’s congressional elections - the debate about the future of healthcare in America - into a winning issue for his reelection. Click here to read the full Reuters article.
Mark Your Calendars!
Dates to Note:
May 24, 2019: Last Day for House to Act on Senate Amendments
May 26, 2019: Last Day for House to Adopt CCR’s or Discharge House Conferees and Concur in Senate Amendments AND Last Day for Senate to Concur in House Amendments or Adopt CCRs
May 27, 2019: Last Day of 86th Legislature (Sine Die) Corrections Only in House and Senate
June 16, 2019: Last Day for Governor to Act on Bills
September 16, 2019 to September 20, 2019: Energy Trade Mission to Israel 2019
September 26 - 28, 2019: The Texas Tribune Festival
October 2, 2019: Stalwart Strategies Capitol Appreciation Party
October 17-18, 2019: Texas House Republican Caucus Fall Golf Tournament