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 Signs Legislation to Crack Down on Human Trafficking, Eliminate Rape Kit Backlog as well as to Enhance School Safety And Expand Access To Mental Health Resources: Click to view additional signed and vetoed legislation for this week.
AG Paxton Sues for Access to Public Records on San Antonio’s Discriminatory Exclusion of Chick-fil-A from its Airport: Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a petition in Travis County District Court against the City of San Antonio as part of his office’s investigation into the city’s exclusion of Chick-fil-A from an airport concession contract. The petition seeks to compel San Antonio to hand over documents deemed public under state law. Click here to read the full press release.
State Sales Tax Revenue Totaled $3 Billion in May: Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar said state sales tax revenue totaled $3.01 billion in May, 9 percent more than in May 2018.Click here to read the full news release.
Public Utility Commission:
Public Utility Commission Names New Chief Program Officer: The Public Utility Commission of Texas announced that agency veteran Connie Corona has been promoted to Chief Program Officer. Click here to read the news release.
The Senate adjourned Sine Die at 4:00 p.m. on Monday, May 27. Prior to adjourning, the Senators elected Senator Joan Huffman (R-Houston) as President Pro Tempore of the Texas Senate. She will serve as Governor of Texas at times when both the Governor and Lt. Governor are out of the state.Other News
The House adjourned Sine Die at 12:50 p.m. on Monday, May 27. The House caucuses announced their “Freshman of the Year” awards:
- Republican Caucus – Representative Brad Buckley (R-Killeen)
- Democratic Caucus – Representative John Bucy (D-Austin)
- Legislative Black Caucus – Representative Sheryl Cole (D-Austin)
- Mexican-American Legislative Caucus – Rep. Jessica Gonzalez (D-Dallas)
- LGBTQ Caucus – Representative Julie Johnson (D-Carrollton)
- Legislative Study Group – Jon Rosenthal (D-Houston)State News:
Additionally, State Rep. Joe Moody, D-El Paso, was named House Speaker Pro Tempore.
$251 billion - Doesn’t include any money from the state savings account
$251 billion - Includes a $2.3 billion withdrawal from the state savings account
$248 billion - Doesn’t include any money from the state savings account
Lawmakers passed HB 1 and SB 500, the state budget and supplemental appropriation bill, which included funding for both the Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).
- HB 1 by Representative John Zerwas: HB 1 is the general appropriations act for 2020-2021. Appropriates all-funds of $250.7 billion, including $125 billion of general revenue and general revenue dedicated for the 2020-21 fiscal biennium and $3 million from the Economic Stabilization (“Rainy Day”) Fund.
- SCHOOL FINANCE AND PROPERTY TAX: (contingent on HB 3) - $11.5 billion in General Revenue (GR) Funds above current law funding for public schools to increase public education funding, including salary increases for classroom teachers and other educators, provide school district property tax relief, and reduce recapture.
- DISASTER RECOVERY, INFRASTRUCTURE RESILIENCY, AND FLOOD INFRASTRUCTURE: The supplemental appropriations bill provides $3.5 billion from the Economic Stabilization Fund to fund initiatives that address damage to the state due to Hurricane Harvey, provide state participation and facilitation of the draw-down of federal aid programs for local government recovery efforts, and invest in long-term infrastructure projects intended to lessen the effects to Texas from future disasters.
- The supplemental appropriations bill provides $1.68 billion in funding for the Texas Infrastructure Resiliency Fund and the Flood Infrastructure Fund, contingent on the enactment of SB 7.
- TRANSPORTATION: Funding provides $31.1 billion in AF for all functions at the Department of Transportation, which includes the following amounts:
- an estimated $5.0 billion in funding from anticipated state sales tax deposits to the State Highway Fund (SHF) (Proposition 7, 2015);
- $3.9 billion in funding from oil and natural gas tax-related transfers to the SHF (Proposition 1, 2014); and
- all available SHF funding from traditional transportation tax and fee revenue sources, estimated to be $9.3 billion for the 2020–21 biennium.
- ECONOMIC STABILIZATION FUND: No new appropriations of the Economic Stabilization Fund are included for the 2020–21 biennium in HB 1. SB 500 includes appropriations of $4,967.7 million from the Economic Stabilization Fund for fiscal year 2019 and $1,160.0 million for the 2020–21 biennium. The resulting cash balance of the fund plus the total asset value of investments is estimated to be $9.2 billion at the end of fiscal year 2021.
- SB 500 by Jane Nelson: SB 500 provided supplemental appropriations for the current biennium. Included in the supplemental appropriations bill is $6.1 billion from the Economic Stabilization (Rainy Day) Fund, primarily for Hurricane Harvey, dam, and flooding response. For remaining fiscal 2019, the bill appropriates the following:
- General revenue: $1,685,898,982
- Coastal Protection Account 27: $2,000,000
- Federal Funds: $2,146,518,960
- Economic Stabilization Fund: $4,967,741,593
- SB 500 also provides an additional appropriation of $1.16 billion from the Rainy-Day Fund for fiscal years 2020-2021 for Texas Education Agency Harvey related costs and the state contribution for the Teacher Retirement System.
Gov. Greg Abbott Says he can Keep Plumbing Board Alive Without Special Session:“We’ve got this,” the governor tells plumbers worried as their profession faces deregulation next year in Texas. Click here to read the full Texas Tribune article.
From Property Taxes to Teacher Pay, Here’s how the Texas Legislature Handled Spending Priorities: Here’s how budget writers worked out key differences over how to spend the state’s anticipated surplus. Including public schools, teacher salaries, women’s health, prison guard pay and more, we’ve laid out some of the biggest spending priorities to see how lawmakers compromised before sending a final version to Gov. Greg Abbott , who over the next few weeks may veto individual line-items he objects to. These figures come from the Legislative Budget Board. Click here to read the Texas Tribune article.
Texas Has More Than 200 Freestanding ERs. Lawmakers Just Passed Bills to Combat Patient Confusion and Price Gouging: One bill awaiting action by the governor will require freestanding emergency rooms to clearly disclose the in-network health plans they accept and the fees patients may be charged. Click here to read the full Texas Tribune article.
Port of Corpus Christi Spends $400 Million to boost U.S. Oil Exports: If you need anymore evidence that the shale revolution has turned the U.S. into one of the biggest oil exporters, look to the Port of Corpus Christi. Subscribers can click here to read the full San Antonio Express News article.
Former Texas Secretary of State David Whitley quickly lands back in Abbott’s office: The same week he resigned as Texas secretary of state, David Whitley was hired back by Gov. Greg Abbott to serve as a special adviser. Click here to read the full Statesman article.
Big Oil’s Message to Permian Strugglers: We Won’t Bail You Out: Big Oil probably won’t be buying up the Permian Basin’s struggling independent drillers any time soon.Click here to read the full Houston Chronicle article.
Dan Patrick Breaks with Fellow Texas Republicans, Supports Trump Tariffs on Mexico: Breaking sharply with other statewide elected officials, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick came out in support of President Donald Trump’s proposed tariffs on Mexico if the country does not decrease the number of unauthorized immigrants traveling to the United States. Click here to read the full Statesman article.
Analysis: The Texas Legislature Has Left Austin. Now What?: Lawmakers are gone, and the legislative season is over. Cue up the 2020 elections! Click here to read the full Texas Tribune article.
Pipeline Protesters Could Face 20 Years in Prison Under Trump Administration Proposal: Protesters could face up to 20 years in prison for interfering with oil and gas pipelines under a new proposal from the Trump administration. Click here to read the full Houston Public Media article.
Mexico Draws Red Line on Asylum as Trump Tariff Risk Rises: Mexico said on Monday it would reject a U.S. idea to take in all Central American asylum seekers if it is raised at talks this week with the Trump administration, which has threatened to impose tariffs if Mexico does not crack down on illegal immigration. Click here to read the full Reuters article.
House Sends Long-Delayed $19.1B Disaster Aid Bill to Trump: A long-delayed $19.1 billion disaster aid bill has sailed through the House and headed to President Donald Trump for his expected signature, overcoming months of infighting, misjudgment and a feud between Trump and congressional Democrats. Click here to read the full Associated Press article. And click here to read the Governing article about what’s in the Disaster Aid Package for states and localities.
The Politics of Twitter: Who 2020 Candidates Tweet About Most: Many candidates in the crowded 2020 Democratic field have shaped their campaign around defeating Trump, and their Twitter pages show it. Click here to the read the full Fortune article.Mark Your Calendars!
Dates to Note:
Last Day for Governor to Act on Bills
June 16, 2019
Fundraising Reception for Representative Jon Rosenthal
June 19, 2019
12 PM - Austin Club, Austin, TX
Fundraising Reception for Representative Terry Canales
June 20, 2019
11:30 AM - Austin Club, Austin, TX
Fundraising Reception for Representatives Burrows, Goldman and Springer
June 20, 2019
4 PM - Austin Club, Austin, TX
Fundraising Reception for Representative Roland Gutierrez
June 24, 2019
11:30 AM - Austin Club, Austin, TX
Fundraising Reception for Senator Dawn Buckingham
June 26, 2019
4:30 PM - Austin Club, Austin, TX
Fundraising Reception for Senator Judith Zaffirini
June 27, 2019
4:30 PM - Austin Club, Austin, TX
August 14 - 16, 2019
September 16, 2019 to September 20, 2019
September 26 - 28, 2019
Stalwart Strategies Capitol Appreciation Party
Wednesday, October 2, 2019
Texas House Republican Caucus Fall Golf Tournament
October 17 - 18, 2019
Click here for House of Representatives Capitol Events Calendar.
Click here for Texas Senate Capitol Events Calendar.