House Key Interim Charges

82nd Legislative Session

The Texas Legislature meets every two years. In the year between, the Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the House appoint interim committees to study important issues. These interim committees hold hearings and take public testimony. Their findings will affect actions taken during the Regular Session of the 83rd Texas Legislature which begins January 8, 2013.

Below are key House interim charges identified by the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities as issues that could have an impact on people with disabilities.

All House Committees

All Substantive House Committees must find ways to increase transparency, accountability, and efficiency in state government.

House Committee on Appropriations

  • Monitor the implementation of cost-savings initiatives in health and human services programs directed by HB 1 (82R) and Senate Bill (SB) 7 (82S1), including the expansion of Medicaid managed care. Study the impact of changes in hospital reimbursement methodology, including implementation of a statewide Standard Dollar Amount and the Texas Healthcare Transformation and Quality Improvement Program Medicaid 1115 waiver.

  • Study existing financing mechanisms and delivery methods for long-term services and supports in the Texas Medicaid program. Consider best practices, expansion of consumer-directed models, and successful programs in other states. Make recommendations to simplify and streamline existing programs and to provide services in a more cost-effective manner to a greater number of eligible individuals while ensuring an appropriate level of services for those with significant needs.

  • Assess the current infrastructure and funding mechanisms for MH services in both rural and urban areas throughout the state. Study innovative local programs that could be expanded, as well as successful delivery and financial models in other states. Make recommendations to expand access and improve services through increased efficiency, competition, and transparency.

  • Examine strategies to maximize state funding for programs designed to prevent and end homelessness, with an emphasis on programs that have demonstrated a successful coordination of state and local resources. (Joint with the House Committee on Urban Affairs)

  • Evaluate the funding, performance, and administration of the state’s adult basic education programs. (Joint with the House Committee on Higher Education)

House Committee on Corrections

Study ways to reduce the number of youth referred to the juvenile justice system. Consider the availability of MH services, diversion, and early intervention programs, and other prevention methods.

House Committee on Government Efficiency and Reform

Examine areas of potential privatization of state services in an effort to achieve a higher level of service and greater efficiency for Texas taxpayers. (Joint with the House Committee on State Affairs)

House Committee on Higher Education

Evaluate proposals for the state’s next master plan for higher education beyond 2015, including a review of various metrics to measure successful outcomes in higher education.

House Committee on Human Services

  • Monitor the implementation of Foster Care Redesign. Evaluate the mechanisms for monitoring and oversight, including rates, contracts, and client outcomes.

  • Explore strategies, including those in other states, to support the needs of aging Texans, including best practices in nursing home diversion, expedited access to community services, and programs to assist seniors and their families in navigating the long-term care system, with the goal of helping seniors remain in the community. Assess the feasibility of leveraging volunteer-supported initiatives using existing infrastructure to enhance the ability of seniors to remain active and involved.

  • Monitor the agencies and programs under the committee’s jurisdiction and the implementation of relevant legislation passed during the 82nd legislative session, including the implementation of managed care in South Texas.

House Committee on Insurance

Study whether Texas would benefit from allowing purchases of health insurance coverage across state lines. Examine the options available to facilitate such purchases, and include consideration of how to guarantee appropriate consumer protections.

House Committee on Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence

Study and make recommendations regarding the discrepancies in guardianship and child custody statutes. Review potential solutions to the problems surrounding “arbitrary and capricious” findings by trial court judges.

House Committee on Pensions, Investments, and Financial Services

Monitor all agencies and programs under the committee’s jurisdiction. Specifically, monitor the study by the Employees Retirement System of Texas and the Teacher Retirement System of Texas of the viability of the current defined benefit plans as well as the implications and feasibility of creating a defined contribution or hybrid plan.

House Committee on Public Education

  • Monitor state and local implementation of the new state assessment system (STAAR), specifically the impact on students, instruction, teachers, and graduation or promotion rates. Review how districts are implementing the requirement that the end-of-course assessment count for 15% of the student’s course grade. Recommend any changes to graduation or testing requirements that promote instructional rigor and support postsecondary readiness while appropriately limiting an overreliance on standardized testing.

  • Evaluate the charter schools system in Texas. Examine success and failure stories in Texas and other states. Review the educational outcomes of students in charter schools compared to those in traditional schools. Identify any best practices and how those practices may be applied statewide. The study should include recommendations.

  • Review and make recommendations on the effectiveness of DAEPs and JJAEPs in reducing students’ involvement in further disciplinary infractions. Determine the appropriate role of disciplinary alternative placements in promoting education achievement and how technology could be used to supplement education services. Consider appropriate placements in DAEPs or JJAEPs and consistent funding models for those programs. Consider options for counties without a JJAEP or inefficiently few placements in a JJAEP. Identify positive behavioral models that promote a learning environment for teachers to appropriately instruct while addressing any behavioral issues and enforcing student discipline.

  • Review methods and best practices in Texas and other states to encourage more parental and community involvement in the education of Texas children.

  • Monitor the agencies and programs under the committee’s jurisdiction and the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 82nd Texas Legislature.

House Committee on Public Health

  • Examine the adequacy of the primary care workforce in Texas and assess the impact of an aging population, the passage of the PPACA, and state and federal funding reductions to graduate medical education and physician loan repayment programs. Study the potential impact of medical school innovations, new practice models, alternative reimbursement strategies, expanded roles for physician extenders, and greater utilization of telemedicine. Make recommendations to increase patient access to primary care and address geographic disparities.

  • Monitor implementation of the federal PPACA, including any changes that may result from ongoing litigation or legislative modification or repeal. (Joint with the House Committee on Insurance)

House Committee on State Affairs

Examine areas of potential privatization of state services in an effort to achieve a higher level of service and greater efficiency for Texas taxpayers. (Joint with the House Committee on Government Efficiency and Reform)

House Committee on Transportation

Conduct a thorough review of the operations of transit organizations in Texas. Explore possible reforms to streamline and improve services to Texans.

House Committee on Urban Affairs

  • Examine strategies to maximize state funding for programs designed to prevent and end homelessness, with an emphasis on programs that have demonstrated a successful coordination of state and local resources. (Joint with the House Committee on Appropriations)

  • Study whether Texas would benefit from allowing purchases of health insurance coverage across state lines. Examine the options available to facilitate such purchases, and include consideration of how to guarantee appropriate consumer protections.

  • Monitor implementation of the federal PPACA, including any changes that may result from ongoing litigation or legislative modification or repeal. (Joint with the House Committee on Public Health)