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 85th Texas Legislature which begins January 10, 2017.
The following are key House interim charges that could have an impact on people with disabilities. Individuals who wish to provide input on any of these issues can submit written comments directly to the committee involved or attend committee hearings.1
Long-Term Services and Supports
Review the Texas Medicaid programs providing long-term services and support to adults or children with medical, physical, or intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Study reimbursement methodologies, the historical appropriated slot allocation compared to the actual fill rate, the procedure of releasing slots to providers, and the impact and timeline of carving services into Medicaid managed care. Identify potential obstacles for the delivery of community long-term services and support, including the availability of community care workers. Make any needed recommendations to improve community long-term services and supports.
Growth of Medicaid
Examine the historical growth of the Texas Medicaid program, including factors affecting caseload and cost trends. Review legislative or policy initiatives created to detect or deter waste, fraud and abuse; to reduce cost; or improve the quality of healthcare in the Texas Medicaid program. Evaluate the effectiveness of, and identify savings associated with, these initiatives.
Human Services Committee
Study the ten year anticipated growth, the geographic distribution, and the projected economic impact of aging Texans. Review state services and programs available to seniors, including independent living services, and determine the capacity and effectiveness of the programs. Determine if Texas is prepared for the increased demands of aging Texans.
Investigate the operation and regulation, including a review of standards, monitoring, and enforcement, of boarding homes in municipalities and unincorporated areas of counties. Identify communities that have adopted local standards, and review procedures for investigating and closing unlicensed facilities that are providing services which require state licensure. (Joint charge with the House Committee on Urban Affairs)
Medicaid Managed Care
Review the Health and Human Services Commission’s Medicaid managed care organizations policies and procedures including a review of quality initiatives. Study contract management and assess the Vendor Drug Program drug formularies and current function. Identify the savings achieved by moving Medicaid into managed care. Determine what mechanisms or policies could be modified or strengthened to encourage increased participation or retention of health care providers in the Medicaid managed care system.
Investments and Financial Services Committee
Short-Term Lending Industry
Examine the short-term lending industry in Texas. Study the adequacy of consumer access to credit and the effectiveness of consumer protections, specifically reviewing the consistency and coordination of state law with federal law and local ordinances. Review data-reporting requirements for credit-access businesses and make appropriate recommendations.
Financial Abuse of Aging Texans
Evaluate what policies are currently in place to prevent the financial exploitation and financial abuse of aging Texans, and determine what changes need to be made to strengthen protections for this vulnerable population.
Licensing and Administrative Procedures Committee
Agency and Department Consolidation
Identify regulatory functions across all agencies and departments. Make recommendations for possible consolidation, and study any effort that could make processes more efficient, reduce regulatory burden, and make effective use of taxpayer funds.
Public Education Committee
Workforce Training Programs
Examine partnerships between higher education institutions, public school districts, and workforce that promote postsecondary readiness. Provide coordination recommendations to ensure vocational, career, and technical education programs are more accessible. Determine the most effective ways to invest in these partnerships and programs to direct at-risk students to stable career paths. Examine current rules and laws limiting employers from providing meaningful internships, apprenticeships, and other opportunities. Consider new methods to finance workforce training programs and associated assets in high schools and postsecondary schools, including ways to reduce or eliminate these costs and options to incentivize businesses to invest in training equipment for schools. (Joint charge with the House Committee on Economic and Small Business Development)
Public Health Committee
Examine the history of telemedicine in Texas and the adequacy of the technological infrastructure for use between Texas healthcare providers. Review the benefits of using telemedicine in rural and underserved areas and current reimbursement practices. Explore opportunities to expand and improve the delivery of healthcare and identify methods to increase awareness by provider groups, including institutions of higher education, and payers of telemedicine activities being reimbursed in Texas.
Urban Affairs Committee
Fair and Inclusive Housing Tax Credit
Examine whether changes are needed to the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs’ (TDHCA) low-income tax credit program to ensure compliance with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs et al. v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc., et al. on fair housing in Texas.
Fair Housing Rules Compliance
Review existing housing programs and policies in Texas to determine how to best comply with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s new Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rules.
Low-Income Housing Availability
Monitor and evaluate the availability of low-income housing in the State of Texas. Identify best practices to ensure that the agencies and local providers receiving state or federal funds for low-income housing are maximizing the number of units of housing available to Texans who need this program.
Monitor implementation of the increased residence homestead exemption as approved by the voters in Proposition 1 (SJR 1 (84R)). Determine the amount of property tax relief for homeowners, taking into account increases in appraisals and local property tax rates. Additionally, determine the cost to the state to make up the revenue loss for school districts.
Emerging Issues in Texas Law Enforcement Select Committee
Law Enforcement Training
Review the training and professional needs of law enforcement in the State of Texas, including the award and sufficiency of law enforcement training grants, methods of training, and types of training, including training in emerging or changing threats such as human trafficking, mental health crisis and confrontation, organized crime, and critical incident shooting.
Health Care Networks
Examine the effectiveness of previous legislative efforts to encourage transparency and adequacy of health care networks, and of legislation to protect consumers from the negative impacts of disputes over out-of-network services. Study whether enhancements in transparency or regulation are necessary.
Business and Industry Committee
Work Opportunity Tax Credit Utilization
Study Texas businesses’ utilization of the Federal Work Opportunity Tax Credit, and the associated state tax refund under Subchapter H, Labor Code, in employing those who are receiving government benefits and/or have consistently faced significant barriers to employment. Conduct a cost/benefit analysis of the tax credit vis-a-vis savings in federal and state public assistance programs. Make recommendations to remove any unnecessary administrative obstructions and expand Texas business owners’ use of the program.
Only key charges relevant to Texans with developmental disabilities are listed above. The full Interim Committee Charges Texas House of Representatives 84th Legislature PDF can be found on the Committee Interim Reports Archives webpage.
- Texas House of Representatives Committee Schedules
Interim Committee Charges Texas House of Representatives 84th Legislature PDF can be found on the Committee Interim Reports Archives webpage
- Schedules for Senate committee hearings are posted at Texas House of Representatives Committee Schedules. ↩