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News News
Speaker Announces Interim Charges for House Committees
Article By: by Texas State Rep. Larry Phillips
Posted: 2/6/2014 Views: 883  Impressions: 2622
Categories: Politics



One of the duties of the Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives is to assign interim charges to legislative committees within the House. Interim charges are the issues that the Speaker asks committees to study during the time between regular legislative sessions in order to make recommendations for legislation for the following legislative session. Similarly, the Lieutenant Governor assigns interim charges in the Senate. Each committee will typically hold hearings in order to study the issues to which they were assigned and will conclude the studies with a report submitted to the Speaker prior to the legislative session.

Speaker Joe Straus recently announced the charges for House committees. This interim, there are thirty-one regular committees to which interim charges are assigned. This week's column will begin a series of Capitol Watches in which I will share the interim charges for the House committees. The charges are good indicators of what legislation the legislature will take up during the next session. Legislators rely on public input when crafting legislation, and it is important that they hear from people during the interim.

HOUSE COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND LIVESTOCK:

* Evaluate actions by state agencies under the committee's jurisdiction to increase transparency, accountability, and efficiency. Consider cost-saving technologies such as the route optimization system used by the Texas Department of Agriculture to save funds in inspection activities. Identify and make recommendations to address gaps and to improve efficiency and access to user-friendly information while protecting appropriate data security.
* Study the feasibility of the creation of a border agricultural inspection training program and the authority of Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) employees to augment federal inspectors at Texas border land ports of entry. Measure and estimate the increase in state revenue and secondary economic benefits that could be created from implementing the efficiency measures in HB 761 (83R) as a way to offset costs for additional state inspectors.
* Evaluate the Texas Right to Farm Act and determine if certain recommendations and updates to the law should be made in efforts to protect agricultural operations.
* Examine current statutes and rules to determine any necessary enhancements that can assist in the eradication of feral hogs by using practical solutions and effective eradication techniques. (Joint charge with the House Committee on Culture, Recreation and Tourism)
* Conduct legislative oversight and monitoring of the agencies and programs under the committee's jurisdiction and the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 83rd Legislature. In conducting this oversight, the committee should: consider any reforms to state agencies to make them more responsive to Texas taxpayers and citizens; identify issues regarding the agency or its governance that may be appropriate to investigate, improve, remedy, or eliminate; determine whether an agency is operating in a transparent and efficient manner; and identify opportunities to streamline programs and services while maintaining the mission of the agency and its programs.

The House Committee on Agriculture and Livestock can be reached at 512-463-0762. For more information on these charges or any other matter of state government, please contact my office by writing to P.O. Box 2910, Austin, TX 78768-2910 or by emailing me at larry.phillips@house.state.tx.us. My district office phone number is (903) 891-7297.




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