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News News
Interim Charges for House Committees
Article By: by Texas State Rep. Larry Phillips
Posted: 2/21/2014 Views: 2064  Impressions: 8181
Categories: Education, Politics, Social Services

This week I will continue to discuss the interim charges recently issued to the House Committee on Appropriations. The Appropriations Committee is the largest committee in the House with twenty-seven members, and is charged with preparing the state's biennial budget. The Committee has sixteen charges, about half of which I wrote last week, and this week I will discuss the last 8 charges. 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. 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.


* Study the implementation of provisions in legislation passed during the 83rd Session regarding the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE). Make recommendations for expansion of, and improvement in, the delivery of those services if cost-effective.
* Conduct a basic review of current public education and higher education funding formulas. Specifically, focus on whether items funded outside base formulas (Foundation School Program (FSP) and higher education formulas) should be included inside the formulas. After the review, the committee may recommend the addition or deletion of funding items or changes in levels of current funding.
* Review existing research funds; evaluate the purpose for their creation and the progress made toward the goal of each fund. Recommend any changes necessary to improve the effectiveness or outcomes of each program's stated purpose. Determine to what extent eligibility overlap exists among the funds. Make recommendations on eligibility and funding levels for each fund.
* Review current capital needs in higher education. The committees shall examine past methods of financing higher education's capital needs, as well as approaches used in other states. The committees shall jointly make recommendations to address these costs in the future. In adopting recommendations, the committees should focus on methodologies that identify priority capital projects, treat institutions of higher education equitably, and uniformly share costs between the state and institutions. The committees should also examine the viability of alternatives to traditional models for funding capital projects. (Joint charge with the House Committee on Higher Education)
* Monitor the use of funds provided or made available to Texas in relation to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill and make recommendations on the appropriate use of these funds in the future. (Joint charge with the House Committee on Natural Resources)
* Examine the immediate and long-term fiscal impact of the Employees Retirement System (ERS) employee health care plan. (Joint charge with the House Committee on Pensions)
* Study the affordability of health care for active public school employees. Examine how premiums and out-of-pocket costs have increased over time and how these increases have affected employees and school districts, and make appropriate recommendations. (Joint charge with the House Committee on Pensions)
* Examine the immediate and long-term fiscal impact of the Teacher Retirement System (TRS) health care plan (TRS-Care). (Joint charge with the House Committee on Pensions)

The House Committee on Appropriations can be reached at 512-463-1091. 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 My district office phone number is (903) 891-7297.

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