I have the responsibility of tasking senate committees to study important issues during the interim by holding hearings and listening to public testimony. The findings from these studies will guide our senators in making future decisions that will make the 85th Legislative session even more successful than the last. I have highlighted below a few of the important charges that will take place.
State Affairs Committee/Natural Resources Committee/Agriculture, Water and Rural Affairs Committee
The first charge I gave to the State Affairs Committee was to protect religious liberty. No individual, organization or business should ever be forced to participate in a service or event that violates their sincerely held religious beliefs. We took action during the last session by passing the Pastor’s Protection Act – now it’s time to do even more. Other charges to be studied range from preserving our fundamental rights to strengthening ethics laws in Texas. The committees will also review recommendations on how to keep our economy strong and what needs to be done to protect our water resources while preserving the water rights of all Texans.
To see the list of charges to these committees, read this press release.
Criminal Justice Committee/Veteran Affairs and Military Installations Committee/Subcommittee on Border Security
The enforcement of Sanctuary City policies in some areas of Texas must stop. I’ve charged the Criminal Justice Committee with ensuring that no city in Texas be allowed to prevent local law enforcement officials from holding detainees for deportation, effectively violating federal immigration laws. The committee will also monitor the success of our historic border security efforts, including the overwhelming passage of an historic $800 million increase in funding. A review of jail safety standards has also been long overdue, with an emphasis on mental health issues for those incarcerated as well as citizens statewide. An assessment of potential dangers to law enforcement and the best ways to expand community involvement will play a crucial role during the interim. I’ve also charged the Veteran Affairs and Military Installations Committee to make sure our veterans have access to the highest level of health care and mental health care.
Read more on these charges in this press release.
Lt. Gov. Patrick and Criminal Justice Chair Whitmire talking on the dais.
Education Committee/Higher Education Committee/Inter-Governmental Relations (IGR) Committee
No parent in Texas should be forced to send their child to a failing school. The time is overdue to provide additional options to escape previously identified “dropout factories” across the state. This is why I’ve charged the Education Committee with finding ways to give parents and students the flexibility they need to be successful by reviewing school choice and charter school options. School choice and better teacher preparedness will ensure we have the top schools in the nation by creating a competitive environment within our education system, at all levels. The committee will look for ways to better prepare Texas high school students for postsecondary education and workforce training through dual credit, credit transferability and more. The Higher Education committee will study performance-based funding for higher education institutions while keeping the student debt ratio lower than other states. The IGR Committee will also review and identify concerns related to municipal annexation, maintaining the integrity of local ordinances and looking for ways to improve disaster readiness, regional cooperation and rebuilding efforts.
Find out more on these charges from this press release.
Health and Human Services Committee (HHS)/Transportation Committee
As your lieutenant governor, it is my job to help protect all Texans, including the most vulnerable which are the unborn, foster children and the elderly. Planned Parenthood’s barbaric practices of selling aborted fetus parts or profiting from that practice in any way, cannot be allowed. I’ve charged the HHS Committee to continue reviewing the practices involving fetal tissue for research and examining health services provided to foster children. Healthy aging options for every Texan and improving access to efficient health care will also be reviewed. The Transportation Committee will study ways to decrease traffic congestion, end our dependency on toll roads, monitor the implementation of Proposition 7, should it become law this November, as well as review the efficiency of state vehicle inspection procedures.
Read more on these charges from this press release.
Lt. Gov. Patrick and HHS Chair Schwertner talking during the 84th Legislative session.
Finance Committee/Business and Commerce Committee
Tax relief for Texas homeowners and businesses remains a top priority. Adding to our successful session, which included property and business tax relief, I’ve charged a select subcommittee with finding ways to reduce taxes even more, including further reducing the tax burden on property owners. The Senate successfully reduced the franchise tax by 25 percent and we are looking for ways to eventually eliminate it altogether. By providing tax relief to businesses, we allow them to create more jobs and further invest in Texas. We will also continue searching for ways to strengthen the spending limit. The Business and Commerce Committee will study how to lower the burden of occupational licenses, and reduce the number of frivolous lawsuits related to property damage claims that are currently driving up the cost of homeowners’ insurance.
Find out more on these charges in this press release.
Lt. Gov. Patrick and Finance Chair Nelson talking on the dais.
Directly From the Source
Visit my website at www.ltgov.state.tx.us for the latest updates from the Lieutenant Governor’s office.
God Bless Texas,
“Whomever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant.”
Matthew 20:26 (NLT)