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Lawmakers Prepare for the 85th Texas Legislature with Interim Hearings
The past week at the Capitol has been busy with legislative committees finishing up the last of their interim hearings. In Texas’s biennial legislature, a legislative session occurs in odd-numbered years beginning the second Tuesday in January, and running for 140 days straight. After each legislative session, the presiding officers of the House and the Senate assign “interim charges,” or topics for study, to their committees in preparation for the next session. The House interim charges and Senate interim charges are available online.
The bulk of the work on those interim charges usually occurs throughout the following even-numbered year. In the late summer after Labor Day, there is usually a flurry of public hearings on those topics they have yet to take up. Around Halloween through the holiday season, committee staff write interim reports on those topics for the next legislature. After the winter holidays, the next legislature reconvenes, and many bills are derived from that interim work.
This past week several hearings occurred:
- On Tuesday, September 13, the Senate Committee on Health & Human Services held a hearing to monitor foster care and study the impact of losing the 1115 waiver.
- On Tuesday, September 14, the Senate Committee on Education held a hearing to study vouchers and other diversion of public school funds to private education.
- On Wednesday, September 14, the House Committee on Investments and Financial Services held a hearing to “examine the short-term lending industry.”
- On Wednesday, September 14, the House Committee on Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence held a hearing to “examine whether family law statutes…provide sufficient guidance to Texas judges as to the appropriate application of foreign law.”
Upcoming hearings for next week include:
- On Tuesday, September 20, the House Committee on County Affairs will hold a hearing to “discuss racial disparities during traffic stops.”
- On Wednesday, September 21, the House Committee on Elections will hold a hearing to study the integrity of the voter registration rolls, examine mail-ballot fraud, and improve compliance with campaign finance laws in local elections.
- On Thursday, September 22, the House Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing to study state contracting.
- On Wednesday and Thursday, September 28 and 29, the House Appropriations Committee and House Public Education Committee will hold a joint hearing to discuss public school finance.