NEWS

Interim charges leading to 2023 legislative session identified

Synopsis

Texas House and Senate committees are already getting to work looking at issues that could be addressed in the 2023 Legislative Session. Learn more.


Key takeaways

  • Texas Speaker of the House Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R-Austin) have announced interim charges to House and Senate committees recently, including a number that will examine issues of importance to the rental housing industry.
  • Interim charges direct committees to study policy issues and make recommendations for future legislation.
  • Interim charges that concern TAA members include those focused on city fees, property taxes, affordable housing, insurance, data protection, specialty courts, criminal history and veterans.

Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R-Austin) recently released interim charges. Several touch on major concerns for the rental housing industry including property taxes, city fees, housing affordability and insurance, as well as general business issues.

Interim charges are directives to committees to study specific policy issues and make recommendations back to the legislature in advance of the 2023 Legislative Session. These studies often become the basis for future legislation.

Here is a summary of some of the studies that TAA will be monitoring:

City fees

The House Urban Affairs Committee has been directed to study municipal fees “with respect to the function of the fee and the relationship of the fee to the cost of providing an associated municipal service. Make recommendations to address municipal fees that are disproportionate or unrelated to the cost of providing the associated service.”

A committee hearing on this subject will be held on April 12 in San Antonio and TAA is planning to present testimony and policy recommendations.

Property taxes

The House Committee on Ways & Means has been directed to review the impact of SB 2 from the 2019 Legislative Session, and other property tax legislation from the 2021 session. It has also been directed to study “methods of providing additional property tax relief, including the use of $3 billion in available American Rescue Plan Act funds that were held for future tax relief by the 87th Legislature, and other sources of revenue. Explore options to reduce business property tax burdens and options for limiting the growth of property tax bills.”

The committee will also “study Texas’ property tax appraisal system and make appropriate recommendations to improve the appraisal system. The study should include: Assessing the accuracy of appraised values and operational effectiveness of appraisal districts; evaluating methods of selecting chief appraisers, appraisal review boards, and appraisal district directors; and evaluating existing appraisal protections for taxpayers and ease of taxpayer participation in the appraisal process.”

Meanwhile the Senate Finance Committee will “examine and recommend ways to reduce Texans’ property tax burden. Review and report on proposals to use or dedicate state revenues in excess of the state spending limit to eliminate the school district maintenance and operations property tax.”   

The Senate Committee on Local Government will also be looking at the impact of SB 2 (86th Legislature), the Texas Property Tax Reform and Transparency Act of 2019, and make recommendations for further property tax reform and relief. It will also look at the implementation of appraisal reform legislation from the 2021 legislative session and “make recommendations to ensure appraisal guidelines are effective and taxpayers have enforcement mechanisms.  

Affordable housing

The House Committee on Land & Resource Management has been directed to “Study the effect of governmental land-use regulations and controls on the availability and affordability of residential housing in Texas, including land use and zoning restrictions and related factors that slow or hinder housing development and improvement. Identify viable, free market solutions in lieu of governmental regulation to help Texas meet the current and future housing demands of a growing statewide population.”

Likewise, the Senate Committee on Local Government will “study issues related to affordable housing, homelessness, and methods of providing and financing affordable housing. Make recommendations to improve transparency and accountability, as well as to better utilize existing federal, state, and local programs.” 

Insurance

The House Insurance Committee will “review existing state laws, administrative regulations, and agency practices to identify barriers to competition in the insurance marketplace. Examine existing business practices in the industry to determine if additional laws or regulations are needed to promote competition, lower premiums, and protect consumers.”

Data protection

The House Committee on Business & Industry has an interim charge to “Evaluate the overall state of data privacy and online consumer protections in Texas and study the related laws and legislative efforts of other states. Make recommendations to ensure consumer data protections and online privacy.”

Special districts  

The Senate Committee on Local Government will “perform a comprehensive study on the powers and purposes of various special purpose districts and their associated legislative templates. Make recommendations to improve public transparency in operations of special purpose districts and associated legislative templates. 

Specialty courts

The House Committee on Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence will study the operations of specialty courts and determine when additional specialty courts should be considered.

Criminal history

The House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence will study ex-offender reentry into society including reviewing “the length of time certain criminal offenses remain on a defendant’s record and consider the impact of expanding the offenses that qualify for an order of non-disclosure.” The Senate Committee on Criminal Justice has a similar charge.  

Veterans

The House Committee on Defense & Veterans Affairs has been directed to “evaluate the needs of veterans and their families as they return to civilian life, including access to employment, education, housing, counseling, and mental health services.”

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