Budget-Writing Committees Temporarily Pause, but Prepare for What’s Ahead

March 12, 2021

Legislative News

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Signaling that the Senate Finance Committee is ready to begin its mark up of Senate Bill 1, the Legislative Budget Board posted the initial decision documents for the committee. The decision documents include: the agency asks above the amounts included in SB 1 that are being considered for funding; the total funding request above amounts in SB 1 by agency; new funding items added by members of the committee; and technical adjustments. For each request above the amounts in SB 1, the funding from General Revenue and General Revenue-Dedicated funds is detailed. This breakdown is important because General Revenue and General Revenue-Dedicated amounts are generally subject to the constitutional “pay-as-you-go” limit. In short, this spending counts against State Comptroller Glenn Hegar’s estimate of available revenue for the 2022-23 biennium. These decision documents identify, itemize and record the budget mark up decisions of the SFC workgroups and eventually the full committee.

Selected examples of funding requests of importance to counties are:

  • $10 million for disaster grants – General Government, Gov.’s Trusteed Programs, page 30.
  • $25 million for Courthouse preservation grants – General Government, Historical Commission, page 32.
  • $13.0 million for rural and frontier public health clinics— Health and Human Services, Department of State Health Services, page 13.
  • $464.4 million for state hospital Mental Health beds, both construction and operating costs – Health and Human Services, Health and Human Services Commission, pages 29-30.
  • $5.2 million for Juvenile Justice Alternative Education Program (JJAEP) to maintain minimum daily reimbursement rate of $86 per day – Public Education, Texas Education Agency, page 6. [Also, see Public Safety and Criminal Justice, Juvenile Justice Department, page 10.]
  • $3.8 million to retain funding for Judicial Education Training programs – Judiciary, Court of Criminal Appeals, page 6.
  • $7.4 million to restore funding for prevention, intervention, and commitment diversion grants – Public Safety and Criminal Justice, Juvenile Justice Department, page 9.
  • $66.8 million to increase state share of juvenile probation funding – Public Safety and Criminal Justice, Juvenile Justice Department, page 9.

House Bill 1 Rider Amendments

On Wednesday, March 10, Dr. Greg Bonnen (R-Brazoria), Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, invited House members to submit rider amendments to House Bill 1. Per Chair Bonnen’s guidance to House members, the rider amendments typically fall into one of three categories: (1) making appropriations in addition to amounts included in the bill pattern for an agency; (2) further directing the use of appropriations included in the bill pattern of an agency; or (3) requiring an agency to take an action, such as reviewing a program or preparing a report for the Legislature. The riders cannot alter or amend statute. For county officials, rider amendments are an opportunity to work with your House members to propose the redirection of funding included in HB 1 for budget items of importance to counties. Chair Bonnen will accept HB 1 rider amendments beginning Monday, March 15, until Friday, March 19.

For more information on this article, contact Zelma Smith.