As we enter the last couple of weeks of the 87th Texas Legislature, things will move quickly — and sometimes mysteriously, as Jim Allison, General Counsel for the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas, joked during Tuesday's virtual breakfast meeting. Several key deadlines for action by the Texas House on its own bills passed this week, but the lower chamber can still take initial votes on Senate bills until May 25. Nothing is over until it's over on May 31.
It's a period of lingering concerns as legislation approaches its outcome. The Sheriffs' Association of Texas, for example, continues to watch House Bill 1550 by Rep. John Cyrier (R-Lockhart), TAC Legislative Consultant Austin McCarty reported. The bill, which as of Tuesday appeared headed for a vote this week, would reform the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement and establish an expert panel to recommend additional changes to the commission for the next Legislature to consider. The Sheriffs' Association and other law enforcement groups have been working to make sure their voices are represented on the panel.
(Update: Rep. Cyrier pulled HB 1550 from consideration during a House floor debate on Wednesday. “Members, I intend to pull this down,” he said. “But I am committed to each of you that we will continue this conversation during the interim.”)
The Tax Assessor-Collectors Association of Texas remains focused on HB 3113 by Rep. Ed Thompson (R-Pearland), which would allow auto dealers to file their vehicle registration and title paperwork in the county of their choice, not where the vehicle was sold. The association also continues to track SB 1413 by Sen. Angela Paxton (R-McKinney), which would require tax assessor-collectors to send property tax bills and other communications electronically unless a property owner opts to continue to receive information by mail. Questions about each bill's workability and cost to counties endure.
County officials have been waiting for the past two or three weeks for guidance from the U.S. Treasury Department about the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan (ARP). The much-anticipated moment arrived Monday when Treasury opened an online portal through which counties can request their share of ARP funds. Read more by visiting TAC's American Rescue Plan Information & Resources webpage.
The rapidly changing action at the Capitol heightens the importance of staying engaged. Keep up with the latest by joining TAC's virtual Tuesday Morning Breakfast each week at 7:30 a.m. Register today for the next breakfast on Tuesday, May 18, by 5 p.m. Monday, May 17.
Login instructions will be sent with confirmation of your registration. Please contact Amy Ruedas at AmyR@county.org or (800) 456-5974 with any questions about the breakfast meetings.