SB 1 Conferees Reach Consensus, Adopt Budget Decisions

May 21, 2021

Legislative News

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Senate Bill 1 conferees put the final touches on the state budget for the 2022-23 biennium on Wednesday, May 19, bringing the budget process that began nearly two years ago closer to conclusion. Funding decisions of importance to counties are discussed below. In addition, the issue dockets with the Conference Committee’s decisions are on the Legislative Budget Board’s (LBB) website.

Next steps: LBB prepares the final version of the bill and a resolution that considers items not included in either version of the bill. The Conference Committee Report on SB 1 will then go to each chamber for approval. If the budget process goes the way it did during the 86th Legislative Session, SB 1 should clear both the House and the Senate by May 26 and be on its way to Comptroller Glenn Hegar for certification by May 27.

General Government – Article I.

  • $9.4 million for Law Enforcement Continuing Education funding. (Conferees went with the Senate’s proposal, which is $2 million less than in the House’s version of the budget.)
  • Contingency for SB 1827, Opioid Abatement Account. Conferees also included an Informational Listing of Opioid Settlement Proceeds Distribution in General Provisions, Art. IX (House). See Article IX highlights below.
  • $69.2 million in general revenue to cover the shortfall in the Crime Victims Compensation Fund and Sexual Assault Program Account (Senate; could be beneficial for counties that receive victim service grants).
  • Office of Attorney General: Funds outside legal counsel and litigation services for the Google lawsuit.
  • $110 million for disaster matching funds for local governments (Senate, which is $80 million more than the House).
  • $322 million for governor’s economic development programs (Senate, which is $190.6 million more than the House).
  • Zero-funds grants for county medication-assisted treatment for opioid and alcohol dependence. (The House had allocated $1 million for this program, which was funded in HB 1, the current 2020-21 biennial budget.)
  • $200,000 for a Peace Officer Mental Health Program (House).
  • $51.5 million for aid to local libraries (House).
  • Secretary of State: $34 million in general revenue for Reimbursement for Auditable Voting Machines if federal funds are not available (Senate, as amended. Funding is not contingent on the enactment of SB 7 or similar legislation).

 Health and Human Services – Article II.

  • Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS): $1.689 billion for CPS Direct Delivery Staff (above House and Senate levels).
  • DFPS: $1.131 billion for Foster Care Payments (above House and Senate levels).
  • DSHS: $247.3 million for EMS and Trauma Care Systems (Senate, as modified, restores 5% reduction in funding to Regional Advisory Councils and EMS programs).
  • Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC): $123.5 million for cost-based Medicaid reimbursement for rural hospitals (House).
  • HHSC: $785.7 million and $187.9 million for Community Mental Health Services for adults and children, respectively (House, which is $12.2 million greater than Senate).
  • HHSC: $965.5 million for state mental health hospitals, includes $69.6 million and 260 staff for expanded capacity at Kerrville State Hospital and a new inpatient facility at Harris County (Senate, but reduced by about $3.1 million).
  • HHSC: $30 million for purchase of mental health beds in urban and rural communities (in both House and Senate; conferees went with House above-the-line appropriation).

 Judiciary – Article IV.

  • Texas Indigent Defense Commission (TIDC): $95 million for indigent defense (House, which exceeds Senate by $5 million). New rider requires TIDC to fund pilot projects providing grants to counties to expand existing mental health defender programs and establish mental health defender programs in counties without such programs.
  • No Contingency Appropriation for SB 21 (House) or HB 20 by Rep. Andrew Murr (R-Junction) and its companion SB 21 by Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston), on bail reform; the bills are either dead or would have no funding if either bill or similar legislation passes.
  • No funding for IT modernization to address court backlogs (proposed by House, but went with Senate).
  • $1 million in funding for visiting judges to address court backlogs (add-on by SB 1 conferees; not in House or Senate bill).

 Public Safety and Corrections – Article V.

  • Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ): [Rider 60] Report on Warrants Issued for Parole Violations, also known as “blue warrants” (Senate).
  • Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD): $6 million for prevention and intervention grants; program was zero-funded due to 5% reduction (Senate; House funds program at 50% of 2020-21 appropriated amounts).
  • Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD): $73.3 million, mostly for county juvenile probation departments (Senate, which exceeds House funding by $5.7 million).
  • TJJD: $86.4 million for community programs (Senate, which includes $1 million for Harris County Front-end Multisystemic Therapy team to prevent youth from entering juvenile justice and child welfare systems).
  • TJJD: Conferees added $1 million for a Multisystemic Therapy Team for El Paso County.
  • TJJD: [Rider 13] Juvenile Justice Alternative Education Program (House, which changes the allocation from the Texas Education Agency as follows: increases transfer at the beginning of the fiscal year from $1.5 million to 15% of the total allocation; drops counties that voluntarily participate in the program from the funding distribution; alters cap on Summer School expenditures from $3 million to 10% of the allocation; true-up to $86 per attendance day if reimbursement rate falls below $86 per day due to increased attendance days; etc.) [Related legislation: HB 2295 by Rep. Gene Wu (D-Houston)].
  • Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE): $1.5 million for staff to oversee law enforcement training (Senate, which exceeds House funding level).
  • TCOLE: Study on peace officer salaries (House).
  • TCOLE: Conferees added $4.6 million in HB 2, the supplemental appropriations bill for the current two-year budget, and six positions in SB 1 for Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Data Distribution System (TCLEDDS).
  • Department of Public Safety: Conferees added $56.7 million for 100 additional Border Troopers, $8.9 million for vehicles and related equipment for the new troopers, and $29.1 million for additional border security equipment in HB 2.

 Natural Resources – Article VI.

  • $38.7 million for Local Park Grants (Senate, which exceeds House funding level by $3.1 million).
  • $23.6 million for Boating Access and Other Grants (Senate, which exceeds House by $1.96 million).
  • Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ): [Rider 7] Conferees amended Air Quality Planning, designating the following counties as in nonattainment of the National Ambient Air Quality Standard as of Sept. 1, 2020, thereby making them eligible for air quality planning grants: Bastrop, Caldwell, Comal, El Paso, Gregg, Guadalupe, Hardin, Harrison, Hays, Henderson, Hood, Hunt, Jefferson, Nueces, Orange, Rusk, San Patricio, Smith, Travis, Upshur, Williamson and Wilson.  

 Business and Economic Development – Article VII.

  • $29.95 million for the Motor Vehicle Crime Prevention Authority (House, which includes $4.3 million in MVCPA grants for local law enforcement agencies and exceeds funding provided by Senate).
  • Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT): $5.521 billion for construction contracts (Senate, which exceeds House funding level).
  • TXDOT: $1.856 billion for contracted routine maintenance (House, which exceeds the Senate, with the additional $122.9 million in funding provided in HB 2).
  • TXDOT: $1.671 billion for routine maintenance (Senate, which exceeds House).

 General Provisions – Article IX.

  • Sec. 13.12 (House): Anticipated Federal COVID-19 Relief Funding Not Appropriated – Senate. House includes provision prohibiting appropriation or expenditure of federal COVID-19 relief such as the American Rescue Plan Act without official action by the Texas Legislature in a regular or special session.
  • Sec. 17.16 (House): Texas Opioid Settlement Receipts – House. House requires state agencies and institutions of higher education that receive settlement receipts to report the funds, the amount and their proposed use to the speaker, lieutenant governor, the two budget-writing committees and the Legislative Budget Board within 15 days of receipt.
  • Sec. 17.17 (Senate): Contact Tracing – Senate. Senate prohibits 2022-23 appropriations from being used for contact tracing.
  • Sec. 17.17 (House): Informational Listing – Texas Opioid Settlement Receipts – House. House creates an informational listing of Texas opioid settlement receipts received for each fiscal year of the 2022-23 biennium.

For more information on this article, contact Zelma Smith.