News Article | March 10, 2023
Tuesday Morning Breakfast Highlights
Buckle up! With its bill filing deadline today and its halfway point in sight, the 2023 legislative session will be on a noticeably accelerated schedule until sine die on May 29. It'll be a challenge to keep up, but TAC's Tuesday Morning Breakfasts will help you keep pace.
"Now we start finding out who our friends really are," Jim Allison, general counsel for the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas, joked during this week's legislative breakfast meeting.
Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston), chair of the Senate Finance Committee, filed Senate Bill 30, the supplemental appropriations bill for the 2022-2023 biennium, late last week. On Tuesday, TAC Financial Analyst Zelma Smith gave an overview. Highlights include $2.3 billion for constructing state hospitals and increasing inpatient capacity, $45 million for the Texas Historical Commission's courthouse preservation grant program and $9.7 million to reimburse counties for the costs of holding juveniles awaiting transfer to a Texas Juvenile Justice Department facility.
The Senate Finance Committee passed SB 30 on Wednesday. See Smith's article in today's County Issues for more information.
In the Feb. 21 breakfast meeting, Williamson County Elections Administrator Chris Davis discussed a provision in last session's omnibus election law, 87(2) SB 1, that would require counties, at great expense to taxpayers, to replace their voting systems with currently nonexistent "write once, read many" (or "WORM") systems each election cycle, starting in 2026.
On Tuesday, Davis said a new bill filed Monday by Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola), SB 1661, modifies the WORM language in 87(2) SB 1. Davis said the Texas Association of Elections Administrators, of which he is legislative co-chair, was tracking the bill closely and that TAEA and the Secretary of State's Office were hopeful the Legislature will head off some of the systems issues and expenses in the 2024-25 state budget.
Bills addressing bail reform, magistration, property taxes, jury pay and more were all part of Tuesday's legislative rundown. More than 7,500 bills that have been introduced thus far. The Texas Association of Counties is tracking all bills that affect county government, as well as bills affecting specific county offices. Find them here.
Additional resource materials can be found at county.org/legislative.
April is National County Government Month. The National Association of Counties has put together a sample proclamation, press releases, social media graphics and a host of other resources to help you participate. Find them here.
And please join us March 14 for our next Tuesday Morning Breakfast. Register here.