Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst announced a list of interim charges Wednesday in advance of next year’s legislative session, directing state Senate committees to consider topics including school discipline, drought management and uninsured motorists.
The charges are the last Dewhurst will assign to the Senate, his office said in a news release. Last month, he announced appointments for various Senate committee chairmanships.
Here are the interim charges Dewhurst announced Wednesday, by committee:
Business & Commerce
- Study Public Utility Commission of Texas initiatives to maintain the competitive retail electric market in the Electric Reliability Commission of Texas areas of operation.
- Monitor the implementation of legislation addressed by the committee during the 83rd legislative session and make recommendations for any legislation needed to improve, enhance and/or complete implementation.
- Study the value ladder of charges for theft and related offenses within the Texas Penal Code and recommend any necessary updates and proposed legislative reforms.
- Evaluate the approximately 1,500 nontraditional criminal offenses that can be found outside of the Penal Code.
- Conduct a comprehensive review of school choice programs in other states and examine the impact of education tax credits and taxpayer savings grants on the state budget.
- Monitor the implementation of SB 2, relating to certain charter schools.
- Monitor the implementation of HB 462, related to the prohibition on developing or adopting common core standards.
- Review Chapter 26, Education Code (Parental Rights and Responsibilities) and determine if any statutory changes are necessary to strengthen the rights of parents.
- Review Chapter 8, Education Code (Regional Education Service Centers), specifically the purpose and the performance standards and indicators developed by the Commissioner.
- Study the structure of county government and report on ways to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of county government operations.
- Study and make recommendations on the feasibility of removing failure to attend school (Section 25.094, Texas Education Code) as a Class C misdemeanor offense and determine the feasibility of adjudicating juvenile truancy as a civil offense.
- Study and make recommendations on the availability and application of deferred adjudication, orders for nondisclosure and expunctions.
- Study extending the use of expunction of criminal records history and non-disclosures to certain qualified individuals with low-level, nonviolent convictions.
- Study the current accountability of river authorities to the Legislature and the customers served by the authorities along with their transparency to members of the public.
- Study the economic impact of drought and water supply management on local communities that depend on nonconsumptive or recreational uses of water for economic development purposes.
- Examine the economic impact of the recent expansion of oil and gas production in Northern Mexico.
- Study and make recommendations relative to the structure of Texas Mutual Insurance Company and the residual market for workers’ compensation insurance in Texas.
- Study and monitor the state's efforts to protect taxpayers from uninsured motorists.