Study Charges Released for the 2012 Interim-Part IV
Speaker of the House Joe Straus has released a list of interim study charges for the standing committees of the Texas House of Representatives. These study charges and the resulting recommendations that will be developed during the interim could form the basis for legislation to be considered during the next legislative session. House committees were each given several issues to study. Committee hearings will be held over the course of the interim period (2012) giving the public an opportunity to testify on a variety of issues. At the end of the interim, each committee will submit a formal report to the Speaker of the Texas House with recommendations on possible legislation.
The following is a sampling of charges given to different House committees. If you would like a complete list of the study charges or if you would like more information about issues being studied by any particular committee, please don’t hesitate to call my Capitol office at 512-463-0672 or visit the Texas House of Representatives at www.house.state.tx.us.
Here are some examples of charges given to the standing House committees:
House Committee on Human Services – Monitor the implementation of Foster Care Redesign. Evaluate the mechanisms for monitoring and oversight, including rates, contracts, and client outcomes.
Identify policies to alleviate food insecurity, increase access to healthy foods, and incent good nutrition within existing food assistance programs. Consider initiatives in Texas and other states to eliminate food deserts and grocery gaps, encourage urban agriculture and farmers’ markets, and increase participation in the Summer Food Program. Evaluate the desirability and feasibility of incorporating nutritional standards in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Monitor congressional activity on the 2012 Farm Bill and consider its impact on Texas. (Joint with the House Committee on Public Health)
Explore strategies, including those in other states, to support the needs of aging Texans, including best practices in nursing home diversion, expedited access to community services, and programs to assist seniors and their families in navigating the long-term care system, with the goal of helping seniors remain in the community. Assess the feasibility of leveraging volunteer-supported initiatives using existing infrastructure to enhance the ability of seniors to remain active and involved.
House Committee on Insurance – Study whether Texas would benefit from allowing purchases of health insurance coverage across state lines. Examine the options available to facilitate such purchases, and include consideration of how to guarantee appropriate consumer protections.
Examine the handling of third-party claims by automobile insurers. Consider whether any systemic claims-handling issues would be better addressed through new dispute resolution processes, case-by-case action by the Texas Department of Insurance, or a combination of both. Include in the review an analysis of practice in other states.
Monitor implementation of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, including any changes that may result from ongoing litigation or legislative modification or repeal. (Joint with the House Committee on Public Health) Monitor the agencies and programs under the committee’s jurisdiction, including the implementation of HB 3 (82-1) regarding the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association.
House Committee on Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence – Study the potential effects on victims of family and domestic violence in the judicial process if courts are allowed to issue agreed protective orders without a finding of violence.
Study the rules of statutory construction and establish a method of determining legislative intent.
Study the public policy implications of lawsuit lending and its effects on the civil justice system.
Study whether the asbestos and silica multidistrict litigation courts should be allowed to dismiss, without prejudice, claims on the courts’ inactive dockets for want of prosecution under certain circumstances.
Study best practices regarding corporate governance. Make recommendations on the confidentiality of communications to ombudsmen in order to provide more protections to complaining parties.