Study Charges Released for the 2012 Interim – Part V
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 Land & Resource Management –
Examine the Cabin Program managed by the General Land Office. Review the history of the program, the current fee structure, and the renewal process and whether the program is achieving the goals for which it was created. Make appropriate legislative recommendations.
Monitor and examine the ongoing litigation of Severance v. Patterson and its impact on the Texas Open Beaches Act.
Examine the effectiveness of the Texas Private Real Property Rights Preservation Act (Chapter 2007, Government Code).
Examine current regulatory authority available to municipalities in their extraterritorial jurisdiction. Make necessary legislative recommendations to ensure a proper balance between development activities and municipal regulations.
House Committee on Licensing & Administrative Procedures – Review the alcoholic beverage licensing and permitting process. Explore possible reforms with interested stakeholders to streamline and improve the process.
Study the feasibility of streamlining the process to obtain an occupational license. Consider consolidating all occupational licenses under one state agency and whether such a move would increase efficiency and effectiveness. Analyze the process being used in other states.
House Committee on Natural Resources – Monitor the ongoing statewide drought and the performance of state, regional, and local entities in addressing it. Examine the impact of the drought on the state water plan, including an evaluation of how well the state’s existing water resources can meet demand, the need for additional funding sources to implement the plan, and the effectiveness of current drought planning and drought management policies. Identify short-term and long-term strategies to help the state better cope with drought and assess any obstacles, including state and federal regulations, to implementation of these strategies.
Examine the interplay of water and energy resources and needs in the state. Study the economic, environmental, and social impacts of water use in energy production and exploration, including the impacts of this use on regional and state water planning. Determine the current and likely future water needs of power generation and energy production, and evaluate options to develop new or alternative supplies. Include an evaluation of current issues involving water use for oil and gas production and related water quality issues.
Evaluate the status of desalination projects in Texas. Include an evaluation of the regulation of brackish groundwater and whether opportunities exist to facilitate better utilization of this groundwater to meet future needs.
Study ways to enhance incentives for water conservation in agricultural irrigation.