The 81st session of the Texas Legislature was a big success for many because it started off with the election of the Speaker of the Texas being one of our own from San Antonio, the Honorable Joe Straus. The last time a Speaker was elected from San Antonio was 96 years ago. Second, it was a big success for District 120 and Bexar County because the Speaker assigned Representative McClendon to committees and issues that allowed her to have her hands in just about every important issue that debated on the floor of the Texas House. Considering that there were 7,419 House and Senate bills filed this Session, not counting Resolutions, 1,424 of those Bills actually passed into law.
Texas Monthly distinguished her with "Honorable Mention" as one of the Best Legislators of the 81st Session. Capitol Inside named her as one of seven House members of the twelve legislators in the "Top Tier" of Legislators of the 81st Session. Altogether, Representative McClendon has authored, sponsored, co-sponsored and passed more than 160 bills, excluding resolutions, during her tenure in the Texas House. The Texas Criminal Justice Coalition presented her their outstanding leadership award for The Most Thoughtful Juvenile Justice Reformer in May, 2009.As a member of the House Appropriations Committee since 2003, legislators are fully aware that the passing of the state budget is the only task, according to the Texas Constitution, that they have to fulfill during a regular session of the legislature. The House Appropriations Committee and Senate Finance Committee write the $180 Billion budget for approval by both legislative bodies. Speaker Straus appointed McClendon to one of the most coveted positions in the Texas Legislature, the Budget Conference Committee which consists of 5 House Members and 5 Senate members. This is a very powerful group that reconciles the budgetary differences between the House and the Senate.
Highlights of the State Budget
Unlike numerous states raising the tax and debt burden on citizens and employers, Texas legislators cut taxes for small businesses to help thousands of business owners survive the national recession. By leaving the $9 billion dollar "Rainy Day Fund" untouched, legislators also created a budgetary cushion for the next legislative session when the state will have to address a structural deficit without the benefit of another infusion of federal stimulus funds.
MCCLENDON ITEMS OF INTEREST IN THE BUDGET BILL (SB 1): APPROVED BY THE LEGISLATURE
Rail Relocation and Improvement Fund
Article VII, Rider 64 -- $11,700,000 in 2010:
Article IX Rider, Sec. 17.10. Allocation for Rail Relocation and Improvement Fund -- $182,000,000 Million to create the Rail Relocation & Improvement Fund
GORDON HARTMAN FOUNDATION SPECIAL NEEDS PARK
Department of Housing and Community Affairs
UTSA P-16 Council initiative $500,000. This initiative, also supported by Mayor Hardberger, to align curriculum from elementary through the university level so there is a smooth transition in the learning experiences of our students.
Juvenile Probation Commission/Texas Youth Commission
Article IX, Sec. 10.06. Informational Listing on Use of Tobacco Settlement Receipts.
TAMU Kingsville-San Antonio
Article III, at A732-Conf-3-B, page III-99, May 23, 2009
Funding Formula Increases
Seven (7) Bills Enrolled and sent to the Governor
HB 144 -- Authorizes collection for a limited time of a nominal additional filing fee for civil cases filed in Bexar County, to be used for historic courthouse restoration and improvements. Effective 06/19/2009.
HB 498 -- Creates the Timothy Cole advisory panel on wrongful convictions to assist the Task Force on Indigent Defense in conducting a study and preparing a report for the Legislature regarding the prevention of wrongful convictions. Effective on 9/1/09
HB 1282 -- Aids in the investigation of property theft and detection of identity theft by classifying theft of a driver's license, commercial driver's license, or personal identification certificate as a criminal offense, punishable as a Class B Misdemeanor. Effective on 9/1/09
HB 2142 -- Restricted authority for TxDOT to promote the development and use of toll road projects and turnpikes by prohibiting marketing, advertising, and other activities aimed at influencing public opinion and policy about toll roads, while allowing TxDOT to continue to provide information relating to the status of pending or ongoing toll projects. Vetoed by Governor.
HB 3097 -- Establishes the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, including provisions to create, organize, govern, and establish certain duties and functions to be transferred from the Department of Transportation to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles and to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. The DMV will handle vehicle title and registration and various fees and permitting activities. Effective on 9/1/09.
HB 3316 -- Authorizes prosecution of offenses by adults working at Texas Youth Commission facilities against juveniles in custody at TYC facilities to go forward in Travis County as an alternate venue, when prosecution in the venue of the offense is stalled or prevented. Effective on 9/1/09.
HB 3689 -- This "Sunset Bill" renews the authority of the Texas Youth Commission, the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission, and the Office of the Independent Ombudsman to continue performing their functions and establishes statutory guidelines for improved practices to enhance the coordination of efforts between the agencies. Maintains the TYC and JPC as separate agencies; the TYC would be governed by a seven-member board, and the JPC by a nine-member commission composed of two district juvenile court judges, two county judges of commissioners, a chief juvenile probation officer, a member of an advocacy group, an educator, a mental health professional, and a public member. A follow-up Sunset review will be conducted in 2011. Effective 06/19/2009.
Two (2) Bills Enrolled and sent to the Governor Under their
HB 1554 -- Passed under identical number, SB 1628 (Sen. Wentworth) -- Amended the San Antonio fire and police pension fund which is subject to state regulation and provides retirement and disability annuities to qualifying fire fighters, police officers, and their surviving spouses or children, in order to accommodate disbursed funds, cost-of-living adjustments, and other eligibility requirements. The changes proposed in this bill also maintain the actuarial stability of the fund. Effective on 10/1/09.
HB 2418 -- Passed under identical number, SB 1382 (Sen. Carona) -- Establishes a distinct internal division at the Texas Department of Transportation with responsibility for coordinating the planning, construction, operation, and maintenance of a statewide passenger rail system. Effective on 9/1/09.
Five (5) Bills Amended to Other Bills
HB 144 -- Modified as part of HB 2919 (Rep. Susan King): authorizes certain populous counties and municipalities to establish and fund a regional military sustainability commission in certain areas located around military installations. Two public hearings would be required prior to establishing a commission, and it would be required to establish an advisory committee to advise the commission on protecting the critical military missions of the military installation with regard to land use development. Effective 06-19-09.
HB 1209 -- Combined with HB 1513 (Rep. Wayne Smith): helps homeowners by imposing a duty on building contractors to treat construction payments as trust funds, held for the benefit of the homeowner as well as subcontractors and material suppliers; once earned by the builder, the funds can be released, but until then could not be used by the builder for other purposes; funds not yet earned by the builder would not be included as funds in a bankruptcy estate if the builder enters bankruptcy. Effective on 9/1/09.
HB 1504 -- Passed as an amendment to SB1645 (Sen. Van de Putte): authorizes state-licensed secondary wholesale distributors to provide direct delivery of prescription medications and products to medical offices to be administered to patients by authorized physicians and staff. Requires the Health and Human Services Commission to report in 2010 on the feasibility of establishing separate reimbursement under the Medicaid program for pharmacy care management services, and provides HHSC with rulemaking authority to manage specific purchases of prescription drugs by state agencies and political subdivisions determine when substantial costs in pharmacy reimbursements result to the state or a political subdivision of the state. Effective 6/19/09.
HB 3359 -- Passed as part of HB 1831 (Rep. Corte): as amended, the law will help support the funding of emergency dispatch operational costs by requiring retailers to collect a statewide prepaid wireless 9-1-1 emergency services fee of 2% per retail transaction on prepaid wireless telecommunications services bought by consumers. Retailers will deduct and retain 2% of the purchase price to offset their administrative costs for administering the 9-1-1 emergency services fee. HB 1831 takes effect September 1, 2009, except for Section 1.26(a) and Article 5, which take effect 06/19/09.
HB 1650 -- Became part of "Safety Net" Bill (Sunset Schedule Bill), HB1959 (81R), which then became SB 2 (Rep. Isett - Special Session): continues the Texas State Affordable Housing Corporation, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) established by the state, to continue its functions for an additional two years, providing access to lending resources for lower-income housing. Enrolled as SB 2 and sent to the Governor on 07/02/2009.
Six (6) Bills (Enrolled and Effective), Authored jointly with Other Representatives:
HB 51 Branch | McCall | Coleman | McClendon | Madden
HB 1343 Menendez | McClendon
HB 1580 Flynn | Miller, Sid | Kolkhorst | McClendon
HB 2447 Flynn | Otto | Kolkhorst | McClendon | Harper-Brown
HB 2546 Isett | Moody | McClendon | Corte
HB 2682 Alvarado | Guillen | McClendon | Merritt