MAY 10 UPDATE

ISSUE

Both the Senate and House have passed their versions of the appropriations bill (SB 1). A conference committee is now deciding how to reconcile the differences in the bills, which will determine how much money will be spent for the next two fiscal years.

This stage of the budget process will only last a few weeks, so your input is critically important!

We have an opportunity to have a real impact on at least three issues the conference committee will be discussing.

1. Health Care

While Medicaid expansion remains the ultimate goal (HB 3871), two other bills would make a big impact if passed and funded. Both bills passed the House, which increases their chances of final passage. To implement these two bills, contingency riders need to be adopted so that sufficient state funding is provided in the appropriations act.

2. Allocation of Federal Relief Funds for Public Schools

The governor and legislative leadership recently announced the release of $11.2 billion in federal relief funds to school districts. However, that leaves $5.5 billion unallocated, which could potentially be used to save general revenue funds, as it was last year. Two House riders (IX-22 and IX-26) would address this problem; they would:

  • Ensure federal relief funds are spent on education as intended by related federal legislation.
  • Require the governor to call a special session so the legislature determines when and how to allocate these funds.

3. Reallocation of Border Security Appropriation

While previous state budgets have allocated $800 million to DPS to police the border (along with federal border security entities), it has never been proven that this funding actually improves security for Texas residents because no metrics have been kept. This money would be better spent addressing critical health, humanitarian, economic, and educational needs. Indeed, House members have made many attempts to shift this spending to those programs.

CONTACT CONFERENCE COMMITTEE MEMBERS

You can call or write the SB 1 Conference Committee members (contact info below) to make several specific requests.

You can say/write:

My name is _______ and I live in ________. My zip code is __________. I’m calling today to urge {Senator/Representative} _______ to take several actions on SB 1.

  • Include contingency riders to fund implementation of House Bills 290 and 133, which would extend Medicaid coverage for children and postpartum mothers.
  • Adopt House riders IX-22 and IX-26 to ensure federal education relief funds are allocated by the legislature and only for public school support.
  • Reallocate the wasteful $800 million border security funding to programs that actually improve lives, such as student financial aid and health care coverage for more low income Texans.

Our state budget is a moral document. It should aim to improve the lives of all Texas residents!


Conference Committee for SB 1

  • Chair: Senator Jane Nelson, 512-463-0112, jane.nelson@senate.texas.gov
  • Member: Senator Joan Huffman, 512-463-0117, joan.huffman@senate.texas.gov
  • Member: Senator Lois Kolkhorst, 512-463-0118, lois.kolkhorst@senate.texas.gov
  • Member: Senator Larry Taylor, 512-463-0111, larry.taylor@senate.texas.gov
  • Member: Senator Robert Nichols, 512-463-0103, robert.nichols@senate.texas.gov
  • Co-Chair: Representative Greg Bonnen, 512-463-0729, greg.bonnen@house.texas.gov
  • Member: Representative Mary Gonzalez, 512-463-0613, mary.gonzalez@house.texas.gov
  • Member: Representative Giovanni Capriglione, 512-463-0690, giovanni.capriglione@house.texas.gov
  • Member: Representative Terry Wilson, 512-463-0309, terry.wilson@house.texas.gov
  • Member: Representative Armando Walle, 512-463-0924, armando.walle@house.texas.gov

BACKGROUND