• What to Watch For in the Second Special Session

    What to Watch For in the Second Special Session

    Still lacking a quorum in the Texas House, it is uncertain when business will resume in the second called special session of the Texas Legislature. When action does resume, there will be a couple of key items to keep an eye on.

    Consistent Statewide Regulatory Environment

    During the first special session, the Lubbock Chamber co-signed a joint letter with the Texas Association of Business requesting that the Governor place SB 14 on the agenda. SB 14 was a piece of legislation from the regular session that would have prevented a patchwork of local business regulations such as sick leave, minimum wage, and scheduling practices differing across cities and counties. While it wasn’t listed on the agenda for the first special session, it was included this time.

    The legislation was again filed as SB 14 in the Senate with an identical component piece of legislation, HB 10, filed in the House. The legislation had widespread support during the regular session, so when business resumes it is expected to pass.

    Permanent University Fund

    Senator Perry and Representative Burrows filed identical legislation proposing a constitutional amendment to reform the Permanent University Fund (PUF). The Chamber has been supportive of finding a more equitable distribution of the fund that would benefit institutions of higher education across the state of Texas.

    Since Governor Abbott did not list the PUF on the special session agenda, it will need to be added before any action can be taken on the legislation. Still, it is valuable to bring such an important conversation to the forefront and the Chamber will be supportive of any potential action taken in the future.

    Redistricting Process

    The U.S. Census Bureau released its county level population and demographic data last week, the first step in states drawing new maps for their congressional and state districts. That process is not expected to occur during this special session, but there will be an additional special called for legislators to conduct redistricting work. The 2022 primaries in Texas are scheduled for March next year. Depending on when the redistricting work is completed, it may be necessary to push back the primaries while the new maps are finalized.

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