Texas is one of seven states in which 17-year-olds accused of committing crimes automatically enter the adult criminal justice system, rather than the juvenile system. Six states have raised this age to 18 in the past seven years, with two making the change this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Legislation to raise the age of adult criminal responsibility to 18 years old in Texas failed in the 2015 legislative session but could emerge again in 2017 during the 85th Legislature. Debate on raising the age in Texas centers on the effect it would have on public safety, the outcomes for youths in each system, and the cost of moving 17-year-olds to the juvenile justice system.
The state's current public school finance system meets the minimum requirements set out by the Texas Constitution, the Texas Supreme Court ruled in May. The case was the latest in a series of legal challenges brought against the state by school districts in recent decades over Texas' method of funding its public schools. This report briefly outlines the recent history of school finance litigation, summarizes the Supreme Court's ruling in the most recent case, and reviews current interim committee charges related to public school finance.
With the number of older Texans expected to increase substantially over the next few decades, state lawmakers during the 85th legislative session may consider further ways to prevent the financial exploitation of seniors. This report reviews current law and policy approaches aimed at preventing financial exploitation of the elderly in Texas and other states.
According to state water planners, large volumes of water storage will be needed to meet projected future demands for Texas. Water storage traditionally has involved building new surface water reservoirs, but policymakers increasingly are looking to another method known as aquifer storage and recovery (ASR). This report provides an introduction to ASR in Texas, including a brief history of ASR projects and a review of the regulatory structure that has evolved around the technology.
This report highlights key provisions of HB 1 by Otto, the general appropriations act for fiscal 2016-17 and HB 2 by Otto, the supplemental appropriations and reductions act.
Several states have made changes in recent years to policies and procedures for holding prison inmates in solitary confinement, and Texas lawmakers may consider this issue during the 2017 legislative session. This report describes current law and possible changes to solitary confinement policy in Texas. It also looks at how the state regulates county jails, including proposals the Legislature might consider to address mental health issues and suicide in these facilities.
During its 2015 regular session, the 84th Texas Legislature enacted 1,323 bills and adopted seven joint resolutions after considering 6,476 measures filed. This report includes many of the highlights of the regular session. It summarizes some proposals that were approved and some that were not. Also included are arguments offered for and against each measure as it was debated.
This report examines the seven proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution that will be submitted for voter approval at the general election on Tuesday, November 3, 2015.
Gov. Greg Abbott vetoed 41 bills and one concurrent resolution approved by the 84th Legislature during the 2015 regular legislative session. This report includes a digest of each vetoed measure, the governor's stated reason for the veto, and a response by the author or the sponsor of the bill.
This report presents an overview of the proposed state budget and of each article of CSHB 1 by Otto. It highlights significant budget issues, including different proposals for funding individual agencies and programs.
This directory contains contact information for the Capitol office staff of the 84th Legislature, including the Texas House of Representatives, House committees, the Texas Senate, and Senate committees.
The Texas Constitution prohibits legislation from being considered unless it has been referred to and reported by a committee in both houses of the Legislature. This report reviews the procedures used in House committees and includes citations to House rules.
The Texas Constitution and the rules of the House and the Senate govern the movement of bills through the Legislature. This report summarizes the key constitutional provisions and rules governing bills in the Legislature, with emphasis on the Texas House Rules.
Writing a two-year budget is one of the main tasks of the Texas Legislature. During the 2015 regular session, the 84th Legislature will consider a budget for fiscal 2016-17, the two-year period from September 1, 2015, through August 31, 2017.
The Texas Legislature will consider a wide variety of topics when it convenes in regular session on January 13, 2015. Among other prominent issues, lawmakers are expected to consider proposals to modify taxes, consolidate health and human services agencies, revise criminal punishments, improve low-performing schools, manage groundwater resources, and fund highways, higher education, and border security operations. This report highlights many, although by no means all, of the issues the 84th Legislature may consider during its 2015 regular session.
In the November 4, 2014, general election, Texas voters will be asked to approve or reject an amendment to the Texas Constitution to dedicate certain funds to transportation.
With the state's ongoing drought and rapidly growing population, desalination is one approach proposed to expand Texans' access to water. This report describes the potential obstacles to large-scale implementation of desalination and how recent developments may spur more interest and investment in the technology. It also examines proposals to lower criminal penalties for marijuana possession and recent changes to marijuana laws in other states.
As technological advancements increasingly affect public education, including how and where students receive instruction from kindergarten through high school, questions linger about the most effective ways for schools to employ technology and integrate online learning. This report examines the history of online education in Texas, related legislation considered by the 83rd Legislature in 2013, and issues that may affect future decisions on expanding online education, including school accountability, methods of funding, and availability of technology resources.
As a growing number of states adopt or expand laws to collect DNA samples from those arrested for crimes, Texas lawmakers may consider proposals to do the same. Some of the laws adopted or considered in other states require or propose the collection of DNA from all those arrested for felonies, while others include those arrested for misdemeanors. Debate in Texas centers on how proposals to expand DNA collection might affect public safety, privacy, and resource allocation.
This report highlights key provisions of SB 1 by Williams, the general appropriations act for fiscal 2014-15 and HB 1025 by Pitts, the supplemental appropriations act.
During its 2013 regular session, the 83rd Texas Legislature enacted 1,437 bills and adopted 10 joint resolutions after considering more than 6,061 measures filed. It also enacted three bills during the first called session, two bills during the second called session, and one bill during the third called session.This report includes many of the highlights of the regular session and the three called sessions. It summarizes some proposals that were approved and some that were not. Also included are arguments offered for and against each measure as it was debated.
Gov. Rick Perry vetoed 26 bills approved by the 83rd Legislature during the 2013 regular legislative session. This report includes a digest of each vetoed measure, the governor's stated reason for the veto, and a response by the author or the sponsor of the bill.
This report examines the nine proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution that will be submitted for voter approval at the general election on Tuesday, November 5, 2013.