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Texas Legislature Special Session Round-Up
Friday, August 18, 2017 6:50 AM

The first called session of the 85th Texas Legislature ended this week. The primary goal of the special session was achieved with the passage of legislation that reauthorizes the continued existence of several state agencies that went through the sunset process that would have otherwise expired after the sunset bills died during the regular session.

One of the governor’s priority issues, school finance reform, passed along with additional funding for retired teachers’ health insurance and for supplemental programs for students with dyslexia and autism in public schools. A commission will be formed to study the school finance issue and make recommendations to the Legislature in preparation for the 2019 regular legislative session.

Property tax reform, also a high priority for the governor, did not pass. The House and Senate were unable to agree on a rollback rate cap on the increase in property tax rates by larger cities and counties. The bill would also have made information about proposed tax rate increases to property owners more transparent and make it easier for property owners to communicate with local elected officials before those tax rates were adopted.

Several bills sought to curb the power of local regulations. Attempts to rein in the powers of local municipalities and counties’ permitting processes, restrictions on real estate development rules, and limits of hand-held mobile communication devices while driving failed. However, among the bills passed was legislation that limits a city’s power to impose fees related to tree removal and another that gives residents in areas that may be annexed the right to hold a referendum on whether to allow the annexation to go through.

Under half of the issues on the call by the governor made it to his desk for signature. Cornerstone’s Austin office monitored the special session for amendments that would impact credit unions—in particular, the property tax issue, local government regulatory powers, and changes to sunset dates of agencies.

For more information, please contact Texas Credit Union Association President Jeff Huffman at 469-385-6488 or jhuffman@txcua.coop.