New “Form 1295” contract reporting law includes nonprofit vendors or grantees

Many nonprofits may encounter a new compliance requirement that doesn’t make a lot of sense. The 2015 Texas legislative session saw a lot of activity regarding the contracting and procurement procedures of state and local government agencies. One result was the passage of House Bill 1295, which requires filing with the Texas Ethics Commission the new Form 1295 detailing the business or nonprofit organization entering into a contract of $1 million or more with a state or local government entity. [Read more…]

UT School of Law, January 2016 Conference Presentation

Click to review my outline presentation.

• “Texas Legislative and Regulatory Update
33rd Annual Nonprofit Organizations Institute, for The University of Texas School of Law/Conference of Southwest Foundations, January 14-15, 2016, Austin, Texas.

Texas Legislature’s “interim committee” work picks up in 2016 — stay informed

Much of the preparation and work for the 2017 legislative session will be initiated during the 2016 interim period by House and Senate committees through “charges” issued by the speaker and lieutenant governor. Stakeholders, advocacy groups and interested persons should monitor these committee agendas and be alert to background research, policy discussions, consensus-building and committee public hearings. These activities can result in important bill drafts that emerge full-blown early in the 2017 session, often with considerable member support. At that point, it may be too late to influence or oppose a bill or policy shift that has accrued broad support. [Read more…]

Seminar commentary on 2015 Texas legislation affecting nonprofits

Three months after adjournment of the 2015 Texas Legislature, reflecting on issues and trends raised during the session is in order. My presentation on August 13 at the annual State Bar of Texas Governance Nonprofit Organizations seminar is available here, and it highlights these items of interest:

  • The overall regulatory environment for nonprofit entities in Texas remains “light” in comparison to other states where there are extensive annual registration or licensing requirements with fees, regulation of solicitations from the public, mandatory public disclosure of organizational finances and other state government compliance regimes.
  • There were no significant changes to the Texas Nonprofit Corporation Law in Chapter 22 of the Texas Business Organizations Code, which is the primary body of law relating to nonprofit governance and disclosure issues.
  • The legislature showed continuing interest in granting legal immunity or limiting the liability of volunteers, first responders, volunteers supervising local amateur athletic events, and licensed professionals who volunteer during a disaster response.

[Read more…]

2015 Texas Legislative Summary for nonprofits – End-of-session final report

As the results of the 140-day 2015 legislative session are reviewed, winners and losers come into view—bills that passed, that almost passed, should have passed or died due to some parliamentary or procedural circumstance. It is equally important to consider groups of dead bills that reflect an issue, policy or advocacy group that will be back in 2017 for another try.

The complete June 25, 2015 SUMMARY OF ISSUES AFFECTING NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS is available here and reflects some of the 1,332 bills passed from the almost 6,300 filed. The governor vetoed only 42 bills. This indicates a 21% passage rate. [Read more…]