Nonprofit Legislative Issues Highlighted at State Bar Seminar

My presentation for the annual State Bar of Texas Governance of Nonprofit Organizations seminar on August 22 is available to view and print here. Attendees and presenters included attorneys, accountants, association and nonprofit managers, and foundation executives, making for a useful and informative mix of expertise and opinions.

Print the Presentation

2019 Texas Legislature Preview for Associations and Nonprofits

The 86th Texas Legislature began its 140-day regular session on January 8. The race is on to monitor and react to those bills among the more than 6,000 to be filed that affect state associations, community-based nonprofits, foundations and groups that benefit from state funding or are regulated by state policies. Committees for the House and Senate will soon be appointed, and the real work will begin.

Sign up here for my regular updates during the session.  By the “60th day” of the session (March 8) when filing of bills ends, there will be a better view of specific bills of interest that deserve your attention.

As a preview of the 2019 session, see my January 18 presentation at the 36th Annual University of Texas School of Law nonprofit seminar entitled Advancing the Common Good in the Texas Legislative Process:  Do nonprofits have a special role and status in public affairs? Read or print the paper here.

As a bit of self-examination for any organization entering the policy and legislative arena, it’s proper to raise a few questions:

  • Are our activities truly advancing our stated charitable mission and the interests of our members and stakeholders?
  • Does our messaging to the public calm and elevate the debate on contested issues?
  • Do our proposals advance the common good?
  • Do we support policies and bills that benefit and not burden the thousands of community leaders and volunteers supporting local, community-based organizations?
  • How are our initiatives different from any other special interest group seeking favors from the legislature?
  • How are our activities perceived by the news media?
  • Is our organization competing for favors or public dollars with similar groups or private interests?

For a review of issues and bills from previous legislative sessions (many return again and again), see my Texas Legislative Summary postings going back to 2003.

The Importance of State Associations in Texas

State associations of all varieties play an important role in public life in modern America. Almost everyone is directly or indirectly a member of one, whether it is a statewide professional organization, an organized sports league, parent-teacher organization, conservation organization or business league. My overview of the scale and importance of the state association sector was presented at the August 2018 State Bar nonprofit governance course and is available here.

(Print paper here.)

Commentary on 2017 Texas Legislative Activity Affecting Nonprofits and State Associations

My August 24 presentation at the 15th Annual State Bar Governance of Nonprofit Organizations course is available here. I received a positive response from those attending and welcome your comments or questions regarding the paper.

The 85th Legislature’s First Special Session ended on August 14, and there were no developments of note regarding nonprofit organizations, foundations and state associations. Updates and items of interest will be posted here during the current “interim” period before the legislature returns in January 2019.

(Print the paper.)

Texas Nonprofit Sector Receives Attention of Texas Legislators in the 2017 Session

End-of-session final summary:

The 85th Texas Legislature Regular Session ended on May 29, 2017, featuring more than 7,000 bills and resolutions in both houses that occupied the attention of lawmakers and affected citizens and groups. Compared to controversies and issues in the past, this was a quiet and relatively challenge-free session for the charities, state associations, foundations and community-based volunteer organizations that comprise the Texas nonprofit sector. The following summary list of bills and issues include these highlights:  [Read and print the full summary here.] [Read more…]