2015 Texas Legislative Summary for nonprofits – Last-day-of-session report

As the haze of the 140-day 2015 legislative session lifts, winners and losers come into view—bills that passed, that almost passed, should have passed or died due to some parliamentary or procedural circumstance. Equally important is to consider groups of dead bills that reflect an issue, idea or constituent base that will be back in 2017 for another try.

The complete June 1, 2015 SUMMARY OF ISSUES AFFECTING NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS is available here, and will be updated when the Governor’s veto period has lapsed and effective dates of passed bills can be listed.

During the coming hot summer, there will be time to reflect on the effect of new laws on nonprofit organizations, state associations, foundations and local volunteer leaders. Some items of interest: [Read more…]

2015 Texas Legislative Summary for nonprofits—Late session report

With four weeks remaining in the 2015 Texas legislative session, bills must be moving to survive and be passed. Procedural rules, long committee agendas and end-of-session deadlines become important and will spell the end of most bills now on file. They can die in committee because they have never moved from there. Bills that are moving can “die by the clock” when they have not moved between the two houses in sufficient time to be reconsidered by the other house or a conference committee.

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Texas Legislature may abolish the Texas Nonprofit Council

The Texas Nonprofit Council was created by the 2013 Texas Legislature in Senate Bill 993 to bring formality to an earlier state task force that was planned to enhance the role of the nonprofit sector in state government.

The purpose of the council was to strengthen the “footprint” of nonprofit organizations in state government contracting opportunities, policy-making and other interactions. The council was also required to make recommendations to the legislature to advance the nonprofit sector. Faith-based and community-based organizations were to be given special emphasis.

For reasons now forgotten, the council’s administration was placed inside the gigantic Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC). Therein lies the reason for its current uncertain future.

Senate Bill 200, voted favorably from a Senate committee on April 7, advances the highly-contested ongoing merger of several remaining semi-autonomous HHSC agencies. It also specifically abolishes a score of advisory councils and advisory committees within HHSC that have been authorized over the years by successive legislature enactments. Listed on Pages 46 and 47 of bill are specific references to abolishing the Texas Nonprofit Council and its enabling statute, Government Code Section 535.055.

There has been little attention to this development, but the time has arrived to raise this issue with your state senator or representative if the council’s role within state government could benefit your organization and its mission. Although initially authorized to operate through 2019, the council has not really been given the opportunity to fulfill its role and succeed.

© 2015 Richard W. Meyer, All Rights Reserved

2015 Texas Legislative Summary for nonprofits – Mid-session report

With more than 6,200 bills filed by Texas legislators now in play, anyone attending or following long committee meetings or floor sessions at the Texas Capitol will test their patience, attention span, caffeine tolerance or lumbar endurance.

Nonprofit organizations, state associations and foundations are affected by dozens of proposed bills, directly or indirectly. The April 1, 2015 SUMMARY OF ISSUES AFFECTING NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS is available here and will be updated regularly through the June adjournment of the 84th regular session and after. Share it with your colleagues and friends and receive updates by clicking the Subscribe box on this page. [Read more…]

2015 Texas Legislative Summary for nonprofits – “60th day” report

With more than 6,000 bills filed by Texas legislators by the filing deadline, any observer attempting a snapshot of the issues ahead in the coming weeks will need a wide-angle lens. There is a lot to read and understand, no matter what your area of interest.

Nonprofit organizations, state associations and foundations are affected by dozens of proposed bills, directly or indirectly. The March 13, 2015 SUMMARY OF ISSUES AFFECTING NONPROFIT ORGANIZATIONS is available here and will be updated regularly through the June adjournment of the 84th regular session and after. Share it with your colleagues and friends and subscribe to receive updates by clicking the Subscribe box on this page. [Read more…]