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…]

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…]

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.

[Read more…]

Expanding the nonprofit purpose

12th Annual Governance of Nonprofit Organizations
State Bar of Texas, August 21-22, 2014, Austin,Texas

I.  Introduction

Accepted definitions and understandings of the concept of “charitable” or “charitable purpose”, as currently applied to tax-exempt nonprofit organizations, may no longer accommodate an evolving nonprofit sector economy where the public benefit or social purpose aspirations of people and innovative organizations seek societal good and social change in new ways. In 2013 the Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 849 that permits for-profit corporations to fold certain social purposes into their management responsibilities. This reflects trends and legislation in other states that point to new forms of for-profit social purpose or social benefit entities that could shift accepted meanings of charitable purpose. [Read more…]