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.

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.)

Observing Texas lobbying and campaign regulations

State associations and activist nonprofit organizations must be familiar with the Texas regulatory environment governing lobbying, campaign or election activities during this lively election year and the coming 85th Texas legislative session in January 2017.

Avoiding violations of these laws and regulations was the subject of a presentation on August 26 at the State Bar of Texas 14th Annual Governance of Nonprofit Organizations course. Read the presentation summary here. [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.

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…]