The 2021 legislative session featured a number of bills reflecting issues and policies that leaders in the Texas nonprofit sector should consider. My final summary can be read and printed here. There were few bills that appeared contra to the interests of nonprofit organization operations and governance or that impose new regulations on nonprofits. Despite COVID restrictions when the session began plus the February ice storm, legislators warmed up things later in the session and left several contested subjects for a planned special session later in 2021: redistricting, criminal bail reform, voting procedures and whatever else the governor directs. Among the bills that did not pass listed below are seeds of opportunity for subsequent sessions. There were 6,927 total bills and resolutions filed in the House and Senate, and 1073 passed or were adopted in some form. Print the Summary
Legislative proposals affecting nonprofit organizations, state associations and foundations are among the 7,000-plus bills on file at this halfway point in the 140-day 2021 session. My complete summary can be read and printed here. In a challenging economic environment, nonprofits should look to opportunities for contracting and partnerships with state and local governments as well as accessing funding programs that have been generated through government disaster response, pandemic response and economic stimulus measures. Look through the legislative summary for new revenue-generating sources and expanded programs that align with your mission.
Organizations of all types that serve the public good have been challenged to sustain their programs in the troubling COVID-19 environment. Sound governance, prudent financial management, a focused mission and sound business plan can sustain most nonprofit enterprises and associations. Others less prepared may face an uncertain future. My presentation (view and print it here) at the Texas State Bar’s 18th annual nonprofit organizations course echoed the advice of other professionals, who also recognize new realities presented in 2020 and the need to adapt programs and operations. My co-presenter was Adrianna Cuellar Rojas, President and CEO of United Ways of Texas.
The opening session of the 37th Annual University of Texas School of Law Nonprofit Organizations Institute on January 24 featured insights by The Texas Tribune executive editor Ross Ramsey and my presentation (view and print it here) regarding the state’s booming economy, changing demographics, state revenue needs and the challenges in the 2021 legislative session facing state leaders. The economic impact of the Texas nonprofit sector was highlighted by a new study from the United Ways of Texas. As state and local governments continue to maximize limited resources, they increasingly look to competent nonprofit organizations to perform privatized government functions and operate social service programs as contractors or grantees. (View and print the entire presentation)
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.