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.)

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 – First Report

Bills of interest 30 days into the 84th Regular Session

One month into the 2015 Texas Legislature regular session, there are some indicators of the kinds of issues that will affect nonprofit organizations, state associations and foundations. Available here is my First Summary of Issues Affecting Nonprofit Organizations. Each summary will grow in size, be updated regularly and revised, as more bills are filed and as committees begin hearings.

Subscribe to this blog and receive updates by email by clicking on the Subscribe box on this page. To access the text of any bill before the Legislature and follow its status during the session, use Texas Legislature Online at www.capitol.state.tx.us. [Read more…]

Property owner associations (POAs) again take the heat from critics

POAs get scrutinized in 2013 Texas Legislative Session

Controversy and criticism of one group often spills over and affects the interests of others. This is TANO’s concern, as yet another legislative session featured bills, hearings and unpleasant media coverage regarding the operations of the thousands of Texas property owner associations (POAs), also called home owner associations (HOAs), and condominium owner associations (COAs). Hundreds of thousands of Texans pay monthly fees to these nonprofit community associations as a condition of their ownership of a residential property. The POAs are not IRS Section 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofits but are organized under the same Texas Nonprofit Corporation Law as charities but with different IRS tax-exempt status, usually Section 501(c)(4). [Read more…]