End-of-session final summary:
The 85th Texas Legislature Regular Session ended on May 29, 2017, featuring more than 7,000 bills and resolutions in both houses that occupied the attention of lawmakers and affected citizens and groups. Compared to controversies and issues in the past, this was a quiet and relatively challenge-free session for the charities, state associations, foundations and community-based volunteer organizations that comprise the Texas nonprofit sector. The following summary list of bills and issues include these highlights: [Read and print the full summary here.]
• Applying the Texas “open records” laws to certain nonprofits again received extensive attention and news coverage because of proposals in SB 408 and SB 407, which were championed by media organizations and advocacy groups but shunned or opposed by the thousands of nonprofit organizations that might have been required to comply with the laws. Disappointed sponsors and advocates promise a return to this issue in 2019.
• Privatizing state government functions to transfer them to nonprofits or vendors again proved troublesome when human services programs are being “reformed.” HB 6 concerned proposed privatization of state foster care services and burned up an enormous amount of emotional House debate time, only to produce no consensus or final outcome.
• Special fundraising privileges for powerful sports clubs were again extended from the opening given in the 2015 session. HB 3125 extends “super-raffle” rights to more named professional sports club charities if the voters approve the proposition in November.
• “B-Corps” come to Texas through HB 3488, which follows the lead from a score of states that have enacted enabling legislation to permit the formation of for-profit entities that include a commitment to stated public benefits as well as profits for investors.
• There were only minor amendments to the Texas nonprofit corporation laws found in Chapter 22, Business Organizations Code. SB 1518 addressed issues relating to Chapter 252 unincorporated nonprofit associations.