AUSTIN—Texas House Speaker Joe Straus (San Antonio) today issued additional interim charges that build on the priorities he set forth in October. These priorities include ways to attract more manufacturing jobs and build on economic development efforts to make government more efficient and effective.
Highlights of the new charges include a charge to the House Committee on Energy Resources to specifically study the use of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” to extract natural gas and oil from vast shale deposits in Texas. The Select Committee on State Sovereignty will monitor the implementation of the Interstate Health Compact in other states and at the federal level.
Some of the additional charges issued today include:
House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence
• Study current driving while intoxicated laws, examine enforcement options used nationwide, including requiring interlock devices after a first offense as well as current fees or fines, and make legislative recommendations.
House Committee on Energy Resources
• In addition to monitoring the implementation of HB 3328 (82R), continue to study the implications of hydraulic fracturing for the state's energy needs, environmental policy, economic development, and other related priorities. Examine ways to ensure appropriate state and local regulation of hydraulic fracturing that matches the needs and conditions of Texas. Coordinate with the House Committee on Natural Resources' charge regarding water quantity and quality issues in oil and gas production, and with other committees, as necessary.
House Committee on Insurance
• Study the costs and benefits of mandates of coverage for health plans. Assess the impact to the state of current and future mandates in light of the provisions of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requiring states to assume the cost of certain mandates.
House Committee on Licensing & Administrative Procedures
• Study all existing occupational licensing programs and determine their impact on consumers, competition, and the cost of services. Explore the extent to which new licensing programs are necessary.
House Committee on State Affairs
• Study how businesses seeking to provide goods or services to the state interact with state agencies. Consider whether additional procedures are needed to ensure that goods and services obtained by the state are the best value. Determine whether additional disclosure and reporting requirements are necessary to ensure transparency, accountability, and to promote ethical business practices.
House Select Committee on State Sovereignty
• Monitor developments regarding the Interstate Health Care Compact in other states and at the federal level. Offer appropriate recommendations to facilitate Texas' participation in the compact if it is approved, including recommendations on the processes by which the state would consider its options under the compact and make related decisions.
House Committee on Technology
• Examine human resource policies of state agencies that would integrate the implementation of social media to strengthen the state's workforce.
For a full list of the 82nd interim charges, please visit: http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/speaker/#interim-charges