Update from State Rep. Lynn Stucky

Lynn Stucky

I often get the question, what does the legislature do if they only meet for 150 days every two years? A valid question. Texas operates “part time” or “citizen legislature” to prevent any person from becoming dependent on being an elected official as their sole job or livelihood. This model is effective in making sure that our state representatives and our senators are closer to their communities that elected them, as opposed to packing up and moving to Austin full time. But just because we only have legislative sessions every two years does not mean work isn’t being done on legislative issues. One way we do that is through interim charges.

After every session, the Speaker of the House assigns interim charges to every legislative committee. The charges are general topics for the various committees to study and take public testimony. The charges often include follow-up for bills that were passed during the previous session to check on how they are being implemented. The Speaker released interim charges back in March of this year, and committees are currently undertaking hearing and exploring these different topics. A full list of charges can be found at the Texas House of Representatives website house.texas.gov, but I wanted to take this opportunity to highlight some of the bigger issues you might be interested to know we are studying ahead of the next legislative session in January of 2023.

Committee on Ways & Means: Study Texas’ property tax appraisal system and make appropriate recommendations to improve the appraisal system. The study should include: Assessing the accuracy of appraised values and operational effectiveness of appraisal districts; evaluating methods of selecting chief appraisers, appraisal review boards, and appraisal district directors; and evaluating existing appraisal protections for taxpayers and ease of taxpayer participation in the appraisal process.

Committee on State Affairs: Examine the efforts of power generation facilities to weatherize their facilities; review the status of projects intended to reduce transmission congestion within the electrical grid as well as study the implementation of bills passed during the 87th session to address the electrical grid.

Committee on Transportation: Study policies impacting truck transportation, a key link in the supply chain, including utilizing state property and right-of-way for natural gas fueling stations and truck parking, the potential shortage of drivers and sellers of commercial trucks, the shortage of truck parking options to accommodate hours of service regulations, and ways to reduce border crossing wait times. Examine regulatory and statutory impediments to connected vehicle and autonomous technologies aimed at improving the safety and efficiency of trucking in Texas.

I personally will be heading up the County Affairs Committee hearings where we will be looking into cost recovery for county governments, impacts the increased border crossings have had on local governments, and behavioral health services and recovery programs in our jails, to name a few.

After conducting these hearings, the committees have the opportunity to produce a report to the next legislature to give them a leg up on tackling the issues they have studied. Oftentimes these reports lay the groundwork for actual legislation to improve our great state. If you are interested in learning more or have input on any of these issues, you can always reach out to me and my office.