The following summary includes legislation that directly affects a member institution of The Texas A&M System or the entire System.
System-wide, Multi-Institution, or System Office
HB 1358 by Keffer/Nelson - Relating to the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute. HB1358 is a follow-up to HB14, the enabling legislation passed in 2007 to create the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute. HB1358 clarifies the structure and process for administration of CPRIT funds. The legislation calls for the Executive Director to appoint the Scientific Research and Prevention Committee, sets the terms of the committee at four years, and allows members of the committee to receive an honorarium. The Oversight Committee may appoint ad hoc advisory committees as needed and is required to create an ad hoc committee on childhood cancers. HB1358 addresses a conflict of interest identified by the Texas Attorney General by creating a separate University Advisory Committee to provide input rather than review proposals. The University Advisory Committee is to include: 1) Two members appointed by the Chancellor of the UT System to represent UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, UTMB Galveston, UTHSC Houston, UTHSC San Antonio, UTHSC Tyler or UT MD Anderson Cancer Center; 2) One member appointed by Chancellor of Texas A&M System to represent the A&M HSC or its teaching hospital; 3) One member appointed by Chancellor of Texas Tech to represent Texas Tech HSC; 4) One member appointed by Chancellor of University of Houston System; 5) One member appointed by the Chancellor of Texas State University System; 6) One member appointed by Chancellor of University of North Texas System; One member appointed by the president of Baylor College of Medicine. HB1358 sets out requirements for disclosure of conflict of interest by members of the Science and Prevention Committee, University Advisory Committee, or ad hoc advisory committee to the Executive Director in writing and recusal of the member from deliberations, actions or decisions.
HB 1831 by Corte/Carona - Relating to disaster preparedness and emergency management and to certain vehicles used in emergencies. Much of the homeland security comprehensive legislation was added to this bill at the end of the session. The bill requires a state emergency plan annex that addresses planning for essential support supplies, equipment, and service including fuel availability, backup power, clearance of debris, obtaining food, water and ice, and basic medical support. The bill requires a public awareness plan and a phased reentry plan. The bill establishes a communications coordination group and sets up a post disaster evaluation. HB 1831 requires the development of regional plans for medical personnel surge capacity during disasters and the development of a plan to include provisions for an agriculture emergency response plan. The bill also requires institutions of higher education to adopt and implement a multi-hazard emergency operations plan that addresses mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery.
The bill allows state employees who are emergency services personnel to take compensatory time off or receive overtime for the hours accrued during a declared disaster. Specifically for The Texas A&M University System, the Texas Engineering Extension Service and the Texas Forest Service are designated as members of the Communications Coordination Group.
HB 1831 (Sec. 251.012) provides an exemption from the licensing requirement to allow hospitals to provide dialysis services to patients during a declared disaster. This language was requested by Texas A&M Health Science Center to alleviate barriers to care experienced by disaster victims housed at Reed Arena following Hurricane Ike.
In addition, HB1831 was amended on the Senate floor by Senator Zaffirini to include the language of HB 1948 filed by Rep. Tara Rios Ybarra which dealt with a public health extension pilot program. Rep. Rios Ybarra filed HB 1948 following discussions with Texas A&M Health Science Center about the need for increased capacity for medical preparedness and response in South Texas and the creation by the Board of Regents of the National Center for Emergency Preparedness and Response.
Sec. 123.001 adds the language of HB 1948, relating to a public health extension service pilot. Sec. 123.001 of the bill requires the Dept. of State Health Services to establish a public health extension service pilot program in Health Service Region 11, a region of the state that may be particularly vulnerable to biosecurity threats, disaster, and other emergencies. The purpose of the program is to support local public health and medical infrastructure, promote disease control and medical preparedness, and enhance biosecurity, including detection of dangerous biologic agents, availability of pathology services, and management of hazardous materials. The executive commissioner of the Health and Human Services Commission may adopt rules for the implementation and administration of the program. The department may contract with The Texas A&M University System or The University of Texas System or both to implement or administer the program. Through the program, the department may implement projects and systems to: (1)provide support for regional disaster medical assistance teams and tactical medical operations incident management teams; (2)establish a disaster training and exercise program; (3)establish and equip caches of necessary medical supplies and equipment for use in disasters and other emergencies; (4)establish a regionally based system of emergency medical logistics management to support state and federal emergency management authorities, including local patient triage sites and local emergency medical operations; and (5)establish a regionally based system to provide technical assistance for disaster mitigation and recovery. DSHS is required to report to the governor, lieutenant governor, and speaker of the house of representatives on the program, including recommendations for continuing and expanding the program to other regions of the state. This chapter expires and the program is abolished September 2, 2011.
SB 629 by West/Aycock - Relating to the operation of certain institutions of higher education as general academic teaching institutions and to the statutory limitation imposed on certain university systems to issue revenue bonds to fund facilities at certain institutions of higher education. SB 629 eliminates the enrollment thresholds tied to the issuance of tuition revenue bonds for three institutions of higher: Texas A&M University - San Antonio, Texas A&M - Central Texas and the University of North Texas - Dallas. SB 629 also clarifies that Texas A&M University - San Antonio can operate as an independent general academic teaching institution at 1000 full time student equivalents.
SB 1016 by Estes/Hardcastle- Relating to the continuation and functions of the Department of Agriculture and the Prescribed Burning Board, the creation of the Texas Bioenergy Policy Council and Texas Bioenergy Research Committee, and the abolition of the Texas-Israel Exchange Fund Board; providing penalties. SB 1016 includes language that was originally in SB 1666 which establishes the Texas Bioenergy Policy Council and the Texas Bioenergy Research Committee. The Chancellor of the A&M University System or his designee has a position on the Council; the Chancellor appoints one researcher or specialist in the bioenergy field from the Texas A&M University System to the Research Committee.
HB 2534 by Wentworth/Corte - Relating to the creation of an interagency task force on economic growth and endangered species; providing information and direction regarding endangered species issues in certain areas of the state. SB2534 establishes a mechanism for state agencies to provide policy and technical assistance regarding compliance with endangered species laws and regulations to local and regional governmental entities and their communities engaged in economic development activities so that compliance with endangered species laws and regulations is as effective and cost efficient as possible. SB 2534 creates a task force on economic growth and endangered species composed of the comptroller of public accounts, the commissioner of agriculture, the executive director of the Parks and Wildlife Department, the executive director of the Texas Department of Transportation, and the executive director of the State Soil and Water Conservation Board. SB 2534 requires the task force to work in coordination with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, institutions of higher education, and agriculture and conservation organizations in performing its functions and duties and requires The Texas A&M University System to, within its expertise, assist in the analysis of biological and economic impacts of proposed actions and direct programs recommended by the taskforce
Texas A&M University and Texas A&M University @ Galveston
HB 51 by Branch / Zaffirni - Relating to measures to enhance and maintain the quality of state universities, including funding and incentives to support emerging public research universities, to the abolition of the higher education fund, to the institutional groupings under the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board's accountability system, to the independent status of Lamar Institute of Technology, to research conducted by public universities and other state entities, and to the authorization of revenue bonds for certain institutions of higher education. HB 51 effectively became the "higher education omnibus bill" for the 81st legislative session. HB 51 consists of 21 separate sections related to various subjects in higher education. Provisions directly related to Texas A&M University and Texas A&M University at Galveston include the following:
Section 1 of the bill requires each institution of higher education designated as a research university or emerging research university to submit to the Higher Education Coordinating Board, a detailed, long-term strategic plan documenting the strategy by which the institution intends to achieve recognition as a research university, or enhance the university's reputation as a research university. Section 2, 3 and 4 of the bill amends the Education Code to grant additional authority to the Board of Regents of the Texas A&M University System to issue additional tuition revenue bonds for Texas A&M University at Galveston in an amount not to exceed $5,000,000 to acquire, purchase, construct, improve, renovate, enlarge, or equip property, buildings, structures, facilities, roads or related infrastructure, for an erosion control breakwater, a dock, or other related purpose reasonably necessary to assist the institution to recover from any damage or other impact caused by Hurricane Ike. This authority includes the irrevocable pledging of revenue for the payment for bonds and transfer of funds from other institutions within the Texas A&M University System.
Section 12 creates the Research University Development Fund (RUDF). Under this section the Higher Education Coordinating Board will distribute funds to eligible research and emerging research universities based on the average amount of total research funds expended by each institution annually during the three most recent fiscal years according to rates specified in the bill. Currently, this fund is known as the Texas Competitive Knowledge Fund which was established during the 80th legislative session in the General Appropriations Act and is in the current appropriations bill adopted by the 81st Legislature. Currently, Texas A&M University is one of four institutions eligible for this fund.
Under Section 18, a select committee is created to study the feasibility of collecting data and
maintaining a searchable electronic database to track specialized technology research projects
conducted by public universities, public university research facilities, and other state institutions. The
committee includes representatives from the University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M University, Texas Tech University, the University of Houston, the University of North Texas, the University of Texas at Arlington, the University of Texas at Dallas, the University of Texas at El Paso, and the University of Texas at San Antonio, as well as representatives from the Higher Education Coordinating Board. The committee would report their findings and recommendations to the governor, lieutenant governor, and the speaker by December 1, 2010.
Section 19 requires the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, in consultation with institutions of higher education that are eligible institutions for the Research University Development Fund under Subchapter C, to study and make recommendations regarding the appropriate definitions and categories of research expenditures to be included and applied in determining an institution's eligibility for and distributions from the Research University Development Fund. IMPORTANT: The issue affecting Texas A&M University is to continue the distribution of these funds based on "total research expenditures" , not "restricted research expenditures". A proposal to distribute the funds based on "restricted research expenditures" would alter the distribution proportions significantly to A&M's disadvantage. Changing the distribution methodology to "restricted research" was strongly considered during the legislative discussions.
HB 1684 by Brown, Betty / Estes - Relating to the creation and administration of the rural veterinarian loan repayment program. HB 1684 amends the Government Code to create a rural veterinarian loan repayment program in the Office of Rural Community Affairs (ORCA). The new program will provide loan repayment assistance to veterinarians who agree to practice veterinary medicine on livestock or deer in a designated rural area. The program will be funded by the Permanent Endowment Fund for Rural Communities Health Care Investment Program (Fund) which is held outside the treasury. The amount available for distribution from the fund will be appropriated equally for the rural veterinarian loan repayment program and the health professional loan reimbursement program, which currently receives all appropriations from the Fund. The bill authorizes the board to provide repayment assistance to a veterinarian for up to four years.
HB 4586 by Pitts / Ogden - Relating to making supplemental appropriations and reductions in appropriations and giving direction and adjustment authority and prescribing limitations regarding appropriations. HB 4586 contains 102 Sections of supplemental and emergency appropriations for multiple state agencies and institutions. Specifically pertaining to Texas A&M University at Galveston is "SECTION55.APPROPRIATIONS FOR GENERAL COSTS CAUSED BY NATURAL DISASTERS. (a) The following amounts are appropriated out of the general revenue fund to the following agencies and institutions of higher education for the two-year period beginning on the effective date of this Act for the purpose of paying for, or reimbursing payments made for, costs incurred by the agencies or institutions associated with damages or disruptions caused by natural disasters that occurred before the effective date of this Act during the state fiscal biennium that began September 1, 2007: Texas A&M Galveston: $6,200,000." Of this amount, $500,000 is intended for debt service related to the tuition revenue bond authorization granted in HB 51. Texas A&M University at Galveston sustained damage and losses due to Hurricane Ike in excess of $12 million. TAMUG estimates that it will recover over $6 million from FEMA and other external sources separate from this appropriation.
SB 175 by Shapiro / Branch - relating to the automatic admission of undergraduate students to certain general academic teaching institutions and to scholarship and other programs to facilitate enrollment at institutions of higher education. SB 175 amends Texas Education Code Section 51.803(a-1), relating to the current automatic admission of high school students graduating in the top ten percent of their class. The main purpose of SB 175 is the specific authorization for the University of Texas at Austin to limit automatic admissions to 75 percent of its first time Texas resident undergraduate student enrollment capacity in an academic year. Other provisions in SB 175 are detailed in the Academic section of this report. However, one provision was included which addresses a policy at Texas A&M University. SECTION 1., Subsection (k) (2) states that an institution may not limit the automatic admissions to 75% if "the institution's governing board by rule, policy, or other manner has provided that an applicant's race or ethnicity may not be considered as a factor in the institution's decisions relating to first-time undergraduate admissions, except that this subdivision does not apply to an institution that did not consider, on or before June 1, 2009, an applicant's race or ethnicity as a factor in its admissions of first-time resident undergraduate students for the 2009-2010 academic year." Effectively, this subsection will allow Texas A&M University to continue its policy of not considering race in admissions, without jeopardizing future inclusion in the provisions SB 175.
SB 175 also amends Texas Education Code Section 51.8035 to allow automatic admission for transfer undergraduate students for students who would have qualified for automatic admission at the time of their high school graduation and meet other listed criteria. This section is applicable to all institutions and constitutes a significant change for Texas A&M University.
SB 504 by Ogden / Brown, Fred - Relating to the use of land on the main campus of Texas A&M University in College Station. SB 504 increases the surface area leased to the A&M Foundation from Texas A&M University. The increase is from five acres to eight.
SB 862 by Eltife / Geren - Relating to practices and professions regulated by the Real Estate Commission. SB 862 amends the Occupations Code, relating to practices and professions regulated by theTexas Real Estate Commission (TREC). The bill clarifies that TREC may collect fees in amounts reasonable and necessary to cover the costs of administering and implementing the provisions of Chapter 1101 of the Code regarding real estate brokers and salespersons. Specifically, from the $200 fee for an individual brokers license, the $50 share deposited to Foundation School Fund 0193 will be unchanged; the General Revenue Fund 0001 share will be reduced from $150 to $100; and the remaining $50 will be deposited to the credit of Texas A&M University in a separate banking account that is appropriated only to support, maintain, and carry out the purposes, objectives, and duties of Texas Real Estate Research Center, a unit of the Mays Business School. The provision for Texas A&M University does not take effect until September 2011. The last fee increase took place in 1995.
Prairie View A&M University
SB 1334 by Hegar/Zerwas - Relating to continuation of the intercollegiate athletics fee for students at Prairie View A&M University. In 2003, the legislature authorized the imposition of an athletics fee at Prairie View A&M University for the first time but included a sunset provision abolishing the fee on September 1, 2013. SB 1334 adds an exception to the expiration date on the athletics fee at Prairie View A&M University, continuing the fee if, before the end of the 2012-2013 academic year, The Texas A&M University System board of regents issues bonds that are payable wholly or partly from the fee and continuing the fee only until such bonds are fully paid.
Texas A&M University System Health Science Center
HB 1672 by Crownover/Deuell - Relating to newborn screening. The Texas newborn screening program conducts ongoing tests to improve the identification of genetic newborn disorders that can cause physical and cognitive disabilities or death. Once these disorders are identified, negative outcomes for families can often be averted through proper medical care and nutrition. TAMHSC School of Rural Public Health provides storage space to Department of State Health Services for the specimens following testing. HB1672 requires the DSHS to include sickle-cell trait in the screening for heritable diseases conducted under the Newborn Screening Program. The bill requires DSHS to develop a statement that clearly discloses to the parent, managing conservator, or guardian of a newborn child subjected to screening tests that DSHS or a laboratory established or approved by DSHS is authorized to retain for use by DSHS or the laboratory genetic material used to conduct the newborn screening tests. The bill discloses how the material is managed and used and that the parent, managing conservator, or guardian is authorized to limit the use of genetic material by providing to DSHS a written statement prohibiting DSHS or the laboratory from retaining the genetic material or using the genetic material for any purpose other than the conduct of newborn screening tests. The bill requires that the disclosure statement be included on the form developed by DSHS to inform parents about newborn screening. The bill requires the physician attending a newborn child or the person attending the delivery of a newborn child that is not attended by a physician, at the time a newborn child is subjected to screening tests must provide the parent, managing conservator, or guardian of a newborn child a copy of the written disclosure statement developed by DSHS. Further, DSHS is to establish procedures for a physician attending a newborn child or the person attending the delivery of a newborn child to provide verification that the physician or person has provided the parent, managing conservator, or guardian of the newborn child the disclosure. The bill authorized a parent, managing conservator, or guardian of a newborn child to file with DSHS a signed written statement prohibiting DSHS or a laboratory established or approved by DSHS from retaining any genetic material related to the newborn screening tests conducted under this chapter or using the genetic material for any purpose other than the conduct of the newborn screening tests. DSHS or the laboratory is then required, not later than the 60th day after DSHS receives the written statement, to destroy the genetic material used in the screening tests. An allowance is made for an adult individual to file with DSHS a written statement instructing DSHS or a laboratory established or approved by DSHS to destroy any genetic material of the individual that has been retained.
With regard to confidentiality, the bill provides that reports, records, and information obtained or developed by DSHS under this chapter are confidential and are not subject to disclosure under Chapter 552 (Public Information), Government Code, are not subject to subpoena, and are prohibited from otherwise being released or made public except as provided by this section. Reports, records, and information obtained or developed by DSHS, notwithstanding other law, may be disclosed for purposes of diagnosis or follow-up with the consent of each identified individual or an individual authorized to consent on behalf of an identified child; as authorized by court order; to a medical examiner authorized to conduct an autopsy on a child or an inquest on the death of a child; or to public health programs of DSHS for public health research purposes provided that the disclosure is approved by an institutional review board or privacy board of DSHS as authorized by the federal privacy requirements adopted under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (Pub. L. No. 104-191) contained in 45 C.F.R. Part 160 and 45 C.F.R. Part 164, Subparts A and E.
HB 1672 authorizes that reports, records, and information that do not identify a child or the family of a child, notwithstanding other law, to be released without consent if the disclosure is for statistical purposes; purposes related to obtaining or maintaining certification, approval, or quality assurance for DSHS's laboratory or a public or private laboratory to perform newborn screening tests; purposes relating to review, quality assurance, or improvement of DSHS's newborn screening program services; research purposes, provided that the disclosure is approved by an institutional review board or privacy board of TDH; or quality assurance related to equipment and supplies, provided that certain qualifications are met. The bill prohibits a state officer or employee, a TDH contractor, or TDH contractor's employee, officer, director, or subcontractor from being examined in a civil, criminal, special, or other judicial or administrative proceeding as to the existence or contents of records, reports, or information made confidential by this section unless disclosure is authorized by this section.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives is to charge a committee of members selected by the speaker or a house standing committee to conduct an interim study on newborn screening in this state. The bill requires the committee to study the time frame and procedures for the disclosure to the parent, managing conservator, or guardian of a newborn child; analyze whether procedures should be developed by DSHS to provide confirmation to a parent, managing conservator or guardian of a newborn child that a stored specimen has been destroyed as required by a written statement submitted by the parent, managing conservator, or guardian; and study standardization of the disclosure process for health care facilities in this state. DSHS is required to develop the disclosure statement as soon as possible after the law takes effect.
SB 1033 by Fraser/Sheffield - Relating to the purposes and powers of the Temple Health and Bioscience Economic Development District. SB1033 expands the authority of the Temple Health and Bioscience Economic Development District by authorizing it to participate in tax increment reinvestment zones or tax abatement reinvestment zones created by the City of Temple including being the recipient of funds generated by a tax increment reinvestment zone. SB 1033 allows the District to create non-profit corporations to perform biomedical or scientific research or education. Projects funded with ad valorem taxes must be within the District boundaries. Projects funded with any other revenue source may be within or outside the District's boundaries. Properties owned by the District may be mortgaged to guarantee revenue bonds and other District obligations. It appears(is it possible to change "appears" something more certain??) that the District may be a vehicle to provide funding for building projects that could be occupied by the Health Science Center. District could also form non-profit companies to support HSC biomedical research projects, thereby enhancing and accelerating the work of HSC component groups.
Texas Engineering Experiment Station
HB 1796 by Chisum/Watson - Relating to the development of carbon dioxide capture and sequestration in this state. Much of SB 16, the comprehensive air quality bill, was attached to HB 1796 at the end of the session. The bill would require the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to develop standards and rules for the offshore sequestration of carbon dioxide. The bill would also establish the New Technology Implementation Grant under TCEQ to implement new technologies to reduce emissions from facilities and other stationary sources. The bill would require the TCEQ, the Railroad Commission, and the PUC to establish a greenhouse gas registry in which they would participate in the development of federal greenhouse gas reporting requirements. Specifically for the Texas Engineering Experiment Station, Energy Systems Laboratory, the bill extends the Texas Emissions Reduction Program and related fees until 2019, thereby continuing TEES' funding and duties relating to calculating emissions reductions from energy codes and efficiency programs. The bill authorizes 1.5% of the TERP fund to TEES and changes the TEES contract for emissions reductions related to wind and other renewable sources, directing the current funding level of $216,000 to come from a direct grant from the TCEQ.
Texas AgriLife Extension Station
HB 865 by Swinford/Hegar- Relating to the establishment of the Texas Invasive Species Coordinating Committee. HB 865 establishes the committee to serve as a catalyst for cooperation between state agencies in the area of invasive species control and facilitate governmental efforts to prevent and manage invasive species. This committee will make recommendations to state agencies regarding research, technology transfer, and management actions related toinvasive species control. Texas Agrilife Extension is one of the six agencies that will have a representative on the committee.
HB 3429 by Gutierrez/Van de Putte- Relating to certain program and reporting duties of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service. HB 3429 ensures that as Texas progresses toward addressing childhood obesity issues among pre-school aged children, the experience and expertise of Texas AgriLife Extension is utilized by the larger agencies responsible for the administration of various related education and nutrition programs. The bill further requires the Texas AgriLife Extension to send a report on their Better Living for Texans and the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Programs to the legislature and the commissioners of Department of State Health Services, Texas Education Agency and Texas Department of Agriculture.
SB 395 by Lucio/Lucio III- Relating to creation of the Early Childhood Health and Nutrition Interagency Council. SB 395 creates an eight person Early Childhood Health and Nutrition Interagency Council (council) to develop an early childhood nutrition and physical activity plan. The council is required to study existing nutrition and physical activity programs and requirements in early childhood settings and consult with key stakeholders to identify barriers to improving related standards. The council is also required to develop an early childhood nutrition and physical activity plan with a recommended timeline for implementation over a six-year period. A representative from Texas AgriLife Extension will be appointed by the director of AgriLife Extension to serve on the Council.
SB 1693 by Ogden/Cook- Relating to the regulation of poultry facilities and poultry litter by the State Soil and Water Conservation Board and to the enforcement authority of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. SB 1693 requires the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to respond and investigate complaints concerning odor associated with poultry facilities. The bill would require owners or operators of new poultry facilities to complete a poultry facility training course on the prevention of odor nuisances from the Texas AgriLife Extension Service. The bill would authorize Texas AgriLife Extension Service to collect a fee from an owner or operator of a poultry facility to offset the costs of this course.
SB 1779 by Hinojosa/Martinez- Relating to the establishment of the official citrus producers' pest and disease management corporation; providing penalties. SB 1779 creates the Texas Citrus Pest and Disease Management Corporation, Inc. The corporation would be a Texas nonprofit corporation that would be recognized by the Department of Agriculture (TDA) as the entity to plan, carry out, and operate suppression programs to manage and control the Asian citrus psyllid and citrus greening in citrus plants in Texas under the supervision of TDA. Agrilife Extension would help with the referendum.
Texas Forest Service
HB 2914 by McReynolds/Nichols- Relating to the establishment of a fuel mitigation pilot grant program for fire departments. HB 2914 authorizes the Texas Forest Service to establish and administer a fuel mitigation pilot grant program to assist land owners to cope with excess fuel (grasses and brush) that contribute to wildfire intensity. The bill allows the Texas Forest Service to solicit and accept gifts, grants, and donations from public or private sources to help fund this pilot program.
HB 3340 by Hopson/Nichols- Relating to the conveyance of certain state forest land in Cherokee County under the control of the board of regents of The Texas A&M University System. HB 3340 is a land exchange bill that authorizes the board of regents of The Texas A&M University System to convey certain described real property in Cherokee County and to provide better access for enhanced management by the Texas Forest Service.
HB 4002 by Swinford/Duncan- Relating to the funding of the statewide wildfire protection plan at the Texas Forest Service. Following the 1998 fire season, the Texas Forest Service (TFS) developed the Texas Wildfire Protection Plan (TWPP), which was funded in 1999 as a pilot project by the Texas Legislature. TFS has successfully implemented the plan, which has since been adopted as a national model, and TWPP is a proactive interagency response model emphasizing risk prevention and unified operations among local, state, and federal responders. HB 4002 authorizes TFS to expend an amount not to exceed $5 million for each year from the Volunteer Fire Department Assistance Fund for staffing and operating costs associated with the preparation and delivery of the service's statewide wildfire protection plan.
SB 2 (81st Legislature, 1st Called Special Session,) by Hegar/Isett - Relating to the governmental entities subject to the sunset review process. SB 2 changes the Sunset review date from 2009 to 2011 for six agencies that had been evaluated in preparation for the 81st Legislature. These agencies include Equine Research Account Advisory Committee; Texas Racing Commission; Texas State Affordable Housing Corporation; Texas Department of Insurance; Office of Public Insurance Counsel and the Texas Department of Transportation. The bill limits the reviews of these agencies to a review of the appropriateness of recommendations already made by the Sunset Commission. The bill also subjects the Texas Forest Service to the Sunset process, to be reviewed in 2011. In addition, the bill balances the Commission's workload by moving the Sunset review dates from 2013 to 2011 for certain environmental agencies and pushing back sunset dates for criminal justice and health and human services agencies. SB 2 requires a special purpose review of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), as part of the 2011 review of the Public Utility Commission, stipulates that ERCOT and the Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority (as required by SB 1263, 81st Legislature, Regular Session) will pay the costs incurred by the Sunset Commission of performing those Sunset reviews.