Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst has released select interim charges to the Jurisprudence Committee, Select Committee on Open Government, Committee on State Affairs and Committee on Natural Resources.
The Jurisprudence Committee charges include a study of the current array of criminal court costs and civil filing fees, a review of the laws governing the transfer of judges and exchange of benches in district courts, and an examination of court processes in child protection cases.
The Senate Select Committee on Open Government has been tasked to evaluate the need for certain revisions to the Public Information Act, review record retention policies for state and local governments, and study ways to define and address frivolous and/or overly-burdensome open records requests.
The Senate Committee on State Affairs has been charged to monitor the potential impact of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on insurance regulations, Medicaid and CHIP, health care outcomes and the state budget in Texas. The committee has also been directed to monitor the implementation of the MOVE Act and the impact on local and statewide elections and military voters, among other charges.
The Senate Committee on Natural Resources’ charges include studying various aspects of the implementation of the State Water Plan, the use of surface and groundwater in hydraulic fracturing, possible consolidation of groundwater districts along major aquifer lines, bundling of small water and sewer systems by a single investor-owned utility in rural and unincorporated areas of the state, allocations of funds in the Texas Emissions Reduction Plan and assessment of the program’s future, and monitoring the Barnett and Eagle Ford shale plays. The Senate website includes a full list of charges released to date.