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Speaker Straus Releases House Interim Charges

Thursday afternoon Texas House Speaker Joe Straus released the interim committee charges for the Texas House of Representatives.

The TAC Legislative Department will provide analysis of the charges in an upcoming edition of County Issues.

The charges study a range of issues crucial to Texas’ future, including ways to attract more manufacturing jobs and build on economic development efforts; enhance public and higher education; improve wildfire response and address water needs made more critical by the drought; improve the state’s transportation infrastructure; reduce state debt; and make government more efficient and effective.

House committees will conduct comprehensive studies of the issues outlined in the interim charges during the 15 months between now and the next legislative session. The findings will ultimately form the foundation of legislation to be considered during the 83rd Legislative session in 2013.

“During a time of ongoing budget challenges, I am also especially interested in greater transparency, accountability and efficiency in our state budget, and greater effectiveness in state services such as reducing wait times for drivers’ licenses,” Straus said.

The interim charges are developed in two ways: members of the Legislature submit priorities for study, and the speaker includes his own priorities for review. Each of the House’s standing committees will study specific areas. The charges also include areas of special focus driven by pressing current events such as the ongoing drought and its impact on the state water plan, which will be reviewed by the House Committee on Natural Resources.

In addition to charges for each of the standing committees of the Texas House, Straus also identified two comprehensive charges that every substantive committee is to consider during the interim. These charges focus on economic growth by (1) improving the state's manufacturing capability; and (2) finding ways to increase transparency, accountability and efficiency in state government. Each committee is to submit a final report no later than Dec. 1, 2012.