COVID-19 Texas News for LobbyistsTexas Lobbyist News 2020

Sunset Commission Cancels Upcoming Meeting

COVID-19 has affected many typical interim legislative activities. Recently, it has caused much consternation for the Sunset Commission. The Sunset Commission conducts reviews of state agencies during every legislative interim, which include public hearings and legislative recommendations that must be finalized before the 87th Legislative Session. Chairman John Cyrier has been diligently trying to meet these deadlines and conduct the necessary hearings in a safe and open manner.

The Sunset Commission held a planning meeting on August 4, where there was disagreement between House and Senate Sunset Commission members on the best way to conduct future hearings. Following that meeting, Chairman Cyrier released a letter canceling their next scheduled meeting:

“While our meeting scheduled on August 19, 2020 was intended to have in-person, invited testimony only, I have already received feedback from individuals not comfortable showing up in person to testify before the Commission. Therefore, due to the risk and uncertainty of these times, the August 19 meeting has been canceled.

Sunset Commission staff will continue to complete the reviews and reports for each of the agencies scheduled this cycle. My staff and I will continue to work with interested parties, state agencies, and the Commission to successfully complete our duties.”

Read the full letter here.

House Committees Continue Requesting Information on Interim Charges

Thirteen House Committees and all five House Appropriations Subcommittees have posted Requests for Information (RFIs) relating to the Committees’ interim charges. Posting these RFIs is one of the options for House Committees to continue conducting interim charge research during the COVID-19 pandemic. The full list of Committee postings and requirements is available here.

In the coming weeks, more Committees are expected to post similar RFIs.

House Administration Committee Releases COVID-19 House Member Survey Results 

This week, House Administration Chairman Charlie Geren released the results of a survey soliciting input from House Members on reopening the Texas Capitol and legislative session safety requirements. Over 110 of the 150 House Members responded to the survey. More than 87 percent of respondents support temperature checks at the Capitol, nearly 83 percent favor requiring a face mask in common areas and public spaces, and around 73 percent favor requiring COVID-19 testing during session. To see the entire list of responses, see the link below:

Read the survey response here.