Texas Legislative Sessions

85th Legislative Session

The Texas Legislature ended its 85th regular legislative session on May 29, 2017 and conducted its first called special session from July 18 to August 15, 2017. The interim period between legislative sessions will continue until the 86th regular legislative session begins on January 8, 2019.

Regular and Special Session Review

The Health and Human Services Budget Overview includes information about budget decisions made during the 85th regular legislative session. Programs and services covered in the overview include community services, Promoting Independence, rate reductions, Early Childhood Intervention, State Supported Living Centers, and more. For information and analysis about select disability-related bills that passed or failed during the regular session, check out our Legislative Session Bill Tracking Reports. The Special Session Recap covers bills that passed during the first called special session, which includes bills related to do-not-resuscitate orders, education, and voting.

Interim Charges

During the interim between legislative sessions, committees are charged to study key issues and research information that will help guide future legislative decisions. You can learn about the interim charges that could have the most impact on people with disabilities by visiting our Top 7 Interim Charges webpage. For information about all the interim charges that could affect people with disabilities and their families, visit our Key Interim Charges webpage.

84th Texas Legislature

The Texas Legislature meets in a regular session every two years, convening on the second Tuesday in January of every odd-numbered year. These biennial sessions are limited to 140 days. The governor can also call additional special sessions as necessary, which cannot exceed 30 days. The 84th Legislative Session is January 13, through June 1, 2015.

Interim Committee Charges

During the interim between each legislative session, the Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the House issue charges to committees to study key issues and research information that will help guide future legislative decisions. Interim committees also hold hearings to obtain public input. The Senate and House interim committee charges were released in October and November 2015, respectively. Go to the links below to learn about key interim charges that could impact people with disabilities in Texas:

Health and Human Services Budget

Prior to the start of each legislative session, the Legislative Budget Board and the Governor’s Office of Budget, Policy and Planning jointly issue instructions to each Texas state agency regarding how to develop their Legislative Appropriations Request (LAR) which is their request for money to operate their programs over the next two-year biennium — Fiscal Years 2016–17. Appropriations requests for state general revenue funds may not exceed the sum of those amounts expended in Fiscal Year 2014 and budgeted in Fiscal Year 2015. At the beginning of the legislative session, the House and Senate propose budgets for Texas state agencies. Agencies may submit Exceptional Item requests for priorities that the agency considers of great importance in addition to the base budget.

Committee Decisions on DADS and DARS
The House Appropriations Committee (HAC) and the Senate Finance Committee (SFC) have each adopted their first draft of the 2016-2017 appropriations bill, HB 1 and SB 2 respectively. The items below represent the committees’ decisions regarding the DADS and DARS exceptional items requests. Note that there are a few additional items of interest in the DADS summary, including community attendant wages, enhanced managed care ombudsman, enhancements to Community First Choice, the Children with Special Health Care Needs waiting list, and selected provider rates:

Sunset Review

State agencies are usually reviewed once every 12 years, but TCDD and the health and human service agencies were last reviewed 16 years ago, in 1998–1999, because the Legislature postponed their review twice. The review process began summer 2013 and continued through the 84th Texas Legislative Session.

Some of the agencies under the Sunset review were:

The public can participate in the legislative process on Sunset bills in the same way as any other legislation, through hearings in the Senate and House and contacting legislators who vote on the bills — for more information on participating in the Sunset legislative process, see the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission’s webpage How to Participate.

More information on TCDD’s Sunset Review:

Input to Committees About Developmental Disabilities

The interim period is a good time to get to know your legislators and educate them on disability issues. Individuals who wish to provide input can submit written comments directly to a committee or attend committee hearings.

83rd Texas Legislature

The 83rd Session of the Texas Legislature ended May 27, 2013. TCDD priorities during the 83rd session included appropriations, long term services and supports, education and employment. TCDD policy recommendations included prohibiting organ transplant discrimination and Employment First, and legislation was passed on Employment First.

Interim Committees and Charges

Between each legislative session, the Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the House appoint interim committees to study key issues and research information that will help guide future legislative decisions. Interim committees, which are usually appointed in the fall, hold hearings to obtain public input — see 83rd Legislature Interim Committee Charges on the Texas House of Representatives Committee Interim Reports Archives webpage for a complete list of interim charges.

Final Health and Human Service Budget Decisions

Read the SB1 document PDF — includes a comparison of funding levels for selected health and human service programs important for people with developmental disabilities.

Final Bill Tracking Report

83rd Texas Legislature Final Bill Tracking Report PDF — includes information regarding the outcome of select long-term services and support, education, State Supported Living Center and mental health legislation.

Senate Bill 7

TCDD is closely following Senate Bill 7. Information about the bill is regularly being shared with our TCDD eNews subscribers, in the News and Information Texas Legislature category of this website, and on Twitter.com/TxCDD and Facebook.com/TxCDD pages.

Texas Legislative Appropriations Requests

Summary of DADS, DARS, SDHS, HHSC, TCHCA and TEA Fiscal Years 2014–15 Legislative Appropriations Requests

82nd Texas Legislature

Summary of 82nd Texas Legislature

Texas Legislature Resources

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