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News News
Interim Charges for House Committees
Article By: by Texas State Rep. Larry Phillips
Posted: 2/18/2014 Views: 477  Impressions: 2887
Categories: Politics



This week I will discuss the interim charges recently issued to the House Committee on Appropriations. The Appropriations Committee is the largest committee in the House with twenty-seven members, and is charged with preparing the state's biennial budget. The Committee has sixteen charges, and I will write about half of them this week, and the next half the following week. Interim charges are the issues that the Speaker asks committees to study during the time between regular legislative sessions in order to make recommendations for legislation for the following legislative session. The charges are good indicators of what legislation the legislature will take up during the next session. Legislators rely on public input when crafting legislation, and it is important that they hear from people during the interim.

HOUSE COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS:

* Monitor the performance of state agencies and institutions, including operating budgets, plans to carry out legislative initiatives and planned budget reductions, caseload projections, performance measure attainment, implementation of all rider provisions, and any other matter affecting the fiscal condition of the agencies and the state.
* Examine progress made during the 83rd legislative session on reducing the reliance on dedicated accounts for budget certification. Recommend additional methods to further reduce the reliance on dedicated accounts for budget certification purposes, and further examine ways to maximize the use of such accounts.
* Monitor the administration of the Correctional Managed Health Care system and examine forecasts for short and long-term criminal justice populations and health care cost trends. (Joint charge with the House Committee on Corrections)
* Examine exempt compensation salary levels for senior and executive management personnel, as well as the use of non-state funds to provide salary supplements.
* Examine short and long-term deferred maintenance costs for state facilities and approaches to deal with these costs in light of limited remaining General Obligation bond authority.
* Examine the status of the state's information technology (IT) infrastructure, the effectiveness of data center consolidation in reducing IT costs, and the effectiveness of the Department of Information Resources' Cooperative Contracts Program in delivering best value for the state in IT purchases.
* Monitor the implementation of cost-containment initiatives in health and human services programs as directed by the 2014-2015 appropriations bill. Recommend additional opportunities for cost containment, including but not limited to, improvements in the procurement of durable medical equipment and increased medication adherence among Medicaid clients.
* Monitor the administration of new state funding to expand behavioral health services in Texas. Make recommendations to improve coordination and prevent duplication of effort, including the behavioral health projects funded through the Medicaid 1115 waiver. Evaluate the methodology utilized by the state to fund the public mental health system in order to assess improvements in how mental health funds and associated performance targets are allocated throughout the state. Develop funding recommendations that emphasize equity in funding and performance expectations, improving outcomes, the attainment of performance targets, population needs, availability of local resources, and geographic diversity.

The House Committee on Appropriations can be reached at 512-463-1091. For more information on these charges or any other matter of state government, please contact my office by writing to P.O. Box 2910, Austin, TX 78768-2910 or by emailing me at larry.phillips@house.state.tx.us. My district office phone number is (903) 891-7297.




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