Committee on State Affairs Receives Interim Charges

Published 6:02 am Thursday, November 28, 2019

Special to the Leader


AUSTIN – Speaker Dennis Bonnen has announced House committee interim charges for the 86th Legislative Session. 

As the Chairman of the House Committee on State Affairs, Representative Phelan had the following to say regarding interim charges: 

“I am grateful for the opportunity to continue to improve the lives of all Texans through the important work done by our committee in the interim. The work done in this important time period will lay the foundation for the laws that will be passed during our next legislative session in 2021 and will also serve the important task of monitoring the implementation of laws that were passed during our most recent legislative session.” 

Below you will find the official interim charges: 

  1. Monitor the agencies and programs under the Committee’s jurisdiction and oversee the implementation of relevant legislation passed by the 86th Legislature. Conduct active oversight of all associated rulemaking and other governmental actions taken to ensure the intended legislative outcome of all legislation, including the following: 
  • SB 14, HB1960, and HB 2422, which relate to broadband services provided by electric cooperatives. Monitor the implementation of the legislation, including the status of rural electric cooperatives deploying broadband fiber in underserved areas. Monitor the efforts of the Texas Department of Transportation in executing state coordination of certain broadband development projects in rural areas. 
  • SB 475 and SB 936, which relate to the security of the state’s electric grid. Monitor the creation of the Texas Electric Grid Security Council and its efforts to facilitate the aggregation, coordination, and dissemination of best security practices for the electric industry, including generation, transmission, and delivery of electricity. Evaluate the efforts between the PublicUtility Commission ofTexas (PUC), electric utilities, and the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) to ensure collaboration related to cybersecurity issues and make recommendations to achieve the highest level of security within the state’s electric grid. 
  • SB 943, SB 944, and SB 1640, which relate to the Public Information Act and the Texas Open Meetings Act. Examine the implementation of the legislation and determine if additional changes to the Public Information Act or Open Meetings Act are necessary. 
  • SB 1152, which relates to municipal fees from telecommunications and cable or video service providers. Monitor the effects of legislation to modernize telecommunications fee structures that support public services and determine the relevance and necessity of other cable and video fees. 
  • SB 1497, which relates to the registration and regulation of brokers by the Public Utility Commission. Evaluate the effects of requiring registration with the Public Utility Commission of a person providing electric brokerage services and whether these efforts have assisted with customer complaints and corrective measures, deterred entities acting in bad faith, and increased customer protections in the retail electric market. 
  1. Receive an update on the 2020 electric reliability forecasts announced by ERCOT and review operational successes and issues from the summer of 2019. The Committee will receive invited testimony from the PUC, ERCOT and other interested parties. Study the electric market to determine potential barriers in attracting sufficient energy supply; examine the obstacles and/or incentives for the development and deployment of new energy supply technology and peak system energy demand management technology; evaluate opportunities for competitive development of energy supply microgrids and the potential for enhancing reliability by transitioning municipally-owned utilities to focus on transmission and distribution functions. Examine the enhancement of retail customers’ energy supply management capability through the promotion of greater retail price transparency. Examine and make recommendations concerning the build-out of necessary infrastructure to support the increased proliferation of electric vehicles, considering impacts to consumers. 
  2. Study the regulation and use of unmanned aircraft in Texas, including the appropriate use of drone technology in responding to and recovering from a natural disaster. Examine opportunities for public and private sector utilization of this emerging technology while ensuring privacy protections for individuals. 
  3. Study how governmental entities use public funds for political lobbying purposes. Examine what types of governmental entities use public funds for lobbying purposes. Make recommendations to protect taxpayers from paying for lobbyists who may not represent the taxpayers’ interests. 
  4. Examine whether adequate ethics laws, including reporting requirements, exist relating to legislator solicitation of non-state funds, including lobby and corporate funds, used to sponsor both national and international travel for junkets and so-called “fact-finding” trips. Make recommendations for potential statutory changes relating to transparency or prohibitions. 
  5. Monitor the State Auditor’s review of agencies and programs under the Committee’s jurisdiction. The Chair shall seek input and periodic briefings on completed audits for the 2019 and 2020 fiscal years and bring forth pertinent issues for full committee consideration.