Speaker Straus Outlines Priorities In Interim Charges For Texas House Of Representatives

AUSTIN—Texas House Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio) charged members of the Texas House of Representatives with studying 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.

“Members of the Texas House are dedicated public servants whose jobs extend well beyond the 140 days the Legislature is in session every two years,” said Speaker Straus. “During the next year, our Members will look at ways to strengthen our state’s economy, improve our transportation infrastructure, address our water challenges, improve public and higher education, and work toward a stronger and more prosperous future for all Texans. 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.”

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 a letter introducing the charges, Speaker Straus challenged the members, saying: “From our growing population to the severe drought that is plaguing our state, Texas is in a period of significant change. We are responsible for handling these changes in a way that makes our state government more efficient and responsive to the evolving needs of our changing communities.”

In addition to charges for each of the standing committees of the Texas House, Speaker 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 December 1, 2012.

For a full list of the 82nd interim charges, please visit: http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/speaker/#interim-charges


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