Lieutenant Governor Patrick Issues 2024 Senate Interim Charges

Thursday, Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick (R) issued 57 Interim Charges for Senate Committees to consider ahead of the 89th Legislative Session while also indicating additions to the list are forthcoming.

What Are Interim Charges?

Interim charges are directives issued to a legislative committee by either the Lieutenant Governor, as the official who presides over the Texas Senate, or the Speaker of the House, as the official who presides over the Texas House of Representatives to study or focus on specific issues ahead of the next legislative session. The results of such studies will be published in an Interim Report which details the committee’s findings ahead of the next legislative session.

The 89th Legislative Session commences on January 14, 2025.

Highlights

Some of the highlights from the overall list include:

  • The Senate Business and Commerce Committee is tasked with assessing the state electricity market, examining the impact of innovative power generation technologies, and ensuring reliable energy supply amid Texas’s rapid growth. It will also consider the financial and environmental implications of the Texas Energy Fund and other legislative measures.

  • The Senate Criminal Justice Committee will delve into issues such as the use of deepfake technology by child predators, bail reform, and the general improvement of the state’s criminal justice system.

  • The Senate Education Committee is charged with finding ways to boost early readiness in reading and math and reforming the STARR test.

  • The Senate Finance Committee is charged with further identifying the best ways to continue property tax relief measures, including a further increase to the homestead exemption and compression of the maintenance and operations (M&O) portion of the property tax. Moreover, they are also tasked with establishing the cost of eliminating the school M&O portion of the property tax, all school property taxes in general, and all property taxes while simultaneously determining the fiscal implications for each action.

  • The Senate Higher Education Committee is charged with reviewing and analyzing the structures and governance in higher education, focusing on the role of “faculty senates” and similar organizations in representing faculty interests to higher education institution administrations. They are also charged with monitoring the ban on discriminatory DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) policies implemented by the passage of Senate Bill 17 in the 88th Legislative Session. They are also directed to review higher education campus policies to prevent antisemitism.

  • The Local Government Committee is charged with reporting on the effects of previously passed property tax relief and reform efforts as well as how local governments are spending funds that were directly distributed to them using things like the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) for things like a guaranteed income pilot program or universal basic income (UBI) as promoted by Harris County.

  • The State Affairs Committee is directed to identify threats to Texas’s e election security as well as a study of the impact of social media use on children. They are also directed to study the impact of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) factors on state public pension plans.

The full list of the Texas Senate’s 2024 Interim Legislative Charges can be found here:

Lt. Gov. Patrick’s Statement

In announcing the 2024 Interim Charges, Lt. Gov. Patrick said the following,

“The 57 interim charges I released today reflect issues that Texans have asked us to study. Our 31 senators submitted undereds of ideas, with many senators sharing similar proposals. My staff and I worked diligently for weeks to review each request, and this is the first set of interim charges I am releasing in preparation for the 89th Legislature. We may release a second shorter list of additional charges before next session.”

Statement by Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, 4.11.2024

What About the Other Legislative Chamber?

As of this publication, Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan (R) has not issued interim charges to Texas House committees though it is expected he will do so in short order.

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