Vote Notices

Vote Notice 5.1.23

April 29, 2023
TFR Staff
88th Legislative Session

Texas Senate

Subject: Choice of Virtual School Classes, Senate Bill 1068 (SB 1068)

  • Author: State Sen. Mayes Middleton (R-Galveston)
  • TFR Position: Support
  • Background: SB 1068 seeks to end the virtual school moratorium and allows students and parents the choice of virtual school classes. SB 1068 is a step towards empowering parents by allowing more choices for students to attend certain classes that are available virtually. Choice in education is key to successful outcomes. For this reason, TFR supports SB 1068.

Subject: Anti-Free Enterprise, Senate Bill 1268 (SB 1268)

  • Author: State Sen. Nathan Johnson (D-Dallas)
  • TFR Position: Oppose
  • Background: Although well-intentioned, the state government requiring the way in which an insurance carrier handles the release for depreciation should ultimately be up to them. Their decision to use preferred contractors is also up to them. The government interjecting itself into the claims process hurts free enterprise and liberty. Bad actors will always exist, but ultimately, we must choose between liberty or government-controlled security. For this reason, TFR opposes SB 1268.

Subject: Taxpayer Money to Urban Farm MicroEnterprise Support Program, Senate Bill 1348 (SB 1348)

  • Author: State Sen. Borris Miles (D-Houston)
  • TFR Position: Oppose
  • Background: SB 1348 seeks would remove an existing provision that prohibits the use of state money (i.e. taxpayer dollars) for the Urban Farm MicroEnterprise Support Program. Included in the proposed budget (HB 1) is $15 million for this purpose. TFR is opposed to corporate welfare no matter who it benefits. Taxpayer money should never be used to pick winners and losers, instead, lawmakers should let free enterprise work and all Texans will be better off. For these reasons, TFR opposes SB 1348.

Subject: Increasing Barriers to Entry for Dieticians, Senate Bill 2016 (SB 2016)

  • Author: State Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo)
  • TFR Position: Oppose
  • Background: SB 2016 seeks to increase the prerequisites to be a licensed dietician based on the standards from the Commission on Dietetic Registration. SB 2016 would increase the prerequisites for a license from that of a baccalaureate degree to that of at least a master’s degree. Texas should never be in the business of making it harder for Texans to work. By increasing barriers to entry and regulation, SB 2016 stifles free enterprise and ultimately hurts those wanting to work. For this reason, TFR opposes SB 2016.

Texas House of Representatives

Subject: Expansion of Rural Veterinarian Incentive Program, House Bill 2026 (HB 2026)

  • Author: State Rep. Drew Darby (R-San Angelo)
  • TFR Position: Oppose
  • Background: HB 2026 seeks to expand the already existing rural veterinarian incentive program enacted in the previous legislative session. HB 2026 specifically changes the entity with which program participants must enter into an agreement from a university system to that of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB), extends the program eligibility to out-of-state students, and expands the number of counties that could qualify by increasing the population threshold from 100k to 150k. Put simply, HB 2026 expands the subsidy for rural veterinarians and ultimately is a perfect example of the problematic nature of all corporate welfare and government incentive schemes. No programs ever get smaller, only larger. TFR opposes the expansion of this subsidy program just as we opposed its creation of it in the last legislative session.

Subject: Increasing Market Competition in Healthcare, House Bill 2414 (HB 2414)

  • Author: State Rep. James Frank (R-Wichita Falls)
  • TFR Position: Support
  • Background: HB 2414 seeks to allow insurance companies to incentivize patients for choosing lower-cost providers. This is a step in the right direction to give more options to customers to lower their bottom line since current regulation stifles competition in this way. HB 2414 ultimately helps taxpayers by giving them more options such as modified deductibles, copayments, coinsurance, or other cost-sharing provisions. For these reasons, TFR supports HB 2414.

Subject: Corporate Welfare That Steals From Property Tax Relief, House Bill 3600 (HB 3600)

  • Author: State Rep. Four Price (R-Amarillo)
  • TFR Position: Oppose
  • Background: HB 3600 seeks to create a Multimedia Production Program, or corporate welfare program, to subsidize Hollywood entertainment, even though another problematic program already exists in the Moving Image Industry Incentive Program (MIIIP). Moreover, the MIIIP is subject to appropriations by the Texas Legislature, whereas, HB 3600 would create an unlimited tax credit entitlement program. HB 3600 also lacks transparency and a sunset provision, essentially ensuring the cost of such a program would be unlimited. To make matters even worse it is estimated to cost Texas taxpayers nearly $1 billion by the end of the biennium from all funds and take an estimated $137 million from the Property Tax Relief Fund for the 2026-27 biennium. TFR opposes corporate welfare, in all its forms, but especially when it takes from property tax relief. For all of these reasons, TFR strongly opposes HB 3600.

Subject: Creation of the Texas Pharmaceutical Initiative, House Bill 4990 (HB 4990)

  • Author: State Rep. Greg Bonnen (R-Friendswood)
  • TFR Position: Oppose
  • Background: HB 4990 creates the Texas Pharmaceutical Initiative, or subsidy program to provide cost-effective access to prescription drugs and other medical supplies for employees, dependents, and retirees of public higher education systems as well as members of the Employees Retirement System (ERS), Teachers Retirement System (TRS), inmates of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) system and Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD), Medicaid recipients, and enrollees of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Although well-intentioned, the problem with high medicine prices is a direct result of government regulation to begin with. Creating a subsidy program using tax dollars will not solve the problem, a problem that can only be solved with radical deregulation. TFR opposes subsidies as they are anti-free enterprise. For this reason, TFR opposes HB 4990.

Subject: Creation of an Occupational License for Music Therapy, House Bill 667 (HB 667)

  • Author: State Rep. Ann Johnson (D-Houston)
  • TFR Position: Oppose
  • Background: HB 667 seeks to create an occupational license for music therapists. Johnson filed the same legislation last legislative session, and though it was put on a House Calendar, it was never considered. Occupational licenses only raise barriers to entry, thereby stifling job growth and taxpayers. The Texas Legislature should be actively repealing licensure schemes and removing barriers to entry, not creating new ones. TFR opposes all occupational licenses. For this reason, TFR opposes HB667.

Reminder: Vote Notices are provided to both Texas state lawmakers and the general public in advance of Texans for Fiscal Responsibility’s position on issues to be rated as part of the Fiscal Responsibility Index prior to votes being taken in each legislative chamber.

Disclaimer: We reserve the right to consider amendments to legislation that may be introduced without notice as a part of issues to be rated as part of the Fiscal Responsibility Index. We will make every effort to provide notice on amendments that are pre-filed.