Vote Notices

Vote Notice 5.22.23

May 21, 2023
TFR Staff
88th Legislative Session

Texas Senate

Subject: Border Security, House Bill 7 (HB 7)

  • Author: State Rep. Ryan Guillen (R-Rio Grande City)
  • TFR Position: Support
  • Background: HB 7 ultimately seeks to direct needed resources to the border region to provide border security support services in the realms of the judicial system, law enforcement, public safety, and public health. HB 7 also creates a path to compensate property owners for damages caused by crossings between ports of entry among other things. Though TFR ultimately supports this bill we implore Texas lawmakers to ensure appropriate transparency and accountability mechanisms are in place to ensure an efficient and effective use of taxpayer dollars.

Subject: State Sovereignty to Regulate Oil and Gas Operations, House Bill 33 (HB 33)

  • Author: State Rep. Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa)
  • TFR Position: Support
  • Background: HB 33 seeks to prohibit Texas state agencies and officials from assisting any federal agency or official with the enforcement of any federal act that purports to regulate oil and gas operations and imposes a regulation that does not exist under state law.

Subject: Border Security, House Bill 800 (HB 800)

  • Author: State Rep. Ryan Guillen (R-Rio Grande City)
  • TFR Position: Support
  • Background: HB 800 ultimately increases the criminal penalties and establishes 10-year mandatory minimums for certain criminal conduct involving the smuggling of persons, operation of a stash house, or evading arrest or detention. Largely a consequence of the ongoing rampant issues along the Texas-Mexico border and in the absence of effective action by the federal government, HB 800 seeks to deter such activity with severe penalties. Though TFR ultimately supports this bill we implore Texas lawmakers to ensure appropriate transparency and accountability mechanisms are in place to ensure an efficient and effective use of taxpayer dollars. It is possible that with increased penalties comes increased arrests for such activity which in turn will only further burden our criminal justice system.

Subject: Transparency & Accountability for School Board Grievances, House Bill 890 (HB 890)

  • Author: State Rep. Keith Bell (R-Forney)
  • TFR Position: Support
  • Background: HB 890 seeks to require that a school board allow a complaint to be filed at any time, an administrative hearing on the complaint, an opportunity to appeal the administrative decisions, and a resolution of the complaint by a deadline. Current statute does not require a deadline, which leaves those seeking a resolution to their grievance in a sort of limbo. HB 890 provides transparency and accountability. For these reasons, TFR supports HB 890.

Subject: Tax Credits & Corporate Welfare, House Bill 1058 (HB 1058)

  • Author: State Rep. Craig Goldman (R-Ft. Worth)
  • TFR Position: Oppose
  • Background: HB 1058 seeks to provide for franchise and insurance premium tax credits to certain low-income housing developments approved by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs as incentives to encourage investment by private investors in developments they would not normally invest in due to the same housing developments often not generating sufficient profit to warrant such investment. These incentives are antithetical to free enterprise and encourage the government to pick winners over losers. For these reasons, TFR opposes HB 1058.

Subject: Prohibiting Property Owners’ Associations From Preventing Section 8 Housing, House Bill 1193 (HB 1193)

  • Author: State Rep. Chris Turner (D-Grand Prairie)
  • TFR Position: Oppose
  • Background: HB 1193 seeks to prohibit a property owners’ association from denying or prohibiting a property owner from renting to a person based on their method of payment. Ultimately, HB 1193 prevents these associations from prohibiting federal Section 8 housing. Forcing associations to participate in a program that was designed to be voluntary and consists of many bureaucratic issues is burdensome to not only landlords but also to property associations. For these reasons, TFR opposes HB 1193.

Subject: Ensuring Optimal Choice in Government School System, House Bill 1707 (HB 1707)

  • Author: State Rep. Stephanie Klick (R-Fort Worth)
  • TFR Position: Support
  • Background: HB 1707 seeks to ensure that open-enrollment charter schools are treated in the same manner as independent school districts regarding zoning, permitting, code compliance, and other local ordinances. Many urban jurisdictions are leveraging ordinances to increase the costs of open-enrollment charter schools and hindering their mission, to the benefit of independent school districts, even though statute ensures that open-enrollment charter schools are in fact a part of the public school system in the state. TFR supports ensuring that existing choice in the government school system remains optimal. For this reason, TFR supports HB 1707.

Subject: Anti-Free Enterprise, House Bill 4865 (HB 4865)

  • Author: State Rep. Cody Harris (R-Palestine)
  • TFR Position: Oppose
  • Background: HB 4865 seeks to remove barriers from existing Texas statutes that prevent the collection of taxation on remote sales to consumers of cigars and pipe tobacco, allowing the state to collect additional revenue. HB 4865 also seeks to require a permit for such sales to sellers. HB 4865 runs contrary to free enterprise. For this reason, TFR opposes HB 4865.

Subject: Creation of a Grant Program, House Bill 4885 (HB 4885)

  • Author: State Rep. Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa)
  • TFR Position: Oppose
  • Background: HB 4885 seeks to update provisions relating to the Texas emissions reduction plan in order to reallocate funds, revise certain programs, and establish the Texas hydrogen infrastructure, vehicle, and equipment grant program so that the transition to cleaner transportation options is accelerated, leading to improved air quality, reduced environmental impact, and better alignment with emissions reduction goals. Texas needs easy reliable energy, not to buy into the environmental alarmist narrative. TFR opposes HB 4885

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.

Texas House of Representatives

Subject: Prohibition on Government COVID-19 Mandates, Senate Bill 29 (SB 29)

  • Author: State Sen. Brian Birdwell (R-Granbury)
  • TFR Position: Support/Amend
  • Background: SB 29 amends current law to prohibit a governmental entity to mandate a face-covering, the closure of a private business or school, or a person to be vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine. Though TFR supports SB 29 as written, TFR strongly suggests it be amended to include a prohibition on the mandate of any vaccine.

Subject: Eliminating Tenure at General Academic Institutions, Senate Bill 18 (SB 18)

  • Author: State Sen. Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe)
  • TFR Position: Support
  • Background: SB 18 seeks to not allow institutions of higher education to grant tenure or any type of permanent employment status starting on September 1, 2023. Tenure is a policy that works against free enterprise and makes it exceptionally hard to hold professors accountable, especially since they get paid with tax dollars. Ending lifetime contracts is pro-taxpayer and encourages both competition and accountability. For these reasons, TFR supports SB 18.

Subject: Local Government Preemption of Burdensome Regulation, Senate Bill 1117 (SB 1117)

  • Author: State Sen. Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills)
  • TFR Position: Support
  • Background: SB 1117 seeks to prohibit municipalities from charging a cable franchise fee to a video service provider that does not use cable lines. TFR supports the preemption of onerous and burdensome regulation and the imposition of fees by local governmental jurisdictions. For these reasons, TFR supports SB 1117.

Subject: Removing Judges Who Refuse to Follow Texas Law, Senate Bill 21 (SB 21)

  • Author: State Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston)
  • TFR Position: Support
  • Background: SB 21 seeks to expand the State Commission on Judicial Conduct (SCJC) and the Texas Legislature’s ability to examine judicial decisions that have immediate effects on public safety and individual liberties. With this expansion, SCJC would be better situated to remove judges who refuse to follow Texas law. For these reasons, TFR supports SB 21.

Subject: Wound Care Dressing and Menstrual Product Sales Tax Exemption, Senate Bill 379 (SB 379)

  • Author: State Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston)
  • TFR Position: Oppose
  • Background: SB 379 seeks to add wound care dressings and menstrual products sold for the principal purpose of feminine hygiene in connection with the menstrual cycle to the list of sales tax-exempt items. Approving such an exemption would subsequently narrow the tax base and leave less revenue for tax relief that could benefit everyone, as opposed to only those who would purchase such products. Sales taxes should tax all final consumer purchases, without regard to whether items are classified as necessities or luxuries. Exempting such products from the sales tax base would result in less revenue for the state, leading to higher overall rates in the long run if spending is also not simultaneously cut to make up for the shortfall. For these reasons, TFR opposes SB 379.

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.