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Legislative Session Updates (Not Active)

Last Day to Sign or Veto Has Come and Gone
By TORCH Staff
Posted on 6/24/2019 6:43 PM

The 86th legislative session brought TORCH some historic victories!  This session, we had two important bills we asked to be authored.  

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HB 823 will become law on September 1, 2019!  This creates an expedited process for the initial Health Inspection.  With staffing at all time lows, we saw members waiting up to 8 months for their initial Health Inspection.  Operating with up to three residents can put extreme stress on startup businesses, and we saw a member forced to close.  HB 823 allows those sensitive to delays the opportunity to jump the line, like the Life Safety Expedited process already in the law books.   

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HB 1922 would have required every facility in the state to install a generator, with onsite fuel storage for three days!  Research suggested implementation costs could easily exceed $10,000 per facility, plus annual maintenance! 

Emergency preparedness is extremely important, which is why every licensed facility has a site specific disaster plan drawn to meet the specific situation their region faces.  As we learned in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, any installed generators would have been under water, rendering them useless. A one-size-fits-all Texas solves nothing.  We worked closely with our industry counterparts and were able to defeat this legislation!  

Medicaid expansion continues to be a hot topic and will be studied in the interim.  It will be a top legislative issue in 2021, 565 Days from now.

Big Picture

Texas lawmakers passed  $250.7 billion two-year budget — up 15.7% from the two-year spending plan approved two years ago.

That’s from a Legislature that installed a new 3.5% percent limits on local government property tax increases and 2.5% limits on school district property tax increases. Those governments can exceed those caps only with voter permission. 

The House and Senate had originally agreed to spend $9 billion in new state funds on schools and tax relief, but their final compromise came to around $11.6 billion.

Legislators say the additional $5 billion in the new budget would lower tax rates by an average of 8 cents per $100 property valuation in 2020 and 13 cents in 2021. That would mean a tax cut of $200 for the owner of a $250,000 home in 2020 and $325 in 2021. 

Lawmakers mandated that 30% of a school district’s additional funding go toward pay raises for school employees, with priority given to teachers with more than five years of experience.
The bottom line is that property taxes go down very modestly, the state portion of education rises from 38% to 44%, and there is now a cap on local revenue of 3.5% and school districts of 2.5% without a referendum.

Legislation TORCH worked on

 Check Mark TORCH opposed HB 2392 and SB 898 requiring additional screening of applicants for employment at assisted living facilities.  The legislation was defeated.  
 Check Mark TORCH opposed HB 284 adding additional disclosure requirements of certain facilities that provide care for persons with Alzheimer's disease and related disorders.  The legislation was defeated.
 Check Mark TORCH opposed HB 1952 making parking violations at residential assisted living facilities a Class B misdemeanor and giving Home Owner’s Associations unreasonable authority. The legislation was defeated.
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TORCH supported HB 3329 defining services allowed in Assisted Living Facilities.  This adds clarity to the acuity levels of residents living in Assisted Living Facilities and will help owner avoid inappropriate placement citations. The legislation will become law on September 1, 2019.