Capitol Watch is the TSHA Legislative Team’s vehicle for keeping members informed of activity at the state capitol and in other state regulatory meetings. If you have questions regarding this or other Capitol Watch postings, please contact a member of the TSHA Legislative Team:
TSHA PAC Board Contributions
All legislators who received contributions from the TSHA PAC were successful in their campaigns.
- Judith Zaffirini
- Royce West
- Nathan Johnson
- Juan Hinojosa
- Lois Kolkhorst
- Charles Perry
- Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick
- Ryan Guillen
- Todd Hunter
- Alma Allen
- James Frank
- Harold Dutton
- Stephanie Klick
- Thresa Meza
- Speaker Dade Phelan
To-Do List for TSHA Members
Your legislators for the 88th legislative session have been elected! Contact your state senator and representative at their district offices. They will be home and not in their Austin offices until the session begins on January 10.
Forgot where the district office is? Go to Texas Legislature Online.
- Ask them to oppose all legislation that does not exempt or eliminate special education from voucher bills. The Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) listed as a priority to oppose “all attempts to divert public dollars away from public schools in the form of vouchers, an education savings account, taxpayer savings grants, tuition-tax credits, a business franchise tax credit or an insurance premium tax credit, or any other mechanisms that have the effect of reducing funding to public schools.”
- Ask that they support the Interstate Compact for Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists. The bill will be introduced in the house by Rep. Ryan Guillen. TSHA is seeking a sponsor in the senate. Currently 23 states have passed Interstate Compact legislation.
- Ask that they support the Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Study Bill by Rep. Theresa Meza. The bill will investigate the efficacy of ABA services and reimbursement for their services.
- Three asks are probably the most you can effectively accomplish in one meeting with your legislator.
- If you have an item of particular interest to you include it in your request.
Other Anticipated Legislation of Importance to TSHA Members
Teacher Pay Raises
- Discussed in the Oct. 5 issue of Capitol Watch. Several legislators and the Governor have expressed a desire to pass legislation giving teachers a pay raise. We need an aggressive turnout of the membership telling their senators and representatives to include speech-language pathologists and audiologists by name in any bill relating to teacher pay raises. Now is a good time to start; don’t wait until the session begins in January.
Public School Vouchers
- TSHA opposes the “voucher” system. Rationale was discussed in the Oct. 5 issue of Capitol Watch.
Interstate Compact Bill
- Discussed in the Oct. 5 Issue of Capitol Watch. The bill will be part of the package of bills that TSHA is promoting for passage. Rep. Ryan Guillen carried the bill for us in the 87th Legislative Session, and it passed the house and stalled in the senate. The TSHA Legislative Team is seeking a senate sponsor for the bill. This is a bill that would probably be considered a non-major bill, so we will need to educate legislators on its need and value to Texas. Legislators will need to understand why it is major to our professions and our clients.
ABA Study Bill
- Rep. Theresa Meza introduced HB 4058 during the last legislative session to (1) determine the cost of applied behavior analysis (ABA) services across all public benefit programs including Medicaid and child health plan programs and other health and human services and (2) determine the efficacy of ABA services provided to children with autism. Rep. Meza intends to re-file the bill this session, and TSHA will again support the bill.
- TSHA will monitor bills related to telehealth and support those that ensure the professions are included in reimbursement.
- Sen. Nathan Johnson and Rep. Drew Darby introduced newborn infant hearing screening bills last session. It is anticipated that the bills will be refiled, and TSHA will support the bills, which close loopholes in follow-up testing and reporting protocols.
- Despite the fact that the state is predicted to have an extra $27 billion in its coffers to spend, Medicaid seems to always take a hit when budgeting for Medicaid provider rates. TSHA will monitor bills filed related to reimbursement issues and particularly those related to the proposed state budget in the Senate Finance and House Appropriations committees.
Music Therapist Licensure
- Rep. Ann Johnson has re-filed HB 667, which seeks licensing and regulation for music therapists. ASHA has asked TSHA to oppose the bill each session.
TRS – COLA
- Rep. Anchia has indicated an interest in filing a bill this session authorizing cost of living adjustment (COLA) payments for Teacher Retirement System (TRS) retirees. TSHA will follow the lead of the Texas Retired Teachers Association (TRTA) regarding passage of this legislation.
Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids
- FDA regulations created for over-the-counter sale of hearing aids will be addressed this session. TSHA will join with the Texas Academy of Audiology (TAA) and the Texas Hearing Aid Association (THAA) in a bill to describe prescriptive hearing instruments covered in our law that complies with FDA regulations.
Questions or Concerns?
If the TSHA Legislative Team and Executive Board have omitted any issues you feel we should be addressing, or if you have any questions regarding this issue of Capitol Watch, please contact the TSHA Legislative Team. Please be visible and support TSHA legislative efforts. It takes a village to be successful.