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Rep.Phelan, Dade

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Speaker Phelan Issues Interim Charges Related to Texas-Mexico Border 
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by: Rep. Phelan, Dade
06/29/2021

AUSTIN, Texas – Texas Speaker of the House Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) today issued a series of interim charges related to the Texas-Mexico border. Twelve committees received a unique charge, with each of these committees also receiving a general charge to review the distribution of federal pandemic recovery funds and their potential use to respond to the border crisis in addition to their individual directives.

“These interim charges present an opportunity for the Texas House to better understand the impact of what is currently happening along our state’s border with Mexico, and I expect each committee to get to work listening to the public, studying these issues, and recommending the best course of action in response to the charges I’ve given,” said Speaker Phelan. “With special session on the horizon, we know that this will not be a normal legislative interim, yet the importance of getting these particular issues right means that we must begin to work on them immediately. Although the challenges along our border may be familiar, they demand continuously innovative solutions, and I look forward to the work these committees will do in that regard.”

Speaker Phelan issued the following charges related to the Texas-Mexico border. Additional charges on other issues will be distributed at a later date.

Interim Committee Charges Related to the Texas-Mexico Border:

General federal funds charge for each committee listed below - Review the ongoing development of federal laws, rules, and regulations associated with the distribution of the federal pandemic recovery funds, including reporting requirements, and make recommendations to the House Committee on Appropriations for use of the funds to respond to the Texas-Mexico border crisis.

Appropriations - Monitor the distribution of federal pandemic recovery funds to state and local governments, including compliance with any requirements or restrictions associated with the possible uses of those funds. Assess the impact of these funds and their use on the state budget and the Texas economy as a whole.

Review the ongoing development of federal rules and regulations associated with the distribution of the federal pandemic recovery funds, including reporting requirements, and make recommendations on whether and how these federal funds can be used to respond to the recent increase in migration along the Texas-Mexico border.

Corrections - Review the existing and anticipated populations in state prisons and city and county jails located near the Texas-Mexico border. Make recommendations for alleviating or addressing any increase or over-crowding that may result as well as any other particularized needs or circumstances that have arisen or could arise as a result of an increase in population in correctional facilities, including, but not limited to, intake capacity, adequacy of facilities and other health and safety considerations. Make recommendations to mitigate any associated costs borne by border counties and municipalities. (Joint charge with Committee on County Affairs)

County Affairs - Review the existing and anticipated populations in state prisons and city and county jails located near the Texas-Mexico border. Make recommendations for alleviating or addressing any increase or over-crowding that may result as well as any other particularized needs or circumstances that have arisen or could arise as a result of an increase in population in correctional facilities, including, but not limited to, intake capacity, adequacy of facilities and other health and safety considerations. Make recommendations to mitigate any associated costs borne by border counties and municipalities. (Joint charge with Committee on Corrections)

Defense & Veterans' Affairs - Monitor the activities of the Texas State Guard and the Texas National Guard participating in Operation Lone Star. Consider any legal or logistical support that can be provided to these organizations to increase operational efficiencies in conjunction with the Department of Public Safety. Review and assess the inventory of these agencies. Make appropriate recommendations. (Joint charge with Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety)

Homeland Security & Public Safety - Monitor the emergency operations at the Texas-Mexico border, including whether existing emergency management resources are sufficient to address a non-natural emergency, including and especially one involving a large geographic area and multiple thousands of people.

Review the increase in law enforcement personnel along the Texas-Mexico border. Determine whether law enforcement has sufficient resources to address the current or any anticipated circumstances. Determine whether law enforcement needs specific or individualized training or education on matters involving border security, human trafficking or other scenarios where unaccompanied minors are involved.

Monitor the recent surge in border crossings and make recommendations for enhancing the safety and security of law enforcement, civilian populations on both sides of the Texas-Mexico border, and those entering the United States.

Monitor the activities of the Texas State Guard and the Texas National Guard participating in Operation Lone Star. Consider any legal or logistical support that can be provided to these organizations to increase operational efficiencies in conjunction with the Department of Public Safety. Review and assess the inventory of these agencies. Make appropriate recommendations. (Joint charge with Committee on Defense and Veterans' Affairs)

Human Services - Monitor the impact of children, including unaccompanied minors, crossing the Texas-Mexico border on the Department of Family and Protective Services child protective services programs. Consider ways to encourage consistent, transparent, and timely review of abuse and neglect of these children. Consider strategies to ensure better coordination and collaboration among local agencies, faith-based organizations, the private sector, non-profits, and law enforcement to reduce the incidence of abuse and neglect fatalities and human trafficking of migrating children. Identify any particularized services that these children will need and assess the costs of providing these services.

International Relations & Economic Development - Review the impact that trade across the Texas-Mexico border has on the Texas economy. Consider the impact of the recent increase in border migration on transnational trade, including its effects on the communities along the border, points of entry, and access by Texas businesses to supplies, labor, materials, and markets in Mexico. (Joint charge with Committee on Transportation)

Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence - Examine current caseloads and capacity issues for courts handling matters related to the Texas-Mexico border. Evaluate the preparedness of the court system to handle increases in caseloads that may result from the border crisis response and make recommendations to ensure the continued fair and efficient administration of justice in the state in addressing any increased caseloads. (Joint charge with Committee on Juvenile Justice and Family Issues)

Juvenile Justice & Family Issues - Monitor the impact of children, including unaccompanied minors, crossing the Texas-Mexico border on the juvenile justice system, including gang violence. Identify any particularized services that children, including unaccompanied minors, will need and assess the costs of providing these services.

Examine current caseloads and capacity issues for courts handling matters related to the Texas-Mexico border. Evaluate the preparedness of the court system to handle increases in caseloads that may result from the border crisis response and make recommendations to ensure the continued fair and efficient administration of justice in the state in addressing any increased caseloads. (Joint charge with Committee on Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence)

Public Education - Examine the impact, including any financial impact, to the Texas public school system of an increase in the number of children crossing the Texas-Mexico border. Review the history, any applicable precedents, and the legal landscape regarding the education of migrant children in Texas’s public schools.

Public Health - Consider issues involving access to health care along the Texas-Mexico border, including, but not limited to, the ability to access providers, hospital capacity, pharmaceutical adequacy and whether any particularized training or education is necessary or appropriate.

Transportation - Review the impact that trade across the Texas-Mexico border has on the Texas economy. Consider the impact of the recent increase in border migration on transnational trade, including its effects on the communities along the border, points of entry, and access by Texas businesses to supplies, labor, materials, and markets in Mexico. (Joint charge with Committee on International Relations & Economic Development)

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