I’d like to start this column by providing an update on a recent development with Teachers Retirement System (TRS) and their proposal to rent high-end office space in downtown Austin at an exorbitant cost. After pushback from numerous elected officials and scores of concerned citizens, the TRS board has decided to scrap plans to move the investment division into a newly constructed office building and instead chosen to stay in their existing office space. I applaud this decision, as I believe that our teachers’ pension fund should be used to prioritize our active and retired educators, rather than supply investment managers with luxury offices and a nice view.
With that, we’ll dive back into our examination of the interim charges. . .
House Interim Charge: Insurance
The House Committee on Insurance has jurisdiction over all matters pertaining the insurance industry, including the organization, management, and policy issuance in the State of Texas. This nine-member committee also has purview over a number of state agencies, including the Texas Department of Insurance and the Texas Health Benefits Purchasing Cooperative.
This interim, the House Committee on Insurance will oversee the implementation of insurance related legislation that was passed by the 86th Legislature. Given the complexity of the insurance industry in Texas, the workload for this committee is greater than many others. Members of this committee have been charged with monitoring eight specific bills, which is more than most committees in the Texas House.
I’d like to highlight a couple of the bills that I think will be of particular interest to you. The first, Senate Bill 442, requires insurers that do not provide flood coverage in their policy to disclose that the policy does not cover flood events. The Committee will then determine whether consumers are being properly informed and make recommendations on how to increase transparency. Another bill, Senate Bill 1264, helps protect insured Texans from the “surprise medical billing,” which occurs when a person visits an out-of-network hospital, or receives care in an in-network hospital from an out-of-network doctor. This legislation will help countless Texans by prohibiting surprise medical billing in emergency situations where patients have no choice which provider they see or which facility they visit.
The mobile office is back on the road in the month of March and looks forward to seeing you on the following dates, in the following locations: 9-11 a.m. March 4th at the Leon County Courthouse in Centerville, or 1:30-3:30 p.m. at the Madison County Courthouse in Madisonville. 9-11 a.m. March 18th at the Houston County Courthouse Annex in Crockett, or 1:30-3:30 p.m. at the Trinity County Courthouse in Groveton. 9-11 a.m. March 25th 9-11 a.m. at the San Augustine County Courthouse in San Augustine.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact our office if we can help you in any way. Our District office may be reached at (936) 634-2762, or you can call my Capitol office at (512) 463-0508.