The 87th Legislative Session is shaping up to be one of the most interesting sessions in recent memory. The COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted, stalled, and shut down legislative sessions around the country during the last half of 2020. When the Texas Legislature convenes in January 2021 the Texas Senate, House and state leadership will be under a microscope as to how the Legislature will operate, how open the Texas Capitol will be, and how accessible committee hearings and legislative offices will be. There are many unknowns and both the Texas Senate and Texas House continue to have discussions on how the legislative session will operate. There has been some talk about a shortened session to be followed by special sessions in the summer. At this point it is all speculation, but the Society and the Government Relations team continue to closely monitor the situation.
Now more than ever the CPA-PAC and your participation and advocacy are critical. Your contributions to CPA-PAC make it possible for the Society to have an open-door policy with all members of the Legislature. With the November general election right around the corner, the CPA-PAC has been hard at work looking at the records of candidates, prior relationships with the Society, and making contributions that will ensure that the Society’s voice is heard before session and during session.
Next session will bring forward several issues that will touch the accounting profession and all businesses. The state budget is under significant stress because of lower sales tax collections during the pandemic. While Texas is expected to fare better than other states, there will be pressures on legislators to make cuts, raise revenues and find ways to help citizens, employees, employers, cities and other entities that have struggled to make ends meet during the pandemic. While the budget is always the most important issue every session (because it is required to be passed per the Texas Constitution), there will be many other issues on the agenda for the Legislature. Among those include redistricting, business liability issues during the pandemic, school finance, school reopening concerns, disaster/hurricane relief, and many others.
The Society will be monitoring many issues among them deregulation of the accounting profession and education standards. The Society has been closely monitoring other states where professional licensing and certification standards have either been loosened or have been attacked by groups seeking to open the practice of licensed professions. The Society feels strongly that proper licensing and certification of professions is necessary to ensure that the public is protected. CPA-PAC and the Society can only protect the profession with your advocacy and your participation.
Kenneth Besserman joined the staff of TXCPA in March 2020 as the TXCPA Director of Government Affairs and Special Counsel. He has over 25 years of legal experience in state government and private practice. He can be reach at email@example.com with any questions or suggestions.