Thursday, February 17, 2011

HB 1492

Rep. Elliott Naishtat filed HB1492 allowing UT/TAMU Sytems to offer competitive benefit plans to a "qualified individual" today!

We need to target the House Insurance committee which is where the bill will end up. The chair is John Smithee in district (86), which includes Dallam, Hartley, Oldham, Deaf Smith, and Randall counties and part of Amarillo. The Insurance Committee is a 6/3 split with obviously 6 republicans. Some professional lobbyists have shared info on the best way to go about this, and they said that under Strauss the committee chairs have a lot of power and influence, and that basically nothing will get passed without their support. Consequently, we need to first target John Smithee, and then make sure that the three democratic members support it, and then try for at least one other republicans support so it can get out of committee, and then it might get stuck in calendars. Simultaneously we can start targeting people like Mark Strama or Lon Burnham to get them to co-sponsor it and to attach their name to it. This will give it more credibility than being filed and only attached to Naishtat, and also help more people push the bill. Craig Eiland represents Galveston, he is the vice chair of the committee, we might try to get him to co-sponsor it. He represents part of TAMU Galveston I believe, so we should get people there to push him to co-sponsor. Kelly Hancock represents Arlington and thus students from UTA. If we can get people there to try and convince him, he probably won't support it, but the actions to convince him might make let it go through and not actively oppose it. We need to come up with a fact sheet page we can use for the whole state and give to representatives, and then train people to go to the capitol. The house is behind the senate in terms of actually passing legislation and the whole process in general, but if we get involved early we can make contacts with the staffers in the capitol to know the status of the bill and the support status of the representatives.

Insurance Committee Members
D Eiland, Craig (23) Vice Chair 
R Hancock, Kelly (91) 
R Nash, Barbara (93) - Freshman 
R Sheets, Kenneth (107) - Freshman 
R Smithee, John (86) Chair 
R Taylor, Larry (24) 
R Torres, Raul (33) - Freshman 
D Vo, Hubert (149) 
D Walle, Armando (140)

That said, do we know that status of getting the bill filed in the senate? What is Zaffirini's viewpoint on this, and can we get her to sponsor the bill?