AUSTIN – The Conference Committee on HB 1 today adopted decisions on budget Articles I, General Government, and V, Public Safety. Conferees have now adopted six of the 10 articles of the state budget.
"The decisions we made today will help secure our border and keep our communities safe. We are stepping up our efforts to combat human trafficking and address the backlog of sexual assault kits," said Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, who is chair of the Senate Finance Committee and Senate sponsor of HB 1, the General Appropriations Bill. "We also funded counseling services for veterans, election security, important cancer research and efforts to preserve Texas historic sites."
For Article I, General Government, conferees provided:
- $5M to provide grants to Cultural Arts Districts across the state, which generate millions in tourist activity annually;
- $1.9M to expand the Elections Fraud Unit at the Office of the Attorney General;
- $3.5M to expand the Human Trafficking Section at the Office of the Attorney General to handle additional prosecutions;
- $7.7M increase in funding for rape crisis centers to expand capacity to every area of the state and handle caseload growth;
- $1M to expand access to Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners in underserved areas per Senator Nelson's SB 71;
- $300M to maintain the grant pool for Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas grants;
- $14.7M to replace outdated 9-1-1 equipment;
- $6M to fund grants for Sexual Assault Forensic Exam ready facilities to help deliver specialty care to victims;
- $2.9M to provide additional staff for multiple state historic sites;
- $7.2M to provide for multi-factor risk authentication functionality at high-risk agencies;
- $7.3M for a new licensing operations system at the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission to improve service and security for licensees;
- $5.3M for anti-human trafficking related efforts at establishments licensed by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission; and
- $1.9M to provide additional claims representation and counseling services at the Texas Veterans Commission.
For Article V, Public Safety, conferees provided:
- $84M to retain correctional and parole officers at the Department of Criminal Justice;
- $5.3M for education and vocational pilot programs for offenders at the Department of Criminal Justice;
- $25M for armory maintenance at the Military Department;
- An additional sexual assault coordinator position at the Military Department;
- $52M to expand capacity at state crime labs and prioritize the testing of sexual assault kits;
- $210M to address wait times and improve driver license operations, including 762 new staff to fill vacant counters and a new facility in Denton; and
- $1M to fund a safe gun storage campaign administered by the Department of Public Safety.
Senator Jane Nelson represents District 12, including portions of Tarrant and Denton Counties. She is Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and the highest-ranking Republican in the Texas Senate.