Legislative Affairs (LA) staff work with elected state officials, their staff, and state agencies to promote UTMB’s issues and achieve legislative, appropriations, and regulatory actions that support UTMB’s clinical, research and academic services. HPLA Austin staff, Lauren Sheer and Ryan Micks, stay abreast of and analyze appropriations, statutory, and regulatory issues relevant to UTMB; draft bills, amendments, and supportive materials to respond to legislative actions; in conjunction with the HPLA team, help develop formal legislative presentations and materials; and in conjunction with the Senior Vice President for Health Policy & Legislative Affairs, provide ongoing education about UTMB’s services and needs for the Governor’s Office, for legislators and their staff, for key committees and agencies (e.g. Legislative Budget Board, House Appropriations Committee, Senate Finance Committee, Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, and Texas Health and Human Services Commission), and for other organizations with complementary interests, including UT System, other higher education institutions and systems, and health professions and hospital organizations. Legislative Affairs staff also keep UTMB leadership, faculty, staff and students abreast of legislative and leadership actions pertinent to UTMB. The Legislative Affairs Office also serves as the communication point for legislators wanting help from UTMB for their constituents, coordinating internal work at UTMB to appropriately address individual student, patient, and others’ concerns and requests.
Prior to the 86th Legislative Session:
- Provided ongoing communication with legislative members and staff, Governor’s Office, and relevant agencies on UTMB’s school based mental health services, correctional health care, women’s health and other issues related to UTMB.
- Coordinated and/or assisted with UTMB faculty and staff participation in formal interim committees and activities, including children’s mental health, adverse childhood experiences, school safety and correctional care.
- Coordinated site visits for legislative staff to UTMB’s main campus (which included tours of the Galveston National Lab, Hospital Galveston and Jennie Sealy).
- Coordinated UTMB’s preparation for the 86th Legislative Session by guiding UTMB’s participation in fall legislative hearings and monitoring legislative issues and activities pertinent to UTMB, organizing and leading visits to UTMB by legislators and staff, helping prepare UTMB’s session materials and submissions, analyzing and tracking pre-filed bills, coordinating with other education and health institutions, agencies and organizations on shared issues.
During 86th Legislative Session:
- Coordinated all of UTMB’s appropriations and legislative work, including monitoring all relevant hearings and analyzing all bills and amendments, pursuing additional amendments where needed. Primary substantive areas of appropriations work included general appropriations, a mission specific formula for UTMB’s health care system, formula funding for health related institutions, correctional health care appropriations, and Medicaid and mental health care funding. Primary substantive areas of statutory work included legislation related to correctional health care, human resources, mental health care and women’s and maternal health care. Legislative Affairs staff would like to thank all UTMB staff who helped analyze legislation and provided advice on impact and needed changes.
- Maintained regular communication with UT System, other health related institutions, state agencies such as the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, Health and Human Services Commission, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Correctional Managed Health Care Committee, and other education and health care organizations.
Post 86th Legislative Session:
- Provided general updates to the UTMB community on the impact of the session.
- Maintained open and regular communications with legislative and executive branch offices, expressing appreciation for their help, keeping them apprised during UTMB implementation of actions passed during the session, and working with other state agencies charged with implementing changes that affect UTMB.