Research and Development

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Throughout the 86th Texas Legislature, THBI worked hard to encourage research and development, and the incentives Texas companies need to compete in the drug and medical device innovation process.

With the help of our members, THBI supported private-public collaborations that allow Texas to compete globally and also supported efforts to build and sustain a highly-skilled technology workforce in the state. Further, we also supported policies to keep Texas' life science entrepreneurs and small businesses healthy and flourishing.

THBI thanks all of the legislators, legislative staff, THBI members and others who made all of our work in research and development possible during the 86th Texas Legislative Session. See below for a list of our major accomplishments in this category.

Legislative Initiatives

Disclosure - Public Information Act

SB 943, 944 and 988 all relate to open-government laws and the public information act.

The main bill that passed was SB 943 which relates to the regulation of contracting information and certain entities that handle contracting information that would be considered public.

The bill defines "contracting information" and establishes it as public unless excepted under other provisions. The bill creates specific contracting information exceptions for confidential and proprietary information of vendors and contractors, amends timelines, and requestor options to compel an entity to comply with certain provisions. The bill also lists certain types of entities that would be considered governmental bodies for the limited purpose of the disclosure of contracting information and requirements that must be included in a contract between a governmental body and an entity. The bill better clarifies and protects the definition of trade secrets, including those for pharmaceutical products.

Incentive Programs and Economic Development

Funding for the Trusteed Programs within the Office of the Governor totals $1.4 billion in All Funds for the 2020–21 biennium, a decrease of $121.9 million, or 8.2 percent, from the 2018–19 biennium. Funding in the strategy for various economic development programs such as the Texas Enterprise Fund and the Governor’s University Research Initiative (GURI) totals $534.2 million in All Funds for the 2020–21 biennium, including the following amounts:

  • - $74 million in General Revenue Funds and $76 million in estimated unexpended balances remaining at the end of fiscal year 2019 in the Texas Enterprise Fund for incentive grants, a decrease of $7.3 million in All Funds
  • - $17.1 million in General Revenue Funds and $22.9 million in estimated unexpended balances remaining at the end of fiscal year 2019 in the Governor’s University Research Initiative for recruitment grants, a decrease of $13.3 million in All Funds

Mental Health

HB 2813 relates to the statewide behavioral health coordinating council. The bill (re)establishes the statewide behavioral health coordinating council to develop and monitor implementation of a five-year behavioral health strategic plan; develop a coordinated biennial statewide behavioral health expenditure proposal; annually publish an updated inventory of behavioral health programs and services funded by the state; and facilitate opportunities to increase collaboration for the effective expenditure of state and federal funding for behavioral and mental health services.

Stem Cell

HB 3148 relates to the administration and oversight of investigational adult stem cell treatments administered to certain patients. The bill requires that institutional review boards that oversee investigational stem cell treatments either be affiliated with a medical school, affiliated with a hospital, accredited by the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection programs, registered by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, or accredited by another national accreditation organization acceptable to the Texas Medical Board (TMB).

The bill further requires the DSHS to establish and maintain an investigational stem cell registry.