Last Week in the Legislature
Postscript to the 88th Session of the Texas Legislature – Big Wins for TXCPA
By Kenneth Besserman
Director of Government Affairs and Special Counsel
June 16, 2023 | Issue 17
AUSTIN - The end of the 88th Session of the Texas Legislature and the beginning of the immediately called special session saw a whirlwind of activity, a House impeachment of the Attorney General and political gamesmanship surrounding property tax reform. These issues will continue through the summer special session(s) and will make interesting viewing.
Since the last edition of Last Week in the Legislature, TXCPA, CPAs and the accounting profession received more legislative good news. Governor Greg Abbott signed HB 2217, which will expand the scope and reach of the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy’s accounting scholarship program. HB 2217 will make accounting scholarships available to eligible accounting students who have obtained at least 15 hours of upper-level accounting. Prior to HB 2217, the TSBPA accounting scholarship program was limited to accounting students in their 5th year of education. This legislation is another step in addressing the CPA pipeline – helping to attract more students into the CPA track and helping students to defray the costs of education earlier in their college education journey.
Earlier in the session, the legislature passed, and the Governor signed, SB 159, which will allow accounting students the opportunity to begin to take the CPA Exam after completing 120 semester hours, including 21 hours of upper-level accounting. The legislation now puts Texas on par with 48 other states that allow testing to begin before the required 150 hours for certification. This is another TXCPA pipeline initiative that we were proud to pass this session. TXCPA is working closely with TSBPA to ensure that rules implementing the legislation are instructive, coherent and work well for both students and the accounting education community.
Both bills were priority bills for TXCPA this session and had wide support in the House, Senate and with the Big Three. Throughout the session, TXCPA received great comments from legislators about the importance of these bills and what we were advocating for. We heard it during our Advocacy Day in January as session began and all through the session as we made the rounds at the Capitol.
TXCPA’s legislative successes in 2023 are a testament to the dedication and advocacy TXCPA’s leaders, members, volunteers, key persons, PAC, staff and everyone who had a voice in spreading the word and talking about our issues. The Texas legislative process is set to make it very difficult to pass legislation and this session, with a myriad of controversies, acrimonious relationships and other dynamics, it was that much more difficult to find a path to pass bills. Thank you to all involved for your dedication and help in making 2023 a successful session.