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HB 2977 would amend the Health and Safety Code to specify that the educators provided training in mental health first aid through a Department of State Health Services (DSHS) grant program are school district employees and school resource officers. The bill would change the deadline by which a local mental health authority is required to provide information about mental health first aid training programs to the Department of State Health Services from July 1 of each year to August 31 of each year. The bill would change the deadline by which DSHS is required to compile the information submitted by local mental health authorities and submit that information in a report to the legislature from August 1 of each year to September 30 of each year.
HB 2977 would authorize counties to dispose of certain county surplus or salvage property through recycling programs.
HB 2977 only adds "or county" to Section 263.152 of the existing Local Government Code. The purpose of this is to allow counties to have the same privilege as municipalities of considering bids, if they are in a certain percentage of the lowest bid, that come from businesses within the county for securing construction contracts.
The changes that this bill makes concerning mental health training and authorizing counties to dispose of certain property through recycling programs have no discernible connection to our principles of liberty. We would remain neutral on those parts of this legislation.
The change that would allow counties to prioritizing and choosing bids that are from businesses within a county, however. abridges our principle of a free market. While we can agree that protecting local jobs is important to our economy, we should not undermine the free market system and increase government influence to do so. Instead of using government to secure special privileges for local businesses, Texas should allow open bidding on the free market to drive down costs without forsaking quality in the name of awarding contracts to locally based businesses.
For this reason, we recommend voting no unless Section 5 of HB 2977 is removed from HB 2977. Such an amendment would satisfy our objection to this bill and we would remain neutral.