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85th Legislature Interim Charges Tracker

Interim Charge Tracker

The year and a half in between legislative sessions is called the “interim” period. During the interim period, the House and Senate committees hold hearings to study specific issues, or “charges” that are assigned to them by the Speaker and Lt. Governor.

This year’s interim charges include important items such as health care reform, reducing the tax burden, school choice, Second Amendment rights, and religious freedoms. Many of the charges relate to planks or priorities from the RPT platform (see below).

Although bills cannot be passed since we’re not within an actual legislative session, these interim hearings are the Legislature’s way of reaching out to you for your opinion on important issues. By studying these issues now, our Senators and Representatives can be prepared to pass bills in 2019 that address the specifics you’ll bring to their attention.

Most of these hearings will include a time for public testimony — that’s your chance to make your voice heard.

Stay updated on these hearings by joining the Strategic Texas Action Team.

We’ll keep you updated on the progress of important issues and let you know how you can participate.

For more information, please contact Rachel Malone (rmalone@texasgop.org). If your organization is interested in partnering with us to help promote a plank item, please contact Read King (rking@texasgop.org).

Interim Charges Tracker

Committee
Topic
Plank / Priority
Hearing info (if scheduled)
HOUSE: Agriculture & LivestockHemp Cultivation#206: - We support legislation allowing for industrial hemp cultivation in Texas
HOUSE: AppropriationsMedicaid Reform#108 We support Medicaid block grants to the states and returning Medicaid to its original purpose - to be a temporary assistance. We oppose any further expansion of Medicaid.
HOUSE: AppropriationsPermissible Uses of the Economic Stabilization Fund (Rainy Day Funds)#171: Amend the Texas Constitution to narrow the permissible uses of the Economic Stabilization Fund to cover revenue shortfalls in the current biennium, debt retirement, one-time infrastructure projects, and expenses related to a state of disaster as declared by the Governor.2018.05.24
HOUSE: AppropriationsTax Burden / state's readiness to care for aging Texans / Medicaid#175:Tax Burden- We in the Republican Party of Texas believe in the principles of constitutionally limited government based on Federalist principles. To this end we encourage our elected officials at all levels of government to work to reverse the current trend of expanding government and the growing tax and debt burdens this places on we the people. . . .
HOUSE: AppropriationsBorder Security Funding / evaluate effectiveness of 85-R legislationPriority 3: Prioritize the allocation of funds to effectively secure the border through whatever means necessary, including but not limited to barriers, personnel, and technology over land, sea, and air, because the federal government refuses to secure the southern border of Texas.
#253: We expect both the Texas Legislature and the United States Congress to make a priority of allocating funds to effectively secure the border through whatever means necessary, including but not limited to barriers, personnel, and technology over land, sea, and air.
2018.04.18 10:00am
HOUSE: Business & IndustryPreserving Private Enterprise / review law on consumer rights and protections#45: We believe that goods and services which are not transported across state lines should not be subject to federal regulations, or regulated by any other level of government other than the minimum necessary to prevent disease, fraud, injury to others, or other infringement of citizens’ unalienable rights.2018.04.04
HOUSE: Criminal JurisprudenceCapital Punishment#157 Capital Punishment- Properly applied capital punishment is legitimate, is an effective deterrent, and should be reasonably swift and unencumbered.
#88 Right to Life- All innocent human life must be respected and safeguarded from fertilization to natural death; therefore, the unborn, the aged, and the physically or mentally challenged have a fundamental individual right to life, which cannot be infringed.
#110 Caring for our mentally disabled citizens- We urge the Legislature to continue funding and operating all state-supported living centers for the mentally disabled.
2018.03.26
HOUSE: Criminal JurisprudenceSexual Assault#160 Adults convicted of sexual molestation of a minor should receive mandatory prison sentences without probation or parole up to and including capital punishment. We support increasing the penalty for failure to report child sexual assault cases, and we urge vigorous prosecution of such failure.
HOUSE: Defense & Veterans’ AffairsSupport of our Armed Forces / homeless veterans' needs#230 The men and women who wear our country's uniform, whether on active duty or in the Reserves or National Guard, are the most important assets in our military arsenal. They and their families must have the pay, health care, housing, education and overall support they need. . . . (see comment)2018.05.15 - 2pm
HOUSE: Defense & Veterans’ AffairsReturning Veterans / aviation, aerospace, defense manufacturing industry#238 We support the accommodation and reintegration of our troops once their military commitment has expired. Returning veterans must have access to educational benefits, job training, and a wide variety of employment options.
HOUSE: Economic & Small Business DevelopmentSpecial Funds#190 We urge the Texas legislature to abolish the Event Trust Funds and the Texas Enterprise Fund.2018.04.12 - RICHARDSON
HOUSE: Economic & Small Business DevelopmentHigh-growth, high-tech start-ups. Sandbox regulatory approach.#194 Telecommunications Investment- We support removal of regulatory roadblocks to greater investment in telecommunications infrastructure2018.04.12 - RICHARDSON
#REF!Returning Veterans / aviation, aerospace, defense manufacturing industry#238 We support the accommodation and reintegration of our troops once their military commitment has expired. Returning veterans must have access to educational benefits, job training, and a wide variety of employment options.
HOUSE: ElectionsElection Integrity#59 Fair Election Procedures- We support modifications and the strengthening of election laws to ensure ballot integrity and fair elections. . . . (see comment for full plank)

#60 We support restoring integrity to the voter registration rolls and reducing voter fraud. We support the repeal of all motor voter laws, re-registering voters every four years, requiring photo ID of all registrants, proof of residency and citizenship, along with voter registration application, retention of the 30-day registration deadline, and requiring that a list of certified deaths be provided to the Secretary of State in order that the names of deceased voters be removed from the list of registered voters.
HOUSE: Energy Resourceseconomic impact / reactivating non-producing oil & gas wells#214 Removal of Government Barriers- We support free market solutions and immediate removal of government barriers to the production and distribution of energy including restrictions on . . . (see comment for full plank)
HOUSE: Energy ResourcesRoads in Oil and Gas Producing Counties#215 Counties with oil and gas production should receive a portion of the production taxes the state collects so that the road system can be maintained for the dual purpose of accommodating the needs of the industry and providing adequate public safety.2017.12.12 - MIDLAND
HOUSE: General Investigating & EthicsConflicts of Interest for public officers & employees#72 We support legislation prohibiting influencing or voting of any elected official or appointee where a conflict of interest exists. No such official should represent paying clients before a state agency.
HOUSE: Government Transparency & OperationsPublic Posting / government transparency & accountability#179: We support statewide, local taxing entities, and government entities compiling and publicly posting their current debt, future obligations, financial statements, and local government contracts on their official websites.2018.03.27
HOUSE: Government Transparency & OperationsPublic Posting / increasing transparency#179: We support statewide, local taxing entities, and government entities compiling and publicly posting their current debt, future obligations, financial statements, and local government contracts on their official websites.2018.03.27
HOUSE: Government Transparency & OperationsGovernment Authority / open meeting laws#181: We believe any government authority that has the ability to level a tax or fee on the people should be accountable to those who pay the taxes via the electoral process from the local level to the federal level2018.03.27
HOUSE: Homeland Security & Public SafetyRight to Keep and Bear Guns#149: Right to Keep and Bear Arms- We strongly oppose all laws that infringe on the right to bear arms. (see comment for fulll plank)2018.02.01 - Tyler
HOUSE: Homeland Security & Public SafetyHuman Trafficking#83: We adamantly oppose any form of human trafficking.2018.02.01 - Tyler
HOUSE: House AdministrationRight to Keep and Bear Arms / Capitol & grounds#149: Right to Keep and Bear Arms- We strongly oppose all laws that infringe on the right to bear arms. . . . We call for the elimination of all gun free zones. . . . (see comment for full plank)
HOUSE: Human ServicesAdoption / services available to children & families / trauma-informed care#104: We support reducing the time, bureaucracy, and cost of adoption. We oppose mandates that deny mothers a choice in selecting a traditional home for their children. We oppose mandatory open adoption. We oppose any government agency from forcing faith-based adoption or foster care organizations to place children with same-sex couples.
HOUSE: InsuranceHealth Care Choice / surprise medical billing#114: We urge the passage of health care reform which results in more affordable healthcare through a market-based, competitive, and transparent health care system, including tort reform, interstate competition, health savings accounts, genuine accountability and oversight.2017.12.06
HOUSE: InsuranceHealth Care Choice / transparency#114: We urge the passage of health care reform which results in more affordable healthcare through a market-based, competitive, and transparent health care system, including tort reform, interstate competition, health savings accounts, genuine accountability and oversight.2017.12.06
HOUSE: InsuranceFree Market for Utilities and Insurance / Texas Windstorm Insurance Association#202: We encourage free market solutions for providing utilities whenever possible. We support that all types of insurance rates, to include (but not limited to) health, life, title, auto, and homeowners insurance should be set through free-market forces alone. We support efforts to shrink the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association to reduce the liabilities it imposes on state taxpayers.
HOUSE: InsuranceFree Market for Utilities and Insurance / homeowner insurance#202: We encourage free market solutions for providing utilities whenever possible. We support that all types of insurance rates, to include (but not limited to) health, life, title, auto, and homeowners insurance should be set through free-market forces alone. We support efforts to shrink the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association to reduce the liabilities it imposes on state taxpayers.
HOUSE: InsuranceFree Market for Utilities and Insurance / auto insurance#202: We encourage free market solutions for providing utilities whenever possible. We support that all types of insurance rates, to include (but not limited to) health, life, title, auto, and homeowners insurance should be set through free-market forces alone. We support efforts to shrink the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association to reduce the liabilities it imposes on state taxpayers.
HOUSE: Land & Resource ManagementProperty Rights / local & state zoning#37: Property ownership and free enterprise, the foundation of our collective wealth, must not be abridged nor denied by government. (see comment for full plank)
HOUSE: Licensing & Administrative ProceduresLicensing / monitor effectiveness & efficiency of occupational licensing#204: Review of Licensing Boards- We call upon the Texas Legislature to review all business / professional licensing programs and associated licensing for boards for the purpose of abolishing as many as reasonably possible and repealing those laws, rules, and regulations that exist merely to generate revenue from the licensing process
HOUSE: Natural ResourcesProperty Rights / groundwater policy#37: Property ownership and free enterprise, the foundation of our collective wealth, must not be abridged nor denied by government. (see comment for full plank)
HOUSE: Public EducationForeign Culture Charter Schools#123: Charter schools should have accountability and transparency to local parents, taxpayers, and the State of Texas, as do current public schools, including United States citizenship of public school trustees. We oppose public funding of charter schools which receive money from foreign entities.
HOUSE: Public HealthHealth Care / rural & underserved areas#111: Health care decisions, including routine preventative care such as immunizations, should be between a patient and health care professional and should be protected from government intrusion. Abortion is not healthcare. Government has no right to mandate specific medical procedures or methods of healthcare.
HOUSE: Special Purpose DistrictsManagement Districts / dissolving#191: We oppose the creation of management or special purpose districts with the authority to impose taxes and bond debt and oppose the use of eminent domain by these districts.2017.11.30
HOUSE: Special Purpose DistrictsManagement Districts / creation#191: We oppose the creation of management or special purpose districts with the authority to impose taxes and bond debt and oppose the use of eminent domain by these districts.2017.12.01
HOUSE: Special Purpose DistrictsProperty Rights / water district bonds#37: Property ownership and free enterprise, the foundation of our collective wealth, must not be abridged nor denied by government. . . (see comment for full plank)2017.11.30
HOUSE: TransporationTransportation funding#210: Transportation and Fuel Taxes- We call for all transportation and fuel taxes collected to be used for road construction, improvement, and maintenance only. We resolve that tax revenue derived from gasoline taxes and all other taxes/fees on our vehicles (including vehicle sales tax) should only be used for highway construction, and not be diverted to any other use, including mass transit, rail, restrictive lanes, and bicycle paths.
#212: Toll Road Funding- We oppose the use of taxpayer money to subsidize, guarantee, prop-up, or bail out any toll projects, whether public or private, and we call upon both state and federal lawmakers to adequately fund our highways without hidden taxes, tolls, or raiding emergency funds.
#231: Diversion of Property Taxes- We oppose the diversion of property taxes to build, subsidize, and/or guarantee the loans of toll projects, which is primarily being done through transportation reinvestment zones. The State needs to properly fund the Texas State highway system to prevent the use of local property taxes being diverted to state roads.
2018.04.18
HOUSE: TransporationToll Roads / toll authority transparency#211: Toll Roads- We believe that tolls should come off the road when the debt is retired, and if the debt is ever restructured or refinanced, the pay-off date needs to remain the same or receive voter approval in order to extend the toll tax longer. Maintenance should then revert to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). We oppose public-private partnerships, specifically regarding toll projects. We oppose conversion of existing roads or lanes to toll roads.
HOUSE: TransporationRoads in Oil and Gas Producing Counties#215: Counties with oil and gas production should receive a portion of the production taxes the state collects so that the road system can be maintained for the dual purpose of accommodating the needs of the industry and providing adequate public safety.
HOUSE: Urban Affairsgovernment oversight of buildings of historical significance#78: We call upon governmental entities to protect all symbols of our American and Texan heritage. (see comment for full plank)
HOUSE: Ways & MeansFranchise Tax#175:Tax Burden- We in the Republican Party of Texas believe in the principles of constitutionally limited government based on Federalist principles.. . . (see comment)
HOUSE: Ways & MeansProperty TaxPriority #5: And to replace the property tax system with an alternative other than the income tax and require voter approval to increase the overall tax burden.
#175:Tax Burden- . . . We believe the most equitable system of taxation is one based on consumption and wish to see reforms towards that end at all levels of government Furthermore, we believe that the borrower truly is a slave to the lender, and so long as we continue to increase our tax and debt burdens we will never be a truly free people. Towards these ends, we support the reformation of the current systems of taxation at all levels of government: federal, state, and local. Examples of these reforms include the following . . . . Abolishing property taxes, but in the interim, property taxes should be paid on the price of the property when it was initially purchased . . .
SENATE: FinanceAlamo Renovation / expenditures#78: We call upon governmental entities to protect all symbols of our American and Texan heritage. . . . We support preservation of Texas History and historical sites. Visitors to the Alamo should conduct themselves with decorum and reverence inside the Shrine out of respect for the sacrifice of the heroes who are honored there. We call for restoration of plaques honoring the Confederate Widow’s Pension Fund contribution that were illegally removed from the Texas Supreme Court building.2017.12.05
SENATE: Business & CommerceHealth Insurance Market Stability#202. Free Market for Utilities and Insurance- We encourage free market solutions for providing utilities whenever possible. We support that all types of insurance rates, to include (but not limited to) health, life, title, auto, and homeowners insurance should be set through free-market forces alone. We support efforts to shrink the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association to reduce the liabilities it imposes on state taxpayers

114. Health Care Choice- We urge the passage of health care reform which results in more affordable healthcare through a market-based, competitive, and transparent health care system, including tort reform, interstate competition, health savings accounts, genuine accountability and oversight.
2018.01.23 - HOUSTON
SENATE: Natural Resources & Economic DevelopmentRemoval of Government Barriers including permits & registration requirements & fees#214 Removal of Government Barriers- We support free market solutions and immediate removal of government barriers to the production and distribution of energy including restrictions on:
- Export of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and compressed natural gas (CNG) worldwide
- Drilling, production operations and transportation of petroleum products on public and private lands and waters
- Modernization of existing and construction of new refineries
- Electric power generation and distribution
- Federal gas mileage standards (CAFE standards) and fuel blends
- Development and use of wind energy, coal-fired plants, solar, and nuclear power, and bio-sources without government subsidies.
2018.02.01 - HOUSTON
SENATE: State AffairsAttorney General Jurisdiction on abortion casesPriority #2: Abolish abortion by enacting legislation to stop the murder of unborn children; and to ignore and refuse to enforce any and all federal statutes, regulations, executive orders, and court rulings, which would deprive an unborn child of the right to life.2018.02.21 - AUSTIN
SENATE: State AffairsReligious Liberty - monitor 85-R bills (sermon safegard, religious liberty of county clerks)Priority: religious liberties

#151. Safeguarding Religious Liberties- We affirm that the public acknowledgement of God is undeniable in our history and is vital to our freedom, prosperity, and strength. We pledge our influence toward a return to the original intent of the 1st Amendment and toward dispelling the myth of separation of church and state. Tax deductions for charitable contributions are not government subsidies and give no authority for government oversight. Americans should be free to express their religious beliefs, including prayer in public places. We urge the legislature to increase the ability of faith based institutions and other organizations to assist the needy and to reduce regulation of such organizations. We also support vigorously protecting the rights of commercial establishments to refuse to provide any service or product that would infringe upon freedom of conscience of religious expression of the commercial establishments as stated in the 1st Amendment.
2018.02.21 - AUSTIN
SENATE: Health & Human ServicesHealth Care Choice / cost transparency#114: We urge the passage of health care reform which results in more affordable healthcare through a market-based, competitive, and transparent health care system, including tort reform, interstate competition, health savings accounts, genuine accountability and oversight.2018.03.21
SENATE: Health & Human ServicesChild Welfare / Department of Protective Services# 106. Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) Accountability- We believe that Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) investigations should only be done upon probable cause of harm to a child. Removal of a child from a home should be pursuant to a court order or in response to an immediate threat.2018.03.22
SENATE: Agriculture, Water & Rural AffairsRegulatory Framework of Groundwater Conservation Districts and River Authorities#38. Water Rights- We support the decision made by the Texas Supreme Court rejecting regulation, regulatory taking, metering, and restricting production of individuals’ underground water. We support fair market value for the taking of an individual’s private water supply and groundwater rights of property owners.2018.01.29 - Wharton
SENATE: Agriculture, Water & Rural AffairsStreamlining Water Permitting#38. Water Rights- We support the decision made by the Texas Supreme Court rejecting regulation, regulatory taking, metering, and restricting production of individuals’ underground water. We support fair market value for the taking of an individual’s private water supply and groundwater rights of property owners.2018.01.29 - Wharton
SENATE: Business & CommerceSocial Media Access / privacy#154. Electronic Privacy Internet Access- We believe all law-abiding citizens should be free from government surveillance of their electronic communications and data mining except in cases directly involving national security, by court order. Except for non-citizens, we further oppose any national ID program, including the Real ID Act and the use of Radio Frequency Identification Chips (RFID) on humans. We support a free and open internet - free from intrusion, censorship, or control by government or private entities.
SENATE: Business & CommerceLicensing and Fees / reduce, repeal, transition to private sector#203. Small Business- We urge the federal and state legislatures to reduce regulations on small businesses and home based work.
SENATE: Business & CommerceFree Market Electricity#214. Removal of Government Barriers- We support free market solutions and immediate removal of government barriers to the production and distribution of energy including restrictions on:
- Export of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and compressed natural gas (CNG) worldwide
- Drilling, production operations and transportation of petroleum products on public and private lands and waters
- Modernization of existing and construction of new refineries
- Electric power generation and distribution
- Federal gas mileage standards (CAFE standards) and fuel blends
- Development and use of wind energy, coal-fired plants, solar, and nuclear power, and bio-sources without government subsidies.
SENATE: Criminal JusticeHuman Trafficking Awareness and Prevention#83. Human Trafficking- We adamantly oppose any form of human trafficking.
SENATE: EducationReview education code / modify or abolish / unecessary mandates#124. National Core Curriculum- We oppose use of national or international standards in the State of Texas (i.e. Common Core, CSCOPE, United Nations Inclusion, etc.) We also oppose the modification of college entrance exams to reflect any national core philosophies. Any ISDs that violate state law banning the use of a national core curriculum or standards shall lose all state funding until said curriculum or standards are removed and no longer utilized in classrooms.

#127.3 We oppose mandatory pre-school and kindergarten.
SENATE: EducationExpand High Quality Education Opportunities Priority: School choice in a manner consistent with the platform.

#147. We believe that all children should have access to quality education. We support the right to choose public, private, charter, or home education. We support the distribution of educational funds in a manner that they follow the student to any school, whether public, private, charter, or home school through means of tax exemptions and/or credits.
2018.04.04 E1.028 (Hearing Room) - 10:00am
SENATE: Election Security, SelectVoting security protocols / electoral college duties#59. Fair Election Procedures- We support modifications and the strengthening of election laws to ensure ballot integrity and fair elections . . . (see comment for full plank)

#60. Voter Registration- We support restoring integrity to the voter registration rolls and reducing voter fraud. We support the repeal of all motor voter laws, re-registering voters every four years, requiring photo ID of all registrants, proof of residency and citizenship, along with voter registration application, retention of the 30-day registration deadline, and requiring that a list of certified deaths be provided to the Secretary of State in order that the names of deceased voters be removed from the list of registered voters.

#68. Electoral College- We support the Electoral College.
2018.02.22
SENATE: Inter-governmental Relationsspecial purpose district bond reform#191: We oppose the creation of management or special purpose districts with the authority to impose taxes and bond debt and oppose the use of eminent domain by these districts.2018.03.27
SENATE: Intergovernmental Relationsmunicipal management district uniformity#191: We oppose the creation of management or special purpose districts with the authority to impose taxes and bond debt and oppose the use of eminent domain by these districts.2018.03.27
SENATE: Intergovernmental RelationsProperty Rights / estraterritorial jurisdiction limitations#37: Property ownership and free enterprise, the foundation of our collective wealth, must not be abridged nor denied by government. We support legislation to protect these bedrock rights. Areas of concern are: annexation, eminent domain (including foreign entities), property forfeiture, extraterritorial jurisdiction, seizure for public or private development, natural resources and conservation easements, groundwater and/or mineral rights, nationalization of lands, and the preservation of our 4th Amendment right to privacy. Property owners should be notified of their rights with regard to condemnation, annexation, or easement; and the condemner should be required to petition a court of jurisdiction to show public necessity. Taking of property should result in immediate compensation of fair market value to the owner. These issues should be administered by elected officials accountable to voters.2018.03.27
SENATE: Select Committee on Employment PracticesTurn Off the Magnet / immigration law, E-verify#257 No tax dollars to be provided for social or educational programs for illegal aliens; rescinding existing laws providing for in-state tuition, non-emergency hospital care, requiring all employers to utilize E-verify systems to confirm the legal status of all new hires; rejection of non-verifiable foreign issued identification cards as legally valid in the United States.
SENATE: Select Committee on Property Tax ReformTax Burden / evaluation of tax rate & appraisal reform#175: . . . . We support the reformation of the current systems of taxation at all levels of government: federal, state, and local. Examples of these reforms include the following . . . . Electing appraisal boards
SENATE: Select Committee on Property Tax ReformReplacing the property taxPriority #5: And to replace the property tax system with an alternative other than the income tax and require voter approval to increase the overall tax burden.
#175 . . . We support the reformation of the current systems of taxation at all levels of government: federal, state, and local. Examples of these reforms include the following . . . . Abolishing property taxes, but in the interim, property taxes should be paid on the price of the property when it was initially purchased. . . .
SENATE: State AffairsCampus Free Speech#136. Higher Education- We support Texas college admissions based solely on merit. We oppose restrictions on free speech and support unencumbered discourse while opposing penalties or other retributions for such in institutions of higher learning.2018.01.31 - San Marcos
SENATE: State AffairsSecond Amendment / address regulatory barriers to the full exercise of citizens' 2A rightsPriority #1: Pass constitutional carry while maintaining licensing as optional for reciprocity purposes.

#149. Right to Keep and Bear Arms- We strongly oppose all laws that infringe on the right to bear arms. We oppose the monitoring of gun ownership, the taxation and regulation of guns, ammunition, and gun magazines. We collectively urge the legislature to pass “constitutional carry” legislation, whereby law-abiding citizens that possess firearms can legally exercise their God-given right to carry that firearm as well. We call for the elimination of all gun free zones. All federal acts, laws, executive orders, and court orders which restrict or infringe on the people’s right to keep and bear arms shall be invalid in Texas, not be recognized by Texas, shall be specifically rejected by Texas, and shall be considered null and void and of no effect in Texas. Firearms and ammunition manufactured and sold in the state of Texas are not covered under the Commerce Clause (Article I Section 8 of the United States Constitution) and therefore are not subject to federal regulation.
SENATE: TransportationHuman Smuggling#83 Human Trafficking- We adamantly oppose any form of human trafficking.

#254 Consequences of Noncompliance- We support denial and/or withdrawal of public funds for entities, public and/or private, not in compliance with immigration laws, including sanctuary cities
2018.02.21 -

 

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