Legislative Update: April 26, 2019

​Get the latest news for Texas' 86th legislative session.

Texas Capitol building in Austin. ​

This Edition

  • The Endgame
  • El Centro Day at the Capitol
  • Important Issues
  • #TXLege Download
  • Finis …

The Endgame (HB 2)(SB 25)

Adrift in space with no food or water, HB 2 is floating, and time is running out. Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen has called his allies together to get this bill figured out. Thus, HB 2 was postponed once again and is now rescheduled for Tuesday, April 30. 

Wait. What? Oh, sorry. Different endgame. 

Expect plenty of conversations and negotiations as we lead up to Tuesday. Currently, community colleges are exempt from HB 2, and we are asking our Dallas delegation and others to keep the exemption in place. 

Making strides to the end is SB 25, which facilitates the transfer, academic progress and timely graduation of students in public higher education. Dallas County’s own Sen. Royce West filed the bill and worked with community colleges and universities to find common ground. The bill:

  • Requires institutions of higher education to develop recommended course sequences for each undergraduate degree and certificate they offer. 
  • Requires institutions to report recommended course sequences to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB), based on THECB's rules.
  • Requires students who are enrolled in academic dual credit coursework to file a degree plan after they earn 15 semester credit hours.
  • Revises the core curriculum to create a 30-hour general core curriculum and a 12-hour academic discipline core curriculum.
    • However, Sen. West has stated they will remove this bifurcated core in the conference committee. 

Sen. West lays out SB 25 on the Senate floor (standing, far left).

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announces that SB 25 unanimously passes (31 Ayes/0 Nays).

DCCCD was actively engaged in conversations surrounding SB 25. Chancellor Joe May personally spoke with Sen. West in Austin several weeks ago and was the only community college chancellor or president at the meeting with the state's universities, the THECB, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s senior adviser and Sen. West. 

The next step for SB 25 is to be heard by the full House. 

El Centro Day at the Capitol

Rep. Ana Maria Ramos, a new member of the Dallas delegation, is also an adjunct professor of government at El Centro College and an Eastfield College graduate as well. Yay! Can you think of a better way to learn about Texas government than by taking a course with a state representative who is an instructor? Your Capitol Update team can’t. 

On the last Friday of April (today), El Centro students visited the Capitol and were recognized on the House floor by Rep. Ramos. The students, bright-eyed from an early morning start, also toured the capitol building and were able to meet with Rep. Ramos in her role as a state representative. Joining the students were DCCCD Chancellor May, Dr. Jose Adames, El Centro's president; and Dr. David Barrientos, an El Centro administrator. 

El Centro students pose with DCCCD administrators and state legislators at the Capitol.

Rep. Ramos (center) speaks to El Centro College students.​

Dr. Adames, Rep. Ramos and Dr. May.

El Centro students participate in today's session.

Rep. Ramos speaks to the delegation. 

Important Issues

When we visit with House and Senate members, Chancellor Joe May and DCCCD staffers have one primary goal: to advocate for our students and colleges on issues of importance. A few of those issues include: 

  • Funding for community colleges
    • HB 1 currently has additional dollars for all community colleges, more than SB 1. 
    • As passed, HB 1 includes a total increase of $75.2 million for formula funding for all community colleges over the 2018-2019 biennium. 
    • On April 9, the Senate chamber unanimously passed the committee substitute for HB 1. 
    • A conference committee has been appointed to reconcile the differences.  
  • Funding for Small Business Development Centers 
    • Both SB 1 and HB 1 appropriate approximately $3.2 million for SBDCs.
  • A student’s right to transfer 
    • Sen. Royce West has filed SB 25 and SB 1923, which focus on transfer.
    • Sen. West convened a group of individuals, including DCCCD representatives, to discuss how to improve the transfer bills. 
    • On April 10, the Senate Higher Education committee voted out a committee substitute for SB 25. 
    • On April 24, the Senate unanimously passed SB 25.
  • Workforce development
    • Both SB 1 and HB 1 allocate dollars for Jobs Education and Training (JET) and Skills Development Fund (SDF) grants.
  • Local control / property tax bill 
    • Also known as SB 2 and HB 2.
    • SB 2 was voted out of the Senate (April 15).
    • HB 2 was voted out of committee (March 26); however, it has not been heard on the House floor.
      • Community colleges are exempted from HB 2. 

Throughout the session, we will track the issues and bills that affect DCCCD as they make their way through the legislative process. We also will share more details about the issues listed above. As always, please feel free to contact our office with any questions. You can now email us at GovtAffairs@dcccd.edu or follow us on Twitter @DCCCDGovt.

#TXLege Download

Just when you think you are ahead and moving on, something happens. Right, Golden State Warriors fans? No need for a technical foul — there is another opportunity. Speaking of opportunity ... excitement awaits all these young men – Kyler Murray, Joey Bosa, Quinnen Williams — as these number 1, 2, and 3 draftees went to the NFL on Thursday. Woo hoo! Show me the money! All this sports talk has me pumped up and ready to tackle the #TXLege Download. Sign my million-dollar paycheck and let’s get at it. You know the disclaimer, and of course, protect the blindside. 

Around Waterloo 

  • Brewers seek beer-to-go sales with legislative push (Beaumont Enterprise)
  • Texas Sen. Larry Taylor unveils new school finance bill, adding $5,000 teacher pay raise (Trib.)
  • Texas Senate school plan has bigger teacher raises, more tax relief. But how will it be paid for? (DMN)
  • Daylight saving or standard time? Question might be on Texas ballot (FWST)
  • Texas House votes to expand DNA database (AAS)
  • Texas Leads The Nation In Traffic Deaths. These Proposed Laws Could Make Roads Safer. (TXStandard – Audio)
  • Students unlikely to benefit from swap of property tax cap for sales tax increase, experts say (Daily Texan) 
  • Bill Legalizing CBD Passes House, Heads to Senate (KXAS – Video)

The Beltway and Beyond

  • North Korea issued $2 million bill for comatose Otto Warmbier’s care (WP) 
  • Texas border mayor charged for voter fraud, accused of rigging his own election (Hill)
  • 3 things about Congress buried in the Mueller report (Roll Call)
  • 'Racism and sexism': Women of color slam white male tilt of Dem primary (Politico)
  • Leader of militia that detained migrants reportedly attacked in jail (The Hill)
  • No Trump, no gluten, no problem at White House Correspondents’ Dinner (Roll Call)
  • Trump administration postpones plan to expand offshore drilling after losing court case (WE) 

Finis ...

Thirty-one days. That’s one month. Then we can go back to our normal lives and put the state legislature in our rearview mirror. Ah, the dreams of tacos and lucha libre will have to wait until 2020. Thirty-one days. That’s about the same amount of time many of you will be preparing to take a break. Before you pack the cooler and rummage through the drawers for last year’s sunblock, remember to do a few things. Yes, we're playing that broken record again. Vote! Early voting ends next week. When you vote early, you can avoid the lines and cast your ballot anywhere in the ​​county. If you miss the opportunity to vote early, you will have to wait until May 4. Once the election is over, we can all go back to our normal lives again. Happy voting! (And seriously ... buy new sunblock. You know who you are.)