Legislative Update: April 5, 2019

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

Texas Capitol building in Austin.

April 5, 2019

Vol. 7, Issue 12

  • Similar, but Different
  • Important Issues
  • #TXLege Download
  • Finis …

Similar, but Different

OK, stay with your Capitol Update team here. Last week, we announced that HB 1 had been passed by the Texas House after a marathon session. Something similar happened in the Senate Finance committee — but slightly different. Kind of like Texas winning the NIT Tournament, but it’s different because it’s not the tournament.

Back to the Texas Legislature. On Wednesday, the Senate Finance committee passed HB 1, using a committee substitute ... thus similar, but different. What does this all mean? For starters, legislators are closer to fulfilling their one constitutional obligation — pass a state budget. The next step is for the full Senate to consider the bill, which it will most likely do and pass next week. Then a conference committee will be convened to iron out the budget differences between the two chambers. Let’s hope that committee is better than the NCAA Selection Committee which decides who plays in the tournament … right, TCU? (Ouch! — too soon?)

Bonus Picture … Because I haven’t shared one.

This week Dr. Justin Lonon, DCCCD’s executive vice chancellor, was in D.C. to advocate for students and community colleges. Dr. Lonon joined other leaders from community colleges across the country to discuss workforce needs, reauthorization of the Higher Education Act and short-term or workforce Pell Grants.

Dr. Justin Lonon (third from left) shares time with other community college leaders after a meeting at the White House.

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 funding for all community colleges and more funds 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.
    • The Senate Finance committee passed a committee substitute for HB 1, and it will be heard by the full Senate as early as next week.
  • 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 will convene a group of individuals, including DCCCD representatives, to discuss how to improve the transfer bills.
    • Sen. West has notified us that he intends to file a committee substitute for SB 25, which maybe heard as early as Wednesday, April 10.
  • 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
    • These bills also are known as SB 2 and HB 2.
    • SB 2 was voted out of committee (Feb. 11); however, it has not been heard on the Senate floor.
    • HB 2 was voted out of committee (March 26); however, it has not been heard on the House floor.
      • Community colleges are exempt from HB 2.

Throughout the session, we will track these 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

#TXLege Download

Let’s taco-bout it. There is a movement to make tacos the official food of Texas. Yummy, yes! On flour, corn or puffy (yes, I said puffy) … either way, they’re tasty. OK … let’s drop some salsa on this debate and spice it up. You can track HCR 57 to the very last bite. Don’t worry. Texas’ other official snacks (tortilla chips and salsa), dish (chili), cobbler (peach), crustacean (shrimp) and more are there for you to enjoy! With all this taco-talk, it’s time to grab a “pirata” from Taco P and kick off a filling weekend with the #TXLege download. You know the disclaimer: careful with the red salsa, my friends, and the other disclaimer, of course.

Around Waterloo

  • Texas Senate panel advances budget bill that mirrors House plan on education, property tax reform spending
  • State troopers intercept gun-rights activist at House Speaker Dennis Bonnen’s home
  • Texas House signs off on medical schools for Sam Houston State, University of Houston
  • Southwest, American Airlines' industry group says sick leave bills won't imperil LGBT protections
  • Controversial religious freedom bill passes Texas Senate, faces backlash from LGBTQ activists
  • Texas House approves major school finance reform package, adds teacher raises to the bill
  • Pay raises for full-time school employees guaranteed under revised House education plan

Finis ...