Legislative Update: Feb. 22, 2019

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

Texas Capitol building in Austin. 

Feb. 22, 2019
Vol. 7, Issue 7

This Edition

  • The Big Picture
  • Important Issues
  • #TXLege Download
  • Finis …​

The Big Picture

Lights! Camera! Action! Plenty of things are happening at the Capitol. At times, we need to take a break and look at the big picture. First, let’s share some data that show you the big picture. Because you like data. And I like data.

Texas Community Colleges:

  • Educate 75% of all freshmen and sophomores enrolled in the state’s institutions of higher education.
  • Educated more than 730,000 students last year.
  • Serve more students than all state universities combined.

That’s impressive. Why is the big picture important? This week, the House Committee on Higher Education held its second hearing; and, for the first time, the committee invited testimony, from community colleges. Think of it as our first opportunity to share our great work with the new chairman, Rep. Chris Turner. Expect the House committee to begin hearing more testimony and, in the near future, they will start hearing bills. 

Meanwhile, the Senate Committee on Higher Education will hold its first organizational meeting next week on Wednesday, Feb. 27. Sen. Brandon Creighton, also a brand new chairman, will introduce committee staff and say a few words. We do not anticipate a long hearing. 

Let me guess. You saw the words “Big Picture” and thought I was going to discuss the $2,000 Samsung Fold. Nope. I’m still rocking my old-school Motorola Razr. You know, the one where you can do a hard-snap-close to hang up on someone when you are upset.

I digress.

Speaking of a razor and  the big picture … the Senate Committee on Property Tax passed its version of the 2.5 percet property tax cap bill, also known as SB 2, which many cities and counties do not support. Remember the first couple of legislative updates that included articles about SB 2? No?? (💔) Visit our page to see previous updates. Well, briefly – because this section is already running long – the "Big 3" (Governor, Lt. Governor and Speaker) agreed on a bill that included a 2.5 percent cap. However, that may be changing.

Members of the House Committee on Higher Education hold a hearing.

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
  • Funding for Small Business Development Centers
  • A student’s right to transfer
  • Workforce development
  • Local control

Throughout the session, we will track the issues and bills that affect DCCCD as they make their way through the legislative process. We will also 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 dcccdgovt@dcccd.edu.

#TXLege Download

So, hey there! It’s almost March, which means it’s almost spring break. While my heart is already sitting in a comfy chair on the beach with a drink sporting a mini-umbrella in one hand, I’m still physically here. All this spring break daydreaming has me thinking: “Self, how else can I get away from it all?” Especially on a long, rainy day like today. Yeah, you know how it goes. Line up the goods. It’s time for the #TXLege Download. Oh, wait! Thank you, Outlook reminder. It’s National Margarita Day. It only gets better from here. Cheers! 

Around the Capitol

  • All 12 Senate Democrats oppose Texas Secretary of State David Whitley. That's more than enough to block his nomination.
  • ‘Damage has been done’: Most Senate Democrats will oppose Texas secretary of state’s confirmation
  • Sen. Paxton Files Bill That Would Let Her Husband, Texas’ AG, Decide Who Can Skirt Securities Law
  • 'We've got a lot of work to do': Powerful North Texas senator talks taxes, teachers and voter purge
  • 'Enamored' by new Texas House speaker, Freedom Caucus vows to stick to conservative values
  • Texas A&M-San Antonio Will Ask Students and the Lege to OK a Sports Program
  • Bipartisan bill aims to help taxpayers track where their money goes

Finis ...

The smell of fresh bills is in the air. The House and Senate have until March 8 to file their respective bills. Up to this point, almost 4,000 bills and resolutions have been filed, and it isn’t over. As SB 2 slowly moves its way through the Senate, the House Ways and Means Committee is expected to tackle the property tax cap bill, HB 2 — which is identical to SB 2 — next week. Since enthusiasm has waned in the upper chamber, expect the lower chamber to be more deliberative. Oh, wait … did we mention the Texas Legislature is killing plenty of trees? Yes, we anticipate hundreds of pages to be filed related to public school finance. What does all this mean? Time to settle down and pay more attention. It’s that, or you can just continue reading the weekly legislative update. We’ve got your back.