Legislative Update: March 1, 2019

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

Texas Capitol building in Austin.

March 1, 2019
Vol. 7, Issue 8

This Edition

  • No Dough, No Show
  • A Look Ahead
  • #TXLege Download
  • Finis …

No Dough, No Show

On Wednesday, the big hearing took place at the Capitol. We saw drama. Poignant questions were asked. Dare we say, people were tuning in and biting their nails. The hearing lasted forever — well, it felt like that. Who knew the Ways and Means Committee would be so exciting? Oh, wait … you’re thinking maybe we’re talking about Michael Cohen or the U.S. House Oversight and Reform hearing. Perhaps it has something to do with Russia or hush payments? No, sir … or ma’am. Technically, it did involve payments and money. As they say, "No dough, no show." Ways and Means took up HB 2 — the property tax cap bill.

Wait. You’ve heard this song before? Maybe. Recall last week I shared in “The Big Picture” that the Senate Committee on Property Tax passed out of committee their version of the 2.5 percent property tax cap bill, also known as SB 2. As of today, SB 2 has not been heard by the full Senate. Now the House takes its turn. Don’t expect the House to rush the bill through in order to beat the Senate. Do expect more conversations and possibly a change in the 2.5 percent number.

(6 p.m.) Austin Mayor Steve Adler testifies before Ways and Means on HB 2. (Photo from the Texas Legislative Online live stream.)

A Look Ahead

Have you ever felt the rush — or anxiety — of working against a deadline? Next week, legislators will face those feelings as they deal with a major deadline. The last day they can file bills is March 8. Our super-duper-high-tech-hamster-wheel-finger-and-toe counting system has the total number of bills filed so far at approximately 4,000. Like going to a good sale, expect a mad rush at the end. (Xanax not included.)

Additionally, Chancellor Joe May will testify on Wednesday, March 6, during the Senate Committee on Higher Education hearing. Follow us on Twitter for updates — @DCCCDGovt (cheap plug, I know).

Hold on — what about this week? Glad you asked. Chancellor May was in Austin this week and met with Lt. Gov. Patrick’s higher education advisor, plus staff members from Sen. Watson's and Reps. Neave and Lozano’s offices. He also spoke by phone with Gov. Greg Abbott’s director of economic development.

Still going … (7 p.m.) Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt testifies before Ways & Means on HB 2. (Photo from the Texas Legislative Online live stream.)

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.

Still going … (9:30 p.m.) Roberto Zarate, Alamo Colleges Trust​ee and Chair of ACCT, testifies before Ways and Means on HB 2. (Photo from the Texas Legislative Online live stream.)

#TXLege Download

I know, I know. I’ve been slapped on the hand about certain content in the update. Fortunately, there are censors … eh, I mean, editors. So, let me tread carefully. Booze! I mean that Mardi Gras is upon us! Yes, it’s time for the annual ritual of drinks, beads, food and, well, drinks – if you are over 21. Laissez les bon temps rouler!

As you pack your beads for the parade in New Orleans or hop in an Uber to begin celebrating this weekend in North Texas, take time to catch up on what’s going on in Austin and beyond. As we like to say, Laissez les #TXLege Download rouler! Reminder: Le contenu peut être derrière un paywall (yup, the paywall disclaimer).

Around Waterloo

  • Federal judge temporarily blocks Texas from purging voters in citizenship review
  • Texas lawmakers have tried to end daylight saving time for years. Can they do it this session?
  • Advocates rally at Capitol for cancer research/services funding
  • Will Texas decriminalize marijuana this year? There is growing support
  • Amid Measles Outbreak, Texas Lawmakers Want to Make it Even Easier to Opt Out of Vaccines
  • Gun Sense and Nonsense: Firearms Bills Before Your Texas Legislature
  • Teachers would get $5,000 per year pay raise under plan approved by Texas Senate panel
  • April 16 may become Selena Quintanilla Perez Day, an official holiday in Texas
  • The top places Texas lawmakers go to wine, dine and deal during legislative session (Video)

The Beltway and Beyond

  • Cohen tells Congress Trump knew about WikiLeaks’ plans, directed hush-money payments
  • Trump's inner circle sustains collateral damage in Cohen hearing
  • Chinese-funded institutes on U.S. college campuses condemned in Senate report
  • Building a Career, One Academic Step at a Time
  • Michael Cohen spectacle overshadows Korea summit

Still going … (10:45 p.m.) A Dallas County representative testifies before Ways and Means on HB 2. (Photo from the Texas Legislative Online live stream.)

Finis ...

What’s old is new again! Jason Witten wants to return to the Cowboys’ lineup. The legislature is hearing bills that closely resemble bills that didn’t pass the members’ smell test in 2017. Elected officials — local and state (past and present) — are in trouble with the law. What gives? Well, as the saying goes, the more things change, the more they stay the same. With the March 8 deadline upon us, expect a flurry of bills to be filed. Is there a bill we missed that you care about? Contact us. Additionally, the Texas Legislature Online provides you with information and copies of bills. The site also lets you know when committees will meet and more. All for free. So tune in, my friends. As the kids say, “It’s about to get krunk.”

Still going!!! Are you kidding me? (11:55 p.m.) A concerned taxpayer testifies before Ways and Means on HB 2. (Photo from the Texas Legislative Online live stream.)