Legislative Update: March 8, 2019

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

Texas Capitol building in Austin.

March 8, 2019
Vol. 7, Issue 9

This Edition

  • All In
  • Important Issues
  • #TXLege Download
  • Finis …

All In

Everyone is “all in” this week in Austin. Not just the Europeans or Australians that the Legislative Update team bumped into at the “library” or the communications, media and marketing folks from DCCCD – wait, what are you all doing here? No, the Texas Legislature is all in because today is the 60th day of the session plus the deadline to file bills, with a few exceptions.

What does all of this mean? Aside from the flood of people that SXSW brings to Austin, essentially it means any bill that hopes to make it to the governor’s desk to become law must be filed today. Yesterday, 911 bills were filed, and any last-minute-Hail-Mary-just-go-deep bills must be filed by 6 p.m. today. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Yes, we need more bills and thus more laws! Ok…maybe not. So far, here’s the tally of bills filed (as of our Legislative Update deadline): 6,444 – and this number doesn’t include resolutions.

Speaking of “all in,” Chancellor Joe May was invited by Sen. Brandon Creighton, chairman of the Senate Committee on Higher Education, to testify before the Committee. Dr. May participated on a panel with Dr. Brian Lusk from Dallas ISD and Bill Mong, president of the University of North Texas at Dallas. After their testimony, Sen. Paul Bettencourt, from the Houston area, went on the record about DCCCD’s work and was not shy about sharing his wonderful thoughts.

During the hearing, Dr. May spoke about the Dallas County Promise and the importance of having willing partners. He also added, “A network approach will allow DCCCD to support the many needs of individuals, employers and communities.” The chancellor received praise from the committee for his work on the Promise and other DCCCD initiatives.

Left to right: UNT Dallas President Bob Mong, DCCCD Chancellor Joe May and DISD’s Dr. Brian Lusk participate in a panel. (Photo from the Texas Legislative Online live stream.)

Chancellor May responds to a question from Sen. Royce West (4th from right).

Chancellor May speaks with Higher Education Committee Vice Chair Sen. Royce West of Dallas

Chancellor May speaks with Sen. Kirk Watson.

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 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 (We apologize; previous editions listed an incorrect email address.).

#TXLege Download

Are you ready? You might be reading this update on a plane or in your car as you ride out of town. Or some of you may be reading this newsletter while you’re in line to watch “Captain Marvel.” (Sorry guys, it sold out. You know who you are.) Either way, can you believe it’s already spring break? Take out the suntan lotion and pop in your favorite mix tape (I’m old school). It’s time for the #TXLege Download. (You know the disclaimer.)

Around Waterloo

  • Texas Senate unanimously passes $5,000 teacher pay raises, adding librarians
  • Governor Abbott blasts DPS over non-citizen voter list (Video)
  • The Texas House has offered a serious plan to fund our schools. Will the Senate answer?
  • Houston lawmaker files budget amendment to shut down scandal-plagued Gainesville State School
  • Mental health bill clears hurdle in state Senate, despite opposition from conservative groups
  • Poll: 78 percent of Texans support required vaccinations for kids (Video)
  • Can Texas fix its broken property tax system? These lawmakers' ideas might not have a chance
  • Texas lawmaker whose bill allowed medical cannabis oil wants to expand its use in 2019

The Beltway and Beyond

  • Associate degrees linked to better employment, earnings
  • House plans 5 hearings on Higher Education Act reauthorization
  • Democratic Take on the Higher Education Act
  • Paul Manafort Is Sentenced to Less Than 4 Years in 1 of 2 Cases Against Him

Finis ...

Today is International Women’s Day. Yesterday, during a special election in Houston, Christina Morales won her race to become a state representative, which brings the total number of women in Texas’ legislative body to 43. It’s true – 43 of the 179 members represent approximately 28 million Texans, and approximately 50 percent of the state’s residents are women. The Capitol Update Team thought it would be a good fact to share. Process as you wish. #BalanceForBetter

Have a safe spring break.