Legislative Update: May 10, 2019

Ge​t the latest news for Texas' 86th legislative session.

Texas Capitol building in Austin.

This Edition

  • First Rule of Tax Swap
  • Stick a Fork in It
  • Important Issues
  • #TXLege Download
  • Finis …

First Rule of Tax Swap (HJR 3/HB 4621)

Regarding the tax swap or tax increase bill — perhaps this week, members are thinking it's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything. As the House began deliberating HJR 3 and HB 4621, the bills’ sponsor — and the Big 3 — must have thought, "This is our bill and it's ending, one minute at a time."

Wait. Remind me what this debate is all about. HJR 3 would ask voters to approve an increase in the state sales tax by one penny in order to buy down school district property taxes. HB 4621 offered another option to increase the sales tax. However, before the discussion began, the Senate chamber stripped the increase in sales tax from the school finance bill. As you might recall, the House tied the school finance bill to the sales tax increase. Thus, when the Senate stripped the tax swap, or the tax increase, the House pretty much said, "If I did have a tumor, I’d name it Senate."

Project mayhem began. The bill's sponsor took to the mic to blame the Senate and then announced he was delaying the bill for two years — postponing it until 2021. Yes. Two-zero-two-one. It also didn’t help that a study showed the sales tax bill would hit poor Texans the hardest, and the bill already faced a block of 60+ “no” votes. And did we mention the House needs 100 votes to pass an HJR? Perhaps it would have been better to follow the first rule of tax swap: You don’t talk about tax swap. (But we will share more articles in #TXLege Download)

Stick a Fork in It

It’s that point in the session when members are keeping an eye on the calendar. Especially in the House. Thursday was the last day for a House bill to be heard on second reading. Deadlines are one way to kill a large swath of bills. Goodbye, House Bill 412 seeking to restore the Texas vs. Texas A&M football game. See you later, House Bill 146 seeking to allow adoption of research animals. Bye bye, House Bill 2063 relating to the sale of fireworks on and before Texas Independence Day, San Jacinto Day and Cinco de Mayo. Adios, House Bill 1723 repealing the permit requirement for intrastate shipment of bees. Bidi, bidi bye-bye, House Bill 2492 designating April 16 as Selena Quintanilla Pérez Day. It was nice knowing some of these bills, but you can now stick a fork in them. They are done.

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 in 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.
    • Still pending in the House Higher Education Committee.
  • 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.
    • SB 2 was substituted for HB 2 and voted out of the House (April 30). A conference committee will be appointed to reconcile differences
      • Community colleges are in the House substitute at an 8% cap.

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

Rain, rain, go away. Come again another day. Your Capitol Update team wants to play. These past few days — dare I say weeks — have been filled with clouds and rain. Serious note: Keep our friends in Houston and southeast Texas in your thoughts. They’ve already faced floods and today are expecting more rain. Remember ... turn around, don’t drown. On a less serious note, does Delkus do weather right? Is Finfrock’s forecast finicky? With these cool temperatures and cloudy days, maybe it’s a good idea to grab a blanket and your favorite tall, half-caff, soy latte at 120 degrees. Or your other favorite complicated beverage. Caff-up, my friends. It's time for the #TXLege Download. Disclaimer, because they make us: Content maybe behind a paywall.

Around Waterloo

  • Lawmakers Narrow Down Priorities as Session Comes to a Close (Etcetera)
  • Texas House flirts with eliminating biggest chunk of Texans’ property tax in 2022 (AAS)
  • Dallas LGBTQ lawmaker torpedoes 'Save Chick-fil-A' bill (DMN)
  • Texas narrows law barring contractors from boycotting Israel (TX Trib)
  • In A Surprising Turn, Texas House Opts To Delay Debate On Sales Tax Swap Legislation Until 2021 (KUT)
  • Texas lawmaker calls vaccines 'sorcery,' verbally attacks prominent advocate (Chron)
  • Analysis: When the Texas Legislature’s safest vote is no vote at all (TX Trib)
  • House Lawmakers Burn Midnight Oil as Key Deadline Approaches (KXAS – Video)
  • Texas lawmakers watch hundreds of bills go down the drain on deadline day in the House (DMN)

The Beltway and Beyond

  • Trump Renews Trade War as China Talks End Without a Deal (NYT)
  • Comey suggests Trump could be indicted when he leaves office (Fox News)
  • Decision to subpoena Donald Trump Jr. sets off a Republican firefight (WP)
  • Border arrests near 100K in April, highest since 2007 (The Hill)
  • 10 images that define the week in Washington (Roll Call)
  • Pompeo to meet with Putin in Russia next week (Politico)

Finis ...

This weekend is a special weekend. A shout out to all of our mothers and soon-to-be moms. Have a wonderful Mother’s Day.