Legislative Update – March 13 to 8 a.m. Monday, March 20

School Bills Start Moving in House and Senate

A trickling of school bills started their upward advancement in the House and Senate during TEN‘s current reporting period.

  • Note: In some cases the posted version of a bill may not yet reflect changes that were subsequently made in committee.

Passed by Senate, Sent to House Committees:

  • SB2-Hughes, making illegal voting a second degree felony (instead of a misdemeanor), and removing the requirement that a person has to know they are breaking the law to be charged. (Houston Public Media)

  • SB4-Bettencourt, relating to the maximum compressed tax rate of a school district. (Fiscal Note)

  • SB30-Huffman, providing, for the current biennium, supplemental appropriations and directing how unexpended funds are to be used by numerous state agencies, including TEA. The bill appropriates an extra $1 billion to TRS to be used (if enabling legislation is passed this session and other specified criteria is met) for a benefit enhancement for retirees for the upcoming biennium. (TCTA)

Passed by House Committees, Sent to Full House:

  • HB131-Murr, allowing school districts to excuse an 11th or 12th grade student’s absence to visit a professional’s workplace for career exploration purposes.

  • HB272-Julie Johnson, changing the special-ed related references in law for the “admission, review and dismissal (ARD) committee” to the “individualized education program team.”

  • HB584-Capriglione, allowing the state Department of Information Resources to develop a state information technology credential to be offered by public junior colleges to address shortages in the state information resources workforce.

  • HB621-Shaheen, allowing military veterans (meeting specified criteria) to serve as classroom teachers on five-year temporary certificates.

  • HB699-Frank, modifying the UIL home-school bill passed last session to clarify how the league’s enrollment-based classifications are to be determined when considering schools that allow non-school participants to participate in their league activities.

Passed by Senate Committees, Sent to Full Senate:

  • SB3-Bettencourt, raising (if voters approve a constitutional amendment) the mandatory school district homestead exemption from $40,000 to $70,000.

  • SB15-Middleton, enacting transgender legislation by requiring college athletes to compete in sports divisions that match the sex listed on their birth certificate.

  • SB175-Middleton, prohibiting governmental entities, including ISDs, from using taxpayer funds to hire lobbyists or to indirectly pay for lobbying activities through memberships in nonprofit associations. School management groups testified against the bill, which was approved (as a substitute for the bill as originally filed) on a 7-3 vote by the Senate State Affairs Committee.

  • SB271-Johnson, standardizing the requirements for state and local governments to report data security breaches to the Department of Information Resources.

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