capitol-e14108033083241About the Texas AFT Legislative Hotline

The Texas AFT Legislative Hotline is published by e-mail and to this site each business weekday (and some holidays and weekends when important news justifies a post) by the staff at the Texas American Federation of Teachers.

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Hotlines from August 20, 2010 to present may be found on the main site through the month links on the right navigation bar, or by using the search field.

Hotlines before that day may be found here.

 

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After a long weekend of rapid-fire hearings on a mostly awful array of bills, the Senate floor-vote calendar for Monday, July 24, lists 16 items of legislation, including private-school vouchers and a ban on payroll deduction for teachers and other public employees. The next Hotline will catch you up on the weekend hearings, especially the excellent showing Sunday … (read more…)
marchforpubliceducation

Day-long debates Friday on vouchers and discrimination against transgender schoolchildren kicked off what promises to be a hot and heavy weekend of hearings on controversial Senate bills at the Texas Capitol. Also on tap for the weekend is a march for public education featuring a speech by Texas AFT President Louis … (read more…)

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Starting Friday, the Texas Senate will be holding rapid-fire hearings over three days in an effort to jam through a batch of bad proposals that have deservedly failed in past sessions. These include bills to enact private-school voucher subsidies (SB 2 on Friday in the Senate Education Committee) and to dictate discriminatory bathroom-use policies affecting transgender schoolchildren (SB 3 and SB … (read more…)

After a stumbling start on July 18, the assault on public education led by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is gathering momentum in the Texas Senate where he presides. At midnight tonight, Patrick expects to complete action on the one must-pass bill of the special session and then, with the help of an expansion of the session’s agenda by Gov. Greg Abbott, to force quick committee hearings over the weekend … (read more…)

The Texas Legislature today began a special 30-day session called by Gov. Greg Abbott to consider first a must-pass “sunset” bill to continue the existence of several professional licensing boards—and then to take up 20 more items on the governor’s wish list, including many affecting public schools. The governor wants, among other things, to pass the state’s first-ever private-school … (read more…)

Lt. Gov Dan Patrick and his enabler, Gov. Greg Abbott, are cranking up the rhetorical heat on state legislators to pass a passel of bad ol’ bills in the special session commencing tomorrow, July 18. They are using every chance they get to try to browbeat lawmakers into submission. These two misguided public officials want to muscle through a needless bill targeting transgender students’ … (read more…)

With pre-filing of bills for next week’s special session of the Texas Legislature continuing at a rapid clip, we’ll soon be in the thick of battle in the state Capitol in Austin. Just today, for instance, we saw the filing of companion bills to take away your freedom to use your own paycheck as you please to pay your union or employee association dues via payroll deduction, at no cost to … (read more…)

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Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announced today a batch of proposals for the special session that he claimed would improve teacher pay and benefits while improving school funding. He spoke of how important teachers are and said he wanted to see average teacher pay go up by $8,000, wanted teachers to receive “longevity bonuses” of $600 or more based on years of service, and wanted similar bonuses for … (read more…)

On the eve of the July 18 special session of the Legislature called by Gov. Greg Abbott, you have a chance to join educators and friends of public schools from across Texas on the south steps of the state Capitol and let lawmakers know what really ought to be on their agenda.  The rally is sponsored by Texans for Public Education. It is set for 1:30 PM on Monday, July 17. Featured speakers will … (read more…)

State lawmakers have been quick to take Gov. Greg Abbott up on his invitation yesterday to start filing bills for the special session he has called for July 18. Only a couple of the pre-filed bills relate to the one must-pass item formally placed on the Legislature’s agenda by Abbott thus far:  extension of the “sunset” expiration date for the Texas Medical Board and a handful of other … (read more…)

Gov. Greg Abbott issued a formal proclamation today calling the Texas Legislature back into session for up to 30 days starting July 18. The formal proclamation addressed the only must-pass bill on the governor’s wish list for the special session—a “sunset” bill to extend the expiration date for the Texas Medical Board and several other licensing boards that otherwise would go out of … (read more…)

An opinion piece published last month in the Big Bend Sentinel explains why friends of public education will be coming to Austin to put some heat on state lawmakers when the Legislature convenes July 18 for a special session called by Gov. Greg Abbott. The op-ed by one Lonn Taylor belongs in the “minces no words” category, and we quote from it here at length so you can get the full impact. … (read more…)

Senators are home for July Fourth recess this week, and many Republican senators are refusing to hold town halls because they know voters are outraged over the cruel health-care bill their party leaders are trying to ram through the Senate.

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Gov. Greg Abbott has yet to follow up on his informal announcement of a special session of the state Legislature starting July 18 with the issuance of a formal proclamation that would allow bill filing to begin. Nonetheless, Abbott has put out a series of press releases applauding Senate and House members for  announcing their intention to file specific proposals the governor wants to see passed. … (read more…)

While the details of the U.S. Senate bill are being hidden as if they were state secrets, one thing is clear: Working families will lose if the bill passes. Like the House AHCA, the Senate plan strips health care from 23 million Americans. The secret Senate plan strips access to care and opens the cost floodgates for health-care consumers–whether it’s a special-needs student who suffers because … (read more…)

Gov. Greg Abbott on June 15 vetoed a good bill providing for notice to parents when their child’s school lacks full-time staffing by a school nurse or nurses. SB 196 by Sen. Sylvia Garcia (D-Houston) was a simple measure designed to protect children’s health by enabling parents to anticipate and make arrangements to address gaps in expected health-care coverage at school–especially important for … (read more…)

AFT President Randi Weingarten has a question for you:  How would your school and your community fare under the budget cuts in education proposed by President Trump?

Some context:  The 2018 budget proposed by President Trump and Secretary DeVos is manifestly cruel to kids. It is catastrophic to the public schools our most vulnerable and at-risk students attend—and a windfall for those who … (read more…)

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Gov. Greg Abbott has until Sunday, June 18, to sign bills from the regular session into law, let them take effect without his signature, or veto them. Thus far since the session ended May 29 he has vetoed only a handful of line items within the state’s two-year budget bill for 2018-19, SB 1. Meanwhile Abbott has started signing in bunches some of the 1,285 bills sent to his desk as the deadline … (read more…)

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick talks about end of session issues on May 17, 2017

A recent, hard-hitting article from Fort Bend ISD board president Kristin Tassin tells how a poison pill administered by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick killed a good school-finance bill, HB 21 by Rep. Dan Huberty (R-Houston), in the regular session of the Texas Legislature … (read more…)

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While we have been fighting anti-public-school proposals in the Texas Legislature, there’s mischief afoot in the nation’s capital that demands our attention as well. President Donald Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos have proposed an education budget that makes it clear they are out to get public education. In their quest to disinvest in public services and destabilize our public … (read more…)

Under HB 3976 as passed last month by the Texas Legislature, significant changes will occur next year in the health-care options available to TRS retirees. The governor has not yet acted on HB 3976, but on June 2 the Teacher Retirement System of Texas trustees went ahead and adopted new premium rates and benefits for the retiree health-care programs that they administer, along with the active … (read more…)

 

Gov. Greg Abbott announced Tuesday afternoon that he is calling the Texas Legislature back into session on July 18, first and foremost to enact what he termed a must-pass “sunset” bill continuing the existence of the state medical board, but after that to consider 19 other disparate items on his legislative wish list. A special session can go on for a maximum of 30 days, though the … (read more…)

While impasses engineered by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on school finance and other matters dominated the headlines, the legislative session just ended did see some little-noted progress on other issues of importance to parents and education employees. For example:

Special education—SB 1398 by Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. (D-Brownsville) and Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston) will scale back the … (read more…)

On June 2 the Teacher Retirement System of Texas board of trustees considered premium rates and benefits for its health-care programs for retired and active public school employees. As anticipated with passage of HB 3976—now awaiting action by the governor—not only have premiums and benefits changed in TRS-Care but the basic structure of health care for retirees will be very different in … (read more…)

TrumpBudgetMap

We all know that the Trump budget includes devastating cuts to public education, healthcare and public services. With the AFT’s new interactive map, you can easily see exactly how much funding each state can expect to lose in all three areas. For Texas, the losses are particularly sobering. For example, our state would lose $106 … (read more…)

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