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.



The Texas House voted 94 to 46 this evening to accept a stripped-down Senate version of HB 21 on school funding. The Senate amendments to HB 21 eliminated $1.5 billion of the $1.8 billion in the House-passed version, completely eliminating the main sources of any new aid to cash-strapped urban districts–a proposed increase in the basic allotment and in bilingual-education aid. Removing these two … (read more…)


An anti-teacher amendment was rejected decisively by a bipartisan majority in the Texas House late on Monday afternoon. Rep. Bill Zedler (R-Arlington) tried to insert the anti-teacher amendment into SB 16, a bill creating a commission to study long-term fixes for school finance and recommend a comprehensive overhaul before the next regular legislative session in January 2019.

Zedler’s amendment … (read more…)

The Texas Senate keeps delaying a vote on increased school funding for 2018-2019 and now has recessed until 4 p.m. Monday. It may be just as well that they are still working out their stance, because what’s on the table so far in the Senate is very little. The $311 million senators have included thus far in their version of HB 21 provides relief for smaller districts, but for urban districts with … (read more…)

You have one more day to send your message to the Texas Senate to support a sensible compromise on school finance, because the Senate has delayed action until Sunday evening on the key House bill, HB 21. (read more…)


Speaking in “optimistic opposition” today before the Senate Education Committee, Texas AFT President Louis Malfaro testified against a stingy Senate substitute for the substantial, $1.8-billion school-funding bill passed by the Texas House, HB 21. Malfaro noted that committee chair Sen. Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood) acknowledged there’s room to negotiate up from the meager $311 million in the … (read more…)

Gov. Abbott 20 for 20 Pin

With six days left in the current 30-day special session of the Texas Legislature, not a single bill has been passed and sent to Gov. Greg Abbott, despite Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s ardent efforts to push through many hot-button proposals, including private-school vouchers and transgender-discrimination mandates.

Still alive in the special session are important school-funding and TRS-Care … (read more…)

Get it Done!

The Texas House and Texas Senate both have passed competing bills providing $212 million to cut rising health-care costs they recently imposed on retired school employees. The House passed HB 20 and the Senate passed an equivalent provision as  part of SB 19 in direct response to grass-roots pressure from retired and active school employees. However, with just a week to go in the current … (read more…)
Hand Shake with Kids Smiling


The Texas House on August 7 overwhelmingly approved a school-finance package that would inject $1.9 billion into school districts’ budgets across the state over the next two years. The House … (read more…)

House Sends School-Finance Bills to Senate with Supermajority Support: The Texas House hardly could have made it clearer today—by overwhelming margins, House members sent the Senate a $1.9-billion school-funding bill (HB 21) by a vote of 130 to 13, and they passed a measure (HB 30) to pay for it from the state’s $10-billion-plus reserve … (read more…)

It was a clean sweep in the Texas House today for three key bills on school funding: HB 21 to increase school aid; HB 30 to pay for the increase; and HB 23 to provide for autism grants within the public schools. All passed easily on second reading, with the first two garnering 131 and 130 votes respectively and the autism grants passing by voice vote. The bills come back up for third and final … (read more…)


A critical moment for Texas public schools has arrived at the Capitol. The Texas House is scheduled to vote Friday, August 4, on legislation that would increase state aid to school districts significantly, making a big down payment on the long-term boost in state funding our schools desperately need. It is vital for this school-finance plan to gain the largest possible majority on the House floor. … (read more…)


TRS Benefit Bills Get Final House Okay:  Wednesday morning the House gave final approval to two good bills on TRS benefits. The measures now face an uncertain fate in the Texas Senate, which has been less than welcoming of House initiatives for the benefit of school employees. HB 20 by Rep. Trent Ashby (R-Lufkin), passed 135 to 13, would provide immediate relief from sharply … (read more…)


The Texas House gave initial approval to two notable bills relating to TRS retiree benefits today, as the 30-day special session passed its halfway point. HB 20 by Rep. Trent Ashby (R-Lufkin), passed 130 to 10, would provide immediate relief from sharply rising health-care expenses. HB 80 by Rep. Drew Darby (R-San Angelo), passed 139 to 2, would empower the TRS board of trustees to provide an … (read more…)


The Texas House on Tuesday will vote on two bills to give retired school employees a better deal. HB 20 by Rep. Trent Ashby (R-Lufkin) would use $212 million from the Rainy Day Fund to reduce health-care cost increases facing retirees starting in January under the TRS-Care health plan. TRS-Care participants under age 65 would have a deductible of $1,500 in their plan rather than $3,000. Retirees … (read more…)

A member of the Sergeant at Arms, Jack Adams, places updated resolutions on the empty desks of House Representatives at the State Capitol on Sunday, May 26, 2013, in Austin, Texas. Members of the House of Representatives left the chamber to gather in their respective caucuses before returning to continue the 83rd Legislature.  (AP Photo/Austin American-Statesman, Rodolfo Gonzalez)

The House Calendars Committee meets Sunday, July 30, to set the House floor schedule of bills to be voted on next week, but we already have some idea of what to expect both in committee action and on the floor. (The Senate in the meantime may not do much further business until late next week.)

The Calendars Committee is expected to place on the schedule for next week an important … (read more…)

The House Appropriations Committee voted 22 to 0 today for HB 30 by Rep. John Zerwas (R-Richmond), a bill that would fund school-finance improvements to the tune of $1.9 billion for the coming fiscal 2018-2019 budget period beginning on September 1. The funding bill has strong bipartisan support, as evidenced by that unanimous committee vote.

The funding in HB 30 would underwrite the new state … (read more…)


After yesterday’s extensive Hotline update, we’ll keep this one short. Now that the Senate has passed most of the bills on Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s agenda, the main focus of action in the Legislature shifts to the  Texas House.

The House on Monday, July 31, is expected to vote on a major school-finance bill, HB 21 by Rep. Dan Huberty (R-Houston), that would provide $1.9 billion for cash-strapped … (read more…)

Some lessons are emerging from the first, Senate-dominated week of the current special legislative session at the state Capitol. Number one:  Strong-arm tactics will only get the governor and lieutenant governor so far. Number two: Counter-pressure works, especially coming from rank-and-file education employees and retirees and friends of public education.

Certainly Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has … (read more…)

John Whitmire

Over the weekend and on Monday, bad bills in the Texas Senate promoting private-school vouchers and attacking your freedom to use payroll deduction met serious bipartisan resistance from grass-roots Texans. So did other measures, including an unfunded pay-raise proposal that would not deliver a real raise to teachers. Meanwhile, in the Texas House, opposition to … (read more…)


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…)

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…)


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…)

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