Hot and Heavy Action on Education Issues at State Capitol All Weekend

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 Malfaro.  And we are providing you […]

As New Battles Loom in Texas, a Bad Health-Care Bill in Congress Demands Your Response

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 […]

Bills Pre-Filed for July 18 Special Session: Good, Bad, Ugly

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” […]

Changes Coming in TRS-Care Health-Plan Options for Retired School Employees

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 […]

State 2018-19 Budget Bill Represents a Missed Opportunity; Accountability News

The 2018-19 state budget was approved Saturday by votes of 30 to 1 in the Texas Senate and 135 to 14 in the House. It amounts to a missed opportunity to improve funding for public schools as well as other vital public services. The bill, SB 1, keeps per-pupil funding at the current level but […]

Budget Deal, Voucher Vote, Bathroom Bill

–First Look at a State Budget Deal –Voucher Bill on Senate Agenda for Vote Sunday Evening –Transgender “Bathroom” Bill Returning as an Amendment? First Look at a State Budget Deal:  A House-Senate conference committee on the state budget bill for the next two fiscal years came to an agreement at 1 a.m. Saturday night. Final […]

Fox Takes Up Residence in Henhouse at Pension Review Board

Josh McGee, a prominent critic of guaranteed retirement benefits for public employees, will now be chairing the State Pension Review Board, thanks to a two-thirds vote in the Texas Senate Thursday. McGee’s appointment by Gov. Greg Abbott was snagged for weeks because of grass-roots opposition that translated into a blocking minority of 11 senators depriving […]

House Proposal on Retiree Health Care is an Improvement, But More is Needed

Texas AFT testified Monday on a newly unveiled House proposal to address the funding shortfall for TRS-Care, the state program affording health coverage to retired school employees. HB 3976 by Rep. Trent Ashby (R-Lufkin) is a considerable improvement over the Senate plan in SB 788 by Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston). Under HB 3976 the deductible […]

Bills on the Move (or Not) in the Texas Legislature

As the Legislature takes a break until Monday for the Easter/Passover holiday, there’s news to report on a number of bills of importance to education employees. With just 46 days left in the 2017 regular session, some major bills are on the move, while some others are not. Educator misconduct:  SB 7, the bill by Sen. […]