At special session’s halfway mark, TRS benefits and school funding get house priority

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 […]

Special Session Opens, and Backers of Public Education Take a Stand—Add Your Voice  

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 […]

Bruising Battles at the State Capitol, and Glimmers of Hope?

Immigration Police:  The Texas Legislature took a large step this week toward turning local police into federal immigration-law enforcers, as the House passed a version of so-called “sanctuary cities” legislation very similar to the version previously passed by the Senate. The bill in question, SB 4 by Sen. Charles Perry (R-Lubbock), includes college and university […]

Committee Vote Coming Up on Fox in the Pension Henhouse; School Finance and Property Tax News

Committee Vote Coming Up on Fox in the Pension Henhouse: The Senate Nominations Committee is due to act March 16 on a State Pension Review Board appointee known for his criticism of guaranteed pension benefits. Josh McGee, Gov. Greg Abbott’s choice to chair the Review Board, is a functionary of the Houston-based Arnold Foundation that […]

Education Issues Headed for Legislative Hearings

The legislature is not in session, but interim committees are getting busy. Four hearings coming up next week will bear watching. They are: House Public Education Committee, Tuesday, February 9: The committee will review current state education policies and initiatives regarding middle grades. The hearing will include an examination of school-based strategies and best practices […]

Upcoming State Legislative Hearings of Note

A meeting of the House Higher Education Committee has been scheduled for January 20 to consider the new higher-education strategic plan for Texas as proposed by the Higher Education Coordinating Board, dubbed “60x30TX.” Under the plan, Texas would aim by 2030 to have 60 percent of Texans in the 25-to-34 age group attain a post-secondary […]

Constitutional Amendments on the November 3 Ballot—Early Voting Starts October 19

A number of state and local leaders of Texas AFT hold seats on the executive board of the Texas AFL-CIO, which has come out with the following recommendations regarding the state constitutional amendments that will be on the November 3 statewide ballot. Propositions 1 and 7 are of particular interest to anyone with concerns about the […]

Budget Talks Stay Behind Closed Doors

It’s hard to know what is really happening in budget negotiations between the Texas House and Texas Senate, because all the meaningful action is occurring behind closed doors. Judging by the out-front posturing, however, education funding is not one of the major issues occupying the attention of the negotiators. The focus, by all accounts, is […]