Bills to Watch: Vouchers up in House Public Education Committee on Tuesday

The Texas Legislature has another busy week ahead. Several bills will be considered in committee and debated on the floor.

House Public Education Committee: Two Hearings in One Week

For the first time this session, the House Public Education Committee will convene twice in one week. Both days will include highly consequential bills. Both hearings will begin at 8 a.m. and will take place in room E2.036 of the Capitol extension.

This Tuesday, (April 18), the committee will consider:

  • HB 1926 by Rep. Lacey Hull (R-Houston) would remove the expiration date of the temporary special education voucher approved by the Legislature last session, making the program permanent. 

This Thursday (April 20), the committee will consider:

  • HB 1572 by Rep. Harold Dutton (D-Houston) would increase funding to charter schools by removing facilities funding limits. Charter schools already have many funding advantages compared to traditional public schools. Removing these limits would cost an additional $240 million per year, dollars which would otherwise go to public schools.

Senate and House Consider Consequential Bills on the Floor

In addition to the committee action next week, a few consequential bills further along in the legislative process will likely be considered on the floor of the House and Senate.

Next week, the full House will likely consider:

  • HB 100 by Rep. Ken King (R-Canadian) is the comprehensive school finance bill.

Next week, the full Senate will likely consider:

  • SB 17 by Sen. Brandon Creighton (R- Conroe) would prohibit any state funding from going to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) programs. These offices seek to promote racial and ethnic diversity, diversity in sexual orientation, diversity in gender identity, and diversity in overall experience, including targeted recruitment of combat veterans, for example. Any faculty member found to be promoting DEI would be dismissed, and the university would be financially punished. SB 17 also targets shared governance of universities. The bill limits faculty voices in search committees for new university presidents or other executives.
  • SB 18 by Sen. Brandon Creighton (R- Conroe) would prohibit institutions of higher education from providing tenure to any newly hired faculty. Tenure protects academic freedom in teaching and research. Tenure also provides professors with economic security, which makes a career in higher education a more attractive career option.

Lt. Governor Dan Patrick has stated that he intends to pass both SB 17 and SB 18 next week. To oppose those bills, send a letter to your senator and representative demanding that they defend higher education in Texas.