88th Texas Legislature: Good Bills of the Week

HB 1974 and SB 764 by Rep. Caroline Harris (R-Round Rock) and Sen. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola), respectively, would establish a statewide Imagination Library program in partnership with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library or a similar book distribution program to encourage children to develop a love of reading via monthly mailed books to children 5 years or younger. Parton has been a long-time partner of AFT and First Book, helping to provide millions of books for students throughout the United States. 

HB 2048 by Rep. Erin Zwiener (D-Driftwood) would repeal the section of the Health and Safety Code requiring instructional materials to “state that homosexual conduct is not an acceptable lifestyle and is a criminal offense.” This type of law banning the positive discussion of an LGBTQIA+ lifestyle in the classroom is known colloquially as “No Promo Homo” laws. Texas is one of only five other states that still have “No Promo Homo” laws still on the books.

HB 333 by Rep. John Bucy (D-Austin) would establish the School Psychologists Shortage Task Force, which would  conduct a study on the issues related to the shortage of school psychologists among school districts and provide recommendations for how those issues can be remedied.

HB 316 by Rep. Diego Bernal (D-San Antonio) would add a new section to the Texas Education Code, called “Social Work Services,” allowing  social workers to provide services to students and families in a school or district and a requirement that social workers collaborate with school administrators and other school professionals in order to enhance students’ learning environments.

HB 2090 by Rep. Christian Manuel (D-Beaumont) would create an elective course on community safety, firearm safety, and mental health for 12th-grade students in public school districts and open-enrollment charter schools . 

HB 1976 and SB 438 by Rep. Ann Johnson (D-Houston) and Sen. José Menéndez (D-San Antonio), respectively, would exempt students from the payment of tuition and fees, including fees for a dual-credit course, if the student is under the conservatorship of the Department of Family and Protective Services.