Capitol Action Next Week: The session reaches its halfway point Monday, with 70 days left to go. Days at the capitol are about to get much longer, with many more bills scheduled for committee hearings and floor action. Here are a few examples:
- HB 387, by Democratic Rep. Sylvester Turner of Houston, would grant parents a right to time off from work to attend school meetings related to their child’s special-education program. The bill will be heard in the Business and Industry Committee on Monday.
- SB 504, by Democratic Sen. Wendy Davis of Fort Worth, would save money for school districts by giving them the same utility discounts granted to institutions of higher education. The bill comes up Tuesday morning in the Senate Business and Commerce Committee.
- Four bills on bullying come up in the Senate Education Committee on Tuesday, and that’s just for starters. Among a dozen bills on the committee’s agenda are two especially troubling ones. SB 738 by Sen. Shapiro would enable many districts to exempt themselves from most state quality standards by declaring themselves “home rule charter school districts.” SB 127 by Sen. Dan Patrick, Republican of Houston, would allow proliferation of charter schools without making much-needed improvements in quality standards and state oversight.
- Twenty bills are up for a hearing in the House Public Education Committee on Tuesday afternoon. Among them is the House companion to Sen. Patrick’s charter-expansion bill, HB 936 by Republican Rep. Patricia Harless of Spring. Other charter-school bills also will get a hearing, as will several more measures on educators’ contract issues.
Correction: Wednesday’s Hotline misspelled the first name of Traci Dunlap, one of the teachers from our Education Austin local who testified so eloquently before the House Public Education Committee this week. We regret the error.