Latest Word on Bills Offering “Mandate Relief” at the Expense of Teachers and Students

Missing from the agenda for Monday, May 2, in the Texas House is HB 400, a bill purporting to provide school districts with “mandate relief”—which would gut class-size caps, cut pay for teachers and other school employees, take away procedural rights for teachers facing layoffs for financial reasons, and otherwise curtail educators’ contract rights. HB 400 by Rep. Rob Eissler, Republican of The Woodlands, came up on the floor briefly last week but was knocked off the House agenda due to a material error in the House Public Education Committee’s report accompanying the bill. The committee has now passed it again, but HB 400 has yet to return to the Calendars Committee for rescheduled floor action.

Meanwhile, a similar “mandate relief” bill (minus the class-size attack), SB 12 by Shapiro, has not reappeared on the list of bills eligible for a floor vote since it was listed earlier this week. Sen. Wendy Davis, Democrat of Fort Worth, came out strongly against the bill this week, and her decision helped to rob SB 12 of momentum.