Important Bills Heading to a House Vote
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.
HB 100 by Rep. Ken King (R-Canadian) is the comprehensive school finance bill. Texas AFT dissected this bill in the Hotline last week, noting its merits and considerable weaknesses. It is crucial this bill is amended to fix some of those flaws, notably, its lack of raises for paraprofessionals and support staff. If you have not done so, please contact Rep. King and call your representative.
HB 11 by Rep. Harold Dutton (D-Houston), would add a new class of certificate to the educator certification system. HB 11 would remove the elected State Board of Education’s (SBOE) veto authority over rules made by the appointed State Board of Educator Certification (SBEC). This would mean the governor-appointed SBEC, and not the elected SBOE, would have complete control over rules affecting the teaching profession.
HB 3 by Rep. Dustin Burrows (R-Lubbock) and HB 13 by Rep. Ken King (R-Canadian) would address school safety. Neither bill addresses the availability of firearms, the root cause of gun violence in schools. Instead, the bills would increase school security funding and require armed guards to be stationed on public school campuses. Schools would also be required to implement annual active shooter preparedness plans, and school employees would be required to complete mental health first-aid training.
House Public Education Committee
The House Public Education Committee will convene at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, April 25, in room E2.036 of the Capitol extension. While the committee will hear several bills, there is one consequential bill of note, which Texas AFT supports:
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.