Topic: Legislation

Legislative Leaders Call for More Pre-Session Spending Cuts by State Agencies, Including TEA

State agencies, at the direction of the state’s legislative leaders, have already gone through a round of 5-percent cuts in their spending for the current two-year budget cycle. At a Legislative Budget Board meeting today, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and House Speaker Joe Straus, the presiding officers of the Texas Senate and House, announced that they will ask state agencies...

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Early Filing of Bills Begins for 2011 State Legislature

State lawmakers in Texas are allowed to get a head start on the next legislative session by prefiling bills, and prefiling season opened today for the session beginning in January. Hundreds of bills were dropped in the legislative hopper in both House and Senate, including some notably bad and good ones. Texas AFT will keep you informed of the most...

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Truth Test: Revenue Shortfalls and Public Opinion on How to Tackle Them

Major statewide officeholders like Gov. Rick Perry made a vigorous effort during election season to keep a lid on discussion of the deep and dangerous state budget deficit awaiting the next legislature. To a large extent, they succeeded. For instance, in one recent pre-election survey of public opinion only 3 percent of respondents listed the state budget shortfall as an...

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Election Results Portend Tougher Legislative Session in 2011

Today's election returns have tilted the playing field to the disadvantage of Texas educators and public schools, especially in the Texas House. The decision of Texas voters ousted more than 20 members of the House who have been reliable supporters of Texas students and their schools. In partisan terms, the results leave the House split between 99 Republicans and 51...

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Hearings on Bilingual Education, School Finance Show Fault Lines at Capitol

At two interim committee meetings this week in the Texas legislature, lawmakers rehearsed for debates to come in the 2011 session over bilingual education and school finance. Today’s Hotline will focus on the debate over bilingual education; an upcoming Hotline will consider the preview we obtained this week of lawmakers’ school-finance concerns. The Senate Education Committee on Tuesday heard evidence...

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More From State Accountability Hearing

At last week’s joint hearing of Texas House and Senate education committees, lawmakers kept coming back by one route or another to some key questions: How can the state get the benefit of information provided by standardized testing without continuing the excessive emphasis on testing at the expense of time and energy for real instruction? How can the state make...

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A Test for Legislators: Questions About Test-Driven School Accountability

In the 2007 and 2009 legislative sessions, Texas lawmakers enacted significant future changes in the state's test-focused accountability system. The changes include use of end-of-course exams instead of an exit-level exam as a high-school graduation requirement, along with tougher tests at all levels that are supposedly calibrated to show progress toward "college readiness." The latter is defined as readiness for...

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Seeking State Health-Care Savings: Do It With Us, Not to Us

The Texas Senate’s State Affairs Committee, chaired by Sen. Robert Duncan, Republican of Lubbock, is taking a new look at how to engineer cost savings in state-financed health-care programs. These include the state-run Teacher Retirement System’s programs for active and retired school employees and the Employees Retirement System’s plan for employees in higher education and at state agencies. Read More

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State Hearing on School Finance: Ills Acknowledged, Cures Disputed

The state’s Joint Select Committee on School Finance, Weights, Allotments and Adjustments met today with a roster of invited business and academic witnesses chosen to support a specific agenda. Their testimony and responses from several committee members (Sens. Florence Shapiro, Republican of Plano, Sen. Dan Patrick, Republican of Houston, and Rep. Rob Eissler, Republican of The Woodlands) yielded a familiar...

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Texas AFT Testifies Against Education Cuts in State Budget Plan

Traditionally ahead of the biennial legislative session the staffs of the Legislative Budget Board and the governor’s budget office get together to review spending requests from state agencies. This year agencies have been directed by the governor and legislative leaders to chop 10 percent from their already lean baseline budget requests. Here’s what Texas AFT’s Ted Melina Raab had to...

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State Senators Urge Governor to Ask Anew for Federal Aid, Sooner Rather Than Later

Five Democratic state senators have asked Gov. Rick Perry to renew efforts to secure $830 million in aid earmarked for Texas public schools under the recent emergency education-jobs bill passed by Congress. In a letter delivered to the governor today, Sens. Leticia Van de Putte of San Antonio, Rodney Ellis of Houston, Eddie Lucio of Brownsville, Mario Gallegos of Houston,...

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Budget, School Finance, Accountability Issues of 2011 Session Foreshadowed in Upcoming Hearings

Some noteworthy hearings in the next couple of weeks will preview issues sure to preoccupy lawmakers when the legislature meets for its next regular session in January. For example: September 14–The state’s budget for public education for 2012-2013 comes up for a public hearing next Tuesday in front of staffers of the Legislative Budget Board and Governor’s Budget Office. These...

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