Legislative Update: May 3, 2019

​​​Get the latest news for Texas' 86th legislative session.

Texas Capitol building in Austin. 

This Editio​n

  • The Publicans
  • Important Issues
  • #TXLege Download
  • Finis …

The Publicans (HB 2/SB 2)

Don’t worry. Your Capitol Update team hasn’t lost it — yet. It’s a new month, and we have the same bills trying — trying really hard — to get out of committees, get onto the House or Senate floor and be signed by the governor. It’s a process. Here is a friendly reminder.

Remember way back last week when we discussed HB 2, also known as the property tax bill? After a couple of postponements, the House finally debated the bill. Well ... the House actually debated SB 2, which was substituted in place of HB 2 (subs happen).

So, what happened? Did we protect our exemption? (Taking a couple of aspirins here.)

Let’s share a brief overview, and, of course, we’ll share a few articles.

On Tuesday, the House voted out SB 2. The record vote was 107-40. The city tax collectors cannot, without an election, increase tax revenues more than 3.5% over the previous year. Neither can the county tax collectors. Publicans are on notice.

It’s important to note that community colleges are included in SB 2. However, a special thanks goes to Rep. Chris Turner, Higher Education Committee chairman, and Rep. Dustin Burrows, House Ways and Means Committee chairman. Before full debate began, Chairman Turner had a friendly exchange with Chairman Burrows, in which they confirmed that community colleges will remain in the same position they are today – at an 8% cap.

But … the debate isn’t over. Because some differences exist between what the House and Senate passed, a conference committee will be appointed. Those members will reconcile any differences between the two bills. And yes, they usually meet behind closed doors.

Before debate begins, Chairman Chris Turner addresses the community college rollback rate.

Chairman Dustin Burrows, at the podium, states, ‘We don’t want to see tuition go up at community colleges.”

Speaking of those bills trying really hard to get onto the House floor ... Well, try harder. Next week, deadlines begin to work against House bills. For example, Thursday, May 9, is the last day House bills can receive a second reading on that chamber's floor.

Here are a few related articles:

  • Texas House passes massive property tax overhaul, moving one step closer to Gov. Abbott’s desk (DMN)
  • Texas House approves property tax reform bill, setting up negotiations with the Senate (Trib)
  • Texas House passes 'property tax transparency' bill SB2 (KVUE – Video)
  • Texas House Passes Cap On Rate Of Property Tax Increases (TX Standard – Audio)

But wait … there’s more!

If you think SB 2 was the talk of the town, well ... you’re right. However, legislators had a busy week. As mentioned above, deadlines are around the corner, and legislators – as of today – have 25 days to pass good bills, bad bills or just plain non-exciting bills – think HB 487, related to specialty license plates for justices of the peace, or HB 2290 regarding the placement of a slow-moving-vehicle emblem. Exciting stuff. Channeling Oprah: You get a bill, you get a bill, you get a bill.

What else was moving in the Capitol? This week, these pieces of legislation were either voted out of committee or out of a chamber. Bills involving school finance, protections for LGBT workers, an increase in sales tax, pre-abortion counseling and driver’s responsibility are making their way through the process. Want more details? Check out the #TXLege Download. Buckle up.

Is that it? No … not yet. Workforce is an important part of DCCCD’s mission. Legislators hear about workforce training, and they vote on money for Skills Development Fund (SDF) and Jobs Education and Training (JET) grants. How do we ensure that we have the workforce of the future? What else can state legislators and community colleges do? This week, Chancellor Joe May participated as a member of the Texas Tribune’s “The Future of Workforce is Education” panel, hosted by Tribune CEO Evan Smith and held at our own Bill J. Priest Institute.

Evan Smith, CEO of the Texas Tribune, poses questions to panelists.
 

Evan Smith, CEO of the Texas Tribune, poses questions to panelists.

Important Issues

When we visit with House and Senate members, Chancellor Joe May and DCCCD staffers have one primary goal: to advocate for our students and colleges on issues of importance. A few of those issues include:

  • Funding for community colleges:
    • HB 1 currently has additional dollars for all community colleges, more than SB 1.
    • As passed, HB 1 includes a total increase of $75.2 million in formula funding for all community colleges over the 2018-2019 biennium.
    • On April 9, the Senate chamber unanimously passed the committee substitute for HB 1.
    • A conference committee has been appointed to reconcile the differences.
  • Funding for Small Business Development Centers
    • Both SB 1 and HB 1 appropriate approximately $3.2 million for SBDCs.
  • A student’s right to transfer
    • Sen. Royce West has filed SB 25 and SB 1923, which focus on transfer.
    • Sen. West convened a group of individuals, including DCCCD representatives, to discuss how to improve the transfer bills.
    • On April 10, the Senate Higher Education committee voted out a committee substitute for SB 25.
    • On April 24, the Senate unanimously passed SB 25.
  • Workforce development
    • Both SB 1 and HB 1 allocate dollars for Jobs Education and Training (JET) and Skills Development Fund (SDF) grants.
  • Local control / property tax bill
    • Also known as SB 2 and HB 2.
    • SB 2 was voted out of the Senate (April 15).
    • HB 2 was voted out of committee (March 26); however, it has not been heard on the House floor.
    • SB 2 was substituted for HB 2 and voted out of the House (April 30). A conference committee will be appointed to reconcile differences
      • Community colleges are in the House substitute at an 8% cap.

Throughout the session, we will track the issues and bills that affect DCCCD as they make their way through the legislative process. We also will share more details about the issues listed above. As always, please feel free to contact our office with any questions. You can now email us at GovtAffairs@dcccd.edu or follow us on Twitter @DCCCDGovt.

#TXLege Download

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. Wait. Say it isn’t so. The Capitol Update team asks for a moment of personal privilege. RIP Peter Mayhew, aka Chewbacca, aka the Wookie. It is a period of legislative war. Partisan spaceships, striking from a not-so-hidden base, have won their first legislative victory against their partisan foes. This can only mean one thing. Grab your Wookie mask, favorite Wookie snacks and do your best Wookie sound because it’s time for the #TXLege Download. You know the disclaimer, and "May the 4th" be with you.

Around Waterloo

  • Texas Senate rushes to advance school finance bill (Cleburne Times-Review)
  • Texas Senate to debate education reform bill Monday after hastily arranged meeting (KXAN – Video)
  • After Texas Senate committee approves school finance bill, House panel advances sales tax increase to fund property tax relief (TX Trib)
  • House committee restores LGBT protections in employee benefit bill (Chron)
  • Senate Bill Is Meant To Improve Election Security But Will It Discourage Voting? (KERA - Audio)
  • House urges repeal of Texas program that turns many low-income drivers into scofflaws (DMN)
  • Texas Senate advances bill requiring pre-abortion counseling (TX Trib)
  • Texas Senate confuses its way to scooter bill approval (AAS)
  • Texas Is Playing A Major Role In Another Important Test Of The Voting Rights Act (KUT – Audio)
  • Ban on gay conversion therapy debated in Texas Legislature, but no vote taken (DMN)

The Beltway and Beyond

  • Photos of the Week: Congress is back from recess, and we’ve got photos to prove it (Roll Call)
  • U.S. unemployment fell to 3.6 percent, lowest since 1969 (WP)
  • Nadler delivers ultimatum to Barr before holding AG in contempt (Politico)
  • Young People Support Free College (IHE)
  • Trump says he did not confront Putin on election interference in post-Mueller call (The Hill)
  • Leader of militia that detained migrants reportedly attacked in jail (The Hill)
  • Girls outpace boys on national technology and engineering exam (WP)

Finis ...

One more time. Yes, we promise to change the topic next week. Until then, it’s easy.

GO. VOTE.

Did you know that during early voting, only 6% of registered voters actually voted? Official, critical races are going on here, including elections for the new mayor of Dallas, Dallas City Council, DISD school board and the DCCCD bond election. This Saturday, May 4, is the last day to vote. In Dallas County, you must vote at your precinct. Your vote counts. Be heard. Vote.