Legislative Update > 2017 Legislative Updates > March 24, 2017 (Vol. 6, Issue 10)

March 24, 2017 (Vol. 6, Issue 10)

This Edition

  • Recruit Texas
  • March Madness the D.C. Way
  • Bills of Importance
  • Finis: The Halfway Mark

Recruit Texas

This week, both the House Higher Education and the Senate Higher Education committees held hearings. You can learn more about those House and the Senate discussions here. 

On Thursday, Chancellor Joe May met with Peter Winckler, legislative director for Sen. Craig Estes, to discuss House Bill 108, also known as Recruit Texas. Dr. May also was invited to testify before the House Economic and Small Business Development Committee on Thursday morning. Recruit Texas will keep the state’s miraculous economic momentum moving forward by providing rapid-response workforce development services for employers who want to expand their businesses or move to Texas. The program will help identify any up-front workforce or training needs for prospective employers. Recruit Texas seeks to use current funds within the Texas Workforce Commission and also asks community colleges to invest in the partnership. 

After discussion, the bill was left pending in committee. 


DCCCD Chancellor Joe May (right) and Houston Rep. Carol Alvarado (center) discuss HB 108 before the House Economic and Small Business Development Committee convenes.


Dr. May testifies before the House Economic and Small Business Development Committee.

The Senate and House both are adjourned until 2 p.m. on Monday, March 27.

March Madness the D.C. Way

Many of you are familiar with the classic March Madness NCAA basketball tournament. March Madness in the nation’s capital is slightly different, and a very busy week in Washington, D.C., began when FBI Director James Comey testified before the House Intelligence Committee on Monday. Why is this important? Director Comey stated, “With respect to the President’s tweets....I have no information to support those tweets.” His statement was made in response to President Donald Trump’s claim that he was wiretapped by the previous administration. You can read the full transcript here. Related articles were published in USA Today and National Public Radio

Meanwhile, the Senate Committee on the Judiciary began hearings on the nomination of Neil Gorsuch for associate justice to the U.S. Supreme Court. Wait – there’s a job opening? Yes. Judge Gorsuch was nominated to replace former Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in 2016 while he was visiting a ranch just outside Marfa, Texas. Want to nerd out on Supreme Court nomination material? Click here

Then legislators started that “little” debate on health care. Yesterday (March 23) marked the seventh anniversary of the signing of the Affordable Care Act, and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan scheduled a vote to repeal it. Late in the afternoon, the speaker clearly did not have the votes needed to repeal ACA. Today, Speaker Ryan and President Trump huddled and tried to persuade their colleagues to support the repeal and replacement of the law. Late this afternoon, the vote was cancelled. For details, here are a few headlines: “GOP health care bill vote in peril as Ryan heads to White House to debrief Trump” (Dallas Morning News); “GOP health care bill: Ryan visits White House to say he lacks support for health care bill” (Washington Post); “White House sounds resigned to defeat of GOP health care reform plan” (Los Angeles Times); “Live blog: GOP health care bill teeters as Republican leaders scramble for votes” (Fox News). 

The Bills

Listed below are bills of importance to DCCCD. We will track these and other bills that may have an impact on our district during the legislative session. You can view those House and Senate bills by visiting our site.

  • Funding for community colleges
    • We are seeking $1.834 billion in general revenue for core operations, student success and instruction for community colleges.
    • Our community colleges have grown 62 percent since 2000.
  • Early childhood education: Sen. West, SB 534; Rep. Giddings, HB 971
    • SB 534 has been referred to Higher Education Committee.
    • The Dallas County job market is experiencing a shortage of more than 4,000 early childhood educators.
    • The bill will offer the choice of a quality, affordable bachelor’s degree in early childhood education.
    • It supports the governor’s mission of a quality pre-kindergarten.
    • This goal can be achieved without adding a fiscal cost for the state.
  • Workforce development: “Recruit Texas” Rep. Alvarado, HB 108
    • On Thursday, March 23, it was heard in committee and left pending.
    • HB 108 has been referred to the Economic and Small Business Development Meeting.
    • We want to ensure that Texas remains competitive and is the #1 place for economic development and workforce training.
    • “Recruit Texas” redirects current funds within the Texas Workforce Commission.
    • The program can include assessment, employee recruitment, safety training and leadership development.
  • Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs)
    • For every $1 invested in TX SBDC, $5.85 in tax revenue is generated.
    • Statewide there are four SBDC lead offices, one is housed at the Dallas County Community College District.
    • SBDC conducts research, counsels and trains business people in managing, financing and operating small businesses.
    • SBDC plays a pivotal role in driving the Texas economy by creating jobs and generating revenue for the state. We believe in keeping the Texas economy strong by funding SBDC.

As always, please feel free to contact our office with any questions.

Finis

We are about halfway through the 85th legislative session. We know that a combined total of 8,410 bills and resolutions have been filed. Committees are meeting regularly, and the one bill which must be passed is the state budget. Both the House and Senate have different ideas about how to fund our state. It’s time to buckle up and stay alert – half of the session may be over, but we still have a long way to go on a road filled with potholes, tricky curves, detours and speed traps. Make my coffee a venti, please!