Legislative Update: April 18, 2019

​Get the latest news for Texas' 86th legislative session.
Texas Capitol building in Austin. 

April 18, 2019
Vol. 7, Issue 14

This Edition

  • More Money, More Problems

  • Donut Hole Day

  • Important Issues

  • #TXLege Download

  • Finis …

More Money, More Problems (SB 2)(HJR 3)

Where are we with those property tax bills? Glad you asked. The Senate finally passed SB 2. Yes, that one — the bill that’s been lingering since the Capitol Update team stole your heart the day after Valentine’s Day. Yay, you say. Let’s break it down. 

SB 2 was amended to change the property tax rate cap from 2.5% to 3.5%. How will more dollars in tax savings affect you? How will they have an impact on DCCCD? Grab your triple-grande, nonfat, no-foam latte with three raw sugars. 

If a 3.5% cap had been placed on DCCCD over the last two years, our district's budget would have been cut by approximately $10 million. That equates to a loss of approximately $21 million over the past four years (2015-2018).

With a 3.5% cap, taxpayers would have saved approximately the cost of 3 cups of coffee, or $6.01, on their DCCCD property tax bill last year. Better yet, for the cost of 3 cups of coffee, DCCCD students could face cuts in police and public safety, IT infrastructure — including cybersecurity — and Navigators, who work individually with students to ensure their needs are met. 

You must be asking what’s next. Now it’s on to HB 2, which is taking its turn in the "no-fly" zone. HB 2, which exempts community colleges (yay), has been postponed twice and is now scheduled to be heard by the full House next Wednesday. Stay tuned. 

But, but, but … what about the additional funding we keep hearing about?

More money, more problemsHJR 3 was heard in committee and, if passed, would allow citizens to vote on an increase in the state sales tax. However, we are seeing pushback from members in both chambers. 

Even more about money…the Senate and House have decided who will participate on the conference committee to reconcile the differences between both chambers’ budget bills. It’s important to note, and different from previous sessions, that Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick did not name one single Democrat to the conference committee. Overall, only one member from North Texas is serving on that committee, Sen. Jane Nelson.

House:

  • John Zerwas, R-Richmond, chair

  • Greg Bonnen, R-Friendswood

  • Sarah Davis, R-West University Place

  • Oscar Longoria, D-Mission

  • Armando Walle, D-Houston

Senate:

  • Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, chair

  • Joan Huffman, R-Houston

  • Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham

  • Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville

  • Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood 

Donut Hole Day

It’s becoming a tradition. This week, your Capitol Update team stopped by approximately 60 offices to thank members for their service, leadership and support of DCCCD and all community colleges in Texas. We delivered yummy donut holes, but not just regular donut holes. No, ma’am or sir. We delivered four tasty flavors. If you follow us on Twitter, then you saw our pictures. Here are a couple of photos, and you can see more on our Twitter feed. 

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Donut holes from DCCCD are ready for pick-up!

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DCCCD “Donut Forget Us” labels, along with our legislative priorities one-pager, were placed on each box.

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 for 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. 

  • 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.

      • Community colleges are exempted from HB 2. 

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

Easter is upon us, and that means all of our offices and colleges are closed tomorrow. Yay! (Pause for a happy dance.) As you take time to dye eggs, spend time with family, attend church, watch the NBA playoffs (raising my hand!) or mull over the Mueller Report (raising other hand), don’t forget that you have some extra time to dive into additional stories. Yes, time for the stories about what’s happening around both domes — Austin and Washington, D.C. Time for the #TXLege Download. You know the disclaimer.

Around Waterloo 

  • Texas House Passes Bill To Tackle Backlog Of Rape Kits (KUT-Audio)

  • Property tax reform passes Texas Senate after months of delay (Chron)

  • Analysis: Can Texas Republicans raise the sales tax without suffering a backlash? (Trib)

  • Bills to help cops pay back student loans approved in Texas House, Senate (DMN)

  • A Texas sales tax increase would hit poor people the hardest (Trib)

  • ‘Dead suspect loophole' bill clears Texas House committee (KXAN-Video)

The Beltway and Beyond

  • Barr: Mueller report found no collusion but cited 10 instances of possible obstruction (MH) 

  • Attorney general says he disagreed with some of Mueller’s legal views (WP)

  • AG Barr holds news conference on release of Mueller report (Video by Fox News)

  • Rick Perry plans exit as Trump's energy secretary (HC)

  • Johnny Cash is replacing one of the Capitol’s Civil War statues (Roll Call) 

  • College-Admissions Hysteria Is Not the Norm (Atlantic)

Finis ...

Did you know that the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area saw the biggest population growth in Texas in 2018? However, all of this growth will bring needs. Those needs can be met by electing individuals and voting for initiatives that will help us grow as a city and county. Did you know elections for mayor, city council and the school board are around the corner? Early voting begins on Monday – yes, this Monday. During early voting, you can cast your ballot at any location in the county where you are registered. Find an early voting location in Dallas County, including three of our colleges. Early voting begins April 22 and runs through April 30.