Governmental Affairs > Legislative Update > Feb. 10, 2017 (Volume 6, Issue 5)

Feb. 10, 2017 (Volume 6, Issue 5)

DCCCD Legislative Update
Feb. 10, 2017Volume 6 Issue 5

Community College Day 

On Tuesday, hundreds of community college students descended on Austin, wearing colorful shirts, cool ties, college pins and some even in full suits to mark Community College Day at the capitol. During each legislative session, the Texas Association of Community Colleges spearheads Community College Day activities and, during every session, students from the Dallas County Community College District turn out in large numbers to meet state legislators and talk about their experiences – as well as the value of a community college education. 

This year, students were joined by Chancellor Joe May and two members of the DCCCD Board of Trustees: Charletta Rogers Compton, board chair, and Monica Lira Bravo. 

DCCCD students were professional, energetic and persuasive. We want to thank all DCCCD college leaders and advisors who organized the students and led them throughout the day at the capitol. 

(Pictured Left to right) DCCCD Trustees Monica Lira Bravo and Charletta Rogers Compton with Chancellor Joe May in Austin.

DCCCD students arrived and were greeted by Trustee Monica Lira Bravo and Chancellor Joe May.

DCCCD students, Trustee Charletta Rogers, Monica Lira Bravo and Chancellor Joe May worked together to make Community College Day in Austin a success.




Full House 

This week, the House announced its committee assignments. Members of the House Higher Education Committee included L.M. Lozano, chair; John Raney, vice chair; and representatives Roberto Alonzo, Carol Alvarado, Geanie Morrison, Angie Chen Button, Travis Clardy, Donna Howard and Chris Turner

Additionally, the Senate Committee on Higher Education met this week for the first time, and members voted in favor of the rules and introduced members and staff during that meeting.

Action at the Capitol 

On Monday, Chancellor May participated in a work group led by Sen. Royce West to discuss transferability. During a recent Senate Finance meeting, Sen. Jane Nelson asked Sen. West to lead a group of education leaders to address transfer issues. Chancellor May is representing DCCCD and the 49 other community colleges/system members of TACC.

The meeting was attended by Dr. Raymund Paredes, commissioner of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, and representatives from other colleges and universities. 

The Senate considered Senate Bill 4 on Tuesday; it was amended last week to include college campuses. SB 4 would punish college campuses, and local and state government entities that do not cooperate with federal immigration officials or do not enforce immigration laws. That evening, the bill was tentatively approved and ultimately passed on Wednesday.  As we shared in an earlier update, the process can take time. SB 4 will be referred to the Texas House. Here are a few related articles in the Texas Tribune and the Dallas Morning News

Important Issues 

Listed below are bills of importance to DCCCD. We will track these and other bills that may have an impact on DCCCD 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
    • 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
    • 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. 

The Feds 

On Tuesday, the full Senate voted in favor of President Donald Trump’s Secretary of Education nominee, Betsy DeVos; in a historic vote, Vice President Mike Pence cast the tie-breaking vote to approve her nomination, 51-50. It was the first time a vice president has been called on to break a tie vote for a cabinet nomination. Vice President Pence released a statement about casting his vote for Sec. DeVos. Other related articles provide more details in the  New York Times, Roll Call and The Hill.

This week, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments on President Trump’s executive order "Protection of the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.” The federal government is seeking to lift the restraining order, essentially barring the order from taking effect. On Thursday, the three-judge panel unanimously turned down the Justice Department’s request to lift the restraining order. 

Chancellor May released a statement to employees regarding the order. Here is an excerpt: 

“For more than 50 years, we have welcomed students, faculty and staff from around the world. That culture of diversity and inclusiveness has become an essential component of the DCCCD community, and it is reflected in our policies, which prohibit discrimination in any form.  When I arrived at DCCCD in 2014, I began immediately to talk with our leadership, faculty and staff about the importance of integrating global learning into our curriculum, noting that today we live and work in an international economy. 

“I want to assure you that I value the diversity of our faculty, staff and students and that DCCCD is committed to fully engaging the wealth of thought, purpose, circumstance, background, skill and experiences shared in this community.”

Finis 

Both the House and the Senate now have released their committee assignments. Committees will begin to hear bills with increasing frequency. Currently, approximately 3,000 bills have been filed between both chambers. The deadline to file a bill during the 85th legislative session is March 10. You can find other dates of interest at Texas Legislature Online