Get the latest news for Texas' 86th legislative session.
You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello
Saying goodbye – to Dirk Nowitzki and potentially to high property taxes. Saying hello – potentially to a higher sales tax. Wait a minute! Say what? Okay. Let’s explain.
On Thursday, the Texas House was scheduled to debate HB 2 aka the property tax bill. (Remember, it’s been in limbo on the Senate side.) Simply put, in one corner are counties and cities fighting against the 2.5% cap. In the other corner are the Governor, Lt. Governor, and House Speaker (the Big Three), all pushing for the cap. In the spirit of transparency, community colleges are exempt from HB 2. Before the debate began, legislators had submitted 180 pre-filed amendments. And yes, we won’t even get into the likelihood of amendments to the amendments.
Another bruising, marathon day was expected in the House. Shortly before 4 p.m., the Speaker of the House announced that HB 2 was postponed until Monday. Yes. Postponed. The reason given was that the House is working with the Senate on the bill. Stay tuned.
But wait – there’s more! You say goodbye, I say hello. To make up for revenue loss, the Big Three – as they say under the dome – are saying hello to a potential sales tax increase. They believe a sales tax increase will buy down property tax rates for all Texans. Their proposal would raise the state's sales tax from 6.25% to 7.25%. It’s not an automatic increase. A few things need to happen…like HB 2.
Hold on a minute. What’s next? What about HB 1? Glad you asked. HB 2 has been scheduled for Monday, and the Senate also anticipates it will take up SB 2, the companion bill, on Monday as well. HB 1, otherwise known as the budget bill, was voted out of the Senate chamber. Now a conference committee will be appointed to iron out the differences.
This week, DCCCD Chancellor Joe May was invited by Rep. Michelle Beckley to testify on HB 4068 before the House Committee on Public Health. The bill, in part, would help address the high costs of vaccines the state requires for college students.
DCCCD Chancellor Joe May at the front table (first from left) testifies before members of the House Committee on Public Health.
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 funding 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.
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 will convene 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 of committee a substitute for SB 25.
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
These bills also are known as SB 2 and HB 2.
SB 2 was voted out of committee (Feb. 11); however, it has not been heard on the Senate floor.
HB 2 was voted out of committee (March 26); however, it has not been heard on the House floor.
Community colleges are exempt from HB 2.
Throughout the session, we will track these 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.
Are you binge-watching TV shows or a certain TV show? People are bundling up in preparation, supposedly, for the last winter. Your Capitol Update team prefers to watch live local and consent video from the House floor or reruns of the Golden Girls. However, if you plan to catch up on a specific show involving dragons, you should have started your binge early this morning. Oh, you didn’t? Well then…now you have time to catch up on what’s happening at the Capitol with the #TXLege Download. Don’t worry. The download is dragon-free. You know the disclaimer.
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All good things must come to an end. This week was the last game Dirk Nowitzki played as a Dallas Maverick. Similar but different, the 86th Texas Legislative session ends on May 27. Have you seen a bill that you aren’t happy with? Concerned about proper funding for public schools or colleges? The easiest way to track or find a bill is through the Texas Legislature Online. Then you can contact your House or Senate member to voice your opinion.