Legislative Update: May 28, 2019

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


Texas Capitol building in Austin. 

May 28, 2019
Vol. 7, Issue 19

This Edition

  • It. Is. Over.

  • Important Issues

  • #TXLege Download

  • Finis …

It. Is. Over.

All good things come to an end. Remember the last episode of M*A*S*H? Or when Norm put down the last beer mug on the Cheers counter? How about the jailhouse as the last stop for Seinfeld? (Intentionally not mentioning Game of Thrones!) Yesterday was the last day of the 86th legislative session. What does this mean? Aside from members recognizing staff, saying they are the best … members recognizing “the best” interns … other members thanking others, saying “good session,” it means both the House and Senate adjourned sine die. That’s fancy Latin for "it’s over." 

 

Speaker Greg Bonnen gavels sine die, saying, “Great session, members.” 

 

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick gavels sine die: “See you in about 18 months, or before.”

What does this all mean? For starters, according to Texas Legislature Online, a total of 7,324 House and Senate bills were filed; of those, 1,429 bills were voted out of both chambers. This figure includes the top three priorities – a state budget (HB 1), property tax reform (SB 2) and school finance (HB 3) — for the Big Three, who held a press conference before the final weekend, announcing they were in agreement. 

Next, Gov. Greg Abbott will either sign or veto the 1,429 bills. We have packed the #TXLege Download with various articles. Now you have a week full of articles to enjoy during your lunch break. 

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: 

  • HB 1, state budget

    • Conference Committee Report 

    • Funding for DCCCD, overall: $192,847,075

      • $96,423,538 for 2020

      • $96,423,537 for 2021 

    • Funding for Small Business Development Centers 

      • Included in HB 1 for DCCCD is $3,270,770 for 2020 and 2021

  • SB 25 by Sen. Royce West, relating to measures that facilitate transfer, academic progress and timely graduation of students in public higher education.

    • Passed both chambers and has been sent to the governor for signature and final passage. 

    • SB 25 has taken three sessions, or six years, to come to fruition. 

    • The bill will help improve transfer pathways and reduce excess credit hours.

    • Elements of the bill include requiring a report of nontransferable credit; requiring dual credit students to file a degree plan shortly after earning a total of 15 semester credit hours; and requiring each higher education institution to develop at least one recommended course sequence for each undergraduate certificate or degree plan.

    • The final version of the bill did not split the core; it remains at 42 hours. 

    • SB 25 does establish an advisory committee comprising equal representation from two- and four-year institutions.

      • The committee will study and make recommendations to the Legislature regarding the feasibility of changes to the 42-hour core, implementing statewide meta majors for institutions of higher education and other methods to improve transferability.

    • Press conference by Sen. West on the passage of SB 25.

  • SB 2, property tax reform 

    • Conference Committee Report 

    • SB 2 was substituted for HB 2 and voted out of both chambers. 

    • Community colleges remain at the current rollback rate of 8%.

      • However, community colleges will be affected by other portions of the bill. 

Thanks to the Texas Association of Community Colleges (TACC) for providing the list below of other bills that will have an impact on community colleges. Please note that we will compile a larger document with the status of all bills voted out of both chambers and whether they are signed by the governor.

SB 1324 by Sen. Larry Taylor / HB 4010 by Rep. Chris Turner 

Relating to the filing of a degree plan by students at public institutions of higher education.

SB 1324/HB 4010 was TACC’s legislative priority for the session on dual credit. The bills sought to require dual credit students to file a degree plan after completing 15 semester credit hours. SB 1324 was sent to the Governor on May 21. The bill’s language also was included in SB 25.

SB 29 by Sen. Bob Hall

Relating to expenditures for lobbying activities made by certain entities.

The bill seeking to end the practice of so-called “taxpayer-funded lobbying” passed the Senate but failed to pass to third reading in the House, defeating the measure for the session. The bill, as passed by the Senate, would have prohibited political subdivisions, including junior college districts, from spending public money to directly or indirectly influence or attempt to influence the outcome of legislation. This prohibition would have extended to paying membership dues to an organization that influences legislation. During floor debate on SB 29 in the House, the bill was amended to exempt subdivisions other than cities and counties; however, the bill ultimately failed to receive a majority vote.

SB 18 by Sen. Joan Huffma

Relating to the protection of expressive activities at public institutions of higher education.

The campus free speech bill passed each chamber but went to a conference committee to address changes made in the House. The conference committee has issued its report and it remains pending in each chamber. The conference committee removed provisions to the bill added by the House that sought to require institutions of higher education to adopt procedures for the institution’s disciplinary process regarding an alleged violation of the institution’s student code of conduct involving expressive activities and providing notice of those procedures to each student. The conference committee also struck language requiring each governing board of an institution to create a committee on free expression to address free speech issues at the institution.

Under the remaining language, an institution of higher education would be required to ensure that the common outdoor areas of its campus were deemed traditional public forums. The bill requires each higher education institution to adopt a policy by Aug. 1, 2020, detailing students' rights and responsibilities regarding expressive activities at the institution. The bill prohibits higher education institutions from taking action against a student organization or denying an organization any benefit generally available to other student organizations at the institution on the basis of a political, religious, philosophical, ideological or academic viewpoint expressed by the organization or of any expressive activities of the organization.

The bill establishes guidelines around approval of guest speakers and fees for use of facilities, requiring such guidelines to be content-neutral. By Dec. 1, 2020, each institution would have to prepare, post on its website and submit to the governor and Legislature a report on the institution's implementation of the bill's requirements. If the conference committee report on SB 18 receives majority votes in each chamber, the bill will pass and be sent to the governor.

Do you have a question about a specific bill or just a general life question? Example: beer-to-go, Selena Day, access to medical cannabis, landowner's liability for injuries incurred during certain recreational activities, daylight savings time or mandatory sales price disclosure in real property sales? Send us an email at GovtAffairs@dcccd.edu. Don’t worry. We won’t judge your inquiry. Oh, and we may not be the best source for a general life question.   

Sen. Royce West concurs with House amendment and final passage of SB 25, sending the bill to the governor’s desk.

 

Sen. Royce West, accompanied by House Higher Education Chairman Rep. Chris Turner and others, hosts a press conference on SB 25. 

#TX Lege Download

Did you miss us last Friday? Your Capitol Update team is still in shock that the legislative session has come to an end (a tear). This is a great time to thank those of you who actually read the newsletter, who send us feedback, both positive and negative (you know who you are), and those who took time to travel to Austin and meet with members or called to express support. Thank you.

A special thank you to Chancellor Joe May, who tirelessly advocates for our students, faculty and staff and was instrumental in pushing SB 25 across the finish line. Another thank you to the entire third floor at the District Office for their patience and help with everything from logistics to last-minute one-pagers to editing this newsletter and catching the error in this sentence that you won’t see. 

And … if I may, I would like to thank my family for not putting my items on the curb or changing the locks after I’ve been away under the dome in Austin for five months. Gracias. (TQM) 

OK. No need to bust out the aloe vera puffs or start playing hard to say goodbye. It’s time for the #TXLege Download. Warning: Articles below may cause consternation, and, if you don’t know the disclaimer by now, please ask a friend. 

Around Waterloo 

  • Texas lawmakers approve safe gun storage program despite NRA (AP)

  • Did the Texas Legislature accidentally imperil billions of Dollars in business taxes? (TX Trib)

  • House votes down bill aimed at tax payer funded lobbying (AAS)

  • Bill to improve college transfer process, other higher-ed bills make their way to the governor for approval (Houston Chron)

  • Abbot’s priority mental health bill resurrected after being abruptly killed by fellow Republican in House (AAS)

  • Texas could soon raise legal age for buying tobacco, e-cigs to 21, if Gov. Abbot signs bill (DMN)

  • Texas House advances bill banning cities from partnering with Planned Parenthood on any services (TX Trib)

  • Texas GOP leaders join Democrats in call for a different sort of border wall (Houston Chron)

  • Texas Lawmakers Expand Access To CBD Oil As 2019 Legislature Ends (Texas Standard – Audio) 

  • Felons can’t run for office, just because they can vote, Texas Attorney General says (DMN)

  • The 2019 legislative session is over. Here are the big bills that passed- and the ones that failed (TX Trib)

  • From schools and taxes to medical marijuana and Chick-fil-A: here’s what Texas lawmakers did for you (DMN)

  • Texas House and Senate wrap up a 'nuts-and-bolts' session (KVEO – Video)

  • Texas lawmakers pass school finance plan, including teacher raises, property tax cuts (FWST)

  • Estos son los proyectos aprobados durante esta sesión legislativa en Texas (Univision – Video) 

The Beltway and Beyond

  • Lone Republican blocks disaster aid package on House floor (Politico)

  • Trump proposal would roll back transgender, abortion protections (Roll Call) 

  • Mueller’s office shoots down key obstruction claim in anti-Trump author’s latest book (Fox)

  • Trump Undercuts John Bolton on North Korea and Iran (NYT)

  • Five takeaways on Trump's Japan trip (The Hill)

  • New rules for Airbnb could squeeze intern housing options (Roll Call)

  • 2020 misinformation campaigns take aim at the latest spook issues (Axios)

  • Avenatti pleads not guilty to stealing $300,000 from Stormy Daniels (CNN)

  • Smithsonian names Lonnie Bunch III as new secretary, the first African American in the top spot (WP)

Finis ...

Seems like just yesterday we were discussing the first day of the 140-day legislative session. It also seems like just yesterday we were reminding you to vote on May 4 — which many of you did and the DCCCD bond was passed. Here goes one more pitch. Early voting for a couple of Dallas City Council seats and for mayor begins today and runs through June 4. Election Day is on June 8. Visit www.dcccd.edu/votes for more information.  

Finally, we hope to continue with a monthly newsletter discussing interim charges, hearings and more federal information. Additionally, you can continue to follow us on Twitter for more updates. Have a great summer, and don’t forget the sunblock. 

 

Your DCCCD government relations team.