Governmental Affairs > Legislative Update > May 5, 2017 (Vol. 6, Issue 16)

May 5, 2017 (Vol. 6, Issue 16)

The Capitol Report

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DCCCD Legislative Update
May 5, 2017Volume 6 Issue 16

This Edition

  • Early Childhood Moves Forward
  • #TXLege Download
  • Bills to Watch
  • Finis – Tragedy at North Lake College

Early Childhood Moves Forward

This Wednesday, you could feel a higher education buzz under the pink dome. First, during the 8 a.m. House Higher Education committee meeting, HB 971 was voted out of committee and moves forward. HB 971 is written specifically for Dallas County and would allow the Dallas County Community College District to offer a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education.

Meanwhile, in the Senate chamber, Senate Higher Education Chairman Kel Seliger’s bill, SB 2118, made its way to the floor. Didn’t we mention SB 2118 last week? Yes, we even shared an article about what the bill would mean for us. During the Senate floor discussion, state Sen. Royce West, who serves as vice chair of the Higher Education committee and is a member of the Dallas delegation, amended the bill to include early childhood education language. SB 2118 then passed the Senate on a record vote of 26-5. We would like to thank Sen. West for his work on the early childhood language and Sen. Seliger for accepting the amendment and also for his work on the bill. To view how Dallas County senators and others from around the state voted, please click here

Sen. Royce West offers an amendment to SB 2118.

The Senate floor vote on SB 2118.

#TXLege Download

With less than a month left this session, people in Austin are counting down the days to Sine Die. Expect a lot of movement and some stalling related to bills and other business. Now, take out your wireless mouse and start the download. (Or use your touchpad!)  

  • It’s known as David’s Law. This week, the Senate passed SB 172, which is aimed at stopping cyberbullying. David Molak was a victim of cyberbullying in San Antonio’s Alamo Heights High School, and he took his own life at the age of 16. This bill would allow families to sue parents of children who bully; it also gives school districts more authority to intervene. Related articles: Dallas Morning News, Texas Tribune, Houston Chronicle.
  • The Sandra Bland Act moves on to the Senate floor. The bill was changed throughout the process; you can view more details here. Related articles: KERA, KHOU, CBS.
  • A Dallas Republican representative broke with his party to support a LGBT anti-discrimination bill. Splitting from his party and casting the winning vote, Rep. Jason Villalba voted in favor of Rep. Eric Johnson’s bill, HB 225. Related articles: Dallas Morning News, Dallas Voice.

The House has posted a calendar for Saturday, May 6. At our Capitol Update deadline, the Senate had not announced if they would meet that day.

Bills to Watch 

Listed below are bills of importance to DCCCD. We 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
    • HB 971 was heard in committee on April 27, and was voted out Wednesday, May 3.
    • 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, April 27, the committee substitute was voted of committee.
    • 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. 

Interested in learning more about other bills? Visit our legislative bill tracker to learn the status of several bills. As always, please feel free to contact our office with any questions.

Finis

No words can describe what students, faculty, staff and the general community have been feeling over the past 10 months since the Dallas shooting last July. On Wednesday, medical staff members who assisted the injured during the July 7 attack were recognized by the House and Senate. Within several hours, the news about a shooting at North Lake College made its way to Austin and the state’s legislators. Chancellor Joe May released a statement to the DCCCD family and our community; here’s an excerpt from his comments

On behalf of the entire district, I want to express our grief and sadness to the North Lake College family. We are working with the Irving Police Department on this investigation, and we thank them for their assistance, along with our North Lake police officers for their immediate response. Now we must move forward as a community to console each other and to help one another during this difficult time. 

Please keep our North Lake family in your thoughts and prayers. 

The Texas House held a moment of silence after hearing about the shooting at North Lake College. (Photo Courtesy of NBC 5)

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