Governmental Affairs > Legislative Update > April 21, 2017 (Vol. 6, Issue 14)

April 21, 2017 (Vol. 6, Issue 14)

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DCCCD Legislative Update
April 21, 2017Volume 6 Issue 14

This Edition

  • BAS, BAT, BSN – Oh, My!
  • TX Lege Download
  • Bills to Watch
  • The Latest from D.C.
  • Finis – Health Care 

BAS, BAT, BSN - Oh, My!

This week, the Senate Higher Education committee met on Wednesday to discuss a handful of bills, including SB 2118, filed by Senate Higher Education Chairman Kel Seliger. SB 2118 would allow community colleges to offer baccalaureate degree programs in the fields of applied science, applied technology, and nursing. Wait a minute! A four-year degree from a community college? #True. Currently, four community or junior colleges in Texas offer bachelor’s degree programs: Brazosport, South Texas, Midland, and Tyler. 

During this session, more than a dozen bills have been filed about community colleges offering a bachelor’s degree, including two submitted specifically for Dallas County (SB 534 by Sen. Royce West and HB 971 by Rep. Helen Giddings). DCCCD supports Sen. Seliger’s bill (SB 2118), but we will continue to advocate for the two Dallas County-specific bills. As of today’s Capitol Update deadline, next week’s postings for both the House and Senate Higher Education committees had not been released. 

During Wednesday’s hearing, Dr. Raymund Paredes, commissioner of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, was questioned about how students could earn an early childhood education degree under the provisions of SB 2118. Sen. West then asked our chancellor, Dr. Joe May, to testify about whether the state’s early childhood educator shortage could be resolved by passing this bill. Dr. May stated that the language in the BAS is not clear; he and Commissioner Paredes agreed to meet and map out a solution. You can watch the committee hearing here.   


Chancellor Joe May (far left) was asked by Sen. Royce West, vice chairman of the Senate Higher Education committee, to testify during the hearing for SB 2118. 

Earlier in the week, Chancellor May attended a Texas Association of Community Colleges meeting in Austin. Additionally, Rep. Giddings invited Dr. May to speak to the Dallas County delegation and their staff members on Thursday. He also provided them with a briefing on the status of our work on behalf of her bill (HB 971) and an overview of SB 2118. 

TX Lege Download

You may be asking yourself this question: How does the Capitol Update team keep up with all of those committee hearings, bills, tracking for those bills, “donut” holes, House and Senate floor debates – and did we mention those “donut” holes (again)? First, we have a great team whose members are writing, reading, analyzing, and advocating for you. Second, it’s the caffeine. Mucho caffeine! 

Because it’s getting close to crunch time, we are following very closely several bills which are making their way through the legislative process. We will attempt to “download” a few of those bills today that may be of potential interest to you, including news links, committee hearings, or floor debates. Let’s give it a try. 

This week has been busy – and they all will be, as we get closer and closer to Sine Die on May 29. (Think “The End.”) Here are a few legislative items that happened: 

  • Remember when your mom told you to do well in school and be in the top 10 percent of your class so that you could go to any public Texas university? Well, the boxer Roberto Duran responded with “No mas!” A Texas Senate committee voted Wednesday to advance a bill that would weaken the 20-year policy known as the “Top 10 Percent Rule.” Texas Tribune, NBC Lubbock 
  • Pick me! Pick me! It’s official. Both Speaker Joe Straus and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick have selected budget conference committee members. Why a conference committee? Flashback: The House and Senate budgets appropriate different amounts and offer different ideas about how to fund to the state. Texas Tribune 

The House and Senate will reconvene on Monday, April 24, at 2 p.m.

Latest from D.C.

Congress must act to avoid a federal government shutdown next week. They are currently in a two-week recess. USA Today, Reuters

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
    • 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, March 23rd, 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

SB 2118 would allow community colleges to offer a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. A major reason the bill was filed is because the state lacks nurses who have a BSN. Health care careers are growing faster than Texas. Take time to your invite colleagues and students to attend the DCCCD Health Care Career Fair on Thursday, April 27, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Irving Convention Center. It’s free! For more information or to participate, click here. You also can visit the DCCCD Health Careers Resource Center site or call 214-860-2283. Now… where did I leave my apple? 

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