Governmental Affairs > Legislative Update > March 27, 2015 (Vol. 5, Number 8)

March 27, 2015 (Vol. 5, Number 8)

This Week in Austin...

While U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas dominated most national headlines when he announced his candidacy for president this week, legislators in Austin moved ahead on budget, tax relief and a variety of other issues. Dr. Joe May, DCCCD's chancellor, and Dr. Justin Lonon, executive vice chancellor, once again spent several days in the Capitol Building, talking to legislators about DCCCD's legislative priorities and how they help the state of Texas achieve its goals for education and economic development.

Budgets, Tax Relief Move Forward...

The Senate generated much attention when it passed Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick's tax cut package, while a House panel approved a state budget of $210 billion dollars, which now goes to the full House for a vote. The Texas Tribune offers details in this story: Senate Passes Patrick's Tax Cut Package.

Dallas Morning News discussed the proposed House budget on Tuesday: $210B Texas budget, including Collin license mega-center, goes to full House.

Higher Education Issues...

In-state tuition for undocumented students

One of DCCCD’s legislative priorities is to maintain our ability to charge in-state tuition to undocumented students. DCCCD’s Board of Trustees led the way on this issue in the late 1990s, and the state followed in 2001 by passing the “Noriega bill,” which made it possible for undocumented students to pay only in-state tuition rates if certain conditions were met. This legislation was passed by nearly unanimous consent, but in recent years attempts have been made to amend or repeal this law.

SB 1819, which would repeal this law, is scheduled to be heard in committee next Monday. This bill will be met with tremendous opposition from educators, student groups, immigration advocates and business groups. The bill has a good chance of being passed in the Senate. The good news is that leaders in the House have shown little interest in advancing similar proposals. Additional details can be found in the Texas Tribune: Senate Panel Sets Sights on In-State Tuition Law.

Tuition
This week, legislators discussed the cost of rising college tuition and the deregulation which prompted those increases, making college less affordable for middle-class families. Proposals, which were heard in House and Senate committees on Wednesday, include linking tuition increases to inflation and basing prices on graduation rates. Read more in the Dallas Morning News: As Texas college tuition climbs, lawmakers to air ideas.

Tuition Revenue Bonds

Additionally, a House panel approved a plan Wednesday to authorize $3.1 billion in bonds for construction and renovation projects at more than 50 public universities, colleges and health science centers. These tuition revenue bonds are the number one legislative priority for public four-year universities.

Handguns

Issues related to handguns continued to draw attention at the Capitol this week. The full Senate's open carry and campus carry bills, approved last week, await a vote in the House. On Thursday, a House panel voted to move the open carry bill out of committee but not the proposed campus carry legislation because members want to review the Senate's revisions first. Here's more: House panel OKs open carry, but will wait on campus carry.

Legislative Process

If you want to know more about how bills move forward – or stall – during the legislative process, check out this video from the Texas Tribune: Explaining how calendars are set

Bills for This, Bills for That...

Several state legislators are working to garner support for a number of bills that would pick up on issues that originated locally in cities across the state. Some of those areas that received attention in the news media included a ban on texting for drivers; rescinding a ban on fracking; fixing school finances; considering school vouchers; and an assortment of other topics.

Tracking Bills...

Throughout the 84th session of the Texas Legislature, we will continue to have information on the DCCCD website where you can track bills of interest to the district.

Our list will be updated regularly. Categories include:

  • budget measures
  • local taxes/appraisal reform/revenue caps
  • baccalaureate degrees
  • handguns
  • transfer
  • undocumented student tuition
  • college readiness
  • dual credit/early college
  • boards
  • tuition and tuition exemptions
  • financial aid

Please contact us if you see a bill of interest or if you have any questions.

As the 84th session evolves, we will call upon many people in the DCCCD family to support our advocacy efforts.

Newsletter published by the Office of Public and Governmental Affairs, Dallas County Community College District. Please contact Justin Lonon for more information about DCCCD's legislative initiatives.​​​​