News from the Pink Dome

Legislators have 16 days left in the Regular Legislative Session.

On Monday, the Senate passed the school finance reform bill, HB 3. The bill includes the $5,000 pay raise for teachers and librarians. The bill also provides school district property tax relief. Since there are substantial differences, the House and Senate will iron out differences in conference committee. Both chambers appointed conferees: Senate: Taylor (Ch.), Campbell, Nelson, Watson, West; House: Huberty (Ch.), Ashby, Bernal, Mary Gonzalez, Ken King.

Last week, the House passed SB 2, property tax reform bill. This bill is tied to the school finance reform bill. This week, both chambers appointed conferees to negotiate the final product: Senate: Hancock (Ch.), Bettencourt, Creighton, Hinojosa, Perry; House: Burrows (Ch.), Canales, Guillen, Murphy, Noble.

Tied to these two bills are HB 1, the general appropriations bill, and SB 500, the supplemental bill, which are in their respective conference committee.

There was discussion by the leadership to increase the state sales tax by a percent. That idea was squashed on Tuesday when Representative Hubberty postponed consideration of HB 4621and HJR 3until 2021 without objection.

On Tuesday, the House Public Education Committee discussed SB 11, the school safety bill. The legislation would require Texas Education Agency (TEA) and Texas School Safety Center (TSSC) to develop and implement provisions regarding school safety as well as provides funds for local health authorities to hire non-physician mental health providers to provide training to school staff.  The bill is pending in committee.

On Wednesday, the Senate passed HB 2255, relating to newborn and infant hearing screening. As of Friday, the bill was signed by both the House and Senate and is headed to the Governor’s desk for signature.

Outside the pink building, school safety was an important topic of discussion on Wednesday. Police chiefs, school police officers, and school administrators attended the Texas School Safety and Security Council in San Marcos, where they talked about best practices. Mentioned at the conference was how at the Capitol the overwhelming concession is for more law enforcement presence at schools.

Thursday was the last day the House could pass House Bills on second reading. One bill that we are tracking on the calendar HB 2689, which would require superintendents to designate a cyber security coordinator, made it to third reading.

On Friday, during Local and Consent Calendar, HB 2890, a bill which would update the terms used in ARD and IEP to follow federal terms, was defeated by Representative Cain.

The last day the House can pass bills on Local and Consent Calendar on second and third reading is May 17, 2019.

May 18th is the last day the House committees can report Senate bills and joint resolutions.

The last day the House can pass Senate Bills on second reading is May 21st. The last day the Senate can consider all bills is May 22nd.

A list of bills we are tracking can be viewed HERE.

The House of Representatives adjourned until Monday, May 13.

The Senate adjourned until 11:00 a.m. Monday, May 13.

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