Prefiling of Bills by 85th Texas Legislature is Underway
11.15.2016 — The prefiling of bills for the upcoming 85th legislative session that begins January 10 began Monday. During the 2015 session, 6,276 Senate and House bills were filed. Following is a sampling of education-related bills filed thus far for the 2017 session:
School Finance/Tax Issues/Retirement
- HB 44 – Lowers the appraisal cap from 10 to 5 percent for all real property
- HB 94 – Increases the Basic Allotment from $4,765 to $5,800
- HB 175 – Requires TEA to conduct a study on the costs of educating LEP students
- HB 186 – Requires a study on the cost of educating economically disadvantaged students and LEP students
- HB 189 – Increases the Basic Allotment from $4,765 to $5,140
- HB 193 – Increases the Bilingual Education Allotment from 0.1 to 0.2
- HB 196 – Provides free full-day pre-K for certain children
- HB 310 – Allows the use of compensatory allotment for school guidance and counseling programs
- HB 311 – Increases the allotment for students with disabilities residing in care and treatment facilities from 4.0 to 5.0
- SB 35 – Provides free full-day pre-K for certain children
- SB 112 – Provides for a decrease in the rates of the franchise tax under certain circumstances and the expiration of the franchise tax
- SB 199 – Requires school district budgets to be record votes and requires budgets filed with TEA to contain a cover page with information on revenue raised from property taxes
- SB 219 – Increases the range the state must contribute to Teacher Retirement System from 6–10 percent to 7–10 percent
Assessment / Accountability
- HB 69 – Requires school districts to report certain information regarding children with disabilities who reside in residential facilities
- HB 77 – Repeals the September 2017 date that would end the use of Individual Graduation Committees
- HB 145 – Relates to accountability ratings in school districts that have more than 1,000 African-American males
- HB 194 – Allows for endorsements for students enrolled in special education programs
- SB 160 – Prohibits a performance indicator based on the number or percentage of students receiving special education services
- SB 215 – Limits state-required assessments in grades 3–8 to only those required by federal law
- HB 166 – Prohibits the use of corporal punishment as a method for student discipline
- HB 304 / SB 181 – Civil liability for bullying a child
- HB 305 / SB 180 – Relates to student harassment, bullying, and cyberbullying
- HB 306 / SB 179 – Creates a criminal offense for student harassment, bullying, or cyberbullying and injury to or death to a minor
- HB 49 / HB 333 – Prosecution of the offense of an improper relationship between an educator and a student
- HB 218 – Creates a criminal offense for failure to report inappropriate relationships
Career and Technology
- HB 136 – Includes career and technology education in the mission of public education
- HB 171 – Requires school districts to sell or lease unused or underutilized facilities to charter schools at fair market value
- HB 179 – Requires districts to employ at least one certified counselor for every 300 students in the district
- HB 181 – Prohibits counselors from spending more than 10 percent of their work time on duties that are not components of counseling or guidance
Postings in School Buildings
- SB 174 – Includes a course on the founding principles of the United States and the posting of the founding documents in school buildings
- SB 196 – Requires districts with more than 100,000 students to post a notice on the district website if they do not have a full-time nurse, school counselor, or librarian assigned to the school
Updates on additional bill filings will be forthcoming.
Lieutenant Governor Announces Legislative Priorities
On Monday, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick released his top 10 legislative priorities, which are as follows:
- 2017 Budget Proposal – The FY 18-19 Budget Estimate is not yet available, but we will pass a balanced budget that will strengthen the Texas economy and assure that it retains its global competitiveness.
- Property Tax Reform – Texans pay the sixth highest property taxes in the nation and the high rates are taxing people out of their homes and hampering business growth. This must change.
- School Choice – There is broad support for legislation to ensure that every parent has the option to send their child to the school they believe is best for them.
- Sanctuary Cities – No city in Texas should be allowed to ignore the law. We will end this practice once and for all this session.
- Photo Voter ID – Nothing is more critical to our democracy than the integrity of the voting process. Photo Voter ID is essential.
- Women’s Privacy Act – A majority of Texans in both political parties and in every ethnic and demographic group believe that women and girls should have privacy and safety in their restrooms, showers, and locker rooms. Unfortunately, legislation is necessary to assure that they do.
- Inappropriate Teacher-Student Relationships – “Pass the Trash” – With the rapid increase in the number of inappropriate teacher-student relationships, legislation is needed to strengthen the reporting and training requirements, and establish appropriate penalties. Priority must be given to protecting our students at every level of the school system.
- Fetal Tissue/Partial Birth Abortion – We will continue to fight to protect the dignity and sanctity of life by increasing criminal penalties for buying or selling human fetal tissue, among other protections, and we will ban partial birth abortion in Texas.
- Spending Cap – We will continue to fight to strengthen the state spending limit so our government lives within its means.
- Hailstorm Lawsuit Reform – We will rein in the hailstorm lawsuit abuse that is damaging local economies around our state.