Legislative Update

Below is a list of bills that have recently been heard by the senate and house committees. There is also a section that addresses the sequestration process and the overall impact it would have on educational funding in Texas. This information was furnished by the Texas Association of School Boards.

Senate Finance Passes Key Bills

The Senate Finance Committee met Tuesday to consider two important bills.

HB 10 (Pitts) is the $4.8 billion supplemental bill to close out the
current biennial budget. The bill, which includes $4.5 billion for Medicaid and
$630 million for the Foundation School Program (FSP), must be approved by
two-thirds of both chambers and signed by the governor before the end of March
when Medicaid payments will stop to various providers. Sen. Tommy Williams
(R-The Woodlands) introduced a committee substitute that would appropriate an
additional $1.75 billion to move the final FSP payment back into this biennium,
contingent upon passage of SB 758 (see below). The bill was voted favorably out
of committee as substituted.

SB 758 (Williams) would amend the statutory schedule of payments to school
districts through the FSP to bring the final payment back into August.
Witnesses testifying on the bill suggested that the legislature consider
applying the $1.75 billion that it would cost to enact this legislation toward
specific education programs. The bill was voted favorably out of committee.

House Public Education Hears Various
Bills

The House Public Education Committee met Tuesday to discuss the following bills:

HB 210 (Marquez)
expands TEA’s authority to issue subpoenas and conduct accreditation
investigations. Rep. Marisa Marquez (D-El Paso) said she wants cheating schemes
to be taken seriously and that this measure could help.

HB 525 (Aycock) would require TEA to collect additional PEIMS data on
military students. Those testifying in support said districts and the military
need information regarding the academic performance and needs of students of
military parents to best serve this highly mobile population.

HB 234 (Guillen) would provide school districts with more flexibility to
operate a flexible school day program. This bill would not change the school
start date.

HB 422 (Davis, J.) would provide students with more flexibility within the
current high school curriculum. Instead of students being required to take a
fine arts course, a student could choose to enroll in a career and technical
education course. Rep. John Davis (R-Houston) stated that if Rep. Aycock’s
accountability and graduation requirement bill, HB 5, were to pass, HB 422
would not be needed.

HB 580 (Howard) would allow school districts to utilize compensatory
education funds to provide childcare for students at risk of dropping out.

All bills heard were left pending.

LBB Outlines Sequestration Impact on Texas

Legislative Budget Board (LBB) staff testified Monday before a House Appropriations subcommittee on the effects of federal sequestration on the Texas budget.

LBB staff noted that the sequester will result in the loss of $334.6 million — $167.7 million of which would be from federal education funding. The impact of sequestration would be most significant during the 2014 fiscal year.

View the LBB’s presentation, including an appendix detailing cuts to specific programs.

The Texas Tribune has developed this interactive feature that shows how sequestration would affect specific federal programs in Texas.

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