Legislative Links of Interest

With the 84th Legislature more than halfway done, watch for bills to start moving both out of committee and out of each chamber, the House and the Senate. Both chambers must approve a bill before it goes to the governor for signature or veto. If an identical bill is passed in both chambers, then that bill goes to the governor. If different versions of a bill pass out of each chamber, a conference committee made up of selected members from each hammer out details for a version to go to the governor.

Already passed out of the Senate are several bills that affect public education, including a property tax relief measure that would raise the statewide homestead exemption on school taxes from $15,000 to a number that is 25 percent of the statewide median home price. The House wants to commit an additional $3 billion to public education, while indications are that the Senate will commit only an additional $1 billion. 

Some in the House, including Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock (R-Killeen), chair of the Public Education Committee, want to look at reforming school finance this session, while others want to wait until the Supreme Court rules on the appeal of a district court decision that ruled the state's school finance system unconstitutional.

There are bills concerning full-day preK funding, vouchers and educator quality, and bills that would tweak the accountability system. That's only in public education and only a fraction of the overall number of bills filed. Most bills will never see the light of a committee hearing, although the major public education bills will be heard and acted upon in some way.

It’s a lot to keep up with, but a couple of websites at the non-profit news organization Texas Tribune do much of the heavy lifting. Clicking on the category will take you to that particular site.

You can also keep up with activity through Texas Legislature Online. View and track legislation, watch committee meeting and floor sessions – both live and archived, and learn how the Legislature works.


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