Updates from the 84th Legislative Session

84th Texas Legislative Session

Base Funding

Chairman Zerwas introduced HB 1000, which relates to state support for general academic teaching institutions.  It was voted favorably from the House Higher Education Committee last Wednesday.

Chairman Seliger’s SB 778 relates to performance-based tuition limitations, and on Thursday, five floor amendments were adopted, and the bill passed the Senate 29-2.  It has been received in the House. This bill effectively regulates tuition based on increases in inflation. 

Capital Investment

As of April 29, Chairman Zerwas’ HB 100, including $80 million in capital investments for Welch Hall, received a hearing and was left pending in the Senate Higher Education Committee after passing the House last month, 131-13. It is expected that this legislation will move through the Senate quickly once the budget taken care of.

Support for Tier-One Research and Innovation

Higher Education in the House heard HJR 115 and HB 2755  last Wednesday, both of which relate to the University of Houston accessing the Permanent University Fund (PUF), which has previously funded only the University of Texas and Texas A&M Systems.  The committee left the bills pending and they are not currently thought to have enough support to move through the process.

HB 26 by Representative Button abolishes the Emerging Technology Fund, and passed the third reading on Thursday.  The similar HB 27 (also by Representative Button) was scheduled for a second reading on May 1, which was postponed to this Thursday, May 7.

Representative Giddings’ HB 700 repeals the B-On-time loan program, and was received in the Senate on Monday, after passing the House 122-19 the week before.

The establishment of the governor’s university fund, as laid out in SB 632 by Senator Fraser, was received in the House on Thursday, after passing the Senate 30-1 on Wednesday.

Governance

SB 1735 by Senator Birdwell establishes residency restrictions for veterans’ benefits, and was placed on the Senate Intent Calendar for Monday, May 4.  In the House, the identical HB 3572 by Chairman Zerwas was voted favorably from the Committee on May 1.

Senator Perry’s SB 907 clarifies the powers and duties of the regents of the University of Texas System.  It has been referred to the House Committee on Higher Education, after passing the Senate at the end of March, 30-0.

Top Ten Percent

Chairman Zerwas’ HB 2472 allows the 75% cap on Top Ten admissions at UT Austin to continue.  After passing the House local calendar 139-0 a few weeks ago, it was received in the Senate on Monday and now seeks to be heard in that chamber in order to move forward.

Campus Safety

Representative Nevarez’s campus sexual assault bill, HB 699, passed the House 102-40 on Tuesday, and was received in the Senate on Thursday.

SB 33, introduced by Senator Zaffirini, relating to hazing, was received in the House on Thursday after passing the Senate 31-0.

There is still much discussion about campus carry legislation, but it appears to be slowed up in the House currently.

Upcoming Committee Meetings

Senate:

Higher Education

Wednesday, 5/06/15

9:00 A.M., E1.012

HB 495 – Relating to the use of money from the permanent fund for health-related programs to provide grants to nursing education programs (introduced by Representative Donna Howard)

House:

Higher Education

Wednesday, 5/06/15

SB 685 – Relating to the applicability of open meetings and public information laws to the education research center advisory board (introduced by Chairman Kel Seliger)

SB 915 – Relating to the textbook affordability pilot program and to certain studies and reports by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board regarding achievable cost-saving measures (introduces by Senator Lois Kolkhorst)

On the Calendar

Senate:

May 4, 2015

SB 1735 – Relating to tuition and fee exemptions at public institutions of higher education for certain military personnel and their dependents (introduced by Senator Brian Birdwell)

House:

May 6, 2015

HB 1256 – Relating to student members of the board of regents of a state university or state university system (introduced by Representative J.D. Sheffield)

April 20, 2015

Updates on our Legislative Priorities:

On Wednesday, HJR 115 by Representative Turner will be heard in the House Higher Education Committee.  This resolution proposes a constitutional amendment allowing the University of Houston to participate in the permanent university fund.  If you are in or around the Capitol on that day, please register your opposition to this resolution.

In regards to the budget, the conference committee will begin meeting soon.  The details of those meetings should be determined this week.

Base Funding:

Now that both the House and Senate budgets have passed, HB 1000 by Chairman Zerwas is likely to move.  Currently, it is pending in the House Higher Education Committee. This bill would restructure state support for institutions of higher education in the state.

Representative Giddings’ repeal of the B-On-time loan (HB 700) passed the House 130-10 on Thursday.  Additionally, SB 778 by Senator Seliger relating to performance-based tuition limitations is on the Senate Intent Calendar for Monday, April 27.  Senator Birdwell’s SB 1735, imposing stricter residency requirements for veterans with tuition exemptions, was passed favorably from the Senate Higher Education Committee on Wednesday.

Capital Investment:

Chairman Zerwas’ capital investment bill (HB 100) was referred to the Senate Committee on Higher Education on Thursday.

Support for Tier-One Research and Innovation:

HB 27 by Representative Button establishing the governor’s university research imitative, among other research policies, is on the House Calendar for Thursday, April 30.

Representative Elkins’ HB 590 allows for the creation of research technology corporations for the development and commercialization of technologies owned by those institutions.  HB 590 is on the House calendar for Monday, April 27.

Governance:

Representative Otto’s HB 15 relating to the management of state contracts is on the House calendar for Monday, April 27.

HB 61 by Representative McClendon would establish a common course numbering system for public higher education institutions, and was voted favorably from the committee on Wednesday.

HB 298 establishes guidelines for the transfer of credits for the purposes of timely graduation and was reported from the House Higher Education Committee as substituted on Wednesday.

Senator Zaffirini’s SB 1714 relates to the release of student academic information, and passed the Senate 30-0.

Top Ten Percent:

HB 2472 by Representative Zerwas passed to the Local Calendar in the House 139-0 on Thursday.  This bill allows UT Austin to keep its 75% cap on Top 10% admissions.

Campus Safety:

Representative Nevarez’s bill requiring public institutions of higher education to adopt more comprehensive policies regarding sexual assault (HB 699) is on the House calendar for Monday, April 27.

Upcoming Committee Meetings

House:

Higher Education

Wednesday, 4/29/15

8:00am, E2.014

HB 1502 – Relating to the elimination of certain formula funding and dropped course restrictions for students enrolled in accelerated, affordable baccalaureate programs at public (introduced by Representative Jim Murphy)

HB 2755 – Relating to the higher education fund, the management of investments of the permanent university fund, and the allocation and distribution of certain constitutional revenues to the University of Houston (introduced by Representative Sylvester Turner)

HJR 115 – Proposing a constitutional amendment to entitle the University of Houston to participate in the income and other benefits of the permanent university fund (introduced by Representative Sylvester Turner)

SB 308 – Relating to the application of public information laws to campus police departments at private institutions of higher education (introduced by Representative John Whitmire)

On the Calendar

Senate:

April 27, 2015

SB 239 – Relating to student loan repayment assistance for certain mental health professionals (introduced by Representative Charles Schwertner)

SB 778 – Relating to performance-based tuition limitations for certain public institutions of higher education (introduced by Representative Kel Seliger)

SB 1205 – Relating to the environmental services fee at public institutions of higher education (introduced by Representative Jose Rodriguez)

SB 1655 – Relating to Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board fees for the administration of certificates of authorization and certificates of authority issued to certain postsecondary educational institutions (introduced by Representative Royce West)

House:

April 27, 2015

HB 7 – Relating to the amounts, availability, and use of certain statutorily dedicated revenue and accounts (introduced my Representative Drew Darby)

HB 15 – Relating to the management and oversight of state contracts, including contracts for information technology commodity items (introduced by Representative John Otto)

HB 590 – Relating to the creation of research technology corporations by institutions of higher education (introduced by Representative Gary Elkins)

HB 699 – Relating to requiring public institutions of higher education to establish a policy on campus sexual assault (introduced by Representative Poncho Nevarez)

April 30, 2015

HB 26 – Relating to state economic development measures, including administration of the Texas Enterprise Fund, creation of the Economic Incentive Oversight Board, abolishment of the Texas emerging technology fund (introduced by Representative Angie Button)

April 13, 2015

Updates on our Legislative Priorities:

Monday morning, the Board of Regents confirmed Provost Gregory L. Fenves as the new President for UT Austin with an 8-0 vote.  Texas Exes congratulates Provost Fenves and looks forward to working with him as he assumes his new role on June 3.

Base Funding

The House passed HB 1, the general appropriations bill, which increases the base funding for UT Austin for 2016 and 2017 by approximately 3%. The Senate passed their version of the budget this past Tuesday, 30-1. The conference committee members are being selected and will begin meeting very soon to iron out the details of the final state budget.

Capital Investment

Chairman Zerwas’ HB 100 has passed the House.  It’s expected that the Senate will consider capital investment legislation very soon (possibly this week).

Governance

SB 1819 by Senator Campbell was heard in the Senate Subcommittee on Border Security last week, and the committee members heard testimony for nine hours. The bill would end in-state tuition for undocumented students, requiring them to pay out-of-state tuition rates. Many UT Austin students, including Student Government President-Elect Xavier Rotonofsky, testified against the bill.  You can find his testimony here beginning at 14:00:17.  The bill was sent to the full Senate for consideration.

HB 3572 would impose stricter residency requirements on military personnel and their dependents seeking tuition exemptions. This bill by Representative Zerwas is currently pending in the House Higher Education Committee.

Senator Seliger’s SB 778 includes barring tuition increases beyond inflation as well as tying funding to performance.  SB 778 is on the Senate intent calendar for Monday, April 20.

Top Ten Percent

Representative Zerwas’ HB 2472 would abolish the sunset provision on UT Austin’s 75% cap on Top Ten percent admissions, allowing the University to continue that policy.  This bill was recommended for the Local and Consent calendar last week.

Campus Safety

HB 937 (campus carry) has still not been placed on the Intent Calendar.  An amendment to the open carry bill (HB 910) by Representative Fletcher allowing guns on campuses was pulled down during floor debate on Friday.

Upcoming Committee Meetings

Senate:

Finance

Wednesday, 4/22/15

9:00am, E1.036

SB 157 – Relating to exempting books purchased, used, or consumed by certain university and college students from the sales and use tax for limited periods (introduced by Senator Judith Zaffirini)

Higher Education

Wednesday, 4/22/15

9:00am, E1.012

SB 1438 – Relating to funding sources for the repayment of certain speech-language pathologist and audiologist education loans (introduced by Senator Judith Zaffirini)

SB 1624 – Relating to a requirement that entering undergraduate students at a public institution of higher education attend an orientation regarding mental health and suicide prevention services (introduced by Senator Jose Rodriguez)

SB 1655 – Relating to Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board fees for the administration of certificates of authorization and certificates of authority issued to certain postsecondary educational institutions (introduced by Senator Royce West)

SB 1735 – Relating to tuition and fee exemptions at public institutions of higher education for certain military personnel and their dependents (introduced by Senator Brian Birdwell)

House:

Defense and Veteran’s Affairs

Wednesday, 4/22/15

8am, E2.026

HB 840 – Relating to the establishment of veterans resource centers at certain institutions of higher education (introduced by Representative Roberto Alonzo)

Higher Education

Wednesday, 4/22/15

8:00am, E2.014

HB 119 – Relating to tuition assistance for members of the Texas State Guard (introduced by Representative Dan Flynn)

HB 926 – Relating to a study and report regarding the use of open-source instructional materials at public institutions of higher education (introduced by Representative Terry Canales)

HB 1612 – Relating to a requirement that public institutions of higher education provide certain information to students and school districts regarding student performance on Texas Success Initiative (introduced by Representative Ryan Guillen)

HB 1613 – Relating to the use of performance on certain assessment instruments designated by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to satisfy requirements concerning high school end-of-course assessment (introduced by Representative Ryan Guillen)

HB 1807 – Relating to requiring the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to maintain an inventory of postsecondary educational programs and services for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities (introduced by Representative Elliot Naishtat)

HB 2365 – Relating to the requirements for employment positions provided through the Texas college work-study program (introduced by Representative Jim Murphy)

HB 2790 – Relating to measures to ensure certain adopted students are informed regarding their eligibility for tuition and fee exemptions at certain institutions of higher education (introduced by Representative Richard Raymond)

HB 3384 – Relating to the automatic admission of certain transfer students to general academic teaching institutions (introduced by Representative Eric Johnson)

HB 3670 – Relating to an environmental service fee charged by an institution of higher education (introduced by Representative Elliot Naishtat)

HB 3748 – Relating to the coordination of educational support services for and information regarding students who are currently or were formerly placed in foster care (introduced by Representative Marsha Farney)

HB 3844 – Relating to the administration of the scholarship program for certain students graduating in the top 10 percent of the students’ high school graduating class (introduced by Representative Chris Turner)

HB 4046 – Relating to confidentiality of student records (introduced by Representative Carol Alvarado)

HB 3467 – Relating to a postsecondary distance learning feasibility study conducted by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (introduced by Representative Armando Martinez)

Government Transparency and Operation

Wednesday, 4/22/15

2:00pm, E1.014

HB 3248 – Relating to state agency procedures and policies to protect and properly destroy certain information that identifies an individual (introduced by Representative Yvonne Davis)

Bills on the Calendar

Senate:

Monday

SB 24 – Relating to training for members of the governing board of a public institution of higher education (introduced by Senator Judith Zaffirini)

SB 778 –Relating to performance-based tuition limitations for certain public institutions of higher education (introduced by Senator Kel Seliger)

SB 1714 – Relating to the release of student academic information by a public institution of higher education for certain purposes and the manner in which the information is used (introduced by Senator Judith Zaffirini)

House:

Wednesday

HB 700 – Relating to the repeal of the Texas B-On-time student loan program (introduced by Representative Helen Giddings)